Origin of the Modern-Day Pharmacy
July 17, 2010
Axia College of University of Phoenix
Many researchers believe that Egyptian medicine originates from about 2900 B.C. The most renowned and most imperative pharmaceutical recorded is the titled "Papyrus Ebers" (1500 B.C.). It is essentially a collection of nearly 800 prescriptions and mentions almost 700 drugs, which are predominately plants. The Egyptians also “used creams, draughts, enemas, extracts, eye preparations, ointments, infusions and inhalations” (Pharmaceutical Journal, 2007). Typical pharmacies in ancient Egypt were carried out by two or more ranks – the gatherers of the drugs and the preparers of the drugs. There were also people known as "conservators of drugs," who were accountable for appropriate storage of the medicinal substances. In this type of environment, the Papyrus Ebers may have been read aloud to a scribe by a chief pharmacist as he orchestrated the compounding activities in the drug room.
Surprisingly, even with their specific knowledge of anatomy through embalmment and mummification processes, the Egyptian gatherers and preparers did not know much about how the body works. As such, their medicine was not aimed the deterrence of an illness; instead, it was used for the treatment of an illness using herbal remedies, surgical procedures, religious incantations and even magic. It is also believed that the ‘wabw’ was responsible for administering medicines, and also incorporated the use of religious burial as part of their practice. They would give incantations to the god ‘Thoth’ and ‘Sekhmet’, whose son ‘Imhotep’ was considered to be the inventor of medicine (Medicine & Healthcare, 2009).
Pharmacology did not exist as a self-regulating occupation in ancient Egypt, however; there is convincing evidence the Egyptians adopted professional procedures and guidelines in which...