However, how much history of drugs do you know?
The making of drugs is such an ancient art that we don’t know when it was first started.
According to the history of drugs, the early drugs were made by priest-magicians because people believed it took magic to turn plants into medicine.
Later, treatment of disease became a special science. The brews of herbs and minerals were fairly simple to prepare. Physicians of ancient Greece and Rome used to make drugs for treating patients.
The Origin of Pharmacy
The history of drugs also suggests that at first the drugs were used during spiritual and religious acts by ancient people. Drugs that are considered to have spiritual or religious use are called entheogens. Some religions are based completely on the use of certain drugs. The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists.
Only in the eighteenth-century people understood that drugs could be used as anesthetizing in medicine during difficult and painful operations and in some other medical aims. This great breakthrough helped to save thousands of people’s lives all over the world.
Below is the timeline of the history of drugs:-
- It is believed that Tobacco has been growing wild in the Americas for nearly 8000 years! Around 2,000 years ago, tobacco began to be chewed and smoked during cultural or religious ceremonies and events. As early as 1 B.C., American Indians began using tobacco in many different ways, such as in religious and medicinal practices. Tobacco was believed to be a cure-all and was used to dress wounds, as well as a pain killer. Chewing tobacco was believed to relieve the pain of a toothache!
- Smoking pipes have been found in northwestern Argentina that dates back to around 2,000 B.C., although it’s not clear whether they were used for tobacco or other hallucinogenic plants. Remains of nicotine found in pipes date back to 300 B.C.
The history of drugs goes hand in hand with alcohol. The earliest alcoholic drink dates back to 7,000-6,600 B.C.
Fermented grain beverages existed in the early Egyptian civilization, and there is also evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C.
Residues of the drink were found in pottery shards from the ancient village of Jiahu, in China’s Henan Province. The drink consisted of a mixture of rice, honey, and fermented grapes or other fruit.
In India, an alcoholic beverage called Sura, distilled from rice, was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C.
The Babylonians worshiped a wine goddess as early as 2700 B.C.
In Greece, one of the first alcoholic beverages to gain popularity was mead, a fermented drink made from honey and water.
Archaeological evidence and fossilized poppy seeds suggest that Neanderthal Man may have used the opium poppy over thirty thousand years ago.
Less controversially, the first known written reference to the poppy appears in a Sumerian text dated around 4,000 BC
The earliest found fossilized remains of the opium plant, dating back to the mid-sixth millennium B.C., were found at a dig site in Italy less than 20 miles northwest of Rome.
The earliest written records of hallucinogenic drugs in the history of drugs date back 3000 years.
Writings from ancient civilizations throughout many regions of the world depict the use of entheogens as part of religious ceremonies.
The earliest evidence of humans chewing coca dates back to South America around 8,000 years ago. Earliest coca leaves were discovered in the Huaca Prieta settlement c. 2500 – 1800 BC in the northern coast of Peru, positive proof that the natives of South America were using coca for a series of purposes for more than 1500 years. All pre-Columbian cultures in the Andes have left evidence of usage of these leaves.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, used the drug himself, was the first to broadly promote cocaine as a tonic to cure depression and sexual impotence. In 1884, he published an article entitled “Über Coca” (About Coke) which promoted the “benefits” of cocaine, calling it a “magical” substance. He used cocaine regularly, prescribed it to his girlfriend and his best friend and recommended it for general use.
It has long been suspected that humans have an ancient history of drug use, but there has been a lack of proof to support the theory.
Now, however, researchers have found equipment used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs for sniffing and dated them back to prehistoric South American tribes. They found ceramic bowls, as well as tubes for inhaling drug fumes or powders, which appear to have originated in South America between 100 BC and 400 BC and were then carried 400 miles to the islands.
Some archaeologists have suggested that humans were extracting mind-expanding drugs from mescal beans and peyote cacti as far back as 5,000 years ago, but have not found direct evidence that this is true.
The history of drugs reveals that drugs were being used to induce spiritual or trance-like states by people who had religious beliefs.