Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Medical Papyri and Ethnobotany

The two topics--medical papyri and ethnobotany--have very little in common, except that they are areas in which I decided to revise and expand the bibliography. In reviewing the citations for medical papyri I noticed that the selections tended to be early translations rather than the first printing of the papyrus text. This I improved when necessary. As there are so few medical papyri the task of revising those entries was not arduous. I also added "Medical Papyri" to the subject index under Ancient Medicine.

On the other hand, the history of native plants used as medicine by indigenous peoples is a topic that has long interested me, especially as these plants are sometimes the origin of standard drugs. This is a large subject, and it is also a topic which I tried to improve when I worked on it 25 years ago; it is still unsatisfactory in this area. As part of a project to build up references on Native Americans and Medicine (another favorite subject of mine) I have also added Ethnobotany as a topic in the subject index under Botany, and am in the process of improving the coverage in that general area. The coverage in ethnobotany should, of course, be wide-ranging geographically and not limited to "America."

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