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The Ebers papyrus tells us the Ancient Egyptians had an interesting way to deal with noisy crying babies: just give them a draft of opium. This practice was still very much use in the Victorian era, when it gained notoriety for the dangers the use of children’s opiates posed to general health. We know in this era opium was readily used as a cure for a bad cough, or aches and pains, but it is less well known that opium […]

Here’s our next installment in the addictive history of medicine… Medicinal preparations of opium are usually associated with the Victorians, but their origins are much more ancient. References to poppy juice are mentioned on 7th century BC medical tablets from the Assyrian civilizations, and the Sumerians called the poppy the ‘plant of joy’. The Greeks used poppy preparations widely in their medicine, although most famously in the mixture called Theriac or Mithrate which was invented in the 1st century AD. […]