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The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge dating to circa 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor
Luxor
(Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers. It is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany.

Contents

1 The manuscript 2 Medical knowledge 3 Examples of medical remedies

3.1 Medicinal use of ochre clays

4 Modern history of the papyrus 5 Translations 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

The manuscript[edit] The papyrus was written in about 1500 BC, but it is believed to have been copied from earlier texts. The Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
is a 110-page scroll, which is about 20 meters long.[1] Along with the Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus (c. 1800 BC), the Edwin Smith papyrus
Edwin Smith papyrus
(c. 1600 BC), the Hearst papyrus
Hearst papyrus
(c. 1600 BC), the Brugsch Papyrus
Brugsch Papyrus
(c. 1300 BC), the London Medical Papyrus
London Medical Papyrus
(c. 1300 BC), the Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
is among the oldest preserved medical documents. The Brugsch Papyrus provides parallel passages to the Ebers Papyrus, helping to clarify certain passages of the latter. Medical knowledge[edit]

The Ebers papyrus suggested treatment for asthma is a mixture of herbs heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes.

The Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
is written in hieratic Egyptian writing and contains the most voluminous record of ancient Egyptian medicine known. The scroll contains some 700 magical formulas and remedies. It contains many incantations meant to turn away disease-causing demons and there is also evidence of a long tradition of empiricism. 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
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 semen. Mental disorders are detailed in a chapter of the papyrus called the Book of Hearts. Disorders such as depression and dementia are covered. The descriptions of these disorders suggest that Egyptians
Egyptians
conceived of mental and physical diseases in much the same way. The papyrus contains chapters on contraception, diagnosis of pregnancy and other gynecological matters, intestinal disease and parasites, eye and skin problems, dentistry and the surgical treatment of abscesses and tumors, bone-setting and burns. Examples of medical remedies[edit] Examples of remedies in the Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
include:

Cancer Recounting a "tumor against the god Xenus", it recommends "do thou nothing there against".[2] Birth control To prevent conception, smear a paste of dates, acacia, and honey to wool and apply as a pessary.[3] Diabetes mellitus Drink a mixture including elderberry, asit plant fibers,[clarification needed] milk, beer-swill, cucumber flowers and green dates.[4] Guinea-worm disease Wrap the emerging end of the worm around a stick and slowly pull it out. 3,500 years later, this remains the standard treatment.[5]

Medicinal use of ochre clays[edit] One of the more common remedies described in the papyrus is ochre, or medicinal clay. It is prescribed for intestinal[6] and eye complaints.[7] Yellow ochre is also described as a remedy for urological complaints. Modern history of the papyrus[edit] Like the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
came into the possession of Edwin Smith in 1862. The source of the papyrus is unknown, but it was said to have been found between the legs of a mummy in the El-Assasif
El-Assasif
district of the Theban necropolis. The papyrus remained in the collection of Edwin Smith until at least 1869 when there appeared, in the catalog of an antiquities dealer, an advertisement for "a large medical papyrus in the possession of Edwin Smith, an American farmer of Luxor." (Breasted 1930) The Papyrus was purchased in 1872 by the German Egyptologist
Egyptologist
and novelist Georg Ebers (born in Berlin, 1837), after whom it is named. Translations[edit] In 1875, Ebers published a facsimile with an English-Latin vocabulary and introduction, but it was not translated until 1890, by H. Joachim. Ebers retired from his chair of Egyptology at Leipzig
Leipzig
on a pension and the papyrus remains in the University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
library. An English translation of the papyrus was published by Paul Ghalioungui. The papyrus was published and translated by different researchers (the most valuable is German edition Grundriss der Medizin der alten Ägypter, and based on the Paul Ghalioungui
Paul Ghalioungui
edition).

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ebers Papyrus.

