In early Christian monasteries in Europe, apothecaries stocked herbal ingredients for their medicines. In the Latin names for plants created by Linnaeus, the word officinalis indicates that a plant was used in this way. For example, the marsh mallow has the classification Althaea officinalis, as it was traditionally used as an emollient to soothe ulcers. Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are other examples of medical practices that incorporate medical uses of plants.
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The ancient Greeks initially regarded illness as a divine punishment and healing as, quite literally, a gift from the gods. However, by the 5th century BCE, there were attempts to identify the material causes for illnesses rather than spiritual ones and this led to a move away from superstition towards scientific enquiry, although, in reality, the two would never be wholly separated. Greek medical practitioners, then, began to take a greater interest in the body itself and to explore the connection between cause and effect, the relation of symptoms to the illness itself and the success or failure of various treatments. Greek medical practice may have included errors, perhaps many and probably even fatal ones, but Greek practitioners had started the medical profession in the right direction. Observation, experience and experimentation meant that those who followed in Hellenistic and Roman times such as Galen and Celsus could continue their enquiries along the long road towards greater and more accurate scientific knowledge of the human body, the illnesses it is susceptible to, and the potential cures available.
We here at www.felixrarebooks.com have a few early Medical and Herbal Books, from the 17th. century to the 19th. century.
- Of Monsters and Prodigies by Ambroise Paré’, Surgeon 1573
- A Physical Directory by Nicholas Culpepper 1649
- Observationum medicinalium haud trivialium libri IV. by Augustin Thoner. 1649.
- La Pratique des Acouchements by Maitre Chirurgion 1694
- Flores Doctorum by Thomas Hybernicum 1699
- Harris’s Lexicon two vols. 1708
- Treatise on the Improvement of Midwifery by Edmund Chapman 1753
- System of Midwifery by Brudenell Eton 1766
- Select Cases in Midwifery by James Hamilton 1795
- Culpepper Herbal made of English Herbs by Nicholas Culpepper 1806
- Surgical Observations by John Abernethy 1825
- Abernethy on Syphilis John Abernethy 1826
- Practical Surgery by Robert Liston, Surgeon 1842
- Operation for Cataracts with a fine needle by Dr. Jacob 1850
- Male Organs of Generation and Reproduction by G-J. Witkowski 1880
- Neck and Trunk by G-J. Witkowski 1880
- The Ear and the Teeth by G-J. Witkowski 1880
- Female Genital Organs by G-J. Witkowski 1880
- The Skull and Brain by G-J. Witkowski 1880
- The Eye by G-J. Witkowski 1880