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Roman-era Shipwreck Reveals Ancient Medical Secrets

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posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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A first-aid kit found on a 2,000-year-old shipwreck has provided a remarkable insight into the medicines concocted by ancient physicians to cure sailors of dysentery and other ailments




A wooden chest discovered on board the vessel contained pills made of ground-up vegetables, herbs and plants such as celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa and chestnuts – all ingredients referred to in classical medical texts. The tablets, which were so well sealed that they miraculously survived being under water for more than two millennia, also contain extracts of parsley, nasturtium, radish, yarrow and hibiscus.

The pills are the oldest known archaeological remains of ancient pharmaceuticals. They would have been taken with a mouthful of wine or water, or may have been dissolved and smeared on the skin to treat inflammation and cuts.

They were found in 136 tin-lined wooden vials on a 50ft-long trading ship which was wrecked around 130 BC off the coast of Tuscany. Scientists believe they would have been used to treat gastrointestinal complaints suffered by sailors such as dysentery and diarrhoea.

Historians believe the presence of the medicine chest suggests that the ship may have had a doctor on board, or at least someone trained in rudimentary first aid. The chest also contained spatulas, suction cups and a mortar and pestle.


Source: www.telegraph.co.uk...

How cool is this find? What a look-see into the past. To be honest with you, this article zeroed me in on the people from our past... and there day to day living ailments and issues. I never thought it that aspect of daily living life for them. Odd.

I think that has to do with the way things are/have been presented to us about our past. Not at the individual level so much but more the whole society/culture.

Any ATS folks have any knowledge in old time medicines... This one made me think of the old Saturday Night Live skit:




posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 08:44 AM
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reply to post by anon72
 


Seems the Romans were more advanced(proper?) in treating humans than we are today in terms of ingested medicine

Instead of Chemical Laced Pharmaceuticals from Pharma Corps that don't cure anything but only subside the ailment

Its about time we start doing as the Romans did and revert some and/or a lot of medical research into the natural remedies from plants/herbs.

Instead of Outright banning/outlawing it. Lets say oh like they do in the United States(Corporations) of America.

Where only Profit Matters.

Because you can't profit from curing people.

Only keeping them sick.
edit on 11-7-2011 by TheUniverse because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 09:36 AM
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reply to post by TheUniverse
 


Well, the more I look into it, I would have to say I agree with you on the internal medicine.

I wonder what knowledge has been found and lost in the field of human medicine.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 09:43 AM
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Just the fact that these survived underwater for over two millennia is simply astounding. One thing I'd like to know, is what held these 'pills' together? Modern pill casings are typically made out of gelatin, so it would be interesting to see what they used 2,000 plus years ago.

Also, the Romans (and other cultures of the period) were quite adept in their medical practices, so I wonder how well these remedies actually work?

S&F!




posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 10:00 AM
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How beautiful! This is a fascinating find. I am very into herbal healing and traditional natural remedies and I love learning about how the ancients did it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I would love to be able to see this find in person. What I wonder though is what are the containers that they used to hold the tin lined wooden vials? Does anyone know? I didn't see it in the article. I can't tell if they are leather bags or some kind of more solid containers.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 10:02 AM
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reply to post by AdmireTheDistance
 


They probably just rolled up the plant materials with the clay with a little water or other liquid like honey or wine to hold it together then dry it. Just my guess from what I know from reading herbal remedies stuff.

This guy says you can use glycerin also. www.youtube.com...
edit on 11-7-2011 by Ellie Sagan because: added link
edit on 11-7-2011 by Ellie Sagan because: clarification and grammar



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 12:35 PM
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reply to post by Ellie Sagan
 


Hi. Glad you liked the thread.

I have been looking for additional info, not much luck.

I think we NEED to find out what the heck they used. Better than the plastic and sudo-stuff they use now-IMO.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 01:05 PM
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Amazing find,I always feel many cures can be found by using natural herbs & things.
Another fantastic look into how they did things 2000 odd years ago,so much we can learn about finds like these & hopefully we will.
I wonder what these remedies did,any way to find out ??
Like the article said it's probably used for people on long ship jounerys who knows.

Nice find



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 01:05 PM
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Just found this BBC article about the same thing:
Plants found in ancient pills offer medicinal insight

It doesn't give much more information than the one presented in the OP, but it is a couple months older. The BBC article is from 4/27 and the Telegraph article is from 7/9.

reply to post by Ellie Sagan
 
Looks like you were right about the clay!

