Materials and materia medica in India
in Materials and medicine
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This chapter explores the emergence of materia medica and medical botany at confluence of the intellectual, spiritual and material quests. The materia medica emerged as an important discipline in Europe in the eighteenth century with the influx of diverse colonial materials of medical treatment. The career of J.F. Royle captures the transition of Indian medical botany from its missionary, Orientalist and individualistic traditions into an imperial and metropolitan discourse. The British surgeons also combined the Orientalist study of vernacular texts with their own study of medical practices in the region. Henry Van Rheede's book remained the most important reference work for botanists working in India throughout the eighteenth century. The first European encounter with Oriental medicine and plants was through spices. Italian physicians and botanists like Caspar Bauhine and Prosper Alpinus, and Dutch botanists like Willem Piso and Jacobus Breynius were the first Europeans to study the plants of Malabar.

Materials and medicine

Trade, conquest and therapeutics in the eighteenth century


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