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Deadly medication?
Date:8/19/2011

dried-up perfume. The mix contained large amounts of palm oil and nutmeg apple oil. "I didn't think anybody would put so much grease on her face," said Dr. Wiedenfeld. "That would make her look as greasy as a plate of ribs." Two additional components clued the pharmacologist in to the actual purpose of the mix, "We found a lot of unsaturated fatty acids that provide relief for people with skin diseases." And this is where the Egyptologist was able to add another piece of the puzzle, "It is indeed known that there were cases of skin disease in Hatshepsut's family." Inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis have a largely genetic component.

And the third group of ingredients also points to the fact that this substance was not about providing a nice fragrance, but instead, for fighting a big itch the pharmacologists found a lot of hydrocarbons derived from creosote and asphalt. To this day, creams containing creosote are used to treat chronic skin diseases. Due to the potentially carcinogenic effects of some of its ingredients, creosote has meanwhile been banned from cosmetics completely, and medications containing creosote are now prescription-only.

What the pharmacologists detected in Hatshepsut's little bottle was in particular benzo(a)pyrene, a hazardous aromatic hydrocarbon consisting of several carbon rings. "Benzo(a)pyrene is one of the most dangerous carcinogenic substances we know," explained Dr. Wiedenfeld. For example, the risk of contracting lung cancer from cigarette smoke results essentially from this substance.

Did the lotion cause the Pharaoh's death from cancer?

Did Hatshepsut maybe poison herself without knowing it? "There is a lot that speaks for this hypothesis," Dr. Wiedenfeld said. "If you imagine that the Queen had a chronic skin disease and that she found short-term improvement from the salve, she may have exposed herself to a great risk over the years." The Egyptologist also thinks that this is v
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Contact: Michael Hoeveler-Mueller
aegyptisches-museum@uni-bonn.de
49-228-739-710
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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