It’s amazing that some of the methods of treating health problems still have ties to ancient medical cures used by the Greeks and Egyptians. By trial and error, people of the past were able to create a range of remedies without the advanced technology we have today. In this article, you will learn some of the medical insight that has survived over the centuries.
The Ancient Egyptians
With papyri dating back to 2000 to 1600 BCE, the ancient Egyptians belong to the first civilization credited with recording their medical explorations. Honey played an important role in ancient Egyptian healing. For starters, the natural antibiotic that it contains was perfect for dressing wounds and treating illnesses that attacked the body, including the eye. Sore throats benefited from honey and medical issues concerning the digestive system also responded.
Modern tests done on honey show that the antibiotic properties are authentic and have the power to help heal wounds that have become infected by putting an end to the spread of infection. Honey has proven effective against MRSA , a threat that plagues many hospitals. Other uses for honey in the medical world include speeding up the healing process, decreasing inflammation, and lessening the risk of developing scars after suffering a serious wound.
Ancient Egyptians also applied mold-ridden bread to open wounds as a way to prevent infection. Today, we use an updated version of this remedy, as we now know that one of the molds present on the bread naturally generates penicillin. It wasn’t until almost 4,000 years later that modern scientists figured out the connection between molds and healing.
Pills for Headaches , Hippocrates
Living around 400 BCE, Hippocrates was a well-known physician of ancient Greece that has earned the nickname “Father of Medicine.’ He was a forward thinking man of his time, as he ignored the superstitions and religious beliefs that supposedly caused illness and became the first physician credited with digging deeper to find the source of medical problems.
The willow tree was one way Hippocrates prescribed cures for health issues. He would use the bark and leaves of the tree to ease pain and reduce a fever. To this day, this 2,000-year-old cure still survives. The effectiveness and role that willow played in bringing down a fever was highlighted in 1763 by a man named Reverend Edward Stone from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. He further illustrated to the public why Hippocrates’ remedy was a success.
The early 19th century saw the isolation of salicylic acid from willow and meadowsweet, which became another popular ingredient in folk medicine. Salicylic acid was eventually harnessed as a pain reliever, but when administered in large amounts, it caused side effects, such as bleeding, irritation to the gastric system, and in the worst cases , death. In 1853, a French scientist named Charles Frederic Gerhardt was the first person to generate acetyl salicylic acid, which was ultimately marketed by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer. Its new name was aspirin , a product used today that has historical ties to ancient Greece.