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Wine as a medicine in ancient times

Piareta Nikolova, Zlatislav Stoyanov, Dobrinka Doncheva, Svetla Trendafilova


The history of wine use as a medicine dates back to antiquity. However, it has been rediscovered and reliably confirmed by current medical research. It is believed that wine is among the first documented remedies known and used by humans dating back to a period before 5000 BC. Preserved to date evidence of the medical use of wine in ancient times is very limited and is related to the development of different cultures and ancient civilizations. The article chronicles the more important periods of the history of the use of wine for medical (healing and prophylactic) purposes.

The first evidence dates back to the time of the Mesopotamian culture, when the world's oldest Sumerian Pharmacopoeia - clay tiles, some of which contain wine prescriptions for therapy, was created. The next important documentary evidence is found in the Sino-Tibetan Pharmacopoeia, the Egyptian Medical Papyri, the Bible, the Sacred Book of the Jews Talmud, and the ancient Indian medical texts of Ayurveda. In ancient Greece, the first evidence of the healing effects of wine is found in the two poems of Homer Iliad and Odyssey. With the development of medical knowledge at the time of Hippocrates, the therapeutic use of wine expanded. Hippocrates included wine in the diet of almost all diseases, especially during the recovery period. Afterwards, the principles of wine therapy continued to be topical, although they were the subject of a heated debate during the Greco-Roman period, Galen's era, and even the Byzantine era, when the influence of Arab medicine began to manifest itself more and more.


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About The Authors

Piareta Nikolova
Medical University of Varna

Department of Preclinical and Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy

Zlatislav Stoyanov
Medical University of Varna

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine

Dobrinka Doncheva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine

Svetla Trendafilova
Medical University of Varna

Department of Foreign Languages, Communication and Sport

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