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Magic mushrooms contain the chemical psilocybin which cause hallucinogens. Source: Martina / Adobe Stock.

Scientific Shamans Make E-coli Brew “Magic Mushroom” Hallucinogen

Scientists have successfully modified E. coli to create the powerful psychoactive chemical found in magic mushrooms that were consumed by most prehistoric tribes. In the new study published online...
A doctor performing eye surgery. The Ebers Papyrus discusses medical techniques and remedies. Source: Articles sur l’Egypte et son historie

The Ebers Papyrus: Medico-Magical Beliefs and Treatments Revealed in Ancient Egyptian Medical Text

The Ebers Papyrus is an ancient medical document that contains over 842 remedies for illnesses and injuries. It specifically focused on the heart, the respiratory system, and diabetes. The Papyrus...
‘Alexander of Macedon trusts the doctor Philip’ (1870s) by Henryk Siemiradzki. Alexander is drinking a draught prepared by his trusted physician Philip after suffering from a severe fever. Humoral theory was used to cure illnesses, from fever to cancer, in ancient Greece.

Bile, Cauterization, and Exercise: Cancer Treatment Was a Very Different Story in Ancient Greece

Cancer has existed since before the dawn of civilization. By the time of the ancient Greeks, cancer as a disease was already diagnosed by physicians, along with recommendations for its treatment. But...
Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery and Nicholas Henri Jacob, ‘Iconografia d'anatomia chirurgica e di medicina operatoria,’ Florence, 1841.

The Ugly History of Cosmetic Surgery

Reality television shows based on surgical transformations, such as The Swan and Extreme Makeover , were not the first public spectacles to offer women the ability to compete for the chance to be...
Medieval science

The Grave That Heals: Irish Folktale Proven True as Soil from Priest’s Grave Shows Key to Fighting Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Traditionally ancient folk remedies are not treated seriously by medical researchers and professionals. However, some scientists are taking a new look at these remedies because some are believed to...
Amazonian Shaman Smoking

Kill or Cure: The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Through the Ages

As far back as history has been recorded, mankind has been using hallucinogens , opioids and stimulants for many varied purposes. Medical treatments, nutritional supplements, religious rituals, and...
One of the pages from The Book of Magical Charms. Credit: The Newberry Library

Do You Have the Magic Touch? Chicago Library Appeals to Public for Help Transcribing Magical Manuscripts

Do you have a talent in solving magical puzzles and manuscripts? Do you have a penchant for casting spells? Well, if that’s the case, Chicago's Newberry Library is offering the right job for you as...
Medieval medical text

Medieval Men With ‘Unsuitable Seed’ Prescribed Ground Up Pig Testicals

A recent study of medical and religious texts suggests that men were diagnosed with infertility as far back as Medieval times, and indeed may be held responsible for the inability to have children...
Main: A diver searches the Relitto del Pozzino shipwreck (Not Only Chemistry). Inset: One of the medicinal tablets. Image via PNAS/Giachi et. al.

Scientists Learn Ingredients of 2,000-Year-Old Roman Pills Found in Ancient Shipwreck

Discoveries of ancient shipwrecks are always exciting, but a small number of them are truly unique in the artifacts they yield, offering up items from the past that have been preserved for centuries...
Reenactment of Mongol battle

How Did They Do It? Masters of the Steppe: Battlefield Medicine and Gruesome Cures—Part III

Much is known about the ancient Mongol military and their incredible victories on the battlefield, but little is ever discussed about their arms, armor, horses, and logistics. What gear did they use...
Said to Cure Everything but Death, These Seeds are an Ancient Miracle Cure

Said to Cure Everything but Death, These Seeds are an Ancient Miracle Cure

The black cumin seed or “Nigella Sativa” has been revered as a miracle cure for a vast amount of illnesses and ailments throughout the ages and across many cultures. The plant is indigenous to the...
The Ancient ‘Plant of Immortality’ That Treats Over 50 Medical Conditions

The Ancient ‘Plant of Immortality’ That Treats Over 50 Medical Conditions

Known as “the plant of immortality” by the Ancient Egyptians, and treasured by numerous subsequent cultures, aloe vera it still known today for its many health benefits. For millennia it has been...
Ancient Egyptian Papyrus Reveals Odd Cure for Ingrown Eyelashes – Bull Fat, Bat and Donkey Blood

Ancient Egyptian Papyrus Reveals Odd Cure for Ingrown Eyelashes – Bull Fat, Bat and Donkey Blood

An Egyptian medical document dating back about 3,500 years is being translated by a Danish Egyptologist, who reveals strange ingredients that to most modern people may not seem beneficial. The...
Ancient Chinese Remedy Could Wipe Out Tuberculosis

Ancient Chinese Remedy Could Wipe Out Tuberculosis

A team of researchers have recently found that centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists to cure malaria, could also aid in tuberculosis treatment and even slow drug resistance...
Aerial view of Thebes' Ramesseum, showing pylons and secondary buildings and the Medical Papyri.

Revealing the Ramesseum Medical Papyri and Other Remarkable Finds from the Temple of Ramesses II

The mortuary temple of Ramesses II is one of the most magnificent temples in the Theban necropolis in Upper Egypt. It was discovered by Jean-Francois Champollion, the same man who deciphered the...
Bloodletting was treatment for infection in the past.

In a world with no antibiotics, how did doctors treat infections?

The development of antibiotics and other antimicrobial therapies is arguably the greatest achievement of modern medicine. However, overuse and misuse of antimicrobial therapy predictably leads to...

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