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Were natural forms of treatment for fasciola hepatica available to the Etruscans?

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

In the very distant past, European and Mediterranean peoples must have shared an extensive collection of folk experiences as to how certain plants were to be used as medicines. Plants comprise active secondary metabolites such as essential oils, alkaloids, bitters, flavonoids, tanins and glycosides, that can be used to heal, to cure or to prevent infection and disease. Some tantalizing hints of herbal folk-medicine may be discerned in the rare remnants of literary and archaeological evidence for the Etruscan culture, a distinctive group who dominated central Italy through the first half of the first millennium BC; much of their material culture and learning was subsumed by the Romans. New research into the Etruscan practice of divination from sheep livers, a skill for which they were held in high regard by the Romans, who themselves took up the practice, has shown that the liver could often be diseased. This paper investigates documentation for the plants known to the Etruscans, focusing particularly on those natural forms of treatment that would have been efficaceous in terms of Fasciola hepatica (Liver fluke) infection.

Interestingly, some of the plants in the putative ancient Etruscan herbal remain in use in central Italy to the present day, where they continue to be efficacious in the treatment of digestive disorders and worm infestations.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Medical Sciences
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)s16-s25
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2010

ID: 21661694