n Akroterion - The ancient drug opium

Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1896
  • E-ISSN: 2079-2883
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The use of (from the Latin = 'to bear/bring' and = 'sleep') as a narcotic, goes back to the 13th century BC. The works of ancient authors such as Dioscorides, Celsus, Galen, Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder provide us with detailed information about the morphology of the plant, its processing and the administration of the drug. These authors make it clear that opium was mainly employed as anodyne and narcotic but they also documented its use as a drug in the treatment of a variety of ailments, either as one of many ingredients in a medicinal recipe or as the main ingredient. Modern botanical and pharmaceutical analysis of the plant and its active ingredients provide us with some surprising conclusions regarding its effectiveness in the treatment of the medical conditions for which it was prescribed in the 1st and 2nd century.

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