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Med Pregl. 2013 May-Jun;66(5-6):263-7.

Burns treatment in ancient times.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Institute for Children and Youth Health Care of Vojvodina, Novi Sad. marion.pec@gmail.com

Abstract

Discovery of fire at the dawn of prehistoric time brought not only the benefits to human beings offering the light and heat, but also misfortune due to burns; and that was the beginning of burns treatment. Egyptian doctors made medicines from plants, animal products and minerals, which they combined with magic and religious procedures. The earliest records described burns dressings with milk from mothers of male babies. Goddess Isis was called upon to help. Some remedies and procedures proved so successful that their application continued for centuries. The Edwin Smith papyrus (1500 BC) mentioned the treatment of burns with honey and grease. Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC) contains descriptions of application of mud, excrement, oil and plant extracts. They also used honey, Aloe and tannic acid to heal burns. Ancient Egyptians did not know about microorganisms but they knew that honey, moldy bread and copper salts could prevent infections from dirt in burns healing. Thyme, opium and belladona were used for pain relief. In the 4th century BC, Hippocrates recorded that Greek and Roman doctors used rendered pig fat, resin and bitumen to treat burns. Mixture of honey and bran, or lotion of wine and myrrh were used by Celsus. Honey was also known in Ayurveda (Indian medicine) time. Ayurvedic records Characa and Sushruta included honey in their dressing aids to purify sores and promote the healing. Burn treatment in Chinese medicine was traditional. It was a compilation of philosophy, knowledge and herbal medicine. The successful treatment of burns started in recent time and it has been made possible by better knowledge of the pathophysiology of thermal injuries and their consequences, medical technology advances and improved surgical techniques.

PMID:
23888738
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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