Medicinal Wines

“wine mixed with herbs or spices that are
considered medicinal or therapeutic in nature”

Seti Pouring WineHistorians debate where the first medicinal wine was discovered. Naturally, every country or culture claims its own history of first creating and then extensively using medicated wine.

While recent discoveries in Egypt of medicinal wine in earthen jars have been making some headlines because of carbon dating to around CA.7000, many historians now agree that the first true medicinal wines were discovered in Jiahu, China, around CA.7500. Records from oracle bone inscriptions of medicinal wine from the Shang Dynasty of this period are the earliest relevant records to date. Unearthed from the Mawangdui Han tombs, the “52 Prescriptions” describe more than 30 medicinal wine formulations for external and oral use to treat illnesses like itching due to insect bites, snake bites, and ulcers.

20131104162832177Ancient Egypt, China, and other ancient civilizations during this period discovered that when certain herbs and spices were placed in wine, not only were the herbs and spices preserved for a long period of time, the wine virtually absorbed the nutrients from the plants, thus changing the wine compounds and making the wine medicinal. The most common ingredients for medicinal wine in ancient times were pine resin, rosemary, balm, coriander, mint, sage, ginger, garlic, and ginseng.

Ancient AmphorasAround CA.1220, the ancient Greeks unexpectedly discovered the antiseptic usage of wine. Although wine had been around for some time, Greek doctors discovered that when they applied wine on the open wounds of soldiers in battle, the wounds tended to heal faster. They also discovered that the death rate of their soldiers decreased. Later, Roman physicians adopted this same method when treating their wounded soldiers.

In ancient times, the Greeks mixed wine with water to disinfect their drinking supply. Similarly, the Roman Empire, famous for its invention of the modern water system, poured vats full of wine into their aqueducts to purify the water so that it was safe to drink. Invading Roman armies always brought vats of wine with them to mix with the local water which prevented dysentery and other stomach troubles.

In modern times, medicinal wine still holds a place in the health arena. Studies done on various red wines support the “French Paradox” wherein the French claim that those who drink red wine with their daily meals suffer fewer liver problems and cardiovascular diseases. In China, ginseng medicinal wine is considered good for the heart, improves liver issues, and improves the libido. In the West, Rose Petal medicinal wine has been catching on as a treatment for liver issues, fever, stomach troubles, and heart disease.

Research clearly shows that those who drink a moderate amount (1 glass) of wine (especially red) daily paired with a Mediterranean-type diet (healthy fats, veggies, a small amount of meat, whole grains) have less occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, mental degenerative conditions and live longer, generally healthier lives.

Black ElderberryLet’s make some medicinal wine:
Here is a version of your own medicinal wine with common ingredients you can find at the local grocer. In addition to all the wonderful attributes that wine brings, by adding the ginger and garlic, you gain immune support, and the dandelion can help support the liver and aid in digestion. This would also make a great gift for the holidays – Put it in a decorative bottle!

– Dry or sweet red wine
– Ginger
– Dandelion
– Garlic

1. Slice the ginger, dandelions, and garlic into long thin strips so they fit into the mouth of the bottle.
2. Place the ginger and dandelions inside a clean, dry bottle.
3. Fill half the bottle with wine to marinate the contents.
4. Let the contents sit in the fridge for 2 or 3 weeks. Shake the bottle twice a day.
5. After the marinating period, fill the bottle with wine and store in the fridge.


Godetevi un bicchiere di vino ,
un po ‘di buon cibo e di una vita lunga e sana – salute !



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