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While many various primitive cultures cultivated cannabis, the traditional Egyptians set an example of a very holistic use of the plant. It's even possible that cannabis, Egyptian hieroglyphics called it shemshemet, became popular before the good Pyramids were built.

The Chester Beatty papyri written around 1300 BC mentions shemshemet a minimum of twice and prescribed the crushed seeds of the plant as a valuable remedy

Egypt's use of Shemshemet appears to be versatile on the one hand, hemp may are used for fiber and textile; on the opposite hand, the more psychoactive components of cannabis may are used for medical purposes. While many sources today seem to be authoritative in their claims that the traditional Egyptians used hemp for this and cannabis for that, further examination of the evidence is required .

Let's take a journey through Egyptian history, which begins round the year 3000 BC.

Cannabis in history

While the precise timeline is way from clear, it's likely that cannabis was utilized in ancient Egypt 5000 years ago. Some speculate that depictions of the Egyptian goddess of writing, Sheshat, are brimming with cannabis-inspired themes. In many paintings, she is depicted with a star-shaped leaf on her head and a fibrous cord in her hand. Was Sheshat's creative ability made possible with the assistance of hemp? it is a fun theory, but let's advance to more concrete examples.

First of all, it's important to know the context during which Egyptian medicine found itself. The understanding of the physical body during this culture was extraordinarily advanced for its time. Although the Egyptians of antiquity is preceded. Although the traditional Egyptians predated Pasteur's scientific theory by thousands of years, they nevertheless placed great importance on cleanliness and hygiene. And customs like embalming gave the Egyptians a far better understanding of how the physical body works.

This same medical knowledge lent itself to the extensive use of medicinal plants. At first, this tradition blurred the lines - even merged them - between science and religion. because the notes Egyptologist Barbara Watterson, "The first 'doctor' was a magician, for the Egyptians believed that diseases and ailments were caused by an evil force that entered the body." Fortunately, herbal incantations appeared like the right cure.

Very quickly, cannabis was understood, intuitively, to be one among the simplest and most potent herbal preparations. Its dual psychotropic and curative properties probably made cannabis popular among the double physician magicians of past . And although it's not known exactly when cannabis use first became common, residues of the plant are found in Egyptian artefacts dating back over 4 years.

Around 2000 years before our era, cannabis ointments were wont to treat eye injuries and glaucoma. Today, science has proven what the traditional Egyptians learned over the centuries: Cannabis may be a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces pressure . Another Egyptologist, Lise Manniche, notes in her book An Ancient Egyptian Herbal that several texts dating from the 18th century BC encouraged readers to "plant medicinal cannabis."


It is now public knowledge that Egypt was a pioneer within the development of papyrus and parchment paper. With these scrolls came the power of culture to write down and document - and our ability to peek into their world. Papyri are found spanning everything from legal matters to mythological tales to medical records, and naturally medical papyri sometimes mention cannabis.

The papyri Ramesseum | consistent with British Museum, the Ramesseum papyri "have been described as 'the most precious papyri find' from Pharaonic Egypt." As this is often one among the oldest medical records ever discovered (circa 1750 BC), it's likely that these accounts reflect an accumulation of healing techniques from previous generations.

The Papyri of Ramesseum take their name from their origin: the traditional city of Ramesseum. Researchers have discovered countless other gems of this city built by Rameses II , most of which bear witness to the tutorial prowess of the time.

The Papyri themselves also point this out. They contain information on childhood illnesses, anatomy, healing of wounds caused by the volcano and therefore the childbirth process. The Ramesseum III papyrus plate A26 describes this treatment for the eyes: “the celery, the cannabis is crushed and left within the dew overnight. Both eyes of the patient should be washed with cannabis within the morning ”. Could this are an efficient treatment for THCA at the beginning of treatment?

