Ancient Egypt

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Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Ancient Egyptian medicine was also an era of supersititious treatments of disease. Although the Egyptians made some advances in history, a majority of it was due to religious beliefs, not because of true understanding about the causes of disease.

Beliefs About The Causes of Disease

The Egyptians, like the Prehistoric people, believed that it was spirits that caused disease, but also their numerous Gods who controlled certain aspects of their lives e.g. Imhotep was the God of healing.

However there was one natural belief about the causes of disease. The Egyptians believed in the Channel Theory, after observing the overflow of the river Nile into the irrigation ditches. The Egyptians believed that the body was split into four channels and when one of these channels became blocked a person became ill. This was the first natural diagnosis about diesease.

Treatment of Disease

The Ancient Egyptians were the first civilisation to have specialised physicians treating illness. However, only the rich could afford this luxury. Furthermore, the physicians were all priests and therefore, the treatment of disease was always superstitious.

People who couldn't afford the cost of a physician went to a wise-woman in the city. These were always women and gave herbal remedies enhanced by a spell to heal the sickness. Many of the herbs did actually have healing properties, but the Egyptians didn't realise this.

Part of the Ancient Egyptian's culture was to keep clean. This helped prevent the spread of diease, however, the Egyptians did not understand this, cleanliness was a part of their religion and so they followed it.

The Egyptians also wore eye-make up, which protected their eyes. However, once again they did not understand that the makeup contained an element which protected their eyes, it was just part of their culture.

The Egyptians only had one natural belief about the causes of disease and therefore came up with natural remedies as well. They believed that the channel that had been blocked had to be rectified and therefore would unblock the channel through purging the patient in some way. This could include making the patient bleed.

Factors That Effected Medicine

Many factors helped and hindered progress of medicine during Ancient Egypt.

  • War
  • Technology
  • Trade
  • Religion


War helped the progression of medicine because doctor's were constantly…


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