Grants awarded

Plants and minerals in Byzantine popular pharmacy: a new multidisciplinary approach

Grantholder:

Dr Barbara Zipser

Royal Holloway, University of London

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Robert Allkin

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Andreas Lardos

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Thesauro Sanitatis

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Mark Nesbitt

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Andrew Scott

Royal Holloway, University of London

United Kingdom

Many publications from the Middle Ages contain substantial amounts of pharmacological information. Much of this material remains unstudied and analyses have often been from a narrow disciplinary perspective. A major obstacle for us to understand pharmaceutical practices at the time or how these relate to modern practices, is the difficulty of reliably identifying the ingredients that were used. 

We will take an interdisciplinary approach to develop, test and document a methodology for establishing potential candidate ingredients and the likelihood of them having actually been used. We will employ all available evidence to achieve this using a case study from Byzantine Greece. This will include philological analysis of the manuscript and contemporary texts, botanical and ecological factors, local ethnopharmacology, modern pharmaceutical use globally and the scientific literature. 

We will publish results in open-access journals and through a major database at Kew. The methodology and data tools developed will be documented and made available to other researchers.