Ebers Papyrus

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 (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers. It is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany.

PEbers c41-bc
The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) from Ancient Egypt

Manuscript

The papyrus was written in about 1500 BC, but it is believed to have been copied from earlier texts. The 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 (c. 1600 BC), the Hearst papyrus (c. 1600 BC), the Brugsch Papyrus (c. 1300 BC), the London Medical Papyrus (c. 1300 BC), the Ebers Papyrus is among the oldest preserved medical documents. The Brugsch and the London Medical papyri share some of the same information as the Ebers Papyrus.[2] Another document, the Carlsberg Papyrus, is identical to the Ebers Papyrus, though the provenance of the former is unknown.[2]

Medical knowledge

Papyrus Ebers
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 is written in hieratic Egyptian writing and represents the most extensive and best-preserved record of ancient Egyptian medicine known.[3] The scroll contains some 700 magical formulas and folk remedies.[4] It contains many incantations meant to turn away disease-causing demons and there is also evidence of a long tradition of empiricism.[5] 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 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 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

Examples of remedies in the Ebers Papyrus include:

Birth control
To prevent conception, smear a paste of dates, acacia, and honey to wool and apply as a pessary.[6]
Diabetes mellitus
Drink a mixture including elderberry, asit plant fibers, milk, beer-swill, cucumber flowers and green dates.[7]
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.[8] It is not known exactly which plant is referred to as "asit."

Medicinal use of ochre clays

One of the more common remedies described in the papyrus is ochre, or medicinal clay. It is prescribed for intestinal[9] and eye complaints.[10] Yellow ochre is also described as a remedy for urological complaints.

Modern history of the papyrus

Like the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the 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 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."[11] The Papyrus was purchased in 1872 by the German Egyptologist and novelist Georg Ebers (born in Berlin, 1837), after whom it is named.

Translations

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 on a pension and the papyrus remains in the 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 the German edition Grundriss der Medizin der alten Ägypter, based on the Paul Ghalioungui edition).

See also

References

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Baker, Jill (2018-08-30). Technology of the Ancient Near East: From the Neolithic to the Early Roman Period. Routledge. ISBN 9781351188098.
  3. ^ Guerini, Vincenzo (1909). A History of Dentistry from the Most Ancient Times Until the End of the Eighteenth Century. Lea & Febiger.
  4. ^ Sciences, Kara Rogers Senior Editor, Biomedical (2011-01-15). Medicine and Healers Through History. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. ISBN 9781615303670.
  5. ^ Magner, Lois N. (1992-03-17). A History of Medicine. CRC Press. ISBN 9780824786731.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Birth Control: From early contraception to the birth of the Pill". Time Magazine. New York. May 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Roberts, Jacob (2015). "Sickening sweet". Distillations. 1 (4): 12–15. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ (Breasted 1930)

Further reading

External links

Ancient Egyptian anatomical studies

Ancient Egyptian anatomical studies is an article about the history of anatomy within ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egyptian medicine

The medicine of the ancient Egyptians is some of the oldest documented. From the beginnings of the civilization in the late fourth millennium BC until the Persian invasion of 525 BC, Egyptian medical practice went largely unchanged but was highly advanced for its time, including simple non-invasive surgery, setting of bones, dentistry, and an extensive set of pharmacopoeia. Egyptian medical thought influenced later traditions, including the Greeks.

Bendix Ebbell

Bendix Ebbell (April 12, 1865 – June 9, 1941) was a Norwegian theologian and physician.

He was born in Christiania. He took the cand.theol. degree in 1888 and the cand.med. degree in 1892. From 1893 to 1912 he worked as a physician for the Norwegian missionaries in Madagascar, and from 1917 to 1935 he was the county physician in Rogaland. He was also an amateur Egyptologist, working with the Ebers Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus, and published a book of psalms.

