The Opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum), is where the drug Opium is gotten, its extracted seed pods of this plant(1).
Either Asia Minor or the adjacent Balkans is the region where the poppy was first domesticated, maybe as early as the fourth millennium B.C. The Sumerians who grew it around 3400 B.C. and called it the "Joy plant" (2).
In fact the first mention of Opium was found on Sumerian clay tablets. They were found in spiritual center for the Sumerian in an area just south of Baghdad. The tablets had information on growing the poppy and collecting the juice (3 ).
Opium has been used medically since ancient times. Europeans used it as a narcotic as early as 4000 B.C. The Muslims brought Opium to India from there its use spread to China(4 ).
Physical suffering, as far back as Hippocrates was relieved by Opium (5 ).
In about 1100 BC the Egyptians introduce Opium to the Greeks. The Greeks used it medically for pain relief and a remedy for internal diseases (6 ).
Greek physicians either ground the whole plant or used an opium extract for medical purposes. A demonstration Opium's medical utility is shown by the Greek gods of sleep Hypnos and Somnos, they are shown in illustrations either wearing of carrying poppies(7 ).
The Romans used opium medically as tinctures, tablets, poultices and lozenges(8 ). The Romans also used opium to poison their enemies or commit suicide. Hannibal (247 BC - 183BC) had a hollow ring that contained opium,it use was to commit suicide( 9 ).
Roman writer Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BC-50 A.D.) recommended Opium as a painkiller (10 ).
Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (2 A.D.- unknown) used Opium to treat people afflicted with "feverish delirium" ( 11 ).
During the Roman Empire Arab traders came to know of the drug Opium and they brought it back to Persia. They also brought opium to India, China and other places around the eighth century A.D. (12 ).
Arab physician Avicenna (980-1037 A.D.) recommended Opium for pain relief and as a cure for eye disease(13 ).
Greek physician Galen (129-199AD) recommended opium and other drugs for anesthesia(14 ).