Among the civilisations highly skilled in herbal practices were the ancient Egyptians.
An ancient text written in 1500BC, the Ebers Papyrus contains references to more than 700 herbal remedies, including herbs such as Aloe, Caraway seeds, Marjoram Leaves, Spearmint Leaves, Basil Leaves, Hibiscus, Calendula, Anise seeds, Parsley Leaves, Cumin, Licorice roots, Chamomile seeds, Dill, Garlic, and many others.
The history of herbal medicine in Africa commences in ancient Egypt, the most reputable civilisation who left written evidence of these therapies.
Egypt is the land where pharaohs and ordinary people employed herbs as natural remedies.
Herbs played an enormous role in medicine in Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians were highly skilled with herbs.
Evidence comes from burial locations, tombs and underground temples where archaeologists discovered comprehensive collections of medical documents and scrolls, including Ebers Papyrus, Edwin Smith Papyrus, Hearst Papyrus, and London Medical Papyrus, containing the earliest documented tumour occurrence.
Ebers Papyrus, a 110-page scroll that rolls out to be about 20 meters long, is the most renowned plant-medicine "encyclopedia."
Remedies from the ancient Ebers Papyrus scrolls:
• Aloe vera was used to alleviate burns, ulcers, skin diseases and allergies
• Basil was written up as heart medicine.
• Balsam Apple (Apple of Jerusalem) was used as a laxative and as a liver stimulant.
• Bayberry was prescribed for diarrhoea, ulcers, and haemorrhoids.
• Caraway soothed digestion and was a breath freshener.
• Colchicum (Citrullus colocynth or meadow saffron) soothed rheumatism and reduced swelling.
• Dill was recognised for laxative and diuretic properties.
• Fenugreek was prescribed for respiratory disorders and to cleanse the stomach and calm the liver and pancreas.
• Frankincense was used for throat and larynx infections, and to stop bleeding and vomiting.
• Garlic was given to the Hebrew slaves daily to provide them with vitality and strength for building the pyramids.
• Licorice was utilised as a mild laxative, to expel phlegm, and to alleviate chest and respiratory problems.
• The onion was taken to prevent colds and to address cardiovascular issues (How did they know?)
• Parsley was prescribed as a diuretic.
• Thyme was given as a pain reliever and Tumeric for open wounds.
• Poppy was used to relieving insomnia, as an anesthetic, and to deaden the pain
• Coriander was taken as a tea for urinary complaints, including cystitis.
• Pomegranate root was strained with water and drunk to address "snakes of the belly" (tapeworms). The alkaloids contained in pomegranate paralysed the worms' nervous system, and they relinquished their hold.
• Persian henna was used against hair loss.
The Egyptians used the dried powdered henna leaves (Lawsonia inermis) to add a bright orange-red colour to their hair, hands, soles, fingertips, eyebrows, and moustaches.
Mixed with indigo, henna was used as early as 3200 BCE for dyeing hair, as well as the manes and tails of horses. Henna tattoos were applied to the chests, shoulders, arms, and thighs of exotic dancers, musicians, and servants.
Ancient Egyptians used beauty creams frequently.
These included gum, cucumber, and fig juice depilatories; oil and lime purification lotions and lettuce, fir oil, and juniper berries as hair tonics.
Perfumes were frequently produced of frankincense and myrrh, combined with animal fats and oils, blended in gum resins and burned as incense or applied as ointments popularly.
Other familiar scents included almond oil, sesame oil, olive oil, and balanos oil ( Balanites aegyptiaca ) as well as lily oil produced from 2,000 lily petals mixed with cardamom, cinnamon, and sweet flag.
An intense fragrance was produced of pistachio resin, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, henna, and calamus, called kyphi.
The Ancient Egyptians have been quite sophisticated in diagnosing and treating multiple diseases. Their advances in ancient medical methods were quite exceptional, given the absence of "contemporary" facilities, sterilization, hygiene, and research capacities.
The Ancient Egyptians, together with their great faith in their gods, used their understanding of human anatomy and the natural world around them to treat a number of diseases and disorders efficiently.
Their expertise and research are still impressive today, and their work has paved the way for modern medicine to be studied.
Most of the remedies used by ancient Egyptian doctors came from nature, mainly medicinal herbs.
We can undoubtedly say that ancient Egyptians were already laying the groundwork for natural healing.
Nevertheless, among pharaohs lives and their civilization, there are many secrets that are going deeper and deeper attempting to fix their puzzles and secrets will assist many who are now pursuing the voice of returning to nature.