Bowel obstruction

Bowel obstruction, also known as intestinal obstruction, is a mechanical or functional obstruction of the intestines which prevents the normal movement of the products of digestion. Either the small bowel or large bowel may be affected. Signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, bloating and not passing gas. Mechanical obstruction is the cause of about 5 to 15% of cases of severe abdominal pain of sudden onset requiring admission to hospital.Causes of bowel obstruction include adhesions, hernias, volvulus, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, appendicitis, tumors, diverticulitis, ischemic bowel, tuberculosis and intussusception. Small bowel obstructions are most often due to adhesions and hernias while large bowel obstructions are most often due to tumors and volvulus. The diagnosis may be made on plain X-rays; however, CT scan is more accurate. Ultrasound or MRI may help in the diagnosis of children or pregnant women.The condition may be treated conservatively or with surgery. Typically intravenous fluids are given, a tube is placed through the nose into the stomach to decompress the intestines, and pain medications are given. Antibiotics are often given. In small bowel obstruction about 25% require surgery. Complications may include sepsis, bowel ischemia and bowel perforation.About 3.2 million cases of bowel obstruction occurred in 2015 which resulted in 264,000 deaths. Both sexes are equally affected and the condition can occur at any age. Bowel obstruction has been documented throughout history, with cases detailed in the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC and by Hippocrates.

Brugsch Papyrus

The Brugsch Papyrus (Pap. Berl. 3038), also known as the Greater Berlin Papyrus or simply Berlin Papyrus, is an important ancient Egyptian medical papyrus. It was discovered by Giuseppe Passalacqua in Saqqara, Egypt. Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia acquired it in 1827 for the Berlin Museum, where it is still housed. The style of writing is that of the 19th dynasty, and it is dated between 1350 and 1200 BC.

The papyrus was studied initially by Heinrich Karl Brugsch, but was translated and published by Walter Wreszinski in 1909. Only a German translation is available.

The papyrus contains twenty-four pages of writing. Much of it is parallel to the Ebers Papyrus. Some of the contents deals with contraception and fertility tests.

Some historians believe that this papyrus was used by Galen in his writings.

Dracunculiasis

Dracunculiasis, also called Guinea-worm disease (GWD), is a parasitic infection by the Guinea worm. A person becomes infected when they drink water that contains water fleas infected with guinea worm larvae. Initially there are no symptoms. About one year later, the female worm forms a painful blister in the skin, usually on a lower limb. Other symptoms at this time may include vomiting and dizziness. The worm then emerges from the skin over the course of a few weeks. During this time, it may be difficult to walk or work. It is very uncommon for the disease to cause death.In humans, the only known cause is Dracunculus medinensis. The worm is about one to two millimeters wide, and an adult female is 60 to 100 centimeters long (males are much shorter at 12–29 mm or 0.47–1.14 in). Outside humans, the young form can survive up to three weeks, during which they must be eaten by water fleas to continue to develop. The larva inside water fleas may survive up to four months. Thus, for the disease to remain in an area, it must occur each year in humans. A diagnosis of the disease can usually be made based on the signs and symptoms.Prevention is by early diagnosis of the disease followed by keeping the person from putting the wound in drinking water to decrease spread of the parasite. Other efforts include improving access to clean water and otherwise filtering water if it is not clean. Filtering through a cloth is often enough to remove the water fleas. Contaminated drinking water may be treated with a chemical called temefos to kill the larva. There is no medication or vaccine against the disease. The worm may be slowly removed over a few weeks by rolling it over a stick. The ulcers formed by the emerging worm may get infected by bacteria. Pain may continue for months after the worm has been removed.In 2015 there were 22 reported cases of the disease while in 2017 there were 30. This is down from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986. In 2016 the disease occurred in three countries, all in Africa, down from 20 countries in the 1980s. It will likely be the first parasitic disease to be globally eradicated. Guinea worm disease has been known since ancient times. The method of removing the worm is described in the Egyptian medical Ebers Papyrus, dating from 1550 BC. The name dracunculiasis is derived from the Latin "affliction with little dragons", while the name "guinea worm" appeared after Europeans saw the disease on the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 17th century. Other Dracunculus species are known to infect various mammals, but do not appear to infect humans. Dracunculiasis is classified as a neglected tropical disease. Because dogs may also become infected, the eradication program is monitoring and treating dogs as well.

