Home Health & Wellness New Study Reveals World’s Most Popular Medicines

New Study Reveals World’s Most Popular Medicines

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: < 1 minute

As the pharmaceutical industry develops new medicines, we often forget that new drugs would be hard to create without the old. 

Online pharmacy and trusted NHS healthcare provider, Chemist4u explores the world’s most popular medicines, focusing on their evolution across centuries. You can take a look at the entire World’s Oldest Medicines here.

Some of the key points revealed in the research include:

  • Cannabis sativa was one of the oldest medicines, dating back to 2,700 BCE.

  • Mandragora officinarum, discovered in the 3rd millennium BCE, is used to treat pesticide poisonings, morning sickness and postoperative nausea. 

  • Paracetamol has been around for nearly 150 years. 

The oldest medicines to date


Year of discovery

Name of drug

3rd millennium BCE

2,700 BCE

Cannabis sativa

2,700 BCE

Mandragora officinarum

2,700 BCE


1s millennium BCE

1st millennium BC

Hyoscyamus niger

600 B.C.


300 B.C.


6-11th century CE

10th century


11th century CE

Before 1025


Before 1025


Before 1025


16th century CE

Before 1569

Erythroxylon coca (containing cocaine)

16th century


James O’Loan, pharmacist and CEO at Chemist4U, comments: ‘It’s no surprise that medicines have been around for an extended period, but to go back to the 1st millennium or even BCE is a fantastic story in itself. Some of the most popular medicines used every day worldwide are hundreds of years old, yet I feel as though they were founded this side of the 20th century.’

‘The world of medicine continues to amaze the public with how it’s able to treat a wide range of conditions and illnesses, but should we be more amazed at their longevity? We’re still here using the same medicines to treat the same problems all these years later.’

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd