The Egyptians were one of the first people to have practicing physicians.
The oldest known physician is Imhotep. He lived around 2725 b.c. He was also known as a high officer, a pyramid builder, and an astrologer.
A popular belief is that the Ancient Egyptians new very little about anatomy. This proves to be false, because in the Ebers papyrus the ancient Egyptians say that a depressed skull fracture looked like a puncture in a pottery jar.
Doctors in Ancient Egypt usually went through years of hard training at temple schools. Usually in the arts of interrogation, inspection, and palpation.
Egyptian doctors new lots about the human body for their time. They studied the structure of the brain, and knew that the pulse was related to the heart. They could also cure many illnesses and set broken bones.Some Common Plants Used in Medicine by the Egyptians were:
Castor OilCastor oil, along with figs and dates, were used as laxatives by the Egyptians.
Tannic acid was valued by the Egyptians, because it helped heal burns. It was usually derived from acacia nuts. An acacia tree is pictured to the left.CorianderCoriander was considered to have cooling, stimulant, carminative and digestive properties. It was also taken as a tea for stomach illness.
Surgical Tools Used by Egyptian Doctors
Ordered from left to right
- forceps or pincers
- bags tied with string
- beaked vessel
- vase with burning incense
- Horus eyes
- pot with flowers of Upper and Lower Egypt
- pot on pedestal
- graduated cubit or papyrus
- scroll without side knot (or a case holding reed scalpels)
Edwin Smith Papyrus
One of the main sources of Egyptian Medical practices is the Edwin Smith papyrus. It was written around 1700 B.C. but most of the information is based on texts written around 2640 B.C., Imhoteps time. The papyrus appears to talk mainly about wounds, and how to treat them, and surpassingly little about diseases.
The Ebert papyrus is much more complete than the Edwin Smith papyrus. It is made up of 110 pages, including approximately 877 remedies. The papyrus is not based upon healing any one part of the body. It has sections that cover everything from the head to the toes to the fingers to the eyes. It also include remedies to parasitic stomach diseases and a small section on the heart.