Ebers

Ebers may refer to:

Jewell James Ebers (1921–1959), American electrical engineer

John Ebers (c. 1785–c. 1830), English operatic manager

Georg Ebers (1837–1898), German Egyptologist and novelist

Edwin Smith Papyrus

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical text, named after the dealer who bought it in 1862, and the oldest known surgical treatise on trauma. This document, which may have been a manual of military surgery, describes 48 cases of injuries, fractures, wounds, dislocations and tumors. It dates to Dynasties 16–17 of the Second Intermediate Period in ancient Egypt, c. 1600 BCE. The Edwin Smith papyrus is unique among the four principal medical papyri in existence

that survive today. While other papyri, such as the Ebers Papyrus and London Medical Papyrus, are medical texts based in magic, the Edwin Smith Papyrus presents a rational and scientific approach to medicine in ancient Egypt, in which medicine and magic do not conflict. Magic would be more prevalent had the cases of illness been mysterious, such as internal disease.

The Edwin Smith papyrus is a scroll 4.68 meters or 15.3 feet in length. The recto (front side) has 377 lines in 17 columns, while the verso (backside) has 92 lines in five columns. Aside from the fragmentary outer column of the scroll, the remainder of the papyrus is intact, although it was cut into one-column pages some time in the 20th century. It is written right-to-left in hieratic, the Egyptian cursive form of hieroglyphs, in black ink with explanatory glosses in red ink. The vast majority of the papyrus is concerned with trauma and surgery, with short sections on gynaecology and cosmetics on the verso. On the recto side, there are 48 cases of injury. Each case details the type of the injury, examination of the patient, diagnosis and prognosis, and treatment. The verso side consists of eight magic spells and five prescriptions. The spells of the verso side and two incidents in Case 8 and Case 9 are the exceptions to the practical nature of this medical text. Generic spells and incantations may have been used as a last resort in terminal cases.

Egyptian medical papyri

Egyptian medical papyri are ancient Egyptian texts written on papyrus which permit a glimpse at medical procedures and practices in ancient Egypt. The papyri give details on disease, diagnosis, and remedies of disease, which include herbal remedies, surgery, and magical spells. It is thought there were more medical papyri, but many have been lost due to grave robbing. The largest study of the medical papyri to date has been undertaken by Berlin University and was titled Medizin der alten Ägypter ("Medicine of ancient Egypt").Early Egyptian medicine was based mostly on a mixture of magic and religious spells. Most commonly "cured" by use of amulets or magical spells, the illnesses were thought to be caused by spiteful behavior or actions. Afterwards, doctors performed various medical treatments if necessary. The instructions for these medical rituals were later inscribed on papyrus scrolls by the priests performing the actions.

Georg Ebers

Georg Moritz Ebers (Berlin, 1 March 1837 – Tutzing, Bavaria, 7 August 1898), German Egyptologist and novelist, discovered the Egyptian medical papyrus, of ca. 1550 BCE, named for him (see Ebers Papyrus) at Luxor (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74. Now in the Library of the University of Leipzig, the Ebers Papyrus is among the most important ancient Egyptian medical papyri. It is one of two of the oldest preserved medical documents anywhere—the other being the Edwin Smith Papyrus (ca. 1600 BCE). The Ebers papyrus, which was published as a facsimile with an English-Latin vocabulary and introduction, mentioned more than 700 substances and medical recipes that include incantations and concoctions.

