The ancient world was full of drug use and narcotics and today this hasn’t really changed. However, the drugs back then were different from our modern-day supply. Every drug came from the surrounding environment and most of them packed a heavy hit. Test your knowledge of drug use way back in the day; learn all about ancient drugs and narcotics in this week’s crossword puzzle.
Blue Lotus Flower
The blue lotus flower has psychoactive properties and is known to produce a relaxing effect. In higher doses, it can cause euphoria and hallucinations. Usually, its petals are made into tea but it can also be smoked. Back in ancient Egypt, the blue lotus flower was considered to be sacred and is commonly depicted in many hieroglyphics.
Known as the ‘witches plant’, henbane is from the nightshade family and is poisonous in large doses. In ancient times, it was commonly used for medicinal and spiritual purposes. In the Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC), henbane is described as a sleep aid and pain reliever.
Ergot is a fungus that is common in rye. It causes delirium, and hallucinations and is often fatal. Because it was so dangerous, Ergot was rarely taken voluntarily.
Mad honey is made with rhododendron pollen. It contains a neurotoxin that causes lightheadedness, euphoria, and hallucinations. It is most commonly produced in Nepal and Turkey and was a favorite in ancient Anatolia.
Thanks to ancient records and surviving art, we know that opium is the oldest narcotic still in modern-day use. Its use and abuse have been recorded throughout history.
- Marcus Aurelias was a known opium addict. He used it as a sleep aid and to ease pain from his military campaigns. In Roman times, it was prepared as tea and commonly called ‘cretic wine’.
- The Sumerian clay tablet (about 2100 BC) is considered to be the world’s oldest recorded list of medical prescriptions; some scholars believe that opium is mentioned on the tablet.
A dreamfish is a species of sea bream known to cause hallucinations. Eating them was very popular in ancient Rome. Normally found in the Mediterranean and along the coast of Western Africa but occasionally, dreamfish swim in British waters.