Seven hundred years ago, Timbuktu was a dream destination for scholars, traders, and religious men. At the southern edge of the Sahara desert in what is now Mali, travelers from Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and Morocco met in the bygone metropolis to exchange gold, salt, and ideas. According to a description of Timbuktu in 1526 by the diplomat Leo Africanus, “more profit is to be made there from the sale of books than from any other branch of trade.”
Bundled in camel skin, goat skin, and calf leather, the manuscripts .......
Dentistry was an important field In ancient Egypt, as an independent profession it dated from the early 3rd millennium BC, although it may never been prominent. The Egyptian diet was high in abrasives (such as sand left over from grinding grain and bits of rocks in which the way bread was prepared) and so the condition of their teeth was quite poor, although archaeologists have noted a steady decrease in severity and incidence of worn teeth throughout 4000 BC to 1000 AD, probably due to improved grain grinding techniques. All Egyptian remains have sets of teeth in quite poor states. Dental disease could even be fatal, such as for Djedmaatesankh, a musician from Thebes, who died around the age of thirty five from extensive dental disease and a large infected cyst. If an individual's teeth escaped being worn down, cavities were rare, due to the rarity of sweeteners. Dental treatment was infective and the best sufferers could hope for was the quick loss of an infected tooth. The Instruction of Ankhsheshonq contains the maxim "There is no tooth that rots yet stays in place". No records document the hastening of this process and no tools suited for the extraction of teeth have been found, though some remains show sign of forced tooth removal. Replacement teeth have been found, although it is not clear whether they are just post-mortem cosmetics. Extreme pain might have been medicated with opium.
Egyptian medicine is some of the oldest ever documented. From the 33rd century BC until the Persian invasion in 525 BC, Egyptian medical practice remained consistent in its highly advanced methods for the time. Homer even wrote in the Odyssey: “In Egypt, the men are more skilled in medicine than any of human kind,” and “The Egyptians were skilled in medicine more than any other art.”
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 diarrhea, ulcers and hemorrhoids
• Caraway soothed digestion and was a breath freshener
• Colchicum (citrullus colocynthus or meadow saffron) soothed rheumatism and reduced swelling
• Dill was recognized 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 give them vitality and strength for building the pyramids
• Licorice was utilized as a mild laxative, to expel phlegm, and to alleviate chest and respiratory problems
• Onion was taken to prevent colds and to address cardiovascular problems (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 relieve insomnia, as an anesthetic, and to deaden 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 paralyzed the worms’ nervous system and they relinquished their hold.
• Persian henna was used against hair loss
Disease and natural cures in Ancient Egypt
Disease was not uncommon in Ancient Egypt. There were many skin afflictions and parasites from the Nile river waters. Worms and tuberculosis were common, sometimes transmitted from cattle. Pneumonia struck people who breathed in too much sand into the lungs during sand storms. But the Egyptian physicians took full advantage of the natural resources all around them in order to treat common ailments. Many of their methods are still very viable today and are considered part of the homeopathic world of medicine.
Thanks to diligent record keeping, scholars have been able to translate the scrolls and appreciate what the Egyptians knew back then about anatomy, hygiene, and healing. Those scrolls, without question, paved the way for modern medicine.
Zulu sangoma and ceremony filmed by Ton van der Lee for Spirits of Africa documentary series. Jeremiah Msezane, a senior Zulu sangoma from KwaZulu Natal, explains how he became a sangoma and what his work is. We see a spirit dance ceremony in his holy place on a hilltop in the Zulu hills near Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Park, South Africa.
Over 48 surgical instruments were discovered in the temple of Kom Ombo. In 2001 archeologist found another tomb which had 30 bronze surgical instruments, they claim is these instruments are 4300 years old, making it the oldest medical instruments found in the world. Proving Africans are the world first true medical surgeons.
One year after “cancer goggles” were first used in a successful breast cancer operation, Dr. Samuel Achilefu is still getting emails from surgeons all over the world, hoping for a chance to use them.
“We’ve been inundated,” he said from his desk in Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute, hours before receiving the 2014 St. Louis Award for his invention.
Achilefu counts 27 surgeries where his technology has been worn by doctors operating on patients with breast cancer, liver cancer and melanoma. An injected dye reacts with infrared light to make cancerous tissue light up, helping surgeons locate the tumor and separate it from healthy tissue.
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Dr Helena Ndume is an ophthalmologist from Namibia
that provides free ophthalmology services to sufferers of blindness and eye-related diseases in Namibia. From 2001 to 2007 she was vice-chairperson of the Namibian Red Cross Society and her charitable work has helped tens of thousands of Namibians address their eye illnesses.
In recognition of her efforts she recently won first UN Nelson Mandela Prize
She was originally born in London and grew up in a foster home with her sister in the small seaside town of Lowestoft in the south-east of England. Pursing her dream to be a doctor she studied at the University of York in the UK, graduating at the age of 21 as a qualified doctor. After loosing her sister to sickle cell anemia condition in Nigeria while staying with their relatives, she decided to leave her job and move back to Nigeria where she could try to make a difference to the lives of other patients and improving healthcare in the country as a whole.
She started to study evacuation models and air ambulance services in other developing countries before launching her ambitious entrepreneurial venture, Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited, which today enables her to combine her deep love for medicine and Africa with her growing passion for flying. Ola is also a trainee helicopter pilot. Ultimately, her motivation for starting the business was to find an effective way of facilitating people who were critically ill, getting them to see the right doctor at the right facility within the right time frame for that particular illness. Today, her business, Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited is the first air ambulance service in West Africa to provide urgent helicopter, airplane ambulance and evacuation services for critically injured people.
Dr. Daniel Hale William was the first African- American heart surgeon in America.
His notable achievements as a Cardiac Surgeon helped to revolutionize the field of medicine and humanize its practices
Daniel Hale Williams was an cardiologist that performed the first successful open heart surgery. He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the U.S. Dr. Williams was an extraordinary man of incredible talent and merit and his exceptional accomplishments are documented with great care in this inspiring program. Born to freed people of color in 1856, he attended medical school at what is now Northwestern University in Chicago to become a practicing surgeon. His observations that American Blacks were treated as second-class citizens within the medical community, both professionally and as patients, motivated him to establish and run the first hospital for Blacks in the United States; Provident Hospital. Williams set up the first nursing school for Blacks and performed one of the first open heart surgeries in the world. His encounters with institutionalized racism gave him the courage and determination to create more hospitals and educational programs like the one he had at Provident. In 1885 he co-founded the National Medical Association for Black Doctors and openly encouraged African Americans to support hospitals that would offer first-rate care to African-Americans. In 1913, he became a charter member and only African American in the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams notable achievements as a Cardiac Surgeon helped to revolutionize the field of medicine and humanize its practices.