Egyptian Medicine

Egyptian Medicine

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Egyptians (3000 1000bc)
The Egyptians were one of the first settled civilizations - they lived in cities, and
grew their food, allowing some people to specialize as craftsmen, priests etc.
They wrote down what they knew, so ideas could be passed on. This writing,
combined with plentiful archaeological remains, makes it easier for historians to
know about Egyptian medicine.
The Egyptians had a mixture of supernatural beliefs about cause and cure, as well
as some common sense remedies. However, they were willing to investigate, and
made some developments in surgery, anatomy, and hygiene. Trade with other
countries helped to increase their knowledge of herbs and drugs. Religion was
vitally important for Egyptians, and their religious practices both helped and
hindered medical advances.
Anatomy Knowledge was quite advanced - they knew the location
of most of the organs, due to the process of embalming.
However, the ban on dissection because of religion meant
that the knowledge gained was limited, and only of men.
Physiology Ban on dissection meant that organs could not be cut up
and examined to see how they worked. Some correct
ideas about function of organs - i.e. bladder produces
urine, and knew that the pulse was made by the heart.
But little real knowledge of how the body worked.
Cause Spiritual - believed that many illnesses were
caused by spirits or gods such as Sekhmet.
Physical - Channel Theory: body was like the Nile, if
the channels got blocked then you became ill. First
attempt to produce physical explanation for cause
of disease.

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Egyptians (3000 1000bc)
Cure Supernatural - potions to be drunk or applied to the
body together with the saying of a spell.
Natural - drugs and herbs such as radish or garlic.
These actually contained chemical which would
have had an effect.
Channel Theory - purging, vomiting or bleeding
hoping to unblock the channels.
Doctors Since most disease was thought to be caused by the
gods, the doctors were priest-physicians who were in
touch with the gods.…read more


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