The History Of Sapphires In Medical Use
During the 12th to 14th centuries, members of the Christian clergy became interested in “lithotherapy” – the practice of using gemstones to heal the sick. The father of the modern botany and zoology, Dominican monk Albertus Magnus (c. 1193-1280), was one of many serious scholars who dabbled in the study of lithotherapy. Skeptics were dismissed as heretics, and scholars who did not enthusiastically support tenets of lithotherapy were threatened with excommunication. The Christian clergy were not the only scholars fascinated with the power of sapphires. Alchemists also sought to harness their legendary powers. Sapphires were also the favorite stone of necromancers, who employed them to summon spirits of the dead for prophecy and black magic.
General Medical Applications
In ancient times, sapphires have been used to protect the wearer by boosting the immune system. They were said to calm overactive body systems, treat disorders of the blood, and regulate the glands. They were believed to alleviate the suffering caused by rheumatism, allergies, biliousness, hiccups, and cancer. They were even said to cure chronic fevers and epilepsy. Blue sapphire was thought to increase the lifespan end headaches, nightmares, and nosebleeds when placed on the forehead.
The ancient Egyptians used ground sapphires for eye-washes! The idea that sapphires were beneficial for the eyes persisted through the Middle Ages. The Dominican monk, Albertus Magnus (1327-1377) recorded that he saw a sapphire remove a foreign body from the eye. In 1391, a sapphire was donated to St. Paul’s Church in London by Richard-de-Preston, a grocer, so that it might cure the eye ailments of pius petitioners.
Mental Health And General Well-Being
Early medieval writers believed that sapphires could reduce outbreaks of rage, dispel malicious behavior, and repel envy. They were considered helpful for treating colic, mental illness, and hysteria, and they were considered a good antidepressant.
The location where sapphires are worn also bestows particular health benefits:
- Index (first) finger:
- Eases ailments of the stomach and respiratory system.
- Second (middle) finger:
- Strengthens the mind, liver, and spleen.
- Third finger:
- Aids the kidneys and circulatory system. It is also the best place to wear a ring if you wish for happiness and joy.
- Little finger:
- Bolsters the reproductive system, knees, legs, and feet.
Besides medical and religious practices the involved sapphires, spiritual uses for these stones have also been devised throughout the years. In Spiritual Properties of Sapphires we discuss these perceived benefits.