Causes of illness:
(supernatural) spirits & witchcraft
(natural) herbs, mud & clay
(supernatural) magic, chants, praying
Trephinning: cutting/drilling a hole in the skull to let the evil spirits out ( believed to be a cure for headaces) (S.N)
How did Egypt affect medicine:
The Nile: The Nile helped the crops grow> people had more time to focus on engineering, medicine etc.> could also trade!
Irrigation: The Egyptians built channels to get water to the crops> they couldn't get blocked or the crops would die> people learnt about disease
Hieroglyphics: Meant they could keep records of medicines & treatments
Religion: religious beliefs may have helped them learn about the human body> taking out the liver, lungs, stomach & intestines> MUMMIFICATION.
Isolation: Egypt didn't get invaded> had more time to make steady progress in medicine
How Egyptian life affected health and medicine:
A wealthy country: Egypt was a wealthy country> wealth was based on the river Nile> when the river flooded it gave the surrounding crops moisture> meant the farmers had a good harvest> more food!
Specialist doctors: the rich employed doctors> Pharoah had his own physician> they spent much of their lives trying to improve their understanding of medicine.
Trade: Egypt had widespread trade links> ships and merchants arrived from India, China and parts of Africa> they brought herbs & plants> Many of these herbs we reccommended as medicines> Egyptian healers built up a wide range of knowledge of herbal medicines
Egyptian- causes of illness
what they believed:
the heart was the mosst important organ in the body
disease was caused by undigested food rotting in the bowels.
what they knew:
about the heart, pulse, liver, brain, lungs & blood
channels lead from the heart> normally carried blood, air & water
rotting food let of gases> seeped along the channels causing disease in different places> prevented the normal flow of blood, air & water
Super-natural ideas about medicine
Causes: Gods e.g Sekhmet
Doctors: priest magicians
doctors worked in temples ( some temples had sacred lakes and a
sanatorium where patients could stay overnight)
Bathing in sacred water ( get closer to the Gods)
Prevention: Keeping clean ( to be closer to Gods)
They had a good reputation> Kings of other countries used them
- Listen to patients' symptoms> examine them using their eyes and hands
- Reach their diagnosis> say if the illness could be treated
- Treat the patient using experience of patients with similar illnesses
People kept clean to prevent disease> also kept their homes clean> mainly to do with religious beliefs ( being clean would be a good way of being at peace with the Gods and spirits)
Natural causes & treatments
Had good understanding of external injuries> many were caused by battle, working, or animals> when injuries were obvious e.g. flesh wounds, fractures bites & stings> didn't use magic.
Wall paintings suggest many Egyptians suffered from parastites and especially worms> diseases of the eye e.g. smallpox and plague were also common
Herbs & plants were used to treat illnesses> Egyptians also used rotton bread, substances like lead, copper, salts & carbons, radishes, garlics & onions were also used.
When illnesses were internal Egyptians had more problems> they believed poisonous substances blocked channels or vessels> this led to disease> they tried to clear blockages by blood-letting*, vomiting & laxitives.
*Blood-letting: was carried out by puncturing the skin or using leeches.
near the water> they had access to food & trade
climate was warm> didn't catch illness from codl> could grow food
organized> city states
Kings had personal doctors> they had to be trained
wasn't any fighting (everyone got along)
could grow enough food> they could learn new skills
traded around the meditaranian
everything was influenced by the Gods S.N
Philosophy was important> the Egyptians were philosophers
they had money> could buy slaves> they could study medicine
Theory of the 4 Humours
Spring Air Blood
Summer Fire Yellow bile
Autumn Earth Black bile
Winter Water Phlegm
They believed illness was caused by blood, yellow bile, black bile & phlegm.
They also believed they were connected to the seasons.
Greeks thought these were the humours that built up the body.