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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pain Relief

A five-volume herbal, De Materia Medica, written between 50 and 70 AD by a Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides, was a major source of knowledge about medicines, poisons and cures in the Roman world. While other physicians were aware of the way alcohol, hemp and opium could alleviate pain, Dioscorides advocated that patients about to undergo painful surgery should be given the root of the mandrake covered in wine.

De Materia Medica, book 6 published in Lugdunum, 1554 [modern-day Lyon, France]

In 1824 The Pharmacopoeia of the Royal College of Physicians of London was published. Of the many drugs listed only the painkiller opium had any particular effectiveness. It was usually dispensed as a dark brown alcoholic solution, but unfortunately its use was particularly addictive.

Despite it's addictive consequences, at the turn of the 20th century morphine was being used as a general painkiller for many ailments even colds and minor headaches. In 1903, the US had over 3,000 stores selling over 50,000 different opium-based drugs over the counter.

Opium poppies such as this one provide ingredients for the class of analgesics called opiates

Morphine was used as a cure against opium addiction and later heroin was used as a cure against morphine addiction and even later methadone was used as a cure against heroin addiction.

Opiorphin is a painkilling compound found in human saliva and has been proven to be more powerful than morphine.

A snail’s venom can act as a pain-killer 1000x more powerful than morphine -- And it’s not addictive.

Rubbing peanut butter on a stubbed toe acts as a painkiller, due to the oil in the peanuts.

Americans consume 80% of the world's painkillers.


Australia supplies about 50% of the world's legally-grown opium used to make morphine and other painkillers.

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