Science and Technology : The Ebers Papyrus (1500 BCE)

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by skuderjaymes, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

    Nov 2, 2009
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    independent thoughtist thinker, context linker
    theory to application to discussion to percussion

    The Ebers Papyrus (approximately 1500 BCE), one of the two oldest maintained medical documents, preserved for us most extensive record of Egyptian medical history. In it, the Egyptians show a degree of knowledge of the workings of the human body, its structure, the job of the heart and blood vessels. The oldest well preserved medical document from ancient Egyptian record dated from approximately 1500 BC contains 110 pages on anatomy and physiology, toxicology, spells, and treatment recorded on papyrus. The papyrus also has many prescriptions showing the treatment of many disorders by animal, plant, and mineral toxins that still occur today.

    Toxicological Perspective

    The toxicological importance of the papyrus relates to the vast amount of herbal remedies and explanations of various toxins that the papyrus illuminates. Below is a small list of the herbs highlighted in the script (retreived from Crystallinks):
    Herbal Remedies Mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus
    Acacia (acacia nilotica)- vermifuge, eases diarrhea and internal bleeding, also used to treat skin diseases.
    Aloe vera - worms, relieves headaches, soothes chest pains, burns, ulcers and for skin disease and allergies.
    Basil (ocimum basilicum)- excellent for heart.
    Balsam Apple (malus sylvestris)or Apple of Jerusalem - laxative, skin allergies, soothes headaches, gums and teeth, for asthma, liver stimulant, weak digestion.
    Bayberry(Myrica cerifera) - stops diarrhea, soothes ulcers, shrinks hemorrhoids, repels flies.
    Belladonna - pain reliever;camphor tree - reduces fevers, soothes gums, soothes epilepsy.
    Caraway (Carum carvi; Umbelliferae)- soothes flatulence, digestive, breath freshener.
    Cardamom( Eletarria cardamomum; Zingiberacae)- Used as a spice in foods,digestive, soothes flatulence.
    Colchicum (Citrullus colocynthus) - also known as "Meadow Saffron", soothes rheumatism, reduces swelling.
    Common Juniper tree (Juniperis phonecia; Juniperus drupacea)- digestive, soothes chest pains, soothes stomach cramps.
    Cubeb pepper (Piper cubeba; Piperaceae)- urinary tract infections, larynx and throat infections, gum ulcers and infections, soothes headaches.
    Dill (Anethum graveolens)- soothes flatulence, relieves dyspepsia, laxative and diuretic properties.
    Fenugreek(Trigonella foenum-graecum) - respiratory disorders, cleanses the stomach, calms the liver, soothes pancreas, reduces swelling.
    Frankincense(Boswellia carterii) - throat and larynx infections, stops bleeding, cuts phlegm, asthma, stops vomiting.
    Garlic (Allium sativa) - gives vitality, soothes flatulence and aids digestion, mild laxative, shrinks hemorrhoids, rids body of "spirits" (note, during the building of the Pyramids, the workers were given garlic daily to give them the vitality and strength to carry on and perform well).
    Henna (Lawsomia inermis) - astringent, stops diarrhea, close open wounds (and used as a dye).
    Honey was widely used, a natural antibiotic and used to dress wounds and as a base for healing unguants, as was castor oil, coriander,beer and other foods.
    Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra - mild laxative, expels phlegm, soothes liver, pancreas and chest and respiratory problems.
    Mustard (Sinapis alba) - induces vomiting, relieves chest pains.
    Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) - stops diarrhea, relives headaches, soothes gums, toothaches and backaches.
    Onion (Allium cepa) - diuretic, induces perspiration, prevents colds, soothes sciatica, relieves pains and other cardiovascular problems.
    Parsley (Apium petroselinum) - diuretic.
    Mint (Mentha piperita) - soothes flatulence, aids digestion, stops vomiting, breath freshener.
    Sandalwood (Santallum albus) - aids digestion, stops diarrhea, soothes headaches and gout (used, of course, in incense).
    Sesame (Sesamum indicum)- soothes asthma.
    Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)- laxative.
    Thyme (Thymus/Thimbra) - pain reliever.
    Tumeric (Curcumae longa) - closes open wounds (also was used to dye skin and cloth).
    Poppy (papaver somniferum) - relieves insomnia, relieves headaches, anesthetic, soothes respiratory problems, deadens pain.

    Read more @ Papyrus
  2. Gorilla

    Gorilla Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Jan 31, 2009
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    The picture at the top might actually be the Edwin Smith papyrus ( It's another good one that mostly covered traumas, surgical procedures, and other pretty interesting things like brain damage/cranial trauma writings.
    Edwin Smith Papyrus - Wikipedia

    Another interesting thing about the Ebers Papyrus was that it contained the first documented description of cancers, unfortunately accompanied by "There is no treatment".

    Nice post.
  3. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Nov 16, 2011
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    That is unfortunate news.

    Though, I wonder what the Egyptians said on AIDS. Probably "Beware the Asiatics."