History of Horticulture: Lecture 231LecturesLectures2323–2525Herbals: The Connection Between Horticulture and MedicineThe prehistoric discovery that certain plants cause harm and others have curative powers is the origin of the healing professions and its practitioners (priest, physician, and apothecary), as well as professions devoted to plants (botany and horticulture).Herbals of AntiquityEarliest medical test21stBCENipurSumarianCommentsCenturyHerbalSourceLost illustrated ms, Physician to Mithridites1stBCECrateuasBotanical treatise4thBCETheophrastusHistoria de PlantesDe Causis PlantarumLost ms4thBCEDiocles of CarystusHellenicMedical treatise, 811 prescriptions15thBCEEbers PapyrusEgyptianHerbal: A book about useful plants, especially medicinalsA Sumerian cuneiform tablet discovered at Nipur and pressed into clay circa 2100 BCEis the earliest known medical text. The contents may be older, perhaps by as much as a millennium. One translation directs the practitioner to “pulverize the bark of pear (?) tree and the ‘moon’ plant; infuse it with kushummawine, let tree oil and hot cedar oil be spread over it.”
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