There is Still Much to Learn About Herbs From The Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greek medical manuscripts have emerged as a go-to for horticulture, botany, medicine and literature in the Middle Ages in the form a newly published book called A Census of Greek Medical Manuscripts: From Byzantium to the Renaissance.

Thanks to the new book, the wisdom from the Byzantine Empire between the 5th and 15th centuries can be found in an organized manner – something which husband-wife team and cultural anthropologists Alain Touwaide and Emanuela Appetiti have long sought to accomplish.

Around 1,500 to 2,300 manuscripts found in some 150 locations of different national, university and private libraries have been compiled in this new book and the couple took it upon themselves to track down the manuscripts from Ancient Greece over a 30-year period.

While compiling the manuscripts, Touwaide and Appetiti realized that the same herbs often had very different usages depending on the location where the manuscripts were found, as smh.ocm.su explains, “This is because herbs take on varying chemical properties based on their terrain and because different human populations developed different genetic tolerance or susceptibilities to disease.”

Touwaide highlighted the importance of examining the manuscripts and composing this book by saying that “we live in an age of inflation of information and deflation of knowledge.”