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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

Posterior distribution of the causal effect of Dioscorides and Galen on the contemporary plant use traits of the 87 taxa conditioned by the region of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. The plot shows the mean effect (point) along with the 95% credible interval.
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Figure 6: Posterior distribution of the causal effect of Dioscorides and Galen on the contemporary plant use traits of the 87 taxa conditioned by the region of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. The plot shows the mean effect (point) along with the 95% credible interval.

Mentions: The overall causal effect of Dioscorides' DMM (ex Matthioli 1568) on the uses of the 87 plant taxa in the three regions is 27.6% (15.1–51.7%), while the effect of Galen's DSMF is 36.4% (14.3–66.2%). DMM causally influenced the medicinal use of the 87 plant taxa between 27.3 and 27.9% in all three regions (Figure 6). Galen causally influenced popular use of the 87 plant taxa of 26.6% in Campania, 41.6% in Sardinia and 41.7% in Sicily (Figure 6).


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)

Posterior distribution of the causal effect of Dioscorides and Galen on the contemporary plant use traits of the 87 taxa conditioned by the region of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. The plot shows the mean effect (point) along with the 95% credible interval.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 6: Posterior distribution of the causal effect of Dioscorides and Galen on the contemporary plant use traits of the 87 taxa conditioned by the region of Campania, Sardinia, and Sicily. The plot shows the mean effect (point) along with the 95% credible interval.
Mentions: The overall causal effect of Dioscorides' DMM (ex Matthioli 1568) on the uses of the 87 plant taxa in the three regions is 27.6% (15.1–51.7%), while the effect of Galen's DSMF is 36.4% (14.3–66.2%). DMM causally influenced the medicinal use of the 87 plant taxa between 27.3 and 27.9% in all three regions (Figure 6). Galen causally influenced popular use of the 87 plant taxa of 26.6% in Campania, 41.6% in Sardinia and 41.7% in Sicily (Figure 6).

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