Heroes, demiurges and titans
The anabolic virtues of plants on the human body have been known since the dawn of time. China and Korea were, as early as 3 BC, major consumers of ginseng for its properties on resistance to effort. The primitive populations of Africa as those of America already had recourse respectively to the Kola nut and the coca leaf. The word doping itself comes from the term “dop”, an alcoholic drink allowing to enter into a trance during religious holidays.
But it is obviously from the Greeks, with the ancient Olympic Games, that the most precise doping stories come back to us. Since the start of competitions in 776 BC. In AD, historians have written about substances used by athletes to improve their performance. There are many references to specialists who gave them advice and magical concoctions before the tests. Antiquity was already full of Ferrari doctors! The oldest texts report the absorption of very large quantities of sheep testes. Such a diet had the effect of drastically increasing the level of testosterone - the same hormone that is exploited today through anabolic steroids. The term anabolic comes from the Greek “anaballo” meaning “to push back”. At that time, the belief in transposing the attributes of an animal to whoever consumes it was widespread. Thus, Milo of Croton reports that the wrestlers devoured a titanic quantity of pork to inherit their build. The jumpers threw themselves on the goat meat… to jump higher. Boxers and pitchers were turning to bull meat. Red Bull did not invent anything! As early as the third century BC, the Olympians tried to improve their performance by consuming mushrooms, as evidenced by the writings of Philostratus. Herbaceous beverages, alcohol-based decoctions such as mead, or strychnine and hallucinogens were therefore very popular. Sage even had the favors of Roman sportsmen.