Specimens of Trade: Medical Treatments and Knowledge from Herbal Texts over Time and Space

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Abstract Summary
Recent research in the area of drug discovery highlights both the value and challenges of utilising historical botanical sources to identify plant species with pharmaceutical potential. Focusing on herbals, this paper reflects on the use of digitisation in research that seeks to trace the exchange of food and medical plant species across cultures and time. The plant knowledge exchanged will be considered within both the sociocultural contexts of the indigenous medical systems and political climates in which they were documented and the context of this knowledge transfer over time. To demonstrate this, an ethnobotanical database was created from archival sources. The traditional uses, preparations, and scientific evidence for selected species of this ongoing project will be presented as reflections of the individuals responsible for their documentation and case studies of the circulation and exchange of medical knowledge.
Abstract ID :
HSS968
Submission Type
Chronological Classification :
Cultural and cross-cultural contexts, including colonialism in general
Self-Designated Keywords :
traditional medicine, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, history of pharmacy, natural history, spices and medicine, museum collections, herbarium, trade and empire

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