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Egyptian Traditional Medicine

Compounding Corner – March 2017

Let’s learn some facts about the history of pharmacy and pharmaceutical preparations from the time of the Pharaohs of Egypt!

The origin of Egyptian medicine dates from a long time ago, about 2900 B.C. Medicine in the pharaonic times was mixed with magic and was used together with many rituals, spells and charms of all kind. Disease was often believed to have been sent by the Gods as a punishment, or by evil spirits.

One of the most remarkable records of pharmacy practices includes the Ebers Papyrus, dating from 1500 B.C. This papyrus is a 110-page scroll, which is about 20 meter long, and is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany! We can think of it as a modern formula book with a collection of around 800 prescriptions together with formulated prayers and incantations. It’s amazing to see that Egyptian pharmacopoeia was quite advanced with the third of current medicinal plants already figuring in this document. Many herbal drugs were used for the same purposes as today, including opium, cannabis, myrrh, frankincense, castor oil, fennel, cassia, senna, thyme, henna, juniper, linseed, aloe, garlic, coriander, cumin and many others.

Besides the vegetable products, many mineral compounds were in general use such as iron, lead, magnesia, common salt, niter or even finely powdered precious stones like emeralds and sapphires. Animal drugs were also used and some of them were unusual, including lizard’s blood, swine’s teeth, meat and fat of all sort of animals, human and goat milk, various excreta of human beings, donkeys, dogs and cats for instance.

Ancient Egyptians were familiar with numerous medicinal products and various forms of preparation. They could supply medicaments in the form of infusions, decoctions, inhalations, powders, pills, suppositories, creams, pastes, ointments, etc. Oral route was the most common route of drug administration, others include rectal, vaginal, external application and fumigation. This latter was often prescribed and assumed to be a means of curing gynaecological disorders. It involved producing fumes from a medicated solution that could then enter woman’s body through the vagina.

Formulations were characterized by the active ingredient, a vehicle in which it was carried, flavoring and a demulcent – a substance soothing irritated mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film –  or, possibly, a secondary drug. The most common vehicle for medicines was water, but also honey, milk, oil, wine and beer. However, all of them could well have been considered active drugs in their own, particularly honey. In many cases, the active drug in herbal preparation is an alkaloid (e.g., atropine, nicotine, quinine and morphine) which is best extracted with alcohol. Wine or beer would have provided the strongest concentration of alcohol available in ancient Egypt, also they would have been a pleasant ingredient to offset other disagreeable components. The herbs soaked in wine could be drunk as an oral medicine.

Instructions for preparation were specific, affording reproducibility. During the preparation of medicines and also before their use, special forms of prayer could be spoken. Drugs could be ground, sieved, powdered or infused in water, alcohol or fat. The drug part – leaf, seed, fruit, root, bark, juice or resin – was specified indicating concept of pharmacognosy. Some evidence shows that pharmacy in ancient Egypt was conducted by a “head pharmacist” directing compounding activities to “preparers of drugs” in the temple drug room. The Egyptians used mortars of wood or stone, and used containers of pottery and glass for compounding. Weights were very seldom used in the preparation of remedies. Capacity measurement was based on a standard volume. The smallest medicinally used unit, the ro, had a value of approximately 15 ml. However, because of varying drug levels in any plant, this means that no two recipes would have had the same efficacy, even if equal quantities were used.

Here is one last fun fact that might change how you see the symbol ‘℞’! Did you know that one theory about the origin of this symbol currently representing a medical prescription in many parts of the world can goes back to Egyptian times? There is a hint of connections with the Egyptian symbol known as Eye of Horus that used to be drawn by the ancient Egyptians as a magic sign to protect themselves from disease, suffering and evil. It was painted on the papyrus rolls used for writing about medicine and doctors.

Egyptian pharmacy definitely exerted a tremendous influence on the pharmaceutical practice of our current world!


Further Information:

Crazy Clinical Corner Answers January and February

February Case (Cardiovascular) Answers:

Answer 1: Anne is most likely suffering from myocardial infarction (MI), commonly called a heart attack.

Answer 2: at onset of symptoms Rosalie can be given Glyceryl Trinitrate or Aspirin to try and reduce the severity of the attack.

Answer 3: after a Myocardial infarction (In Rosalie’s case most likely a Non-ST elevated MI) patients will be started on a selection of medication to try and prevent further damage to the heart this could include, a Statin, Low dose Aspirin, an antiplatelet, a beta Blocker, and Glycerol Trinitrate when needed for angina.

January Case (Cancer) Answers:

Answer 1: The medications that are being used to treat the Lymphoma are Prednisolone, Doxorubicin, Vincristine and Cyclophosphamide.

Answer 2: The Palonosetron is a strong antiemetic to prevent nausea and vomiting. The Pegfilgrastim is used to reduce neutropenia. Metoclopramide is used for breakthrough nausea and vomiting. The docusate and sennosides, are laxatives.

Answer 3: Some of the most noticeable ones have already been mentioned, nausea and vomiting, neutropenia, and constipation, some more examples are a red-orange discoloration of the urine, there is no way to manage it as it will clear on its own, but the patient should be aware of it. Oral mucositis, this can be managed with good oral hygiene, rinsing the mouth after meals, and avoiding dry food. Alopecia, there is not much that can be done to prevent it, but it is important to make the patient aware of this, so he can be prepared. Cardiac Toxicity the management is mainly through educating the patient on the risks, referring him to a cardiologist and ensuring that his lifetime exposure to the medication is below the maximum threshold.
Bonus answer: some of the tests that may be conducted are: cardiac function, hepatic function, Renal function, temperature, full blood count, urea and electrolytes, blood sugar levels, and screening for latent infections.

