Thesis ID: CBB328743102

Unearthing Botanical Medicaments: A History of Plant-derived Therapies in Modern American Medicine (2018)


This dissertation examines the transformative presence of plants in American allopathic medicine over the last two centuries. Within this span of time, plants have dominated the pharmacopeia, fallen out of therapeutic vogue, and now, it would appear, research interest in their therapeutic potential is on the uptick. Each chapter within this dissertation focuses on a different vantage point to analyze historical medical knowledge of plant-derived remedies. Chapter one scans the course catalogs of various American pharmaceutical colleges; pinpointing the moments when whole-plant remedies lost relevance and then lost a place within the American pharmaceutical curricula. Chapter two traces the evolving representation of plants in the United States Pharmacopoeia ; utilizing Robert Proctor’s concept of agnotology to characterize the removal of knowledge from this canon of therapeutics. A third chapter examines the use of medicinal wine, a plant-derived remedy, in allopathic medicine within the context of cultural concern and regulatory limitations over alcoholism and alcohol consumption. And the final chapter discusses how the structure of science facilitated novel research pathways to reassert plants as potentially valuable for a modern pharmacopeia. This dissertation offers a modern history of plants as medical objects. It traces a transformation of plant-derived therapies, from their whole-plant form as a cornerstone of pharmacy education and medical practice; to their gradual reductionism and multi-faceted displacement; to their modern resurgence from an entirely different industry. The histories in each chapter can stand alone, but their common thread makes them a cohesive representation of how significant pharmaceutical objects – drugs derived from plants – have been transformed over a span of two centuries to remain ever-present within the American medical compendium.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Friedrich, Christoph; Bernschneider-Reif, Sabine; (2003)
Rosarium litterarum: Beiträge zur Pharmazie- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte: Festschrift für Peter Dilg zum 65. Geburtstag (/isis/citation/CBB000780042/)

Article Günergun, Feza; (2009/2010)
Asuman Baytop Festschrift / Asuman Baytop Armagani'ni Sunarken (/isis/citation/CBB001220715/)

Book Aliotta, Giovanni; Piomelli, Daniele; Pollio, Antonino; Touwaide, Alain; (2003)
Le piante medicinali del Corpus Hippocraticum (/isis/citation/CBB000350401/)

Article Morales Sarabia, Angélica; Aceves Pastrana, Patricia; (2011)
Los materiales de la Real Expedición Botánica a la Nueva España, en el contexto del naturalismo mexicano de finales del siglo XIX (/isis/citation/CBB001220803/)

Book Stuart, David C.; (2004)
Dangerous Garden: The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives (/isis/citation/CBB000600587/)

Article Ambjörn, Lena; (2006-2007)
Qusṭā ibn Lūqā on the Preparation of Purgative Drugs, Edition, Translation and Commentary (/isis/citation/CBB001024030/)

Article Yildirim, Rifat Vedat; (2013)
Estudios sobre De Materia Medica de Dioscórides en la Era Islámica (/isis/citation/CBB001450456/)

Chapter Roxo Beltran, Maria Helena; (2000)
El Liber de Arte distillandi y la divulgación de conocimientos sobre matéria médica y farmacia (/isis/citation/CBB000101365/)

Article Paschal, Ashley; McNabney, Justin; Hanson, Bryan; (2005)
The Prescribing Habits and Materia Medica of Dr. William D. Hutchings (/isis/citation/CBB000600487/)

Chapter Ricordel, Joëlle; (2005)
Quantifier la force des médicaments composés: des exemples en médecine arabo-musulmane (/isis/citation/CBB000775002/)

Article Marcum, J. A.; (2000)
The origin of the dispute over the discovery of heparin (/isis/citation/CBB000111174/)

Article Mohammed, Mahmoud Al-Haj Kassim; (2001)
Kitāb Taqueem Al-Ādwia or Al-Monjiḥ fee Al-Tadawy min Ṣinof Al-Amrāḍ wa Al-Shakay (/isis/citation/CBB000751057/)

Book Meldrum, Marcia; (2003)
Opioids and Pain Relief: A Historical Perspective (/isis/citation/CBB000771241/)

Book Philip Rieder; François Zanetti; (2018)
Materia medica : Savoirs et usages des médicaments aux époques médiévales et modernes (/isis/citation/CBB662582919/)

Authors & Contributors
Beltran, Maria Helena Roxo
Huguet-Termes, Teresa
Marcum, J. A.
Piomelli, Daniele
Touwaide, Alain
Aliotta, Giovanni
Medical History
Pharmacy in History
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Journal for the History of Arabic Science
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
Guerini e Associati
Harvard University Press
IASP Press
Librairie Droz
Materia medica
Medicine, herbal
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Hippocrates of Cos
Hutchings, William D.
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Hartlieb, Johannes
Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus
Qusṭā Ibn Lūqā al-Baʿlbakī
Time Periods
19th century
16th century
20th century
Central America
South America
Imperial Chemical Industries
Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reino de Granada

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment