Opium - A Past Of Habit

By: Ben Pate

Opium has been used for centuries, even millennia, dating back to perhaps even the Neanderthals. Neanderthal use of the poppy seeds has been widely criticized, but what is known is that as far back as 4,000 B.C.E. its use is recorded in texts from the ancient Sumerians. Today opium is an ingredient in modern day opiates and has lead to opiate addiction throughout the world. Because of the addictive nature of opiates, anyone using any form of opium should seek an opiate medical detoxification program at a medical detox center.

The Plant Of Joy

Opium is formed from the dried liquid scraped from the unripened Papaver somniferum seed, or opium seed. By collecting and drying this exudate, opium is created. Poppy seed plants have been harvested for centuries, from ancient Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. It was widely believed to cure many physical ailments as well as emotional pain.

Ancient Prescriptions

In ancient Greece physicians widely prescribed opium; they would grind the whole poppy seed plant or use some of the tincture as a cure for certain ailments. These ailments included venomous bites, chronic headaches, vertigo, spitting of blood, tightness of breath, colic, urinary tract problems, fevers, melancholy, and the list continues. It was also used to cure those afflicted with womanly ailments, an ancient ancestor to Midol apparently.

Emotional Cures

We know now that the properties of opium did not cure such ailments as vertigo or spitting of blood, though we do know it relieves the sensation of pain. Whether the pain is emotional or physical, it has been used throughout history to help individuals cope with day to day life. Even today poppy seed tea is served at funerals to aid mourners in their grief. Opium has been called many different names such as; The Plant of Joy, Sacred Anchor of Life, Milk of Paradise, The Hand of God, and the Destroyer of Grief. Many ancients thought that opium was specifically given to them from the god(s) to help man and his suffering.


However, history has proved that opium leads to a nasty addiction. Britain, China, and the Middle East have all been ridden with opium addictions, and the United States is suffering from opiate abuse as well. Once laudanum was added to opium it widely became habit forming. Despite its addictive nature it induces a gentle dream-like hallucinatory high, which compared to LSD and other psychoactive is very subtle. Breaking the habit usually requires a detox center.

Opium Wars

Opium has been a very controversial drug throughout history. It has sparked wars and many conflicts. This has lead to it being smuggled in and out of countries. Still in some cultures opium is widely used, within Chinese culture it was accepted. However, when Chinese immigrants began infilitrating the country to help build railroad they brought their opium addiction with them. By then opium was called the 'hydra-headed monster'. In response to this C.R. Alder Wright, an English pharmacist, attempted to create opium that wasn't addictive. He came up with heroin.

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Opium has a long history and has destroyed individual's lives and nations together. In its modern day form it is a form of morphine or codeine. People today still become addicted to opiates and it is important for those who are addicted to seek opiate detox at a detox center to prevent it from ruining their lives.

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