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Medicinal plants

(3,044 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
CH Greek Latin name Main areas of use in antiquity Modern medical Identification Common Diosc. Plin. HN (*1) (*2) name (*3) (selection) (*4) properties (*5) (*6) name (*7) (*8) 1 87 smýrna balsamum, myrrha 69 + 18 (ophthalmology , wound treatment) ? Commiphora abyssinica Engl. Myrrh 1,64 12,66-71 2 72 kýminon cuminum 51 + 21 (stomach complaints , fever) adstringent, peptogenic, emmenagogic, lactogenic, stomachic Cuminum cyminum L. Cumin 3,59 20,159-162 3 63 helléboros elleborum, elleborus 16 + 47 (consumption , purification , hydropsy , rheumatism) Veratrum album: antirheumatic, H.…

Poisons

(822 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (ἰός/ iós and φάρμακον/ phármakon sc. δηλητήριον/ dēlētḗrion, lat. virus and venenum). Poisons were not distinguished according to their origin (animal or plant), but according to the manner in which they were introduced to the body: inoculation (sting: πληγή/ plēgḗ, ictus; bite: δάκος/ dákos, morsus) or oral absorption (πόσις/ pósis, potus); common to all is the definition of a substance affecting the organism. Starting with the Epic Cycle, there is documentary evidence of animal and plant poisons as well as plants with magical or respectively h…

Philumenus

(419 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (Φιλούμενος; Philoúmenos). Author of a treatise on poisonings (Περὶ ἰοβόλων ζῴων καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς βοηθημάτων, 'On poisonous animals and medicines extracted from them') that has only been passed down to us in the MS Vat. Gr. 284 (10th cent. AD). P.'s period of writing in any case later than Galenus - the work is structured following the model of the latter's treatise on toxicology - and it must have appeared before that of Oribasius who quotes him, i.e. it must be dated to the 2nd …

Oribasius

(761 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (Ὀρειβάσιος/ Oreibásios or Oribasios/Ὀριβάσιος). Greek doctor and author of medical treatises, b. around AD 320 in Pergamum, d. around AD 390/400 in an unknown location. After studying in Alexandria, O., who was not a Christian, returned to Pergamum. Once there, he practised medicine and gained an outstanding reputation as a doctor as well as a highly cultured man. He was a friend of the future emperor Iulianus [11], whom he had got to know possibly during Julian’s stay in Pergamum…

Petron(as)

(169 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (Πετρωνᾶς, Petronâs often abbrev. to: Πέτρων, Pétrōn). Greek physician from Aegina, datable by the information that Ariston was his pupil (Anth. Pal. 546F); this Ariston is regarded as the author of the Hippocratic treatise Perì diaítēs ( De diaeta acutorum) dated to c. 400 BC, and Galen calls him παλαιός ('ancient') (CMG 9,1, 135,4). Although Celsus [7] places P. between Hippocrates and the Hellenistic physicians (3,9,2), P.'s medical views, which according to the Anonymus Londinensis (20,1) place him partly in associati…

Herodicus

(436 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] [1] From Megara, teacher in Selymbria, 5th cent. BC Paidotribḗs from Megara who settled in Selymbria, contemporary of Protagoras. His birth was estimated to around 500 BC [2. 200f.] and his death in old age to around 430-420 [5. 53]. After Plato had attributed to him the development of a new form of therapy, he was regarded as the author of a small work [1. 979, l. 21f.] despite the absence of any evidence that he had written anything at all or even, despite Anon. Londiniensis IX, 20-36, that he had an explicit, elabo…

Methodists

(841 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] 1st-century AD medical school. Its representatives explicitly defined themselves as Methodists (μεθοδικοί; methodikoí), as it was their goal to base the practice of medicine on a single simple method (μέθοδος; méthodos) that they could teach to anyone in just a few words. Extant are only the gynaecological treatise of Soranus,a Latin translation of his pathological writings by Caelius [II 11] Aurelianus and doxographic fragments, e.g. POxy. 3654 [1. 382-386, 388-390], probably a medical textbook from the time of Galenus. …

Physica Plinii

(336 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] Renaissance title of a Latin book of formulae, based largely on the Medicina Plinii and written in the 5th/6th cents. AD. There are three recensions: 1. Sangallensis (6th/7th cents.) in three books (not yet published; titles of the chapters: [6. 41-55]; contains numerous incantations [5]); 2. Bambergensis [3], dated to the 5th/6th cents., but possibly more recent, and divided into three books; 3. Florentino-Pragensis [11; 10; 7] in five books (including the Medicinae ex oleribus et pomis of Gargilius [4] Martialis and the Liber dietarum diversorum medicorum by …

Kollyrion

(385 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (κολλύριον; kollýrion, Lat. collyrium and βάλανος/ bálanos: Caelius Aurelianus, De morbis acutis 2,83; De morbis chronicis 2,39). Pharmaceutical form for administering medicinal substances, in local applications. These were pulverished and made into a uniform paste with binders, as is evident from the etymology ( kollýra: small, round bread roll without yeast [2. 145], bread dough [1. 556]). The kollyrion's two main types of use determine its form and function: a small cone was formed for insertion into anatomical or pathological orifice…

Infibulation

(133 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (κρίκωσις; kríkōsis, κρικοῦσθαι; krikoûsthai, infibulare). Placement of a ring (κρίκος; kríkos) or a fibula, minor surgery on the penis described by Celsus (7,25,2) and by Oribasius (50,11). The operation entailed tightening a thread through perforations in the foreskin until it would close no farther. A ring (or fibula) was then attached to prevent exposure of the glans. In some cases at least, it could be removed. Celsus considers the operation to be much more frequently useless than necessary and sees behind it health motives and an attempt t…