See also[edit]

History of medicine Medical literature

References[edit]

^ Stern, Ludwig Christian (1875). Ebers, Georg, ed. Papyros Ebers: Das hermetische Buch über die Arzeneimittel der alten Ägypter in hieratischer Schrift, herausgegeben mit Inhaltsangabe und Einleitung versehen von Georg Ebers, mit Hieroglyphisch-Lateinischem Glossar von Ludwig Stern, mit Unterstützung des Königlich Sächsischen Cultusministerium (in German). 2 (1 ed.). Leipzig: W. Englemann. LCCN 25012078. Retrieved 2010-09-18.  ^ Image:Ebers7766.jpg (The "source" is the file caption.) ^ "A Brief History of Birth Control: From early contraception to the birth of the Pill". Time Magazine. New York. May 3, 2010.  ^ Roberts, Jacob (2015). "Sickening sweet". Distillations. 1 (4): 12–15. Retrieved 20 March 2018.  ^ Palmer, Philip E.S.; Reeder, Maurice M. (2008) [First published 1981]. "Chapter 27: Guinea Worm Infection (Dracunculiasis)". The Imaging of Tropical Diseases: With Epidemiological, Pathological and Clinical Correlation (DVD ed.). Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. LCCN 99039417.  ^ The Papyrus Ebers: The Greatest Egyptian Medical Document. Translated by Ebbell, Bendix. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard. 1937. LCCN 37020036. Archived from the original on 2005-02-26.  ^ "Recipes for Treating the Eyes: Papyrus Ebers". Dianabuja's Blog: Africa, the Middle East, Food, Agriculture, History and Culture. June 21, 2010. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

Pommerening, Tanja (2005). "Altägyptische Hohlmaße Metrologisch neu Interpretiert". Die altägyptischen Hohlmaße. studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Beiheft 10 (in German). Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87548-411-3.  Pommerening, Tanja (2005). "relevant pharmaceutical and medical knowledge, an abstract, Phillips-Universitat, Marburg, 8-11-2004". Die altägyptischen Hohlmaße. studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Beiheft 10 (in German). Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87548-411-3.  Scholl, Reinhold (2002). Der Papyrus Ebers. Die größte Buchrolle zur Heilkunde Altägyptens. Schriften aus der Universitätsbibliothek 7 (in German). Leipzig: Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig. ISBN 978-3-910108-93-6. LCCN 2002505846.  Ghalioungui, Paul; The Ebers Papyrus: A New English Translation, Commentaries and Glossaries by Paul Ghalioungui; 1987 edition.

External links[edit]

The Papyrus Ebers: The Greatest Egyptian Medical Document. Translated by Ebbell, Bendix. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard. 1937. LCCN 37020036. Archived from the original on 2009-03-12.  Ebers, Georg (1889). Papyrus Ebers: Die Maasse und das Kapitel über die Augenkrankheiten (in German). Leipzig: Bei S. Hirzel.  "Ebers' papyrus". Whonamedit? - A dictionary of medical eponyms. Ole Daniel Enersen.  Scholl, Reinhold (2011-06-15). "Papyrus Ebers" (in German). Universität Leipzig. Archived from the original on 2011-10-07.  "Medicine in Ancient Egypt". The Asclepion. Indiana University Bloomington. February 20, 1997.  Carpenter, Stephen; Rigaud, Michel; Barile, Mary; Priest, Tracy J.; Perez, Luis; Ferguson, John B. (1998). "An Interlinear Transliteration and English Translation of Portions of The Ebers Papyrus
Ebers Papyrus
Possibly Having to Do With Diabetes Mellitus" (PDF). Biology Program at Bard College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-13.  The Papyrus Ebers, Translated from the German Version By Cyril P. Bryan (PDF). Translated by Bryan, Cyril P. London: Geoffrey Bles. 1930. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-21. 

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Ancient Egyptian medicine

Physicians

Hesy-Ra Merit-Ptah Penthu Peseshet Qar Psamtikseneb Udjahorresnet Harsiese son of Ramose Peftuaneith Iwti

Dubious physicians

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Egyptian medical papyri

Edwin Smith Papyrus Ebers Papyrus Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus Ramesseum medical papyri Hearst papyrus London Medical Papyrus Carlsberg papyrus Chester Beatty Medical Papyrus Brooklyn Papyrus Berlin
Berlin
Papyrus Erman Papy

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