OCR History A Medicine Through Time



Prehistoric methods of treating illness

  • Mainly common sense
  • Wooden splints for broken bones
  • Mud to stop bones from moving
  • Herbs grew near where they lived
  • Willow used as a painkiller
  • If no improvement, supernatural methods used as loss of spirit believed to be a cause of illness
  • Supernatural cures included chanting to make a bad spirit leave the body
  • Last resort, trephining, involving cutting open skull to let bad spirits out


Main features of Egyptian medicine

  • Common sense
  • Herbal remedies eg: honey as an antiseptic
  • Supernatural cures, would go to temples to be healed or make offerings for Gods
  • Believed Gods sent epidemics or looked after pregnant women
  • Channel theory, body like the River Nile and illness was caused by blocked channels
  • Learnt about the anatomy through embalming to both prepare bodies for the afterlife and prevent rotting

How Egyptians tried to stay healthy

  • Used charms to protect from evil spiritis
  • Purged themselves if ill to unblock channels
  • Kept themselves clean - shaven bodies, regularly washed eating and drinking utensils
  • Took precautions such as using toilets or sleeping under mosquito nets

How factors outside of medicine help Egyptians make medicinal progress

  • Egypt one of the first places where not everyone needed to hunt to sruvive, so other people could be employed as priests or doctors to look after the sick
  • Religion important to medicine - many doctors were also priests
  • Embalming bodies helped to find out


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