For when your head feels like someone's pulling your brain out through your nose: 1,900-year-old papyrus reveals ancient Egyptian cure for a hangover
- Hangover treatment found in documents uncovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt
- The texts included 24 new 'recipes' for preventing the spread of ulcers and treating hemorrhoids, toothache, gangrene and various eye conditions
- One text provides advice for treating a 'drunken headache' by stringing the leaves of the evergreen shrub Alexandrian chamaedaphne around the neck
For most people a hangover will have them reaching for the painkillers and greasy breakfast, but those living in ancient Egypt had a rather different approach.
Historians have discovered a 1,900-year-old hangover cure written on an ancient Egyptian papyrus.
Written in Greek, one of the medical recipes offers advice for how to tackle a 'drunken headache' - with the leaves of a shrub called Alexandrian chamaedaphne, or sometimes Alexandrian laurel.
The text recommends stringing the leaves of the evergreen plant, also called Ruscus racemosus, together and possibly wearing it around the neck.
Alexandrian chamaedaphne, sometimes called Dane racemosa (above) was recommended as a cure for hangovers in Egypt 1,900 years ago by stringing the leaves in a garland that was hung around the neck
While the text recommends this as a way of relieving headaches brought on by alcohol, it is not known if it had any effect.
The treatment was discovered as part of an ongoing effort to translate the Oxyrhynchus papyrus - more than 500,000 documents found at the ancient Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus, about 100 miles south of Cairo.
The hangover treatment was one of 24 new medical texts that are the latest to be translated - the 101st volume of translations to be published.
Among the documents, researchers at the University of Oxford and University College London have found 11 versions of known medical texts by Galen and Hippocrates alongside the new medical texts.
They also found four documents that appeared to be doctors notes.
Professor Vivian Nutton, a historian at University College London who was one of those taking part in the translations, said: 'It is the largest single collection of medical papyri to be published.'
The papyrus were discovered during excavations at Oxyrhynchus in 1890 by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt from Queen's College at the University of University.
Around 10 per cent of the papyri have been found to be literary and many are private documents, codes, registers, official correspondence, tax records, bills, leases, horoscopes and inventories.
The papryi are owned by the Eypte Exploration Society and kept at the Sackler Library at the University of Oxford.
The medical documents all date from the first century AD to the sixth century AD.
It is thought the hangover cure may have been necessary as many ancient societies drank wine rather than water, which was unsanitised.
The newly translated medical texts also include recipes for helping to halt the spread of ulcers, others for treating hemorrhoids, toothache, gangrene and a dozen for treating eye conditions.
This papyrus is an example of texts discoverd at Oxyrhynchus and features Euclid's Elements of Geometry
The documents were found at the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt around 100miles (160km) form Cairo
Ancient Egyptians would did not have modern hangover cures and used strings of leaves instead, according to new translations of 1,900 year old texts found at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Image above posed by a model
One recipe for treating a discharge of mucus from the eyes called rheum, uses a mixture of copper flakes, antimony oxide, white lead, washed lead dross, starch, dried roses, rain water, gum Arabic, poppy juice and a plant called Celtic spikenard.
Another gruesome text explains the technique for eye surgery to treat someone whose eyelid had turned inside out.
While fragmented, it still makes unpleasant reading.
It says: 'the eye... i began... by the temple... the other from the temple... to remove with a small round-bladed knife... the edge fo the eyelid from outside... from within until I scooped out.'