Kratom: Science and the Risks and Benefits of a Controversial Herb

Kratom, which has been linked to many deaths in the U.S., has been grown in Southeast Asia for centuries for tea. Why the ill effects now? By Dr. Christopher R. McCurdyProfessor of Medicinal ChemistryUniversity of Florida College of PharmacyUniversity of Florida Introduction Kratom, a traditional Southeast Asian herbal medicine from the leaves of the tropical[…]

Ginger’s Role in Cures and Courtroom Battles in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Exploring the surprising and complex ways that ginger has played a role in preventing sickness through history. Introduction Some people use ginger to help with tummy troubles, but for others it has caused more problems than it has solved. We explore the surprising and complex ways that ginger has played a role in preventing sickness[…]

18th-Century Medicinal Balsams, Gums, and Resins from the Indies to Madrid

Transporting plants and their by-products by long transoceanic voyages was a complex operation during the 18th century. By Dr. Marcelo Fabián FigueroaProfessor of HistoryUniversidad Nacional de Tucumán-UNTInstituto Superior de Estudios SocialesConsejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-ISES/CONICET Introduction This paper studies the administrative, legal and scientific instructions issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Indies[…]

Russia and the Medical Drug Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Examining what drugs were available in Russia and the great diversity of drugs traded in early modern Europe. Summary This article deals with the trade in medicines into Russia in the seventeenth century. Both the early modern medical drug trade, and Russian medicine, have previously received substantial attention, but no work has thus far been[…]

From Poison Peddlers to Civic Worthies: Apothecaries in Georgian England

Examining the slow transition whereby reputable practitioners differentiated themselves from ‘quacks’. Abstract Trust is not automatically granted to providers of professional services. The doctors of Georgian England were, by later standards, deficient in medical knowhow, particularly before the mid-nineteenth-century scientific understanding of antiseptics, and much satirised. Nonetheless, the emergence of a coherent medical profession indicates[…]

Greenland Unicorns and the Magical Alicorn

When the existence of unicorns, and the curative powers of the horns ascribed to them, began to be questioned, one Danish physician pushed back through curious means — by reframing the unicorn as an aquatic creature of the northern seas. Natalie Lawrence on a fascinating convergence of established folklore, nascent science, and pharmaceutical economy. This[…]