A medicinal plant with many virtues disappeared for 2,000 years found in Turkey

Author: Clark Tos
2022-10-03 18:02:01

In Turkey, a professor discovered a plant that has many similarities with silphium, used 2,000 years ago in antiquity for its medicinal properties.

Mahmut Miski is a professor specializing in pharmacology at Istanbul University who made a great discovery. On Mount Hasan, in Turkey, the researcher found a plant similar to silphium, which had been missing for 2,000 years. This plants was used by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.

Photo credit: iStock

On Mount Hasan, Mahmut Miski found a Ferula Drudeana, a plant that has many similarities to silphium. Both plants have the same root and the same yellow flowers, and the Ferula Drudeana looks very similar to the silphium represented on the coins antiques.

A plant with medicinal properties

Like silphium, Ferula Drudeana would have many virtues medicinal since it would prevent the appearance of cancers and would have anti-inflammatory properties. In Antiquity, silphium was a so-called 'miraculous' plant because it was used to treat many ailments such as dental pain, epilepsy, bites, stings, pleurisy and even... baldness.

“The same chemicals are found in rosemary, calamus, artichoke, sage and galbanum, another plant in the Ferula family. It's as if we had combined half a dozen important medicinal plants into a single species.' , said Mahmut Miski.

Photo credit: iStock

Among the Romans, silphium was used in the kitchen to spice up dishes. In Rome, it was kept very carefully near the gold reserves.

The same plant hundreds of miles away

Although this is an important discovery, researchers have some doubts and do not know if Ferula Drudeana is indeed descended from silphium. Indeed, the Ferula was found several hundred kilometers from its place of origin. However, it is possible that the Greeks managed to transport this plant to Mount Hasan.

“Ancient peoples were very good at carrying things. There is no reason why the people of Cyrenaica could not manage to bring the seeds to Cappadocia and plant them. The regions are quite similar, with a Mediterranean climate. And this species of Ferula looks very similar to what is depicted on the coins” , explained Erica Rowan, associate professor of archaeobotany at Royal Holloway University in London.

To be sure, you would have to compare the two plants. But today, silphium dating back more than 2,000 years is rare...

Source : Geo