Carrots, parsley and wild onions were among the samples preserved in clay pills on board the merchant trading vessel that sank around 120 BC.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 04:03 PM
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this is way cool stuff wish i could find more info
if these pills cure anything tho we will never know
just like garlic that kept my grandad alive from 63-95 after cancer took his right lung 1/4 left lung and
5/8 of his stomach he was told 6 months max
he got me on garlic at a young age and it is great stuff
not only never really sick no mosquito bites



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 04:20 PM
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reply to post by TheUniverse
 


Yea, OK. Feed the sick people ground up carrots for their sickness right? Look at the included link and scroll down to roman era times. Average age of 28 sounds a little rough. Maybe they needed more vegetables. If you think medical treatment is bad nowadays, I suggest you do some reading on typical practices in the not-so-distant past. Bleeding you and mercury ingestion are a couple of good ones.

en.wikipedia.org...

The OP is interesting for it's historical value. Romans are very interesting.

V



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 04:24 PM
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That is an incredible find; I am glad that parts of past civilizations are being discovered and this example shows me that there was intelligent thought in the past and where we are now is not all that advanced.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 04:35 PM
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Roman Doctors were mainly Greeks



Doctors in Rome were often Greeks, brought to Rome as slaves. This meant their status was low for a long time, although their skills were valued by many people.

www.bbc.co.uk...




Many Greek medical ideas were adopted by the Romans and Greek medicine had a huge influence on Roman medicine. The first doctors to appear in Rome were Greek, captured as prisoners of war. Greek doctors would later move to Rome because they could make a good living there, or a better one than in the Greek cities.


en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by TheUniverse
reply to post by anon72
 


Seems the Romans were more advanced(proper?) in treating humans than we are today in terms of ingested medicine

Instead of Chemical Laced Pharmaceuticals from Pharma Corps that don't cure anything but only subside the ailment

Its about time we start doing as the Romans did and revert some and/or a lot of medical research into the natural remedies from plants/herbs......




The average age at death today in the United States is about 82, while in the Roman Empire it was probably about 35. That seems like an enormous difference, but mostly the average is low because a lot of babies died soon after they were born.

After the age of 40, more people began dying of diseases like malaria and dysentery.
1


ROME:





posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 06:13 PM
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cool thread Anon72

it's amazing, but not surprising, how our ancestors used their knowledge so well



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 06:46 PM
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reply to post by TheUniverse
 


reply to post by anon72
 



No, they just knew about the same in terms of materials. Roman medicine was the most advanced in its days, and it wasn't until WW1 that we even came close to their medical skills.

There are Roman records of eye surgery(If I recall, for cornea reattachment). , Brain surgery(for pressure, tumors, etc etc), and several other skills.

Roman military men had the finest medical skills, and many attribute Roman ability to conquer in so many alien places to their ability to resist local diseases and conditions as a byproduct of their medical prowess. Whereas Americans, French, and British centuries later died by the dozens and hundreds in Africa and Panama, Romans seemed unscathed by the bog lands of Europe and elsewhere.


It's often speculated that Rome, at its height around the time of Christ, was about 150-200 years behind modern man. The only thing they lacked that we have, honestly, was electricity and all that comes from it.
edit on 11-7-2011 by Gorman91 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


This was probably from the colonial areas in France, Africa, and Asia Minor, or from the late era. The age expectancy of a Roman varied widely from what time period you are talking about. A wise man with decent money and a good house was expected to break 60. Many lived into their 80s. Not many though.

Because of their fresh water and knowledge of diseases, most people in good conditions lived for quite a long time. Most famous people in Rome were long lived, if corruption didn't murder them.
edit on 11-7-2011 by Gorman91 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 07:53 PM
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I love these kinds of threads! I am totally against pharmaceuticals. I believe if we got back to natural remedies, combined with some amazing technologies out there today, like laser surgery, etc...that this Planet would be a pretty nice place to live!
Below is an amazing video about a new technology for burns. It's called the Skin Gun--the patient's own cells are used, then sprayed on burns and astounding healing then occurs:
www.youtube.com...



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by Habit4ming
 


Well honestly, the Romans aren't that far off. Now there's a ton of no nos they do in pharmaceutics, but the Romans were no different. The only difference is that doctors came to you to ensure you didn't do something dumb, Today they don't. Ergo a lot of user end faults.



posted on Jul, 11 2011 @ 07:57 PM
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There was once a time when it could be argued that Mother Earth provided us all that we needed to remain healthy. Too bad that as civilizations/populations increased, we've gone about destroying those resources. We will be our own undoing, one day (unless we wise up). Cool article.





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