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Monastic Herbalists

Monastery garden of St. Michael the Archangel Monastery in Yuryev-Polskiy (Vladimir obl., Russia) with various medicinal herbs - wikimedia- Alaexis
During the Middle Ages knowledge of medicinal plants was cultivated by monks in monasteries. Monks grew herbs in their gardens and experimented with how the the remedies worked for various ailments. Monks carefully recorded their herbal knowledge in hand-written Latin texts.  In some cases the information was translated from the ancient Greeks, to Arabic texts, and eventually into Latin the language of monasteries in 8th- 12th century Europe. In the 13th century monastic medicine was largely replaced by universities and professional physicians.

A page of the Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis, an Aztec herbal composed in 1552 by Martín de la Cruz and translated into Latin by Juan Badianus.
Monks continued to gather herbal knowledge as they traveled on missions to the New World. To the left is a page of the Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis, an Aztec herbal composed in 1552 by Martín de la Cruz and translated into Latin by Juan Badianus. (wikimedia)

Today scientists are looking carefully at historical books to find promising plant medicines.

Read the complete article from Science in School
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