Wine is one of the oldest drinks in the world: people learned very quickly to ferment various plants to get an alcoholic beverage. But it was used as more than just an enjoyable drink, alcohol was used in many medicinal ways, and it still is.
For thousands of years, since the cultivation of grains and the discovery that fruit can ferment, people have been drinking wines and beers. But it was also a much safer bet for ancient peoples: unlike water, which was oftentimes dangerous to drink from bacteria within the water, alcohol had antiseptic properties that rendered it sterile, both perfect for safe drinking and for applying to open wounds to clean.
Some analyses of ancient Egyptian jars from between 5000 BCE and 1500 BCE show not only alcohol residues from wine stored within them, but the jars also hold various plants often used in herbal remedies, such as coriander, balm, and rosemary, all used to treat various symptoms of sickness. So in addition to the antiseptic properties alcohol had, ancient peoples may have mixed it with other remedies, making a sort of alcoholic tea that could treat many symptoms all at once, in a single delicious drink.
Today, wine and alcohol are often consumed for the effects of its high: getting drunk, or at the very least the buzz. But studies have shown that moderate amounts of red wines can reduce heart disease and other ailments, while other alcohols in moderation have other benefits. We don’t often mix it with herbal remedies anymore, but it is still shown to have a positive effect on the human body.