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I. M. Hotep: The Father of Medicine

Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the inception lies not with Hippocrates and the Greeks but in ancient Egypt and people like I.M. Hotep. 

A research team sent by the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester found evidence in medical papyri written circa 1,500 BC which is some 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born. 

Dr. Jackie Campbell commented that, "Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practicing a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier. When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit." 

The ancient papyri revealed that Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals now known to have anti-microbial action. It also listed prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil, colocynth, figs and bran. Other references included using hyoscyamus plants as a treatment for colic and that cumin and coriander helped relieve flatulence. Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients, which redden the skin to stimulate blood flow along with poultices to warm and soothe. Celery and saffron was used to fight off rheumatism, currently being researched for these properties at this moment, and pomegranate to rid the body of tapeworms.

Dr Campbell further stated, "Many of the remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically. Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."

A fellow researcher, Dr. Ryan Metcalfe, is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He stated, "This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plants while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment. The work is inextricably linked to sate-of-the-art chemical analysis used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specializes in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."

Prof. Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, added, "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practicing a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks. This has been looked at before but there has never been the firm scientific evidence that has come up in our project." I.M. Hotep diagnosed and treated over 200 diseases including 15 of the abdomen, 11 of the bladder, 10 of the rectum, 29 of the eyes and 18 of the skin, hair, nails and tongue. He also treated TB, gallstones, appendicitis, gout and arthritis and performed surgery and some dentistry. Also, he was able to extract medicine from plants and knew the positions of the vital organs and understood blood circulation.He would later become elevated to a diety

.I.M. Hotep, a Nubian and the "Father of Medicine!"

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