Pearls in Medicine & Mythology

 

Since their discovery centuries ago, pearls have always been thought to hold medicinal properties. Although many of the uses for them have now been discredited, they are still used in some modern medicines.

 

Low quality pearls that cannot be used as jewellery are often ground down to a fine powder and used to produce high quality calcium used in pharmaceuticals, given to those who suffering from calcium deficiency or an upset stomach. This pearl powder contains tiny pearl particles which contain around 15 amino acids that are essential the human body.

 

Pearl powder is also used in modern cosmetics including conditioning creams, foundations and other skin enhancing products. It can be made into potions and balms, but is far more popular in Asia than in Europe.

 

In China the use of pearl powder for medicinal purposes is still popular today, with many believing that pearls have anti-aging properties, can fight cancer, and can help to treat thyroid disease. It is believed that it can cure acne and prolong life expectancy too. Taken internally it is said that it can improve vision, prevent disease and promote tissue growth.

 

As far back as the 13th Century, a German monk believed that pearls treated mental disorders, haemorrhages and dysentery (which could be where the calcium pearl powder for an upset stomach comes from). Throughout history, others have recorded pearls as aphrodisiacs, plus cures for sleep disorders, melanomas, stomach ulcers and depression. One particular old legend stated that placing a pearl in the navel would cure a stomach disorder.

 

Read our blog post about pearls throughout history to see how important they have always been to many different cultures.

 

Non-physical effects of wearing pearls that have been speculated and/or believed by some include the idea that pearls eliminate emotional imbalances and stress, can make you look younger, reduce wrinkles and will bring love, happiness and success.

 

Throughout mythology, pearls have been attributed with great powers. Believed to be gifts from the gods in many cultures, pearls are beautiful and rare. In Hindu culture, pearls are symbols of love and purity, associated with the moon and are given to brides on their wedding day. Hindu texts say that when Krishna discovered the first pearl, he presented it to his daughter on her wedding day.

 

In the Qur'an, pearls are said to be one of the rewards found in paradise, and they are symbols of perfection. The Islamic tradition holds pearls in very high regard. In Christianity, the pearl is a symbol of purity, similar to within Hindu traditions. They also symbolise tears, ward off evil and provide love and fertility.

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