A doctor’s prescription for antibiotics to treat a relatively minor but nagging affliction often triggers a sense of gratitude. “Where would I be without modern medicine?” we might ask. The answer may make us shudder: we might not be at all. Even with all of the problems of today, we console ourselves, it’s good to live in the 21st century.
Nonetheless, pre-modern doctors were not completely without resources. Here are five that have stood the test of time, according to a BBC report:
Medicines made from willow bark were prescribed by ancient Egyptians and Greeks as an antidote for pain. Salicylic acid is also used in preparations to clear acne and other skin conditions.
Considered “a good treatment for warts,” according to Nicolas Culpeper’s Complete Herbalist (1826), the sap from the milkweed plant was found to contain ingenol mebutate, which inhibits human tissue from replicating.
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