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Treatment in medical papyri used saponification for burns from exposure to Santorini fallout material

Siro I. Trevisanato

Abstract


Attested in Bronze Age Mesopotamia to treat wool, saponification was adapted in Egypt for medicinal purposes. Remedies in medical papyri from Bronze Age Egypt describe alkalis such as latex mixed to lipids such as bovine fat and wax, resulting in cold procedure saponification. The paste thus derived adequately treated injuries from exposure to volcanic ash fallout from the Santorini eruption at the end of the 17th century BC. The best example for such remedy is London Medical Papyrus 55, which treated burns and ensured the prevention of the formation of larvae in the wound.


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