Ancient Egyptian

Notes on Ancient Egyptian medicine

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  • Created by: Tallulah
  • Created on: 27-11-11 14:09

Wealth: Egypt was a very wealthy country with powerful rulers, internatiional trade, large cities and it was one of the most advanced cicilisations the world had ever known. Their wealth was based on the River Nile, and when the river flooded every year the land became fertile which gave rich harvests of crops. All the wealth meant there was big improvements in medicine.

Specialist doctors: The rich employed people to look after them and they had their own physcians. The doctors had spent most of their lives improving their knowledge of medicine and health.

Metal workers: Rich egyptians employed metal workers to make fine bronze instruments that their doctors used.

Trade: Egypt traded with countries such as India, China and Africa and this brang in new herbs and plants which were recommened as medicines so Egyptian healers built up a better knowledge of herbal medicines.

Improved Writing: The Egyptians developed a form of paper from reeds called papyrus, and a simpler way of writing - hierogylphics. This made it easier to pass on treatments and remedies to other healers.

Religion: Mummification improved knowledege of the anatomy of the human body as Egyptians believed in life afte death so thet embalmed their body ready for the afterlife.

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The River Nile: Egyptian doctors studied the channels of the Nile and made a connection between blocked channels in the river to blocked rivers in the body which caused a person to become ill.

Supernatural treatments: They believed the Gods could influence health and priests communicated with the Gods. Natural Treatments: They looked for logical explantations for illness and poems and inscriptions talk of doctors and physicians.

Egyptians knew about the heart, the pulse, the liver, the brain , the lungs and the blood. They understood the anatomy of the human body but they didn't know the physiology. They belived that the heart was the most important organ in the body and they came up with the idea that blood flowed through over 40 channels and this is where the blood flowed and the blood carried air and water that were essential for good health. Healthy channels = Healthy Life.  They thought that channels could be blocked by gasses created by rotting foods.

Charms and herbal remedies were used and there was still little understanding of the causes of disease.

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Egyptians discovered new ideas about medicine and methods changed because they had a different way of life. Change from prehistoric medicine:

  • There were doctors as well as medicine men
  • Doctors looked for logical causes of disease
  • Doctors could identify some parts of the body
  • New herbs were used as medicine
  • Metal instruments were used for surgery

Things that change the same from prehistoric medicine:

  • People still believed in Gods and spirits,
  • Herbs were still used as medicines
  • People didn't understand how the body worked or what caused diseases.
  • Egyptians still used charms to protect themselves form evil spirits
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