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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

Causal model assuming that Dioscorides and Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant use considering the confounding variables “plant taxon,” “geography,” “therapeutical use” and their interactions (segments). Arrows indicate the direction of the influence, which may exert a causal effect.
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Figure 4: Causal model assuming that Dioscorides and Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant use considering the confounding variables “plant taxon,” “geography,” “therapeutical use” and their interactions (segments). Arrows indicate the direction of the influence, which may exert a causal effect.

Mentions: We assume that Dioscorides as well as Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant knowledge and that the influence of Galen on contemporary traits may itself be conditioned by the influence exerted by Dioscorides' work. The arrows in the causal model (Figure 4) indicate the direction of the influence, which may contain a causal effect.


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)

Causal model assuming that Dioscorides and Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant use considering the confounding variables “plant taxon,” “geography,” “therapeutical use” and their interactions (segments). Arrows indicate the direction of the influence, which may exert a causal effect.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Causal model assuming that Dioscorides and Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant use considering the confounding variables “plant taxon,” “geography,” “therapeutical use” and their interactions (segments). Arrows indicate the direction of the influence, which may exert a causal effect.
Mentions: We assume that Dioscorides as well as Galen influenced contemporary medicinal plant knowledge and that the influence of Galen on contemporary traits may itself be conditioned by the influence exerted by Dioscorides' work. The arrows in the causal model (Figure 4) indicate the direction of the influence, which may contain a causal effect.

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