Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Scientists at the university of Bonn have discovered a carcinogenic substance in the flask believed to have belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt 3,500 years ago. According to the scientists, the lotion was used to treat a skin disease.  They also believed that Queen Hatshepshut was poisoned by the medicine.

Below is an excerpt from the news release:

BERLIN — A German university said Friday that researchers have discovered a carcinogenic substance in a flask of lotion believed to have belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt 3,500 years ago — raising a possibility she may have accidentally poisoned herself.

The University of Bonn said it spent two years researching the dried-out contents of the flask, which is part of its Egyptian Museum’s collection and bears an inscription saying it belonged to Hatshepshut.

It said the flask contains what appears to have been a lotion or medicine used to tackle skin disorders such as eczema.

The contents included palm and nutmeg oil, along with fatty acids of the kind that can relieve such disorders. There are known to have been cases of skin diseases in Hatshepsut’s family, the university said.

NOTE: For other studies on the history and archaeology of Egypt, read my post Egypt, The Land of the Pharaohs.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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