Blood gushing out from skin that was ruthlessly sliced open; all of us have experienced a wound that needed healing. The oldest known record of wound care is a Mesopotamian clay tablet written around 2200 bce that details the “3 healing gestures”: cleaning injuries with beer; preparing plaster wound dressings out of oil, vegetation, mud, or clay; and wrapping the wound with a bandage soaked in wine and turpentine.1,2 The Egyptians are credited with pioneering adhesive bandages and the use of honey in wound care,1 which we now know has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties, including the ability to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.2 The Egyptians also painted wounds with a green paint made out of copper, which is deadly to bacteria. In addition, Egyptian embalming to wrap dead bodies and prevent decomposition is thought to have influenced the development of infection control.1
Hsieh S, Maranda EL, Salih T, Nguyen A, Marsh AM, Jimenez JJ. The Power to Heal. JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(8):954. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4236
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