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Did Queen Hatshepsut Moisturize Herself to Death?

Corpus delictiThe German University of Bonn has just published the results of two years research on the contents of a bottle which belonged to Queen Hatshepsut. Far from containing the remains of perfume, as was thought, the bottle contained a mixture of palm oil and nutmeg combined with unsaturated fatty acids. This mixture, which cannot in any way resemble a face pack for beauty, strongly suggests a medication against a chronic skin condition, of the psoriasis type. It is known that Thutmosides suffered from a cutaneous affection apparently transmitted from generation to generation. We now know well the hereditary character of the psoriasis, which occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals which speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.
But this preparation also contained potentially harmful aromatic compounds, including creosote and tar (which are used even today in small doses in the treatment of psoriasis) and unspecified amounts of benzopyrene, which the authors describe as "powerful carcinogen".
We know that at the time of her death, Queen Hatshepsut was fifty years old and was suffering from cancer, since, say those who have examined the mummy, she had bone metastases.
And the authors questioned whether the repeated use of this ointment could not induce her cancer.
Examine the medical facts. On the one hand, if all cancers can metastasise to the bones, those which do the most are in women, breast, kidney, thyroid. There is no clear link between these cancers and exposure to benzopyrene. On the other hand, the authors confuse "mutagenic" (a laboratory term) and "carcinogenic" (a clinical term): benzopyrene is classified as "powerful mutagen" but "probably carcinogenic to humans" (International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs) and Health Canada). Although there is some trans-cutaneous absorption (and especially of diseased skin), the most likely breast cancer suffered by the Queen was certainly not induced by this medication.
The use, by the queen, of a potentially effective cutaneous medication on a hereditary chronic disease of type psoriasis is an interesting enough discovery not to have to speculate further.
So the small bottle is not of course a fake, which is a hypothesis raised by some because it is a single vessel in two parts. Moreover, the mummy identified as Hatchepsut,  declarations, may well not be hers...


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