By Ali Abu Dashish, Maydaa Abo El-Nadar
CAIRO, Feb. 11 (SEE) – Ancient Egypt is known for its numerous drugs, as ancient Egyptians were aware of various diseases. From the environment including herbs, plants, and substances, ancient Egyptians invented various medicines.
The “pharmaka” meant in ancient Egypt “donating cure”, this is how the term “pharmacy” appeared. The methods of treatment in ancient Egypt did not differ much from these currently existing, especially that nowadays science is directed to the natural herbal remedies.
Ancient Egyptians knew a lot about human organs and different diseases. This is can be seen through the mummies’ studies and the inscriptions found on the cemeteries’ and temples’ walls. They knew that the heart was the most important organ and that it is the center of emotions. Thus, in the mummification process they left the heart connected to its major vessels.
Plants, its leaves, seeds, fruits, juice, and roots, along with water, milk, wine, and bear as a liquid, were utilized to produce medicines. Treatment recipes carried the disease’s name. For example, remedies were titled: the medicine to kill the belly’s snake, the drug to stop diarrhea, and the remedy for hair growth.
At the end of each recipe, the following information was found: the way of usage, the method of preparation (whether crushing or boiling), when to take the medicine (day or night, before or after lunch). Drugs were kept the whole night under the dew. On the other hand, there were medicines prepared in certain months.
Drugs were divided into vegetarian, minerals, and from animals. They were available for all persons and ointments were merged with animals’ fat. Grapes, dates, raisins, watermelon, figs, sycamore, cucumber, onions, garlic, and saffron were the most important vegetarian drugs.
Fish oil, frogs, livers, bees’ honey, mullets, ivories, and conchs were amongst the most famous mineral drugs. The most important organic and mineral medicines were gold, silver, soda, salt, turquoise stone, vinegar, gypsum, and lapis lazuli.
Experts in herbology used to tour the farms and the desert to collect the medical plants used for treatment. They even planted those in special farms to facilitate the treatment process. Also, ancient Egyptians invented ammonia through crushing or burning animal horns.
Worth noting is that the pomegranate’s peal was prescribed to expel the stomach’s warms, pomegranate’s roots were used to kill the roundworm Ascaris, and the castor tree played an important an effective role in treating wounds and in hair growth.
Grilled bull’s liver, buckthorn’s fruit, tamarind, figs, and honey were used to cure nyctalopia, epilepsy, bladder, chest and skin diseases, and ophthalmia, respectively.