The medicine of Ancient Egypt, already modern 3000 years ago

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Egyptian medicine is certainly the one that had the greatest impact on the rest of the world, truly representing the basis of what we know today.

The first modern medicine

Medicine from Ancient Egypt is certainly one of the most important legacies of this civilization to the rest of the world, something without which, literally, humanity would have taken different paths. The Egyptians were the first ever to make the effort not to attribute the origin of the diseases exclusively to the evil one, bringing first the etiological method in this discipline. Of course, the first doctors had a function very similar to that of the priests, however expressing it in a different way from how the Mesopotamians, their contemporaries, did it.


If the inhabitants of the Euphrates identified the celestial forces as the only causes of evil, those of the Nile identified the latter simply as “external elements to be contrasted with drugs”, greatly distancing the initial superstition that surrounded the matter. Thanks to the long peace, moreover, Egyptian medicine became among the most developed in the entire history of humanity, so much so that Hippocrates himself, considered the “Father of medicine”, educated himself for a long time in Egypt.

The contemporary doctor was born here

In the land of Pharaoh the profession of doctor was considered on a par with that of a high priest, also entailing great privileges from a merely professional point of view. The doctors were in fact entitled to: medical insurance, pension, sick leave and even an 8-hour working day. This, combined with the great basic knowledge spread among the population, led to a huge development in terms of research and fame, so much so that they found a trace even in the Odyssey and in “The stories” of Herodotus.


In the first it is stated that: “Egypt is a country” whose fertile land produces many drugs “, and where” every person is a doctor “”; while the second calls the Egyptians “people of the most holy”. The inhabitants of the Nile were the first to report cases of cancer, caries, arteriosclerosis and various other diseases; even if, as already said, the method was truly revolutionary, something really never seen before. They were also the first to understand the importance of hygiene, so much so that we always owe the first “toothpastes” and perfumed oils to them.

Nobody is perfect

Of course, Egyptian medicine was not perfect and many simple diseases were treated roughly or simply with prayers (a striking case, from this point of view, were the bites of snakes, for which there was no remedy). Another total lack was that relating to surgery, a matter which tended to develop with the war and which, precisely for this reason, never took root in the country in a massive way.


Furthermore, there was still no precise idea of how and where to use the ingredients, so much so that cases of opium in infants have been documented, to stop the loud shouting, and of cannabis administered vaginally. However, it is impossible to deny their incredible impact in the history of humanity, without which, probably, it would have gone on in a much more suffering way.

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