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From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy.

Leonti M, Staub PO, Cabras S, Castellanos ME, Casu L - Front Pharmacol (2015)

Bottom Line: Plant-use combinations are treated as transmissible cultural traits (or "memes"), which in analogy to the biological evolution of genetic traits, are subjected to mutation and selection.Our results suggest that until today ancient scripts have exerted a strong influence on the use of herbal medicine.We conclude that the repeated empirical testing and scientific study of health care claims is guiding and shaping the selection of efficacious treatments and evidence-based herbal medicine.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari Cagliari, Italy.

ABSTRACT
In Mediterranean cultures written records of medicinal plant use have a long tradition. This written record contributed to building a consensus about what was perceived to be an efficacious pharmacopeia. Passed down through millennia, these scripts have transmitted knowledge about plant uses, with high fidelity, to scholars and laypersons alike. Herbal medicine's importance and the long-standing written record call for a better understanding of the mechanisms influencing the transmission of contemporary medicinal plant knowledge. Here we contextualize herbal medicine within evolutionary medicine and cultural evolution. Cumulative knowledge transmission is approached by estimating the causal effect of two seminal scripts about materia medica written by Dioscorides and Galen, two classical Greco-Roman physicians, on today's medicinal plant use in the Southern Italian regions of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. Plant-use combinations are treated as transmissible cultural traits (or "memes"), which in analogy to the biological evolution of genetic traits, are subjected to mutation and selection. Our results suggest that until today ancient scripts have exerted a strong influence on the use of herbal medicine. We conclude that the repeated empirical testing and scientific study of health care claims is guiding and shaping the selection of efficacious treatments and evidence-based herbal medicine.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of Sardinia indicating considered field studies addressing popular medicinal plant use. 1A, Campidano; Cagliari (Bruni et al., 1997); 1B, Urzulei, Ogliastra (Bruni et al., 1997); 2, Sarrabus, Cagliari (Palmese et al., 2001); 3A, Escolca, Cagliari (Loi et al., 2005); 3B, Lotzorai, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2005); 4, Marganai, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero and Fresu, 1991); 5, Monteleone, Sassari (Ballero and Poli, 1998); 6, Seui, Ogliastra (Ballero and Fresu, 1993); 7, Fluminimaggiore, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero et al., 2001); 8, Villagrande Strisaili, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2004); 9, Tempio Pausania, Olbia-Tempio (Ballero et al., 1997); 10, Laconi; Oristano (Ballero et al., 1997); 11, Arzana, Nuoro (Ballero et al., 1994); 12, Perdasdefogu, Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1997); 13, Ussassai; Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1998); 14, Carbonia-Iglesias (Atzei et al., 1994); 15, Gallura; Olbia-Tempio (Atzei et al., 1991); 16, Villasimius, Cagliari (Ballero, 1982); 17, Dorgali (Camarda, 1990); 18, Monte Ortobene, Nuoro (Signorini et al., 2009).
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Figure 2: Map of Sardinia indicating considered field studies addressing popular medicinal plant use. 1A, Campidano; Cagliari (Bruni et al., 1997); 1B, Urzulei, Ogliastra (Bruni et al., 1997); 2, Sarrabus, Cagliari (Palmese et al., 2001); 3A, Escolca, Cagliari (Loi et al., 2005); 3B, Lotzorai, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2005); 4, Marganai, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero and Fresu, 1991); 5, Monteleone, Sassari (Ballero and Poli, 1998); 6, Seui, Ogliastra (Ballero and Fresu, 1993); 7, Fluminimaggiore, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero et al., 2001); 8, Villagrande Strisaili, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2004); 9, Tempio Pausania, Olbia-Tempio (Ballero et al., 1997); 10, Laconi; Oristano (Ballero et al., 1997); 11, Arzana, Nuoro (Ballero et al., 1994); 12, Perdasdefogu, Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1997); 13, Ussassai; Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1998); 14, Carbonia-Iglesias (Atzei et al., 1994); 15, Gallura; Olbia-Tempio (Atzei et al., 1991); 16, Villasimius, Cagliari (Ballero, 1982); 17, Dorgali (Camarda, 1990); 18, Monte Ortobene, Nuoro (Signorini et al., 2009).


From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy.

