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Ancient Egyptian Medicine
Transcript of Ancient Egyptian Medicine
MEDICINE Only priests were allowed to embalm the dead. Egyptian doctors specialised in
treating different parts of the body and
different ailments. Their were doctors who
specialised in the head, eyes, ears,
the stomach and fertility. Egyptian doctors were known to have identified and documented hundreds of different illnesses. These covered every part of the body and included illnesses such as ulcers, migraine, dermatological problems, dental conditions, diseases of the ear, nose, throat and digestive system and gynaecological conditions. Also part of Egyptian medicine were magic, charms, and spells. The plants and herbs used included garlic and juniper berries. They were known to prescribe castor oil as a laxative medicine. Pain was dulled with the use of powdered henbane and mandrake. During the period of the New Kingdom opium was known to have been imported from Cyprus as another form of painkiller. Broken bones were set with splints made with strips of bark wrapped in plant fibre or linen. Egyptian doctors and physicians performed surgical operations including complicated procedures such as relieving pressure on the brain. Mummification was reserved for the richest and most powerful in Egyptian society. The process was long and expensive. It was the scribes role to oversee the cutting of the body. The incision was made by the cutter. This procedure was considered unclean, which limited the cutters position in society. The embalmer was a class of priest which would then prepare remove the internal organs and prepare the body.
The body would be stripped and placed on a board. The brain was extracted though the nose. The empty brain cavity would be later filled with resin or a combination of linen and resin. The chest would be cut open and the main organs would be removed with exception of the heart. The organs, after being removed, would be stored in Canopic jars with a drying agent. These jars were normally in a set of four, representing the four sons of Horus. These organs may also be wrapped in four packages and placed back in the abdominal cavity or be wrapped in one package and placed on the mummie's legs. Before the body is laid to rest, a burial mast would be placed over the mummified body. The most famous burial mask was found the in tomb of King Tut (shown on the left). The body would then be placed into a sarcophagus, or type of coffin to protect the body. The more wealthy and powerful they were, the more elaborately decorated these were.