French scientists have discovered that it was also used to prevent or treat eye diseases as it acted as a disinfectant. Their findings are published in the January issue of the journal ‘Analytical Chemistry’.
Chemists Christian Amatore, Philippe Walter and their collaborators from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) have shown that thousands of years ago the ancient Egyptians used substances based on lead ore as cosmetics, including an ingredient in black eye makeup.
Some Egyptians thought that this makeup played a magical rolein which the ancient gods Horus and Ra protected those who wore them against various diseases, but, so far, science had not proven them right.
In previous research, the scientists analyzed 52 samples of ancient Egyptian makeup kept at the Louvre Museum in Paris and identified four different lead-based substances. Taking the research one step further, these authors have now shown that these substances triggered nitric oxide production by 240% in cultured skin cells.
Scientists indicate that nitric oxide is a key signaling agent in the human body. Its functions include strengthening the immune system to fight disease. Its role could be important in dealing with eye infections that, in tropical areas such as the Nile area, can be a serious problem.
In this way, the ancient Egyptians could have deliberately used these cosmetics to help prevent or treat eye diseases, the researchers suggest, explaining that two of the compounds examined do not occur naturally and had to be synthesized. by the ‘chemists’ of the time.