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Fascinating as it is,  the knowledge of ancient Egyptians also comprised the knowledge of Medicine. The Egyptians were very much a very civilized people considering the well being of their people a religious demand and not a luxurious commodity.

The Ancient Egyptians have provided modern historians with a great deal of knowledge and evidence about their attitude towards medicine and the medical knowledge that they had. This evidence has come from the numerous papyruses found in archaeological searches.

The Ancient Egyptians wrote down their knowledge and this is found on what is known as the Papyrus Ebers: The document actually gives names to organs such as the spleen, the heart, the anus, the lungs etc so they must have known that these exist. One papyrus, the Edwin Smith Papyrus, has a detailed description of the brain in it so this organ was also well researched by the standards of the time. It is probable that this knowledge came as a result of the practice the Ancient Egyptians had of embalming dead bodies.


The Edwin Smith Papyrus is 5 meters long, and is chiefly concerned with surgery. It described 48 surgical cases of wounds of the head, neck, shoulders, breast and chest. Unfortunately, the scribe who copied it did not proceed further from the thorax, and it ended abruptly in the middle of a sentence. The papyrus listed the manifestations, followed by prescriptions to every individual case. It included a vast experience in fractures that can only be acquired at a site where accidents were extremely numerous, as during the building of the pyramids. The Ebers Papyrus is a huge roll of more than 20 meters long and 30 cm wide. It is chiefly an internal medicine reference, as well as diseases of the eye, skin, extremities, gynecology and some surgical diseases. Anatomical and physiological terminology are also included. For treatment of those diseases, 877 recipes and 400 drugs were described.




Egyptian doctors were highly respected and had a high reputation in the ancient world. Medical inscriptions date back to the Middle Kingdom, although they often claim to be copies of documents originating from the Old Kingdom. Medicine, lived under the umbrella of priesthood. Early doctors appear to have been priests, temples had their herb gardens to provides  a supply of medicaments. The most reliable and effective medical treatments were those that were applied to external solutions.

The Egyptians were good broken bone setters, they also practiced amputation successfully. Wounds and cuts were treated with bandages impregnated with antiseptic herbs and ointments. Medical materials were chiefly plant-based, and the Egyptians knew the uses of castor oil, dill, cumin hartshorn and coriander.


Herodotus noted the degree of specialization among Egyptian doctors, as healers of the eye, the head, the belly and of women diseases. 


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