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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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The Primacy of the Practical

The Primacy of the Practical

51 The Primacy of the Practical
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

China and Europe both looked back to antiquity, but with totally different preconditions. The rulers in China separated pharmacy from medicine. The physicians in China were employees, dependents of the pharmacist. The nature of the new healing that originated in the High and Late Middle Ages is also noteworthy. Practical concerns predominated and prescription books were written and widely disseminated. The celebrated Antidotarium Nicolai originated as early as the second half of the twelfth century and it replaced the older and useless Antidotarius magnus. The arrangement of the prescriptions in the Antidotarium Nicolai did not follow indication groups or a theoretical classification of illnesses, but rather a simple morphologic scheme, from the head down. The profession of pharmacist did not originate in Europe until the twelfth century. Pharmacists were responsible for producing medications. In Europe, since Galen, no one had even dissected an animal, let alone a human, to study its structure and function. There is no evidence that the Church officially prohibited dissection.

Keywords:   pharmacy, medicine, Late Middle Ages, medications, Arab traditions, Greek models

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