Saturday, June 1, 2013

 Health for the Ages

by Jeremy Berlinexecutive summary by darmansjah

The plants pictured on this page might add up to a tossed salad. They might also be used to make remedies for serious intestinal disorders—just as they did in antiquity.

Medical historian Alain Touwaide says new DNA analysis of clay-bound pills from a Roman shipwreck confirms traces of the same dried plants (including carrot, radish, cabbage, celery, wild onion,* and parsley) described in ancient Greek medical texts. The brownish, coin-size pills—preserved in tin boxes for two millennia—are the first proof that the writings were “not just theoretical but actually applied.”

Could such knowledge inform today’s research? Touwaide says the second-century physician Galen referred to broccoli, a relative of cabbage, as an intestinal cancer treatment. Studies today confirm the plant’s anticancer  properties—making “eat your vegetables” a timeless prescription.

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