7 Unusual historical remedies against Insomnia

We review some of the most curious and extravagant methods of other times to induce restful sleep and escape insomnia. You will find recipes that include breast milk, magnets or rodent fat.

Currently, there are different technological devices to combat insomnia, as well as home remedies and keys that contribute to a restful sleep. There are numerous sleep scientists who share their advice for a good sleep, such as adopting the right posture, respecting sleep cycles according to circadian rhythms, playing sports regularly, avoiding stimulants after noon, sleeping between seven and eight hours daily, say goodbye to the smartphone for a while before going to bed and not having dinner too copiously.

But in other periods and pre-industrial civilizations such as the Egyptian or Greco-Roman the remedies were others. It should be noted that some of these cures were based on superstitions and myths, they contained very peculiar ingredients and while some were effective, others were even dangerous for the insomniac's health. Do you want to know what they are?

7 extravagant ancient cures for insomnia

  • Infusion of wild lettuce: 1,600 years before ours was the Egyptians used wild lettuce as a remedy for various ailments and the Romans ate it to get a good night's sleep. The tradition of ingesting this infusion that lasts in rural areas of France. Wild lettuce, or Wild lettuce, has psychoactive potential and contains similar sedative substances, in structure and activity, to opium although much less potent.
  • Lily fat: Seeing how the lilies fattened before hibernating, the Romans assumed that smearing their feet with rodent fat would be very useful for conquering the seventh heaven.
  • Magnetism: In the Victorian era it was believed that magnets could cure everything, from hair loss to indigestion, and the same applied to sleep. Charles Dickens swore that orienting his bed to the north would be useful in defeating insomnia.
  • Breast milk: 16th-century French doctor Antonio Mizauld suggested that patients rub their eyebrows with rose water, vinegar and an ointment smeared with breast milk.
  • Chicken eye: The ancient Mesoamerican peoples believed that the ailments of the body came from the depths of the spirit. To recover the sleep lost from restlessness, they used infusions of a plant known as ‘hen's eye’ (Galphimia Glauca), whose active compound has an effect on the central nervous system that relaxes and induces sleep.
  • Hemlock: Surprisingly, in 1879 the Canadian Journal of Medical Science recommended hemlock. Seeing that the poisonous plant could make you sleep forever, it is seen that they did not calculate very well the consequences of the drastic remedy.
  • Passionflower: Also called Passion Flower, it is still used today for people with depression who fail to fall asleep. It is native to the forests of the east coast of the USA, and is considered a sedative, ideal for calming nervous tension, hyperactivity, and insomnia. The procedure consists of taking a teaspoon by an infusion with water between 15 minutes and half an hour before getting into bed.