Not just a fascination for the eye, amber has long been known as a mysteriously powerful natural medicine. With it’s formation over 45 million years ago Baltic amber truly possesses healing power since time immemorial.
In Chiapas, Mexico, men burrowed into the mountain side lit by a single candle and armed with a simple pick to retrieve the supernatural fossilised sap of ancient trees … Amber. It was worn most popularly as a nose stud and was said to give the wearer courage and freedom from fear. While this Mexican amber contains very little succinic acid (less than 3%), it was still awed and admired. Baltic amber, on the other hand, contains between 3 and 8% succinic acid, so its’ powers are even more intensified. Such powers have long since been known and include improving immunity, energy, acid balance, and working as a powerful antioxidant.
In 1886, Robert Kock (Nobel Prize winner and pioneer of modern bacteriology) analysed succinic acid and confirmed its’ positive influence on the human organism. But well before, the father of medicine himself, Hippocrates (460-377BC), recognised and described the medicinal powers of Baltic amber. In ancient Rome it was used to protect against disease. Calistratus, a famous physician, said that it prevented madness and could cure the throat, ears, eyes and stomach. And Pliny the younger also wrote that amulets were worn to help swollen glands and sore throats and palates. Persians also recognised amber’s powers and in Asian countries it was formed into a syrup that was used to tranquilise and stop spasms. In the Middle Ages alchemists were more than familiar with succinic acid and put it to good use, even to help jaundice. Albert the Great (born in 1193) believed that Baltic amber was the most effective medicine of the time. In the eastern countries, such as in Lithuanian tribes, amber incense was used to ward off evil spirits, strengthen the human spirit and purify the soul. Its’ uses are so varied that before World War I a tincture of amber and vodka was even used to increase sexual potency. Its’ teething uses have also been applied for a long time, becoming popular in reducing the pain of teeth cutting through in babies well before World War II in Germany.
In recent times succinic acid has been employed by the pharmaceutical industry, especially in the USA and Russia, for use in many medicines (mostly for its’ anti-ageing properties).
It is clear that from alchemists to artists alike the powers of amber have long since inspired and awed. Why wouldn’t we embrace its’ powers to restore general well being and appreciate its’ beauty while we’re at it.