Volume 3 – 19 March 2017


Grant Opportunities

Professional Development

Inter-regional Competition

The IPSF Interregional Professional Development Project which started on the 1st of March has been successful so far. The first stage of the Online PCE competition ended on the 15th of March and regional winners will be able to proceed to the final stage on the 23rd of March.

The responses gotten was very good in this first stage and IPSF members were given the platform to test their patient counselling skills.

The professional development portfolio, in collaboration with the regional working groups would like to appreciate all IPSF members who actively participated in the first stage of the patient counseling competition. Look out for the online clinical skills competition which will start in May, 2017!

Compounding Corner | Crazy Clinical Corner

New cases posted! View them here on our blog and provide us with what you think is the correct answer!


KNAPS, Korea helps plan FIP student package

Promotional Materials | Facebook Page

A promotional video was made to promote the congress, view it here.

” The student package includes not only FIP World Congress access but also accommodation for 4 Nights, breakfast, and 2 Night Events.  As IPSF World Congress is in Taiwan in August, FIP World Congress in September 10th to 14th in Seoul, Korea, not that far from each other, would be easier for those who want to experience FIP World Congress as well.”

Questions? Contact!


Women’s Day

International Women’s Day took place on March 8, and your Public Health Committee put together infographics as well as stories from members to share on social media. View articles and information on our Facebook page!


World Congress Phase 1 Ends 31 March!

Register now so you don’t miss the chance to join us in Taiwan (and don’t have to pay more to do so)!


The SEO Scoop

SEP photo contest #2 – #SEPfriendship is out! Make sure you share your memories with your SEP friends. SEP is connecting people from all around the world and it is time to prove it on Facebook. Don’t forget to put the hashtag and to tag IPSF.


Want to know more about Application form re-allocation project and how it works? You want to take the last train for SEP this summer? Listen to the SEP podcast and make sure you get in contact with your home SEO for more information which countries are offering more placements.


The past two weekends, SEOs had online meeting. They are getting prepared for hosting you, SEP students, this summer so you would have the best experience in your life. If you didn’t, you still have time to apply last minute for SEP.

Regional Events


UPSA Uganda is organizing the first Uganda pharmaceutical symposium due to tale place in April from 6th to 8th April at IMPERIAL RESORT BEACH hotel near Entebbe international airport. All participants are required to register to register before submitting their abstracts. Register online here. The deadline for submission of abstract is 31st March 2017.


APPS registration is OPEN until 6 May! Don’t miss the chance to join us in Bangkok, Thailand this summer!


New apparel announced! See it on the region’s website!


EuRO Regional Working Group Subcommittee Application is open! View the call on Facebook for more information.

Pharmacy Science Week Continues with recorded lectures on YouTube.View the lecture here!

EuRO was present at the KNPSV Personal Development Day to deliver a workshop on presentation skills! Check it out! Instagram: @ipsfeuro


PARS 2016 has been moved to Mexico City! Registration is now open, don’t delay!

AEFFUP, Portugal

This is AEFFUP!

Associação de Estudantes da Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto

Students’ Association of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto


The mission of AEFFUP is to defend the rights of students of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto, being the voice of our students. AEFFUP also has a role of representation of its associates before national and international student associations and the professional sector of the Pharmaceutical Sciences area.


We believe that AEFFUP is composed of all its associates and that its governing bodies are only the engine of the one that is the will of all. We believe that the greater the involvement in associative life, the better the students of today and the pharmacists of tomorrow. Participation in the General Student Meetings is decisive for AEFFUP’s decision-making and advancement processes and the development of even more ambitious projects will be achieved through the presence of demanding associates and motivated leaders.

What makes AEFFUP Unique?

AEFFUP has a rich and dynamic activity plan, so that the associates can develop a set of core competencies for their valuation as students and future health professionals. We present our students with the possibility of different courses complementary to our Masters’ degree, sessions of Patient Counseling, the Pharmaceutical Forum and the Scientific Congress. We also emphasize cultural and sports activities, and we consider them fundamental for the good intellectual and human development.

AEFFUP is proud to have an Extracurricular Internship Program that prepares students for the future profession and exploration of career opportunities, as well as a range of activities to approach the profession and the community, such as the Cardiovascular Screening. Continued student support is also an essential focus of our performance, and we are constantly concerned with the personal and academic success of our associates.



  • Marcos Teixeira
  • Liliana Mourão
  • João Rosa
  • Norberto Parente
  • Vasco Teixeira
  • Júlia Amoreira
  • Mónica Gomes
  • Paulo Novais
  • Beatriz Cruz
  • Duarte Nóbrega
  • Daniela Monteiro
  • Diana Guedes
  • Jacinta Barbosa
  • Juliana Silva
  • Sofia Coelho
  • Daniela Silva
  • José Paulo Santos
  • Maria Ana Martins
  • Mariana Frazão
  • Miguel Neves
  • Beatriz Rios

Find AEFFUP on Social Media!

Website | Facebook


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