The History of Diabetes

College Library

Welcome to our first post of 2015, and a happy new year to all of our readers! This month we have installed a new temporary exhibition in Crush Hall, on the history of diabetes. Visitors are welcome to visit the College to view the exhibition on Monday afternoons between 2pm and 5pm, or at other times by appointment.

Early Writings

The history of diabetes begins around 1550 BC, with the Papyrus Ebers. This Ancient Egyptian papyrus, named for the German Egyptologist Georg Ebers, contains what is believed to be the first written reference to diabetes mellitus, and provides remedies for the treatment of polyuria.

A measuring glass filled with Water from the Bird pond, Elderberry, Fibres of the asit plant, Fresh Milk, Beer-Swill, Flower of the Cucumber, and Green Dates[1]

There is fairly widespread agreement that the papyrus does indeed refer to diabetes, but overall the archaic phraseology of…

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