Over a century ago, researchers Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt discovered 500,000 ancient documents in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. The 1,900-year-old papyri contained several ancient Greek texts, including cures and remedies.
One text in particular explained how to get rid of the hangover headache, since there was no aspirin in ancient Egypt. It appears that according to the recently translated ancient Greek text, the cure for a “drunken headache” was to string shrub leaves from a plant called Alexandrian chamaedaphne around a person’s neck.
People at the time used to believe that Alexandrian chamaedaphne could ease a headache, according to LiveScience, but whether it worked is still unknown.
“The writers of these ancient papyri relied heavily on Greek knowledge. The ancient residents of Oxyrhynchus strongly embraced Hellenistic (Greek-influenced) culture, something that spread throughout Egypt and the wider Middle East after the conquests of Alexander the Great,” University College London professor Vivian Nutton told LiveScience.
The 500,000 ancient documents require much work and that is the reason why it has taken researchers almost a century to translate them.
Furthermore, the texts contained other ancient Greek remedies such as recipes for collyrium, an eye-cleaning lotion. Another papyrus contained a first-person account of a surgery performed on an irrigated eyelid that had been turned inside out.
The medical papyri are property of Egypt’s Exploration Society and are located at Oxford University’s Sackler Library.