Leonti M, Staub PO, Cabras S, Castellanos ME, Casu L - Front Pharmacol (2015)

Map of Sardinia indicating considered field studies addressing popular medicinal plant use. 1A, Campidano; Cagliari (Bruni et al., 1997); 1B, Urzulei, Ogliastra (Bruni et al., 1997); 2, Sarrabus, Cagliari (Palmese et al., 2001); 3A, Escolca, Cagliari (Loi et al., 2005); 3B, Lotzorai, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2005); 4, Marganai, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero and Fresu, 1991); 5, Monteleone, Sassari (Ballero and Poli, 1998); 6, Seui, Ogliastra (Ballero and Fresu, 1993); 7, Fluminimaggiore, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero et al., 2001); 8, Villagrande Strisaili, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2004); 9, Tempio Pausania, Olbia-Tempio (Ballero et al., 1997); 10, Laconi; Oristano (Ballero et al., 1997); 11, Arzana, Nuoro (Ballero et al., 1994); 12, Perdasdefogu, Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1997); 13, Ussassai; Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1998); 14, Carbonia-Iglesias (Atzei et al., 1994); 15, Gallura; Olbia-Tempio (Atzei et al., 1991); 16, Villasimius, Cagliari (Ballero, 1982); 17, Dorgali (Camarda, 1990); 18, Monte Ortobene, Nuoro (Signorini et al., 2009).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4588697&req=5

Figure 2: Map of Sardinia indicating considered field studies addressing popular medicinal plant use. 1A, Campidano; Cagliari (Bruni et al., 1997); 1B, Urzulei, Ogliastra (Bruni et al., 1997); 2, Sarrabus, Cagliari (Palmese et al., 2001); 3A, Escolca, Cagliari (Loi et al., 2005); 3B, Lotzorai, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2005); 4, Marganai, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero and Fresu, 1991); 5, Monteleone, Sassari (Ballero and Poli, 1998); 6, Seui, Ogliastra (Ballero and Fresu, 1993); 7, Fluminimaggiore, Carbonia-Iglesias (Ballero et al., 2001); 8, Villagrande Strisaili, Ogliastra (Loi et al., 2004); 9, Tempio Pausania, Olbia-Tempio (Ballero et al., 1997); 10, Laconi; Oristano (Ballero et al., 1997); 11, Arzana, Nuoro (Ballero et al., 1994); 12, Perdasdefogu, Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1997); 13, Ussassai; Ogliastra (Ballero et al., 1998); 14, Carbonia-Iglesias (Atzei et al., 1994); 15, Gallura; Olbia-Tempio (Atzei et al., 1991); 16, Villasimius, Cagliari (Ballero, 1982); 17, Dorgali (Camarda, 1990); 18, Monte Ortobene, Nuoro (Signorini et al., 2009).
Bottom Line: Plant-use combinations are treated as transmissible cultural traits (or "memes"), which in analogy to the biological evolution of genetic traits, are subjected to mutation and selection.Our results suggest that until today ancient scripts have exerted a strong influence on the use of herbal medicine.We conclude that the repeated empirical testing and scientific study of health care claims is guiding and shaping the selection of efficacious treatments and evidence-based herbal medicine.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari Cagliari, Italy.

ABSTRACT
In Mediterranean cultures written records of medicinal plant use have a long tradition. This written record contributed to building a consensus about what was perceived to be an efficacious pharmacopeia. Passed down through millennia, these scripts have transmitted knowledge about plant uses, with high fidelity, to scholars and laypersons alike. Herbal medicine's importance and the long-standing written record call for a better understanding of the mechanisms influencing the transmission of contemporary medicinal plant knowledge. Here we contextualize herbal medicine within evolutionary medicine and cultural evolution. Cumulative knowledge transmission is approached by estimating the causal effect of two seminal scripts about materia medica written by Dioscorides and Galen, two classical Greco-Roman physicians, on today's medicinal plant use in the Southern Italian regions of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. Plant-use combinations are treated as transmissible cultural traits (or "memes"), which in analogy to the biological evolution of genetic traits, are subjected to mutation and selection. Our results suggest that until today ancient scripts have exerted a strong influence on the use of herbal medicine. We conclude that the repeated empirical testing and scientific study of health care claims is guiding and shaping the selection of efficacious treatments and evidence-based herbal medicine.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus