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Monday, August 08, 2005

Medieval Medicine 

At the same time that Western society is so fascinated by traditional medicines from Asia, Africa, and South America, we tend to ignore European traditions. It may be that we associate medieval Europe with the Dark Ages, and misconstrue that to mean that it was a period when nobody knew anything, which was of course not really the case.

Brian Moffat, an archeo-ethno-pharmocologist (that is a damn cool title) has been digging about monasteries in the British Isles, and has found a great deal of evidence that medieval healers knew much more about pharmacology and medicine than they're given credit for knowing.

I really appreciate this work, as I'm a big believer in herbal medicine, and, now that I think about it (which admittedly I never did), I do find it odd that we focus so much on what the ancient Mayans or Chinese or whomever knew about herbs, and forget entirely that the Europeans had to have had some medical practices too.

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