Why has the history of Western herbal medicine received such little research coverage in any systematic and authoritative way, even though it has figured large in both lay and learned healthcare of the past? What methods and sources are most appropriate for the study of medicinal herbs and herbal practices of the past? This collection provides historians with a coherent guide to a variety of sources in relation to medicinal plants that they have thus far lacked. Critical Approaches to the History of Western Herbal Medicine encourages a serious re-assessment of research in the history of herbal medicine and provides examples of appropriate methodologies and critical examinations of relevant sources. In this innovative collection, historians and researchers from a range of disciplines come together to share material on the identification and use of medicinal plants, the activities of people involved with herbal medicine and the investigation of past herbal therapeutic beliefs and practice. Classical and medieval scholars, social and literary historians, archaeologists and ethnobotanists all contribute to this exploration of the history of Western herbal medicine.
Foreword - Elizabeth Williamson 1. The Fragmentation of Herbal History: The Way Forward - Anne Stobart (Middlesex University, UK) and Susan Francia (independent scholar) Section I Introduction to Section 1: Revisiting the Traditional Texts: Comparative Textual Analysis and New Perspectives on Original Sources - Anne Stobart and Susan Francia 2. Early Greek Medicine: Evidence of Models, Methods and Materia medica - Vicki Pitman (independent scholar) 3. Evaluating the Content of Medieval Herbals - Anne Van Arsdall (University of New Mexico, USA) 4. Early-modern Midwifery Manuals and Herbal Practice - Elaine Hobby (Loughborough University, UK) 5. An Anatomy of The English Physitian - Graeme Tobyn (University of Central Lancashire, UK) Section II Introduction to Section 2: Using New Archival Sources: Extending the Evidence Available - Susan Francia and Anne Stobart 6. The Use of Trade Accounts to Uncover the Importance of Cumin as a Medicinal Plant in Medieval England - Susan Francia 7. Early Modern Childbirth and Herbs - The Challenge of Finding the Sources - Nicky Wesson (independent scholar) 8. Testamentary Records of the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries as a Source for the History of Herbal Medicine in England - Richard Aspin (Wellcome Library, UK) Section III Introduction to Section 3: Focusing on One Individual: Biographical and Other Textual Sources - Susan Francia and Anne Stobart 9. Galen's Simple Medicines: Problems in Ancient Herbal Medicine - John Wilkins (University of Exeter, UK) 10. Deciphering Dioscorides: Mountains and Molehills? - Alison Denham (University of Central Lancashire, UK) and Midge Whitelegg (formerly University of Central Lancashire, UK) 11. William Turner - A Milestone in Botanical Medicine - Marie Addyman (independent scholar) 12. John Parkinson: Gardener and Apothecary of London - Jill Francis (University of Birmingham, UK) Section IV Introduction to Section 4: Contributions from Other Disciplines - Susan Francia and Anne Stobart 13. Archaeological Sources for the History of Herbal Medicine Practice: The Case Study of St John's Wort with Valerian at Soutra Medieval Hospital - Brian Moffat (Soutra Hospital Archaeoethnopharmacological Research Project, Scotland) 14. How Can Ethnobotany Contribute to the History of Western Herbal Medicine? A Mesoamerican Answer - Anna Waldstein (University of Kent, UK) 15. The History of Herbal Medicine as a Developing Field - Anne Stobart and Susan Francia Glossary Bibliography Index
This is a broad investigation of sources for the history of herbal medicine ... it certainly will inform and delight researchers in this very broad field of study. -- Barbara Griggs * Herbalgram *Historical research underpinning Western herbal medicine lacks systematic and scholarly documentation, largely due to the advent of biomedicine in the early 1900s. With the acceptance of the germ theory of disease and the availability of a burgeoning array of pharmaceutical "remedies," research in the field gradually fell into decline. This book provides a solid foundation for fleshing out this important historical record. Editors Francia (St. Cross College, Univ. of Oxford, UK) and Stobart (Univ. of Exeter, UK) are both herbal medicine historians and accomplished practitioners. ... Each chapter contains an introduction, a conclusion, a recommended reading list, and notes. Authors rely on primary sources, including manuscripts and printed herbals (especially early-modern midwifery manuals); archival sources, including an innovative exploration of trade and probate accounts to determine popularity and exchange rates for cumin in medieval England; and research from art history, archaeology, ethnobotany, and other disciplines. This is an invaluable resource for readers interested in the historical aspects of herbal medicine. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners. * CHOICE *
An interdisciplinary collection that brings together work focused on the historical use of plants as medicines from various fields.