Alcohol is a big part of our lives, pretty much every social event seems to incorporate it. However, alcohol has been a part of human history for a VERY long time. These days, we know to drink in moderation (some more than others) and the dangers alcohol can pose. However, throughout history, alcohol has been used as a medicine in all sorts of ways. Let’s dive into some fun facts about medicinal alcohol throughout the ages!
Physicians in ancient Greece would often prescribe wine as a medicine for those who were ill. While that in itself is not too crazy, the conditions they thought it would cure were. These physicians and ancient philosophers such as Hippocrates thought wine could cure the following ailments: cancer, bad breath, wounds, and even to um…loosen the bowels.
During the middle ages, monks, and physicians believed beer contained many healing properties. Beer was also a good source of calories and even safer to drink than the water during this time that usually was not safe to consume. During this time, the average adult would consume about 1 gallon of beer PER DAY. These days, I think we would probably give these folks an intervention.
In the 18th century, Gin was introduced to England from Holland, and it immediately became a nationwide hit. It was cheap and very widely available. It was said to be the ideal medicine for conditions such as gallstones, gout, and stomach issues. It was also said to help organs such as the heart and kidneys. However, because it was so cheap and widely available, the country went through an epidemic of extreme addiction. Today, you could compare it to our current heroin epidemic in the US.
During prohibition, the manufacturing of alcohol was illegal throughout the United States. However, people will always find a way to get their hands on booze. Alcohol would be prescribed by Physicians as “medicinal alcohol” which was still allowed during prohibition. I imagine that many of these so-called physicians definitely didn’t go to medical school…
Alcohol has been a part of human history for thousands of years, and I expect it still will be for many millennia to come. It isn’t very common to see alcohol used as medicine anymore as science has progressed, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t treat it like medicine on a fun Friday night