The Uses of Plants in Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome

Gavin Hardy

Speaker: Dr Gavin Hardy (University of Edinburgh) Plants have always played a prominent role in the field of medicine since the first recorded examples. From Dioscorides, a Greek physician and botanist who wrote extensively on the subject, to Hippocrates, “the father of modern medicine”, medical practitioners of the ancient world recognised the importance of herbal remedies and embraced them.

This talk investigates the history of plants in medicine during the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, giving numerous examples of the plants used, adverse effects and the folk-lore invented to discourage the layperson from discovering this knowledge and collecting the herbs themselves. Examples of illuminated manuscripts of herbals from the sixth century until the appearance of printed herbals beautifully illustrates this exploration of plants and practitioners at the birth of modern medicine.

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