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Title: An assessment of the pharmaceutical and therapeutic merit of remedies within the Kahun, Edwin Smith, Ebers and Chester Beatty ancient Egyptian medical papyri
Author: Campbell, Jacqueline Michele
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2007
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The aim of this research was to assess the pharmaceutical and therapeutic merit of ancient Egyptian remedies, employing analytical and historical methods, to demonstrate that the Egyptians were practising a credible and reproducible form of pharmacy as early as the 16th century BCE, 1800 years before Galen, the acknowledged 'father of pharmacy'. The 1000 prescriptions in the medical papyri, which provide the literary research source, are renowned for their uncertainty in interpretation and translation of drugs. Consequently, although much has been published, the materia medica of ancient Egypt is questionable and the efficacy of prescriptions, uncertain. Verification of the drug substances was sought in archaeobotanical evidence to determine availability, dynastic prevalence and predominance at the time of the papyri. Attestation was sought in contemporary pharmacognosy of plants and their clinical application, to measure the medicinal uses in ancient Egypt. Efficacy was established by comparing the ancient remedies against modem pharmaceutical protocols including drug source, extraction, pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, pharmacology, formulation, preparation, dosing regime, administration and therapeutic activity. Most drug sources have been verified, some 25% were determined to be of improbable use, alternative drugs being proposed. Significantly, 50% of the drug sources used by the ancient Egyptians, remain in use today, albeit that many are now synthesised. The first scientific estimate of pharmaceutical merit demonstrates 64% of remedies in the medical papyri have therapeutic value in physiological or physical action, 3% are toxic, 1.5% subtherapeutic, 20% undetermined and the remainder, have no known therapeutic activity. It is concluded that the application of archaeobotany and pharmacognosy may assist the identification of plants once available to ancient Egyptian medicine and consequently to endorse the ancient texts. Furthermore, the efficacy, reproducibility and protocols used in the prescriptions, qualify the ancient Egyptians to be recognised as the progenitors of pharmacy practise.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available