IF YOU WANT A CURE FOR EVERYTHING , TRY THERIAC Being a kin
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Kanika Popli
IF YOU WANT A CURE FOR EVERYTHING , TRY THERIAC

Being a king in ancient times was exhaustingly dangerous; there was always someone plotting to get rid of you. So, according to legend, Mithradates (aka Mithridates) VI of Pontus (on the shores of the Black Sea in Turkey) attempted to become resistant to poisons by taking gradually increasing doses. He was also reputed to have conducted toxicological experiments on condemned prisoners, culminating in the creation of mithridate – a medicine that combined all known antidotes in one potent formula.

It didn't work against Roman armies, however, and when Mithradates was defeated by the military leader Pompey in 66 BC, the recipe supposedly arrived in Rome. Emperor Nero's physician Andromachus developed it into a 64-ingredient composition, which became known as theriac. Most of the ingredients were botanical (including opium), but viper's flesh was a notable component.

In spite of early scepticism, theriac took off as a prized (and expensive) cure-all. By the 12th century Venice was the leading exporter and the substance had a high profile in European, Arabic and Chinese medicine alike. Its fortunes waned after 1745, however, when William Heberden debunked its alleged efficacy and suggested that enterprising Romans had exaggerated the Mithradates story for their own gain.

Even so, theriac remained in some European pharmacopoeias until the late 19th century.
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