Ancient Egyptian medical papyri reveal a lot of about medicine

Ancient Egyptian medical papyri

There are a lot of ancient Egyptian medical papyri that reveal a lot of facts about medicine at that time. These papyri contain medical information which is being used at the present time.

The ancient Egyptian civilization did not leave only monuments like pyramids, temples, and tombs, but it also included all the aspects of life.

Although the ancient Egyptians have not recorded all the secrets of their life or they might record it but we did not discover it until now, but what we have discovered are really amazing.

The ancient Egyptians have paid great attention to the medicine and health. Both the magicians and physicians have involved together in health maintenance.

There are a lot of ancient Egypt medical papyri that highlight the struggle of the ancient Egyptian with the disease. This struggle looks like the constant battle between good and evil more than a battle between the strength weakness or health and disease.

Now, we are going to talk about some of the most important ancient Egyptian medical papyri that talk about the medicine in ancient Egypt.

  1. Edwin Smith Papyrus
Edwin Smith Papyri
Ancient Egyptian medical papyri, Edwin Smith Papyrus

Edwin Smith papyrus is one of the most important ancient Egyptian medical papyri. It is a surgical papyrus and it presents information about 48 surgical cases; all these cases were incidents.

This papyrus, also, presents the ideal method for dealing with each case in four separate paragraphs. Each paragraph starts with an address then the method of medical examination and diagnosis and the treatment at the end.

Among the cases that were recorded in this Egyptian medical papyrus, a case for a patient who suffered from a wound in his cheek. The papyrus has mentioned concerning this case:

“If you diagnose a patient who suffers from a wound in his cheek and you find swelling and redness around the wound, you must put a fresh meat on the wound in the first day, and this treatment must be repeated until the swelling decreases and then put the fat and honey daily by using a bandage.

This papyrus includes also the right diagnosis of basilar skull fracture, as the patient pleading from his nose and ears. This Egyptian medical papyrus has the diagnosis of Meningitis, as the patient cannot look at his chest or shoulders.

This papyrus also mentioned some medical recipes and medicines for a patient was suffering from a compound fracture in his Temporal bone; these medicines include putting the patient in a sitting position, massage his head with some grease, and put some milk in his ears.

This ancient Egyptian medical papyrus presents the recorded medical cases in an organized sequence; as it starts from the diseases and injuries of the head then face, jaws, neck, ribcage, arms, backbone, and legs.

Edwin Smith bought this papyrus from an Egyptian antiquity dealer in 1962. He thought that it belongs to one of the tombs of the cemeteries that locate on the west bank of the Nile in Thebes.

Edwin Smith’s daughter has dedicated this papyrus to New York Historical Society and it is now preserved in the Medical Academy in New York.

  1. Ebers Papyrus
Ebres Papyrus
Ebers papyri

It is also one of the most famous and important ancient Egyptian medical papyri.

It contains many recorded diseases like Rash and it presents a number of recipes to treat it like mineral oil and a mixture of milk and pure oil. This recipe was put on the rush for four days.

Also, there is another recipe, which consists of cassia, mineral oil, lavender, honey, and oil, and then the physicians put this recipe on the affected area.

  1. Kahun Gynecology Papyri
Medical papyri in ancient Egypt
Kahun Gynecology Papyri

These papyri were discovered in 1889 at Fayoum and it is preserved in London University.

Among these papyri, there is one, which was written in Hieratic and it talks about Gynecology and it dates back to the 29th year of king Amenmhat’s reign.

Unlike Edwin Smith papyrus, these ancient Egyptian medical papyri have no description of how to examine the patient woman.

These papyri present medical advice of some symptoms like recipes given oral or inside and outside the vagina.

One paragraph in these medical papyri mentioned a way to increase chances of pregnancy, which is evaporating the vagina, in addition to different recipes for contraception like the stool of the crocodiles, honey, or curdled milk.

These medical papyri of ancient Egypt have mentioned also the usage of fresh oil and pouring it inside the vagina for contraception.

These papyri also mentioned the pregnancy tests; as it was recorded that the vascular congestion in breasts was a sign of pregnancy.

  1. Hearst papyrus
Medical papyri in ancient Egypt
Hearst papyrus

It is one of the ancient Egyptian medical papyri and it consists of 18 pages and 260 paragraphs.

It includes information about the Digestive System, Urinary System, teeth, bones, hair, blood, and reptile bites. It also contains some medical recipes for some medical conditions.

This papyrus was discovered in 1901 when a peasant dedicated it to the members of Hearst camp.

It thought that this papyrus dates back to the 18th dynasty, king Thutmose III and it is now preserved at California University.

  1. Chester Beatty Papyri
Ancient Egypt medical papyri
Chester Beatty Papyri

Chester Beatty is a group of Papyri presented by the English businessman Alfred Beatty to the British Museum after it was found at one of the cemeteries of Thebes.

These 19 ancient Egyptian medical papyri are now displayed in different places like the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the French Institute in Cairo, and Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin.

The third part of the fifth papyrus contains magical amulets to treat a headache and migraine, while the sixth one talks about the anal disorders, some medical recipes for the treat, and many amulets for treating unknown diseases.

  1. Berlin Papyrus
Medical papyri of ancient Egypt
Berlin papyrus

This papyrus was discovered in Saqqara then it was sold to Frederick William IV of Prussia in 1827 and it was preserved in Berlin Museum, it belongs to the 19th dynasty in ancient Egypt.

This medical papyrus of ancient Egypt talks about the breast diseases, methods of contraception, and prenatal sex discernment.

This papyrus talks also about treating disorders of central nervous system; as it talks about the treatment of Bell’s palsy.

  1. London Medical Papyrus
Papyri of ancient Egypt
London Medical Papyrus

There no information about the origin of this papyrus, but we know that it was presented to the royal institute in London and then it was preserved at the British Museum in 1860.

This papyrus consists of 19 pages, 61 paragraphs; among them, 25 medical paragraphs and the rest are magical amulets. It also contains small portion about the gynecology.

  1. Carlsberg papyrus
Papyri of ancient Egyptian medicine
Carlsberg papyrus

No one knows the origin of this papyrus. It dates back to the 19th or 20th dynasty, but its style of writing and presentation of information refers that it was from the 12th dynasty.

This papyrus talks about the pregnancy test and prenatal sex discernment, and also it contains some medical methods to know the ability of the woman for being pregnant or not.

In addition, this papyrus presents some information about eye diseases.

Now, we have presented some interesting information about the ancient Egyptian medical papyri in ancient Egyptian civilization that reveal a lot about the medicine in ancient Egypt.