Historical evidence of the beginning of modern medicine in the holy land: "list of medicinal preparations found in stores and dispensary on july 21st 1857"

E. Lev, Y. Peri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews established the first Western hospital in Jerusalem in the middle of 19th century. It was built for the benefit of the Jewish population of the city, and it transposed the Holy Land, from a medical point of view, to the modern era. The huge archives of the London Society in England contain many documents dealing with its activity. One document, revealed here for the first time, describes the content of the medicinal preparations held in the stores of the British hospital and dispensary in Jerusalem on July 21 1857. The list, presented here in full, is impressive in its length, containing hundreds of medicinal substances originating from plants, minerals, and animals that were used in the Western world at the time. Most of the chemicals in the list had never previously appeared in any published historical source concerning Palestine. The list is thus one of the first pieces of evidence of modern medical and pharmacological activities in the Holy Land. A comparison of the list with several other 19th century lists of medicinal substances found in professional literature revealed that it contains most of the known medicinal substances of that time. Compared with medieval documents, or lists of traditional substances compiled a few years earlier, the 1857 list is richer and contains new substances and preparations originating in the New World (America) and chemicals unknown in the region before. It is evidence of the change that occurred in the field of pharmacology owing to the penetration of the modern medicine into the Holy Land. The 1857 list contains 268 substances: 147 medicinal preparations of plant origin, 117 preparations of chemical and mineral origin, and only four of animal origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1112, 1115
JournalHarefuah
Volume140
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)

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