Magical Medicine: Ancient Egyptian Herbal Remedies
The wisdom and knowledge of our ancient ancestors is a valuable gift from the past. Ancient Egyptians believed prayer was a solution to disease and sickness, however they also practiced more natural and practical methods like using herbal medicine.
Although a lot of ancient scrolls were destroyed by successors of the Ancient Egyptian era, we can still gain knowledge of their medical practices from surviving medical and magical papyri including the Leiden Papyrus, Ebers Papyrus, Kahun Papyrus, and the Demotic Magical Papyrus. These contain hundreds of recipes and spells for the treatment of a variety of diseases or symptoms. Priests and physicians would administer drugs made from plants and herbs whilst reciting spells of blessings and good health. Medicine was usually prescribed in tablet form, ointment or by inhalation, and prescriptions were written with high skill including detailed descriptions and exact dosages. The basis of modern medicine today is founded on many of these Ancient Egyptian remedies.
Herbal remedies the Ancient Egyptian way:
Suffering from a sore throat or toothache? Mash up a few garlic cloves and mix with water and vinegar. Gargle and rinse or take internally for the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation properties of garlic to treat affected areas.
Spicey food making you gassy? Add the cooling herb coriander to eliminate excessive flatulence. This herb worked wonders for stomach issues and urinary complaints.
Blue lotus was commonly used as an aphrodisiac and party drug in ancient Egypt, however this sacred plant also had many healing properties such as a pain relief, treating diabetes, boosting immunity and relaxing.
Want to help heal wounds faster and give your skin that natural glow? Calendula was commonly used for skin problems due to its anti-inflammation and soothing properties. Ancient Egyptians used the sap from the plant to cover wounds and improve complexion. Queen Cleopatra was a big fan of Calendula and used it daily to help treat a range of skin problems from burns to acne.
Ancient Egyptians mostly used it as a remedy for infertility, but it was also used in the treatment of serious diseases and epidemics like the plague. Sage was also recorded to be used for stomach ailments, tooth problems, itching and for treating asthma through smoke inhalation.
Hibiscus was the ancient Egyptian drink of the pharaohs and is still a popular drink in Egypt today. During ancient times, the Egyptians prepared concoctions of hibiscus tea to lower body temperature, address heart and nerve issues, and induce urination.
Herodotus (The father of History), about 450BCE, wrote about Egyptians: 'The practice of medicine is so divided among them, that each physician is a healer of one disease and no more. All the country is full of physicians, some of the eye, some of the teeth, some of what pertains to the belly, and some of the hidden diseases'
This really highlights how advanced Ancient Egyptians were in the medicine. Each doctor was a professional in their own field and knew everything about treating the one disease that they specified in.