Ebers papyrus

From Academic Kids

Ebers medical papyrus giving the treatment of cancer.
Recounting a "tumor against the god Xenus," Ebers Papyrus recommends to "do thou nothing there against" (ref. U. S. National Medical Library at the National Institutes of Health).
The Ebers Papyrus of about 1550 BCE is among the most important ancient Egyptian medical papyri. It is one of two of the oldest preserved medical documents anywhere, the other main source being the Edwin Smith papyrus (c. 1600 BCE). Another important medical papyrus is the Brugsch papyrus (c. 1300 BCE).

The Ebers papyrus was purchased at Luxor (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers and is now in the library of the University of Leipzig, Germany.


Contents

Medical Knowledge

The Ebers papyrus is written in hieratic script and preserves for us the most voluminous record of ancient Egyptian medicine known. The 110-page scroll contains some 700 magical formulas and remedies. Although it contains many incantations meant to turn away disease-causing demons and other superstition, there is also evidence of a long tradition of empirical practice and observation.

The papyrus contains a "treatise on the heart." It notes that the heart is the center of the blood supply, with vessels attached for every member of the body. The Egyptians seem to have known little about the kidneys and made the heart the meeting point of a number of vessels which carried all the fluids of the body – blood, tears, urine and sperm.

The papyrus contains chapters on contraception, diagnosis of pregnancy and other gynaecological matters, intestinal disease and parasites, eye and skin problems, dentistry and the surgical treatment of abscesses and tumors, bone-setting and burns.

Ebers Papyrus treatment for :  a mixture of  heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes.
Enlarge
Ebers Papyrus treatment for asthma: a mixture of herbs heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes.

The papyrus also contains a short description of clinical depression.

Historical

Georg Ebers was a German Egyptologist and novelist born in Berlin, in 1837. He discovered the ancient manuscript at Luxor (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74, but it was not translated until 1890, by H. Joachim. Ebers retired his chair at Leipzig on a pension (see Georg Ebers).


See also


External links


Bibliography

Reinhold Scholl, Der Papyrus Ebers. Die größte Buchrolle zur Heilkunde Altägyptens (Schriften aus der Universitätsbibliothek 7), Leipzig 2002; ISBN 3-910108-93-8.
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