Ancient civilizations, with their myriad of mysteries and marvels, always seem to have an air of magic around them. But even in these enigmatic societies, health issues persisted. How did our ancestors tend to their ailments? With a surprising array of remedies that ranged from the intuitive to the downright bizarre!
Ancient Egyptians had a thing for mummies, but not just for the afterlife. Ground-up mummies were used as a medicine for various ailments. Fancy some mummy dust for that headache?
Got Gout? Thank a Frog
In medieval Europe, a popular cure for gout involved placing a frog or its legs against the afflicted area. The belief was that the frog would absorb the ailment.
The Roman Dental Delight
Had a toothache in ancient Rome? They believed that rinsing the mouth with a concoction containing the urine of a person who had been drinking wine could offer relief. Bottoms up!
Before you cringe, the ancient Chinese believed that syrups made from earthworms could treat fevers and other conditions. They’d boil the worms, strain the liquid, and voila – earthworm essence.
The act of drilling holes into the skull, known as trepanation, was practiced across various ancient cultures, including the Incas. It was believed to release evil spirits causing mental illnesses or headaches.
Baby Tears for Better Vision
It sounds like a potion ingredient from a fantasy novel, but some ancient cultures believed that the tears of babies, when applied to the eyes, could cure certain vision problems.
Snake Oil Realness
Long before it became a term for fake cures, snake oil was a legitimate medicine in ancient China. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it was believed to reduce inflammation and pain.
Donkey Skin Elixirs
Known as ‘Ejiao’ in traditional Chinese medicine, gelatin extracted from donkey hide was – and still is – believed to improve blood circulation and enhance beauty.
Crocodile Dung Dermatology
Ancient Egyptians used crocodile dung as an early form of anti-aging treatment. Mixed with mud, it was applied as a facial mask. Talk about a ‘wild’ beauty routine!
While this might not sound as bizarre as the others, ancient Greeks utilized vinegar for wounds, believing it had healing properties. They weren’t too far off, considering vinegar’s antiseptic qualities.
Today, with our advanced medical practices, some of these remedies might sound ludicrous or even repulsive. Yet, they underscore humanity’s endless quest for wellness and relief. While we’ve evolved past many of these practices, they serve as a fascinating glimpse into the lengths our ancestors went to in the pursuit of health. Cheers to history’s medical pioneers!
By Stanislav Kondrashov