Monday, June 2, 2014

Wound Treatment ~ Ancient Times

I never really consider how people were cared for during ancient days until I decided to write a scene where my hero had been found badly wounded. I wanted him wounded enough that he was near death but not so wounded he would die.

Although I shouldn't be, I was a bit surprised and excited at what I found. After all, look at some of the things the Ancient Egyptians had accomplished. The people of ancient days were resourceful and they knew their land well. They knew which plants contained healing properties for various ailments. I won't go into everything but I will touch on some of the things I used in my July release, The Warrior's Vow.

Honey- this substance was often used to keep a wound from becoming infected. It also promoted healing. Wounds were often slathered with honey.

My children use honey to clean their faces with, and I use it in tea to treat sinus infections, bronchitis and strep.

Corainder- this was used to ease pain. I'm uncertain how effective it was but I do know it was used to rid headaches and the oils were used relieve muscle and joint pain.

I have never used this, but I think I might give it a try on my youngest daughter who suffers from joint pain.

Sutures- All right, this one really excited me. I loved this find. My story is set in 835 B. C. and I had no idea if they even stitched wounds. Of course I knew the Ancient Egyptians had to have had some way of stitching their dead after they removed the organs, but I just wasn't sure if they stitched live people.

So here is what I discovered; sutures were made of many things.
  • hemp
  • flax
  • cotton
  • silk
  • hair
  • catgut
I suppose if it could be made into a strand it could be used. My choice of suture was hemp and catgut.

  • bone
  • silver
  • copper
Bone being the tool of choice clear up into the 14th century.

 One of the coolest finds I came across came out of The Scottish Society of The History of Medicine. It was an excerpt from Edwin Smith's Papyrus. This papyrus dates back to 1700 B.C., but Smith acquired it sometime in the mid 1800s.

You should palpate his wound and draw together his gash with stitching. After you have stitched it you should bind fresh meat upon it the first day. If you find that the stitching of the wound has come loose, you should draw it together for him with two strips (of plaster) and you should treat it with grease and honey every day until he recovers.

Isn't that cool? Okay, well maybe not, and I'm really surprised I think so given I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to wound care.

What sort of things interest you in history?

I'm giving away a copy of my July release, The Warrior's Vow, from Love Inspired to one commenter.

He Was Hers to Command
Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice—if she dares trust him.

She is royalty, yet Jesse is surprised by the gentle compassion Abigail shows him as he heals. In return, he will help her escape to Jerusalem, protecting her life with his own. But Abigail’s rank and Jesse’s deadly past makes any future impossible, unless forgiveness forged by love can triumph over all.

When she was younger, Christina tried to dig herself to China, loved Three Billy Goats Gruff, and had an obsession with maps. She gave up her dig to China but still jumps at the chance to travel even if it’s just down the road. She loves watching modern takes of fairytales and mythologies on the big screen and still has a huge obsession with maps. The older the better.
Born and raised in Kansas, where she currently lives with her husband and children, Christina loves to read stories with happily ever afters, research,  take photos, knit scarves, dig into her ancestry, fish, visit the ocean, write stories with happily ever afters and talk about her family and Jesus. 

Her debut novel, The Guardian’s Promise, released from Love Inspired March 2014. The Warrior's Vow releases July 2014.


  1. I find anything to do with medicine in history to be very interesting. Thank you for a great post, Christina. I also loved to read about old recipes and how dishes were prepared.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. Melanie, I love old recipes, too. I think one of the most interesting things I've come across was found in a diary from pioneer days for a rattle snake bite.

  2. Hi Christina! Finding the beauty recipes that women used long before Oil of Olay hit the shelves! I've been trying to go as natural as possible lately so finding new recipes for shampoo, soaps, lotions, etc fascinates me! Thanks for such an interesting post!
    kam110476 at gmail dot com

    1. Kam, olive oil and honey does wonders. There are all sorts of ancient recipes out there.

  3. Being a Herb and Naturals type person this book caught my eye ! This sounds like a great read.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    faithfulacresbooks @

    1. Linda, I'm guessing you're talking about The Scottish Society of The History of Medicine, from what I've read it is interesting. I've also discovered an 800 page paper on Ancient Ashkelon and many of the things found and used there.

  4. This was a very interesting article. It is amazing how they used nature to cure. We have gotten away from that, but I think we are coming back. I like to read how they did things in history, but like you I am a little squeamish when it comes to things like wound care and surgery.
    This sounds like a great book.

    susanmsj at msn dot com.

    1. :) I'm glad to know I'm not the only squeamish one.

  5. Loved the post, Christina. I write about 10th century Ireland, so ancient medicinal practices are very much of interest to me. Medieval doctors drew heavily from ancient texts. It's so intriguing to see what they came up with.

    1. Ohhhh, one of my favorite places. My first writing love is medieval Scotland and Ireland, going back into my ancestral roots.

  6. I love this post, Christina! It is fascinating to learn the practices and procedures of times past. There is so much to be learned from them.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. Britney, I wish we'd learn a lot more from ancient practices. Don't get me wrong, I love modern medicine but I think some things have been lost that would serve us better today.

  7. Fascinating! I had no idea the things people in the past used for sutures!

    1. It is fascinating. And I'm certain they used other things as well.

  8. Very interesting post, Christina. I love the cover of your book, looking forward to reading it.

  9. The Winner is Linda Finn! I'll be contacting you.