Comparison Between Egyptian and Chinese Herbal Medicines
|Diseases||Egyptian Herbs and Remedies||Chinese Herbal Remedies|
-Ancient Egyptian remedies consist of a limited number of cultivated herbs and plants|
-Egyptians use simple recipes for medications, which were commonly added to common food in the form of spices and drinks
-Egyptian foods and herbs spread to the rest of the world from antiquity, and became part of universally known culinary ingredients
-Egyptian herbs and medications can be considered as "healthy foods", though they are not efective medicines for acute diseases, they are safe to take and eat
-While many ailments would have been difficult or impossible to treat, the Egyptians were able to treat many less serious conditions through the use of natural remedies. Many of the remedies are familiar, as they are used today as homeopathic remedies.
-Chinese remedies consist of a wide variety of thousands of wild flowers and herbs|
-These herbs were combined into complicated recipes and formulas for a large variety of medications
-Every region of China had it's own set of local herbal remedies and secrets, which did not spread outside it's borders
-Until recently Chinese herbs were unknown to the rest of the world, and though many are very effective medications, others are poisonous and risky to take without medical advice
-According to Chinese clinical studies, these herbal formulas that have been perfected over the centuries, can greatly increase the effectiveness of modern drug treatments, reduce their side-effects, and sometimes replace them completely.
|Infections||Honey - Carvings in temples, on sarcophagi and obelisks prove that bees and honey had a vital significance in the daily life of ancient Egyptians
- The Ebers Papyrus refers to the medicinal value of honey. Almost all Egyptian medicines contained honey, wine and milk
- Due to it's antiseptic and antifungal properties, honey was both used internally and externally, to soothe irritated skin, and aid in the healing of wounds and infections,
Doctors of ancient Egypt put this property of honey to work, treating open wounds with honey to prevent infection. This treatment is described in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, and the method must have saved untold numbers of lives from deadly infections at pyramid work sites where scrapes, gashes, and cuts would have been common
|Coptis - A bitter underground stem usually combined with other bitter-tasting herbs such as phellodendron, scutellaria and gardenia.
- This herb was highly valued as a hard duty anti-microbial herb with a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for treating gastrointestinal problems, gall bladder inflammation, abdominal cramping, and to control excessive bleeding.
- In addition, the roots have been used in preparations to relieve high fevers, sore throats, used externally for cankersores, pinkeye, swollen gums, and skin eruptions.
- Since coptis is such a bitter tasting herb, it was often used to make pills or tablets.
|Diarrhea||Acacia - The gum derived from the acacia tree was used for gastrointestinal, and urinary tracts diseases. It was often mixed with boiling water to form a mucilage, and provided a soothing coating to the digestive tract, especially in cases of gastritis and ulcers.||Raspberry - leaves were used interchangeably with blackberry by the Ancient Chinese to stem diarrhea.|
|Pain relief||Corainder -This herb and its seeds were commonly used by the Egyptians, coriander seeds have been found in ancient tombs, and is one of the first herbs mentioned in ancient scripts. Its Egyptian name is Kuzbarah derived from the Greek "Koris"
- It has pain relieving properties and is useful for headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, arthritis and rheumatism.
- Coriander essential oil was known to remove toxins and stimulate circulation. Rubbing it on the body eased muscular aches, pains and stiffness, including arthritis and inflammatory conditions
- The seeds were used as a paste for mouth ulceration and a poultice for other ulcers
|Alangium - A species of flowering plant commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs
- It was used to relieve rheumatic conditions and relieve pain in the lower back and knees
- Also used o treat numbness and bone injuries, where a paste of the plant roots is applied to the area around dislocated bones to help them setting
|Sexual disorders||Fenugreek - Known today in Egypt as "Helba", the plant was highly regarded by Hippocrates, and is one of the oldest medicinal herbs in ancient Egypt
- It was used to ease childbirth and to increase milk flow. Mothers taking fenugreek usually notice an increase in milk flow within three days
- It was used by Egyptian women to ease menstrual pain and problems. The antiviral properties of this herb have been touted for reducing mucus and relieving inflammation.
- Additionally, it was used to treat male impotence
|Dong quai - it was used to regulate the menstrual cycle and to treat menopausal symptoms caused by the hormonal changes.
- The effect of the herb in treating menstrual cramps is explained by the compounds that help relax the muscle tissue and relieves pain.
- Dong Quai also stimulates the central nervous system, which can remedy menstrual weakness and headaches.
- The use of this herb was mostly found in tea, herbal preparations, capsules and extracts.
|Vitality||Garlic - In ancient Egypt, the workers who had to build the great pyramids were fed their daily share of garlic to give them the vitality and strength to carry on and perform well||Ginseng - Most Chinese medicine herbs are used to strengthen the body, Ginseng which was used for well over 2000 years to help boost energy, reduce stress and increase endurance.|
|Respiratory disorders||Hibiscus - In Egypt common hibiscus is used to treat coughs by placing extracts from the plant in the patient's bath or in water used for steam inhalations.
Raw garlic was also routinely given to asthmatics and to those suffering from bronchial-pulmonary complaints
|Liquorice - used to treat coughs and colds, since powdered liquorice root is an effective expectorant
- This sweet herb was combined with a formula of other herbs and taken as a tea
|Cardiovascular problems||Onion - The Ancient Egyptians worshipped it, believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life
Onions were eaten to help combat heart diseases, inhibit strokes and lower cholesterol.
|Motherwort - one of the Ancient Chinese herbal remedies thought to extend life. Modern studies suggest that is possible as it has been shown to strengthen heart functioning & reduce hypertension.
This bitter Chinese healing herb was taken as a tea
|Stomach Disorders||Caraway - the seeds of this herb were considered useful in strengthening the functions of stomach, and relieving intestinal gases||Cardamom was primarily used to alleviate stomach aches, particularly to help soothe indigestion and excess abdominal gas
It was also used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom bite.
|Skin diseases||Henna - Besides being used as a dye, Henna was employed both internally and locally in jaundice, leprosy, smallpox, and affections of the skin
It was used to create an instant scab to close open wounds on large areas due to it's antiseptic properties, and as a cooling agent for burning of skins.
|Wolfberry - Many herbs were beneficial to the skin and are used both internally and externally for this purpose.
Wolfberry leaves traditionally used to improve complexion, remove heat, remove toxins and preventing scar formation
Modern studies show that indeed phenolic amides isolated from wolfberry root bark have inhibitory activity in vitro against human pathogenic bacteria and fungi
|Eye diseases||Castor Oil - Beans of this plant have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC According to the Ebers Papyrus
- Egyptian doctors used castor oil to protect the eyes from irritation and dryness
|The most popular Chinese formula that is considered to be herbs for eyes is the combination of Wolfberry, chrysanthemum, and rehmannia. The wolfberry herb was considered to be the primary vision tonic in Chinese herbalism and its tiny red, sweet berry shaped like an eye, its fruit is said to be rich in vitamin C and riboflavin. Modern studies show that this herb contains very high beta carotene that is known to nourish and rejuvenate the eyes.|