The magic word “abracadabra” was originally used in an attempt to treat malaria.

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Serenus Sammonicus, doctor to Emperor Caracella of Rome, prescribed this incantation to malaria sufferers. He said that the word must be inscribed on an amulet that was to be worn by the afflicted!

Malaria outbreaks usually occurred in the late summer when the dog star, “Sirius”, would disappear in the glow of the sun. Malaria was referred to as the “rage of the Dog Star” because it would happen in the time called “caniculares dies”, literally “the dog days of summer”.

Not sure why I felt like putting up Arrested Development pictures today.
(source)

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