by Nik Kojzek
Ancient Egypt was a marvellous and spectacular time in our history. The river Nile, the pyramids, Cleopatra VII etc.
Old Egypt has a lot, and I mean a lot to offer. Some stories are proven by the historians, but many stories that are peculiar are yet to be proven. It is the mystery that captures our interest and doesn’t let us sleep till we find more.
Ancient Egypt was one of the most evolved of civilizations, medicine was the best in the world at the time. The knowledge of the human body was extensive. The Egyptians knew how to heal and mend the sick, Egyptian doctors were the best at the time and were usually shipped to a foreign ruler in their time of need. Magic rituals were also used in the process of healing the patient.
With so much knowledge of the human body, the Egyptians were not strangers to contraception. Some of their ways may seem very disgusting, strange and absurd, but modern studies show that they were very good and actually worked. It is a surprise to think that they had just about every method of contraception that we have today … are you ready to be impressed?
The first and certainly most disgusting and absurd and yet the oldest method was the use of fermented crocodile poo.
Women would rub the fermented crocodile poo in and around their special part. This was actually believed to be a very good method of preventing pregnancy, but it hasn’t been tried out, because c’mon, which woman would try that today, right?
The second and most effective way was the use of the fruit of the Acacia tree. Women would blend the fruit with honey and brown dates. Next they would dip a piece of cotton (or other plant fibre) in the paste and insert it, the acid of the Acacia tree would prevent pregnancy.
Not only did they have these methods, they also had birth control pills.
Oestrogen hormones are used today in pills to prevent pregnancy, surprisingly the Egyptians knew this, since they made and consumed pills made from pomegranate, which contained high levels of oestrogen. And if you thought that the pyramids were a phenomenon, think again because the first condoms were made in this time and were first used in Egypt. They were usually made from the lamb or sheep skin and dipped in olive oil.
Since we have only talked about how the Egyptians prevented pregnancy, you could also be wondering: how did a woman know if she was pregnant?
Do not worry because they had a method for that, too. The Egyptians had a very accurate method, involving a Barley plant. Women in Egypt who thought that they were pregnant, would pee on the Barley plant and if the plant grew, than the woman was pregnant (congratulations), but if the plant died, it meant that she wasn’t pregnant (better luck next time). This method has been proven by scientists, the pee from the non- pregnant women does kill the plant.
Ancient Egypt was of course a magnificent time in history. The mystery and the unknown always attract attention and I hope that I revealed some of the mystery to you in a good and fun way.
I do hope you will read the next article about the many shades of ancient Egypt. Are you ready for it?