Hernia

A hernia is the abnormal exit of tissue or an organ, such as the bowel, through the wall of the cavity in which it normally resides. Hernias come in a number of types. Most commonly they involve the abdomen, specifically the groin. Groin hernias are most common of the inguinal type but may also be femoral. Other hernias include hiatus, incisional, and umbilical hernias. Symptoms are present in about 66% of people with groin hernias. This may include pain or discomfort especially with coughing, exercise, or going to the bathroom. Often it gets worse throughout the day and improves when lying down. A bulging area may occur that becomes larger when bearing down. Groin hernias occur more often on the right than left side. The main concern is strangulation, where the blood supply to part of the bowel is blocked. This usually produces severe pain and tenderness of the area. Hiatus or hiatal hernias often result in heartburn but may also cause chest pain or pain with eating.Risk factors for the development of a hernia include: smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, pregnancy, peritoneal dialysis, collagen vascular disease, and previous open appendectomy, among others. Hernias are partly genetic and occur more often in certain families. It is unclear if groin hernias are associated with heavy lifting. Hernias can often be diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. Occasionally medical imaging is used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other possible causes. The diagnosis of hiatus hernias is often by endoscopy.Groin hernias that do not cause symptoms in males do not need to be repaired. Repair, however, is generally recommended in women due to the higher rate of femoral hernias which have more complications. If strangulation occurs immediate surgery is required. Repair may be done by open surgery or by laparoscopic surgery. Open surgery has the benefit of possibly being done under local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia. Laparoscopic surgery generally has less pain following the procedure. A hiatus hernia may be treated with lifestyle changes such as raising the head of the bed, weight loss, and adjusting eating habits. The medications, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors may help. If the symptoms do not improve with medications the surgery known as laparoscopic fundoplication may be an option.About 27% of males and 3% of females develop a groin hernia at some time in their life. Inguinal, femoral and abdominal hernias were present in 18.5 million people and resulted in 59,800 deaths in 2015. Groin hernias occur most often before the age of one and after the age of fifty. It is not known how commonly hiatus hernias occur with estimates in North America varying from 10 to 80%. The first known description of a hernia dates back to at least 1550 BC in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt.

History of aspirin

The history of aspirin (IUPAC name acetylsalicylic acid ) begins with its synthesis and manufacture in 1899. Before that, salicylic acid had been used medicinally since antiquity. Medicines made from willow and other salicylate-rich plants appear in clay tablets from ancient Sumer as well as the Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt. Hippocrates referred to their use of salicylic tea to reduce fevers around 400 BC, and were part of the pharmacopoeia of Western medicine in classical antiquity and the Middle Ages. Willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation in the mid-eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to salicin, the active component of willow extract.In 1853, chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt treated acetyl chloride with sodium salicylate to produce acetylsalicylic acid for the first time; in the second half of the nineteenth century, other academic chemists established the compound's chemical structure and devised more efficient methods of synthesis. In 1897, scientists at the drug and dye firm Bayer began investigating acetylsalicylic acid as a less-irritating replacement for standard common salicylate medicines, and identified a new way to synthesize it. By 1899, Bayer had dubbed this drug Aspirin and was selling it around the world. The word Aspirin was Bayer's brand name, rather than the generic name of the drug; however, Bayer's rights to the trademark were lost or sold in many countries. Aspirin's popularity grew over the first half of the twentieth century leading to fierce competition with the proliferation of aspirin brands and products.Aspirin's popularity declined after the development of acetaminophen/paracetamol in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962. In the 1960s and 1970s, John Vane and others discovered the basic mechanism of aspirin's effects, while clinical trials and other studies from the 1960s to the 1980s established aspirin's efficacy as an anti-clotting agent that reduces the risk of clotting diseases. Aspirin sales revived considerably in the last decades of the twentieth century, and remain strong in the twenty-first with widespread use as a preventive treatment for heart attacks and strokes.

History of beliefs about the human body

The human body has been subject of much debate. How people are defined, and what defined them – be it their anatomy or their energy or both – depends on culture and time. Culture not only defines how sex is perceived but also how gender is defined. Today gender, sex, and identity continue to be of much debate and change based on what place and people are being examined.

