Jul 282014

drugsDetail from Bad Medicine by Adriaen Brouwer (1606-1638), Musée Des Beaux-Arts, Dijon. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images via aeon.co


Witches, doctors, Newton! Willow bark! Quinine! LSD! Snail water! Coffee!

Catching up on our reading, we wonder how many of the above we’ve ingested today, and note that the traditions of 17th century apothecaries, Enlightenment scientists, and psychedelic enthusiasts are not so different. Be it in 21st century laboratories or 18th century poets’ homes, Benjamin Breen reminds us that drug experimentation has always served both recreational, medicinal, and inspirational ends, at least since the Renaissance.

The fun of the piece is in the stories and ancient recipes, but the thesis is sound: “The clash between alternative and Western medicine might not be a clear-cut contest between ancient, ‘traditional’ remedies and modern, scientific ones.”

Read the entire romp @ Under the Influence: How did enlightenment thinkers distinguish between ‘drugs’ and ‘medicines’? And how should we? — aeon.co

—Tom Faure


  2 Responses to “The Opiums And Ginseng Of Yesterday & Tomorrow — Benjamin Breen @ Aeon Magazine”

  1. “Another doctor wrote of the Chinese that tea ‘frees them from all those evils that the immoderate use of wine doth breed in us’. All I’m going to say is that I’m glad I drink green tea every day.

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