Egyptian zythos

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(Egyptian) zythos (Greek: ζῦθος, Hebrew: sisni‎‎ (mnemonic)), Latinised as zythum), is a type of beverage used as both a recreational alcoholic beverage and as a medicine. The word zythos is the Greek version of an Egyptian word for beer.[1]

The recipe is mentioned in the third tractate of the Babylonian Talmud (42b).[2]

According to Rav Yosef b. Hiyya, it contains 13 barley, 13 safflower seed and 13 salt. Rav Papa substituted wheat for barley. The ingredients are steeped, roasted and ground before drinking.

Drinking zythos is dangerous for sick people and for pregnant women. It works as both a laxative and an antidiarrhoeal.

It is forbidden during Passover because it contains barley, thus making it chametz, although the punishment of kareth is not applicable to its consumption.


  1. ^ Marcus Jastrow. A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature. 2. 
  2. ^ Norman Solomon, ed. (2009). "Third Tractate Pesahim (The Passover)". The Talmud: A Selection. Penguin. pp. 148, 150. ISBN 978-0-14-144178-8. 

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