Use of Ancient texts in
modern therapeutic research

by
Fabre A.
Rev Hist Pharm (Paris). 2003;51(338):239-50


ABSTRACT

Two main purposes were assigned to this study of medicinal prescription of spices at the time of the Roman Empire: analyze Roman pharmacopoeia of spices in reference to modern criteria and assess a new discipline, close to "ethno-botany" and "ethno-pharmacology", aiming to a new approach of drug research: "archeopharmacology". A brief overview is given of the Roman world of spices : all aromatic substances from Orient, India and Far-East held a major place which can only be compared to the role of petroleum in our modern times. The study is conducted on a thesaurus of 2600 quotations from twelve authors: Apicius, Caelius Aurelianus, Cassius Felix, Celsus, Dioscorides, Galen, Marcellus,(Anonymous) Mulonmedicina, Pelagorius, Pliny the Elder, Serenus Sammonicus and Scribonius Largus and a set of 33 medicinal spices among which: cyperus, ferulas (Asa foetida), frankincense, pepper, myrrh and saffron. Medicinal use of spices (mainly for pneumology, dermatology and gastroenterology) do not differ notably from the rest of Roman pharmacopoeia: the main criteria for prescription of spices is not their place of origin but a "therapeutic profile" which is clearly assigned to each substance by tradition. During the last decades, new methods of therapeutic research: ethno-botany and ethno-pharmacology have been used extensively to explore traditional medicines. A new discipline is ready to emerge: "archeo-pharmacology", aiming towards a drug research based on Ancient texts.
People
Antiquity
Anaesthesia
Obstetric anesthesia
Inhaled anaesthetics
Molecular mechanisms
The spongia somnifera
Chloroform anaesthesia
'My beloved chloroform'
'The secularisation of pain'



Refs
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general-anaesthesia.com
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