Medicine in ancient Egypt

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The nation of Egypt was the most advanced in medicine in the ancient world. An Egyptian man named Imhotep who lived sometime around 2650 B.C. was renowned for his knowledge of medicine. People from all over the Middle East came to him hoping he could heal their illness. Egyptians discovered medicine by trial and error. One thing they discovered was that placing moldy bread over a wound caused the wound to heal more rapidly and without infection.[1] Now scientists know that certain molds contain Penicillium fungi, a chemical that stops infection by killing bacteria that infect wounds.

Another discovery of Egyptian medicine was the analgesic effect of seeds from the poppy plant. Many potent pain relievers, most notably morphine, are extracted from poppy seeds.[2] Though Egyptians knew how to heal people, they are not considered scientists because they did not know why poppy seeds relieve pain, and they did not know why moldy bread helped wounds heal quickly and without infection. Even though they knew how to heal the human body they did not know much about why their solutions were effective.


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