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Ancient Egyptian Medicine: A Comparison Of Egyptian And Modern Day Medicine And Reasoning For Continued Research Of Ancient Egyptian Medical Practices

2320 words - 10 pages

Although it is not apparent whether or not Ancient Egyptian physicians had formal training or not, their methods for diagnosing and handling illnesses were very efficient at times. As a matter of fact, we still use some of their remedies today when we make medicines. Examples of the diagnosis and remedies for diseases in Ancient Egypt can be found in the Ebers Papyrus. This is one of the oldest known documentations of ancient medical practices, dating as far back as fifteen hundred BC. Steven Gilbert, the author of A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals, defines the text as “approximately one hundred and ten pages on anatomy and physiology, toxicology, spells, and treatment recorded on papyrus. The papyrus also has many prescriptions showing the treatment of many disorders by animal, plant, and mineral toxins that still occur today.” Modern-day examples of medical ailments mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus include Asthma, Cancer, and Belly Aches. Oddly enough, the heart, rather than the brain, was regarded as the headquarters of human knowledge in the body because this was where the abundance of emotion was said to be drawn forth from. The heart was also thought to be a means of communication between the people and the gods because people were given insight and instruction pertaining to the gods will through this organ of the body. The Egyptians did not understand how important the heart was in terms of blood circulation, as we understand it today. Their belief was that the heart was connected to all the other parts of the body, via canals, which were used to transport bodily fluids and waste to their appropriate locations. The brain’s only purpose was to transport mucus to the nose, and therefore it was overlooked when it came to preserving organs during the process of mummification. According to the Ancient Encyclopedia of Medicine, “Probably to some extent, this concept of channels may have had some symbolism with the Nile. Ancient Egyptians were thought to be in good health if the “metu” were clear and without blockage. Disease was caused when a channel became blocked, much like an irrigation canal cannot deliver water if it is blocked.” Their diagnosis of disease and treatments came primarily from this outlook on anatomy and the importance of the heart. The ancient Egyptians also had nurses, like how we have nurses in present day.
Luckily, the physicians we have now have a more in-depth understanding of the human body and the concept of the heart. We know that even though the heart and veins help to circulate blood throughout the body, the brain is responsible for the functions that keep us alive and well. Most of the Egyptians knowledge of the body tied into their religious beliefs which affected their diagnosis and medical practices as a whole. Now, let’s look at a normal diagnosis for someone who stepped into a medical office in the United States. The patient’s vitals are checked by a nurse before you are...

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