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Herbs found in ancient wine

Herbs have been detected in a wine jar that dates back to 5100BC from the tomb of one of ancient Egypt's first rulers providing concrete evidence of herbal remedies in alcoholic beverages which had previously only been referred to in medical documents some 1500 years later.

The study by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology carried out tests on one of 700 jars buried with Scorpion I in his tomb at Abydos. As well as wine the tests detected tree resin, which was used as a preservative and for medical purposes, and other chemicals that make up various herbs.

The researchers cannot positively identify the herb or herb combinations found but its likely that herbs from the eastern Mediterranean that fit the chemicals found in the wine might include coriander, balm, mint, sage, senna, germander, savory and thyme.