Economic Botany

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 27–43

The Medicine and Medicinal Plants of C. S. Rafinesque

  • Michael A. Flannery
Article

Abstract

This paper pursues the lead of Bart K. Holland in utilizing classic literature as a guide to the pharmacologic potentialities of natural products. Instead of focusing on European texts, however, American medicinal plants are examined through the work of the influential naturalist Constantine S. Rafinesque (1783-1840). Rafinesque is discussed with special attention to his activities as a medical botanist. In particular, the plant species monographed in the main section of hisMedical Flora of the United States (1828-1830) are studied for their historical and current use as medicinal agents. The results are tabulated and presented in a bar graph. The study concludes that Rafinesque was a progressive therapist whoseMedical Flora is a promising guide for phytopharmacuetical prospecting with North American plants.

Key Words

Medicinal plants pharmacology pharmacopeia Rafinesque 

Die Medizin und medizinische Pflanzen von C. S. Rafinesque

Résumé

Dieses Referatfolgt dem Beispiel von Bart K. Holland, indem es die Idassische Literatur als Anhaltspunkt zu den pharmakologischen Möglichkeiten von natürlichen Produkte mutzt. Statt sich auf europäische Texte zu konzentrieren, werden amerikanische medizinische Planzen durch die Arbeiten von dem einfluβreichen Naturforscher Constantine S. Rafinesque (1783-1840) untersucht. Rafinesque wird mit besonderer Aufmerksamkeit auf seine Tätigkeiten als medizinischer Botaniker besprochen. Insbesondere, die Einzeldarstellung der Pflanzenspezies, die im Hauptabschnitt seines BuchesMedical Flora ist, wird wegen ihres historischen und aktuellen Nutzen als medizinisches Mittel studiert. Die Ergebnisse sind tabellarisch angeordnet und graphisch dargestellt. Die Studie kommt zu dem Schluβ, daβ Rafinesque ein progressiver Therapeut war, dessenMedical Flora ein vielversprechender Führer für phytopharmazeutische Untersuchungen von nordamerikanischen Pflanzen ist.

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Copyright information

© New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458 U.S.A 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Flannery
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Lloyd Library and MuseumCincinnati
  2. 2.Northern Kentucky UniversityDepartment of American HistoryHighland Heights

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