The Ebers papyri | This remarkable collection of papyrus scrolls is that the oldest comprehensive medical book within the world. Written around 1500 BC, it describes the foremost popular medicinal remedies of its time. The Ebers papyrus takes its name from the botanist George Ebers, who obtained it within the late 1800s. Like many others in his field, Ebers was understandably curious about gleaning all he could from the ancients. And with 700 medical and magic formulas spread across 110 pages, it looks like there is a lot to be gleaned.

Here may be a formula for female health:

Formula # 821: Shemshemet (ie cannabis) had to be "ground in honey; introduced into her vagina to chill the uterus and take away its heat ”.

Another cannabis formula for "a sore finger or toe" is effective enough that doctors are instructed to encourage their patients - "you need to tell this patient, 'A problem I can treat.'"

Formula 821: "honey: 1/4; ocher 1/64; cannabis: 1/32; Hedjou resin: 1/32, owl plant: 1/32. Prepare as for the previous one, and dress [the affected area] with it. "

The Berlin Papyri | This somewhat newer scroll (circa ~ 1300 BC) indicates the event of cannabis as a drugs . It wasn't just good for eye problems, female issues, or inflamed extremities - cannabis could even be wont to treat fever and inflammation.

The 81st formula of the papyri shows that cannabis was prescribed as an “ointment to organize the escape of fever”. Today, modern medicine has demonstrated these same anti-fever and anti inflammatory qualities.

Chester Beatty's papyri | Chester Beatty's papyri was also written around 1300 BC This artefact is primarily intended for the treatment of colorectal diseases. He probably mentions the shemshemet a minimum of twice and prescribes the crushed seeds of the plant as a valuable remedy. There are even instructions on using cannabis suppositories for digestive purposes.

Overall, samples of cannabis use in papyrus records are rather rare. But those that are present also are very revealing. As Dr Ethan Russo quotes during a magazine from the 2007 Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity, “As a drug it [cannabis] has been in active use since the Pharaonic times. It doesn't appear fairly often in medical papyri, but it had been given orally , rectum, vagina, by bandages on the skin, applied to the eyes and by fumigation ”.

Cannabis for the pharaohs, cannabis for all

The Egyptian pharaohs can also have used cannabis for more ceremonial purposes. The remains of Ramses the good (Pharaoh in 1213 BC) contain traces of cannabis, as do the remains of other mummified Egyptians. within the 1990s, a series of studies by Nerliche, Parsche et Balabanova reported on this surprising discovery. Nerliche's study noted that the mummies had a big deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and concluded that this was likely obtained through cannabis smoke. As you'll imagine, these studies were very controversial once they were first published.

Over time, the utilization of cannabis for medical purposes in Egypt continued to expand. AD, it seems that even the Egyptian people understood the potential benefits of the plant. Unfortunately, there's relatively less historical data on cannabis use during this point .

Could the traditional Egyptians' understanding of cannabis have spread to other areas associated with health and therefore the body? Perhaps. In his epic work The Odyssey, Homer notes that "everyone in Egypt may be a competent doctor". Everyone, during this case, even includes women - which was very rare at the time. Indeed, a number of the primary Egyptian doctors were women appreciated for his or her care, others were qualified midwives.

A final document written on papyrus surfaced around AD 200: the Vienna Papyri. He seems to say cannabis as a treatment for tumors, ear pain, and fevers. In some cases, the Vienna papyri recommend using acacia and cannabis together. Although not really old, this one distills information gathered in earlier times.

Difficulties in translation make it difficult to completely understand the medical use of cannabis in Egypt, although researchers like Dr Greg Gerdeman agree that earlier references to shemshemet most certainly ask cannabis. What are often said confidently is that the traditional Egyptians were leaders within the medical world of their time - and that they achieved this leadership through their devotion to medicinal plants like cannabis.

It is likely that practical lessons are often learned from their devotion, too. Perhaps Dr Russo's journal says it best: "Information gleaned from the history of the administration of cannabis in its various forms can provide useful starting points for research." within the future, the wisdom of the traditional Egyptians may come full circle.

Disclaimer: the principles contained here is not designed nor meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is only achieved for educational confidences only. You should recognise full responsibility for the way you decide on to use this information.

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