Usage of alcohol and drugs probably predates even language.Alcoholic drinks were first made in the form of wine in the Black Sea Caspian area about 10,000 years ago. Drugs and alcohol have been used always for religious and medicinal purposes.
The Dravidians were familiar with tapping the Palm tree and consumed toddy as a beverage. The Rig-Veda mentions the use of intoxicating beverages such as Soma and Sura, indicating that during the Vedic period (2000-800 BC) people used fermentation and distillation to make their drinks. The great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata make references to drinking. Drinking was a socially accepted phenomenon amongst the ruling classes. Ancient Indian medical treatises by the great physicians Charak and Shushruta dating from around 300 AD make distinctions between normal and excessive drinking and even mention the good effects of moderate drinking .[ Do we today use alcohol/drugs as they were advised or do we abuse it?]
Archaeological records indicate the presence of psychotropic plants and drug use in ancient civilizations as far back as about 200 million years ago. Roughly 13,000 years ago, the inhabitants of Timor commonly used betel nut (Areca catechu), as did those in Thailand around 10,700 years ago. Australian aborigines used nicotine from two different indigenous sources: pituri plant (Duboisia hopwoodii) and Nicotiana gossel. North and South Americans also used nicotine from their indigenous plants N. tabacum and N. rustica. Ethiopians & northern Africans were documented as having used an ephedrine-analogue, khat (Catha edulis),Cocaine (Erythroxylum coca) was taken by Ecuadorians about 5,000 years ago and by the indigenous people of the western Andes almost 7,000 years ago. The substances were administered through the buccal cavity within the cheek. Nicotine, cocaine & ephedrine sources were first mixed with an alkali substance, most often wood or lime ash, creating a free base to facilitate diffusion of the drug into the blood stream.
Alcoholic beverages were widely used in all segments of Chinese society, were used as a source of inspiration, hospitality, antidote for fatigue, were sometimes misused (Samuelson, 1878, pp. 19-20, 22, 26-27; Fei-Peng, 1982, p. 137; Simons, 199onsidre1, pp. 448-459). Laws against making wine were enacted and repealed forty-one times between 1,100 B.C- A.D. 1,400. (Alcoholism & Drug Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, 1961,P5).
In the early Middle Ages, mead made from honey( hence honey mead/ honeymoon), rustic beers, and wild fruit wines became increasingly popular, especially among Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Germans, and Scandinavians.
The Old Testament (Genesis 9:20) asserts that Noah planted a vineyard on Mt. Ararat in what is now eastern Turkey. In Sumer, beer and wine were used for medicinal purposes as early as 2,000 B.C. (Babor, 1986, p. 1)
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