EEB202H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Libellus De Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis, Ebers Papyrus, Shanidar Cave

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Published on 17 Jan 2018
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EARLY EVIDENCE OF PLANTS USED AS MEDICINE
Skeletons discovered in Shanidar Cave in Iraq, surrounded by 8 different species of
plants that are used for medicinal use today
there is evidence that Neanderthals used plants for medicinal purposes as early as 60,000
years ago
o teeth were analyzed for traces of medicinal plants from collection of skeletons in
Spain
Poplar was found; poplar today is used to create aspirin
molded vegetation with penicillin bacteria on it was also found
earliest evidence found on Sumerian clay tablet
o contained 15 prescriptions; at least 3 used plants that we still use for medicine
today
similar in Ebers Papyrus from Egypt; contains over 700 remedies
o pain relief: thyme
o diuretics and laxatives: dill, onion, parsley
o burns and skin disease: aloe
o lecture notes
written records in Ancient China: "Pun-tsao" includes thousands of herbal cures
"Rig-Veda" in Ancient India
"Badianus manuscript" from the Aztecs: prepared as gift to Spanish colonialists
Greeks and Romans
o Hippocrates: the Father of Medicine
'disease is caused by the environment; natural causes'
o Discorides: wrote "De Materia Medica" which contained over 600 species of
plants with descriptions, instructions, and side effects
remained the standard of Medicine up until the Medieval Times
EARLY BIRTH CONTROL
Silphium:
o used for birth control and also as a food plant
o its efficacy is unknown, but it was collected to the point of extinction
o the symbol of the heart is attributed to the silphium plant
THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES
idea: God put every plant on Earth with a 'sign' of how to use it
o if a plant looks like a particular part of the body can be used to treat that part of
the body
mandrake: looks like a human; used as a cure-all for every human pain
eyebright: looks like an eye, used to eye pains
birthwort: looks like birth canal; used to birthing babies
o contains a toxic compound
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