The early modern idea of the body was a cultural ideal, an understanding and approach to how the body works and what place that body has in the world. All cultural ideals of the body in the early modern period deal with deficiencies and disorders within a body, commonly told through a male ideal. Ideas of the body in the early modern period form the history of how bodies should be and how to correct the body when something has gone wrong. Therefore, early modern conceptions of the body were not biological as there was not a restrictive biological view of the human body as established by modern science.

Conceptions of the body are primarily either eastern, based in China and involving practices such as Traditional chinese medicine, or western, which follows the Greek traditions of science and is more closely related to modern science despite original anatomists and ideas of the body being just as unscientific as Chinese practices.

History of dermatology

Readily visible alterations of the skin surface have been recognized since the dawn of history, with some being treated, and some not. One of the earliest known sources documenting skin ailments is the Ebers Papyrus, a medical document from ancient Egypt dating to around 1500 BC. It describes various skin diseases, including ulcers, rashes, and tumors, and prescribes surgery and ointments to treat the ailments.In 1572, Geronimo Mercuriali of Forlì, Italy, completed De morbis cutaneis (translated "On the diseases of the skin"), and is known as the first scientific work to be dedicated to dermatology. One source lists Jean Astruc (1684-1766) as the founder of modern dermatology. In 1799, Francesco Bianchi wrote the book Dermatologia which is the first comprehensive textbook of modern dermatology written for the students of medicine.In 1801 the first great school of dermatology became a reality at the famous Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, while the first textbooks (Willan's, 1798-1808) and atlases (Alibert's, 1806-1814) appeared in print during the same period of time.

History of medical cannabis

The history of medicinal cannabis goes back to ancient times. Ancient physicians in many parts of the world mixed cannabis into medicines to treat pain and other ailments. In the 19th century, cannabis was introduced for therapeutic use in Western Medicine. Since then, there have been several advancements in how the drug is administered. Initially, cannabis was reduced to a powder and mixed with wine for administration. In the 1970s, synthetic THC was created to be administered as the drug Marinol in a capsule. However, the main mode of administration for cannabis is smoking because its effects are almost immediate when the smoke is inhaled. Between 1996 and 1999, eight U.S. states supported cannabis prescriptions opposing policies of the federal government. Most people who are prescribed marijuana for medical purposes use it to alleviate severe pain.

Medicinal plants

Medicinal plants, also called medicinal herbs, have been discovered and used in traditional medicine practices since prehistoric times. Plants synthesise hundreds of chemical compounds for functions including defence against insects, fungi, diseases, and herbivorous mammals. Numerous phytochemicals with potential or established biological activity have been identified. However, since a single plant contains widely diverse phytochemicals, the effects of using a whole plant as medicine are uncertain. Further, the phytochemical content and pharmacological actions, if any, of many plants having medicinal potential remain unassessed by rigorous scientific research to define efficacy and safety.The earliest historical records of herbs are found from the Sumerian civilisation, where hundreds of medicinal plants including opium are listed on clay tablets. The Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt, c. 1550 BC, describes over 850 plant medicines. The Greek physician Dioscorides, who worked in the Roman army, documented over 1000 recipes for medicines using over 600 medicinal plants in De materia medica, c. 60 AD; this formed the basis of pharmacopoeias for some 1500 years. Drug research makes use of ethnobotany to search for pharmacologically active substances in nature, and has in this way discovered hundreds of useful compounds. These include the common drugs aspirin, digoxin, quinine, and opium. The compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes: alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, and terpenes.

Medicinal plants are widely used in non-industrialized societies, mainly because they are readily available and cheaper than modern medicines. The annual global export value of 50,000 to 70,000 types of plants with suspected medicinal properties was estimated to be US$2.2 billion in 2012, and in 2017, the potential global market for botanical extracts and medicines was estimated at several hundred billion dollars. In many countries, there is little regulation of traditional medicine, but the World Health Organization coordinates a network to encourage safe and rational usage. Medicinal plants face both general threats, such as climate change and habitat destruction, and the specific threat of over-collection to meet market demand.