Ichor

(165 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (ἰχώρ; ichṓr). The word has been connected to the Aramaic or Hebrew root meaning ‘dignity’, ‘splendour’, with possible etymological overlap of the Sumerian root meaning ‘blood’ and the Akkadian root meaning ‘to pour’. In Homer (Il. 5,340; cf. 416), the word denotes the lifeblood of the gods as opposed to regular blood that is produced by eating bread and drinking wine. Ichor also appears in Aeschylus (Ag. 1479f., 458 BC), where the word denotes a fluid which is discharged from wounds that will not close. In the 4th cent., it is more common …

Disease

(3,935 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] A. Terminology Νόσος/ nósos (Ionic νοῦσος/ noûsos, ‘D’.; etym.: ‘being weakened’) describes disease in an imagery of aggression, which remained in use for a long time [17], as a result of external (divine) or internal origin, which ‘ruled over people and struck them down’ (e.g.: ἱερὰ νόσος; hierà nósos, ‘the sacred disease’, epilepsy). From about the 5th cent. BC, the term was increasingly rivalled by the derivation nósēma [30], perhaps an expression coined by the Sophists; in any case, it rapidly spread through the medical world. It does not hav…

Medicina Plinii

(278 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] Compilation of medical texts written in Latin and attributed in the MSS to an otherwise unknown Plinius Secundus Iunior. Mentioned by Marcellus [8] Empiricus, it is generally accepted to date back to the early 4th cent. AD or even slightly before that. The compilation starts with the author's declaration of his intention to prevent the counterfeiting of medicinal products whose ingredients he then lists together with the relevant composition. The work consists of three books. Bk. 1-2: medicinal preparations, ordered accor…

Placitus Papyriensis

(271 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] Name of the author to whom is ascribed the Liber medicinae ex animalibus from the corpus also containing Ps.-Musa, De herba vettonica, Ps.-Apuleius, Herbarius, the anonymous treatise De taxone and Ps.-Dioscorides, De herbis feminis. As the work borrows from Marcellus' [8] De medicamentis, it would appear to date from the 1st half of the 5th cent. AD. The author, who is sometimes confused with Sextus Platonicus, is unknown and may be historically dubious, especially since text [5. 233-286] and illustrations [6] are atteste…

Philtron

(194 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (φίλτρον/ phíltron, Latin philtrum; also στέργηθρον/ stérgēthron and θέλκτρον ἔρωτος/ thélktron érōtos; Latin amatorium, pocula desiderii or amoris). Generally a love charm, more often instruments of such a charm (e.g. the tunic of Deianira, Soph. Trach. 584, 1144), usually made from plants, sometimes with mineral and animal substances. Phíltra were used in two ways: 1. The substances were burned in a magical ritual carried out by a professional sorcerer using additional materials (lead plates carrying magical formulae, a statu…

Malaria

(416 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] The term malaria covers a polymorphous complex of feverous diseases whose origin can be traced back to the parasite plasmodium carried by the anopheles mosquito. In antiquity, malaria could be distinguished by some of its symptoms: recurrent attacks of fever, particularly of three and four-day duration, swelling of the spleen (splenomegalia) or black urine. Aetiologially the feverous diseases were related to swampy regions, especially within the framework of climatic medicine. Treatment was symptom-…

Enema

(440 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] ( klystḗr/ klystḗrion, Lat. clyster/ clysterium; also klŷsma/ klysmós and éngklysma, derived from klýzein/ engklýzein, Lat. inicere: to pour, to rinse, and enetḗr/ énema, from: eniénai: to inject) or clyster: pharmaceutical substance of, and device for, administering parenteral (in this case, often in combination with the adverb kátō or the verb hypoklýzein) or (in gynaecological treatises) vaginal injections of therapeutic solutions. The instrument consisted of a flexible and compressible container (animal skin or bladder) with two opening…

Uroscopy

(364 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] Medical analysis of the urine (οὖρον/ ron, Latin urina) of a sick person for diagnosis (or  prognosis). Ancient sources: the Corpus Hippocraticum (Hippocrates [6]; Hippoc. Aphorismi 4,69-73; Hippoc. Prognosticon 12; also the comm. by Galen 17,2,750-763 and 18,2,146-165), Rufus [5] of Ephesus ( De renum et vesicae affectionibus) respectively, Galen (De crisibus 9,594-607), the Corpus Galenicum (De urinis 19,574-601; De urinis compendium 19,602-608; De urinis ex Hippocrate et Galeno 19,609-628; De signis ex urinis [1]) and the encyclo…

Heras

(286 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] Greek doctor from Cappadocia who practiced in Rome. He explained his medication-based therapy, dated to between 100 BC and AD 40, in a treatise that has been dated [1. 242-246] to between 20 BC and AD 20. The recipes, which characteristically tend to be composite, indicate a late date. H.'s origin and the classicism of his medical material suggest an association with the ‘School of Tarsus’ [2], as it may be called, or at least permit classification with the current that it represents. Apart from a papyrus fragment [3], we have 25 quotes in Galen, of which 20 ap…

Temperament

(493 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
[German version] (κράσις/ krásis, Latin mixtio, 'mixture'; complexio, temperatio, temperamentum). Medical term (in physiology, pathology and pharmacology). Continuing the theories of the first Greek philosophers concerning nature (Natural philosophy), especially on the four elements (Elements, theories of) together with their qualities, krásis describes the 'mixture' of materials and thus of specific characteristics which are individually constitutive for the psychology of every subject (e.g. Emp. 31 B 6,96 DK). In the ancient humoral …
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