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Matyszak: Happy Plants and Laughing Weeds

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There is a great article in July's BBC History Revealed by Philip Matyszak: "Happy Plants and Laughing Weeds: The hidden history of drug use in antiquity."  

As usual, Maty has written a well researched and entertaining article on the use and abuse of drugs in the ancient world. The article is chock-full of insights and captivating anecdotes about this little-discussed aspect of the ancient world.

"Opium could be purchased as small tablets in specialized stalls in most Roman marketplaces. In the city of Rome itself, Galen recommends a retailer just off the Via Sacra near the Forum."

"Galen describes how hemp was used in social gatherings as an aid to 'joy and laughter.'"

"There were no traces of food remnants, as is usually the case in ancient kitchens; analysis of the containers found there leaves little doubt that this room was used solely for the preparation of psychotropic pharmaceuticals. In other words, the ancient world had large-scale drug factories 3,000 years ago."

This was a great article that I enjoyed thoroughly. I do have two regrets, however. First, I wish I had access to this insightful article a few years back. I had given a lecture on the practice of medicine in the ancient world and this informative article would have been a great resource. Second, delightful articles like this force me to continue my subscription to BBC History Revealed magazine. (I have come to loathe the BBC.)

Recommend highly!


guy also known as gaius


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