Traditional medicine

Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises medical aspects of traditional knowledge that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as "the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness". Traditional medicine is contrasted with scientific medicine.

In some Asian and African countries, up to 80% of the population relies on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. When adopted outside its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often considered a form of alternative medicine. Practices known as traditional medicines include traditional European medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Korean medicine, traditional African medicine, Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian Medicine, Iranian (Persian), Islamic medicine, Muti, and Ifá. Scientific disciplines which study traditional medicine include herbalism, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, and medical anthropology.

The WHO notes, however, that "inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects" and that "further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety" of several of the practices and medicinal plants used by traditional medicine systems. Ultimately, the World Health Organization has implemented a nine year strategy to "support Member States in developing proactive policies and implementing action plans that will strengthen the role traditional medicine plays in keeping populations healthy."

Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract. When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a bladder infection (cystitis) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Symptoms from a lower urinary tract infection include pain with urination, frequent urination, and feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder. Symptoms of a kidney infection include fever and flank pain usually in addition to the symptoms of a lower UTI. Rarely the urine may appear bloody. In the very old and the very young, symptoms may be vague or non-specific.The most common cause of infection is Escherichia coli, though other bacteria or fungi may rarely be the cause. Risk factors include female anatomy, sexual intercourse, diabetes, obesity, and family history. Although sexual intercourse is a risk factor, UTIs are not classified as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Kidney infection, if it occurs, usually follows a bladder infection but may also result from a blood-borne infection. Diagnosis in young healthy women can be based on symptoms alone. In those with vague symptoms, diagnosis can be difficult because bacteria may be present without there being an infection. In complicated cases or if treatment fails, a urine culture may be useful.In uncomplicated cases, UTIs are treated with a short course of antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Resistance to many of the antibiotics used to treat this condition is increasing. In complicated cases, a longer course or intravenous antibiotics may be needed. If symptoms do not improve in two or three days, further diagnostic testing may be needed. Phenazopyridine may help with symptoms. In those who have bacteria or white blood cells in their urine but have no symptoms, antibiotics are generally not needed, although during pregnancy is an exception. In those with frequent infections, a short course of antibiotics may be taken as soon as symptoms begin or long-term antibiotics may be used as a preventative measure.About 150 million people develop a urinary tract infection in a given year. They are more common in women than men. In women, they are the most common form of bacterial infection. Up to 10% of women have a urinary tract infection in a given year, and half of women have at least one infection at some point in their lifetime. They occur most frequently between the ages of 16 and 35 years. Recurrences are common. Urinary tract infections have been described since ancient times with the first documented description in the Ebers Papyrus dated to c. 1550 BC.

Wḫdw

Wḫdw is a term for a particular kind of agent of decay and disease in Ancient Egyptian medicine.Steuer explains it as originating with the fecal matter within the bowels in the conception of the Egyptians. From here, wḫdw was seen as being absorbed into the blood vessels (mtw) from the lower intestines (pḥwj, literally ‘rear’), reaching other body parts, and causing abscesses and other symptoms of disease in the bodies of the living, where it was particularly associated with pus in the blood. Meanwhile, in the bodies of the dead, wḫdw instead manifested as decomposition.The similarity of this conception of disease and decay to the Ancient Greek concept of perittōma has suggested that this element of Ancient Greek medicine may be traceable to Egypt.In searching for a convenient and concise translation of wḫdw into English, Steuer and Bertrand de Cusance Morant Saunders examine several possibilities: residues, a translation used by Jones for perittōma, fails to suggest the pathogenic nature of wḫdw; miasma, suggested by Jonckheere, misleadingly suggests transmission by air and an external origin; putrefaction or corruption, their own suggestion, is not entirely satisfactory to them, as wḫdw encompasses a conception greater than just the biological process of decay.The term wḫdw is attested in the Ebers Papyrus, Hearst papyrus, and Papyrus Berlin 3038, among other sources.

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