The Egyptian Culture of Medicine

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  • Topic: Ancient Egypt, Edwin Smith Papyrus, Ancient Egyptian medicine
  • Pages : 4 (1300 words )
  • Download(s) : 255
  • Published : October 5, 2006
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Ancient Egyptians were said to be highly advanced society. Through their belief of preserving the body for the afterlife (mummification) they became masters of the human body, health, and healing (Bailey, 2002). Their findings have shaped what is commonly known today about the human anatomy. There was little separating mainstream practice and alternative medicine in ancient times: However, such is not true today in Egypt. Their healthcare system today is similar to that of the United States. The state of Egyptian healthcare centers on the history and medical practices of their culture.

There are three known medical texts originating from ancient Egypt, The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, The Ebers Papyrus, and The Edwin Smith Papyrus. The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus was written in the 29th year of the reign of Amenenhat III circa 1825 BCE in hieroglyph. This papyrus addresses such issues as the process of conception, pregnancy testing and contraception. For pregnancy testing the method used included digging an onion bulb deep into the woman's skin and determining the outcome by the type of odor the patient smelled (Medicine, 2006). This makes sense because in most pregnant women strong odors can be quite nauseating. For contraception it calls for a recipe of crocodile dung, 45ml of honey, and sour milk believed to have been given topically or as a suppository (Medicine, 2006). The Ebers Papyrus is the most lengthy of the medical papyri with 100 pages of text. It is dated the 9th year of the reign of Amenhotep I circa 1534 BCE (Medicine, 2006). This papyrus is written in hieratic script which is a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics used especially by priests. It states that the heart is the center of the blood supply with vessels for every part of the body. They named the heart the hub of vessels for all fluids of the body such as blood, tears, urine, and semen. Mental disorders such as depression and dementia are also addressed in a section called the Book...
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