The following chronological list provides a better understanding of "some" of the historical role of copper.
Ancient Uses of Copper
- Egypt (2700 BC) The Temple of King Sa-Hu-Re provides the first example of using copper piping to transport water, keeping it free from bacteria and virus.
- Egypt (2400 BC) The medical text entitled the Smith Papyrus documents using copper as a sterilizing agent for drinking water and wounds.
- Egypt (1500 BC) The Ebers Papyrus mentions the use of copper for headaches, burns, itching, and "trembling of the limbs".
- Greece ( 400 BC) Hippocrates identifies copper to treat leg ulcers and to prevent infection.
- Rome (40- 90 AD) The physician, Dioscorides, wrote in his medical encyclopedia De Materia Medica about using different forms of copper (acetate, sulfate, oxide) to treat bloodshot eyes, inlamed eyes, cataracts, venereal disease, and chronic ulcers.
- Scotland (800 AD) First produced whiskey in copper vessels, a practice that continues today.
10th to 19th Century Uses of Copper
- Aztecs (15th and 16th centuries) Gargled with a copper mixture to treat sore throats.
- France (Mid 1800's) First recorded evidence of copper's role in the immune system when copper workers were found to be immune during Cholera epidemics.
- France (Late 1800's) Luton, a French physician reported using copper acetate to treat Arthritis. Copper arsenate was documented in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera. An organic complex of copper was used to treat tuberculosis.
- U.S.A. (Mid to Late 1800's) - Early Pioneers moving west across the continent put copper coins in the large wooden water casks to provide them with safe drinking water on their long voyage.
20th Century Uses of Copper
- Germany (1912) Copper chloride and Lecithin were used to treat facial epithelioma, suggesting copper's role in helping to fight cancer.
- U.S.A. (1920's) The use of copper water piping was first introduced. I n 2003, it was estimated that 50 billion linear feet of copper piping has been installed in the U.S.
- Germany (1929) Dr. Ernst Grafenburg first reports on the effectiveness of an Inter-uterine Device (IUD) containing copper.
- Finland (1939) It was noticed that copper miners were unaffected by arthritis as long as they worked in the copper mines. This led to the use of copper to treat rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, neck & back problems, and sciatica.
- U.S.A. (1975) Dr. Klevay first theorized the link between copper deficiency in the body as a major contributing factor in coronary heart disease. Subsequent work has shown that copper complexes play a valuable role in minimizing damage to the aorta and heart muscle.