Did Our Ancient Ancestors Discover Aspirin

It was 40,000 B.C. and a teenage Neanderthal living in northwestern Spain was tormented by a horrible toothache…

Maybe a piece of woolly rhinoceros or wild sheep got caught between his molars. Or maybe it was the pine nuts he had eaten.

Whatever it was, it developed into a painful dental abscess. This bacterial infection can lead to severe illness and even death if not treated properly.

But luckily, our young Neanderthal cousin knew how to treat both the pain from his toothache and the toxic bacterial infection that followed.

His fossilized jawbone shows that this young male ate an antibiotic fungus called Penicillium — the source of today’s penicillin drugs.

He also chewed on bits of poplar tree containing salicylic acid. That’s the active ingredient of modern-day aspirin.

This just goes to show that our ancient ancestors possessed an amazing knowledge of medicinal plants and were able to self-medicate.

Traces of “ancient aspirin” and penicillin were found in the fossilized jawbone of a young Neanderthal male.

This evidence was discovered by a research team from Australia that studied the remains of three Neanderthals from Belgium and Spain. Two of them lived 48,000 years ago. The other lived 39,000 years ago.

Our Neanderthal ancestors knew all about these lifesaving medicinal plants. It took humans another 40 millennia to make the same discovery.

Penicillin wasn’t discovered by modern medicine until 1928. Since then, synthetic antibiotics have been terribly overused. They are no longer very effective for many “super bugs.”

And Big Pharma’s painkillers, like NSAIDs — such as ibuprofen — can cause real problems for you… like ulcers, kidney issues and high blood pressure.

The risks are so serious that the FDA had to strengthen the warning label on NSAIDs. It now warns about high risks of stroke and heart failure with over-the-counter drugs.1

In fact, nearly 125,000 people die each year from FDA-approved drugs. Prescription drugs cause more than 2 million serious adverse reactions each year.

But, for 50,000 years, people relied on natural antibiotics and painkillers.

And these remedies are just as effective as many of our modern drugs. And they are safe.

Go Back to the Basics with 2 Natural Antibiotics and 3 Painkillers

Here are some of the best medicines I’ve found from herbs and other plants.

  1. Garlic. Raw garlic contains a compound that turns into allicin when we cook or eat it. It has properties similar to penicillin. It acts as an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal. Allicin is so powerful it’s even effective against MRSA, a super bug that other antibiotics can’t touch.

    The best way to get garlic is to eat two raw cloves daily. You can also supplement. Look for “aged garlic” that delivers at least 3,600 mcg of allicin (sometimes called “allicm” yield).

  2. Honey. Honey has been used since ancient times to treat multiple conditions. Studies show it improves the effectiveness of antibiotics even against super bugs like MRSA.2

    Manuka honey is the most healing type of honey. Use it for wound care and digestive problems as well as sore throats, colds, dermatitis, acne, sinusitis, acid reflux and heartburn. It’s available in health food stores and online. Make sure it’s from New Zealand. Look for honey labeled UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). UMF 10 and above is therapeutic grade.

  3. White Willow Bark. This plant contains salicin, the same compound found in aspirin. It comes from a tree native to Europe and Asia. Hippocrates had his patients chew on white willow bark to reduce inflammation. Studies show it relieves arthritis pain as well as lower back pain.3

    White willow bark won’t upset your stomach like aspirin might. You can find it in health food stores or online. I recommend 240 mg per day.

  4. Frankincense. This contains enzymes that block a hormone-like chemical in your body called prostaglandin e2 (PGe2). By directly attacking PGe2, frankincense stops inflammation before it starts. Studies show it relieves pain as effectively as Big Pharma painkillers.

    I suggest taking 400 mg three times a day. Frankincense is also available as an essential oil. You can place a drop or two under your tongue. Or dilute a drop in a glass of water or a teaspoon of honey.

  5. Holy Basil. (Ocimum sanctum Linn). This herb has a long history, since ancient times, of treating arthritis pain. It contains dozens of nutrients that reduce inflammation. One of the most powerful is called ursolic acid. It fends off the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme. But it has none of the nasty side effects of pain drugs. And clinical studies prove holy basil relieves pain and reduces inflammation.4

    You can buy holy basil tea at most health food stores or on the Internet. Holy basil capsules are also for sale online. Make sure the product you’re buying has at least 2.5% ursolic acid to get the anti-inflammatory effect. I suggest 150 mg three or four times a day.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS

1. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA strengthens warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart attacks or strokes. July 9, 2015 (updated February 26, 2018)

2. Müller P., et al. “Synergism between Medihoney and Rifampicin against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).” PLOS One. 2013.
3. Chrubasik S., et al. “Treatment of low back pain exacerbations with willow bark extract: A randomized double-blind study.” Am J Med. 2000.
4. Cohen MM. “Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.” J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014.