Monday, 20 November 2017
Mysterious Bodies of the Plant Kingdom An illustrated Dutch medicinal plant handbook from 1800 Mysterious Bodies of the Plant Kingdom
Thesis · October 2017 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.27028.40328 Thesis for: MSc, Advisor: Tinde van Andel Ingeborg Swart Not on ResearchGate Tinde van Andel 34.75Naturalis Biodiversity Center Abstract Around 1800, medicinal practice was very different from modern day business. Pharmacists and doctors relied much more on plants and simple plant products for their remedies than we do nowadays. Pharmacopeia and reference books of (medicinal) plants formed the basis of their understanding. Those involved in medicine or trade would sometimes create their own catalogue of useful plants. In this study, we evaluate a hand-written manuscript on medicinal plants and plant products, compiled in around 1800. It contains 271 descriptions of plants and plant products. We evaluate the contents, determine which species are described, what types of properties are described, if and what information is copied from contemporary sources, what exotic plants are included and finally try to form an idea of the identity of the author. We find that in the manuscript, 271 products are described from 251 plant species. Most are local plants, and 104 entries concern exotic plants. The author mostly provides vague properties, if any, instead of clear recipes. As far as we can tell, none of the information is copied from other sources. All findings combined, we suggest the author was a merchant, trading in medicinal plants and animal products.