Past Seminars

 

2015 – ‘Trade, Discovery and Influences in the History of Herbal Medicine’. Wellcome Trust, Euston, London.

Trade in medicinal plants has always been part of human culture. Historiography has tended to divide medicinal cultures into discrete traditions, but may obscure the extent to which they interacted through trade in medicinal products, learning medical skills in the process? What were issues of correct identification, of the quality and preservation of material, of over- harvesting or habitat degradation? A primary driver of early modern Western exploration to distant cultures was to gain direct access to precious herbal commodities. What impact did these exotic medicines have on herbal medicine practice?
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2014 – ‘Illustration and Identification in the History of Herbal Medicine’. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

Correct identification of plants in the past has been of great importance, whether for foods, medicines or other purposes. But to what extent did people in medieval and early modern times learn about plants with medicinal uses from illustrations in herbals or elsewhere? Matters of interest include ways in which illustrations were produced, the role of illustrations, dissemination of information about plant identification, significant observers of plants and their approaches to plant description. This day seminar has been organised with a particular focus on presenting research into finding and interpreting archival and other sources relating to the history of herbal medicine.
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2013 – ‘Gardens and Herbal History Research Seminar’. Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath.

Herbs, as useful plants, have featured strongly in gardens throughout the ages, but there has been relatively limited research which has closely examined the relationship between people and medicinal plants in the garden context. Many forms of managed growing environments can be considered from the past, defined by both physical and social boundaries, from kitchen garden to orchard and botanic garden. Matters of interest include preferences for wild or cultivated sources of medicinal plants, the extent of knowledge of plant cultivation and how this was passed on and controlled, relationships between plants grown for food or medicine, social and cultural aspects of growing and harvesting.
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2012 – ‘Herbal History Study Day’. Quaker Meeting House, Bradford-Upon-Avon.

The aim of this day is to bring together current and interested researchers in herbal history to report on progress in current projects and share ideas and problems. Our theme for the day will be about communicating herbal knowledge in the past. The cost is £10 and kept deliberately low to enable research students to participate although others are most welcome. As this cost is low, please bring your own sandwich lunch! We will arrange for hot water, tea or coffee to be made available.
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2011 – ‘Explaining the Actions: Researching Herbal Pharmacology in History’. School of Pharmacy, Reading.

The focus of this event is on the pharmacology of herbal medicine in historical context. Contributors will provide an overview of methodological issues in identifying herbs and their sources, considering efficacy as well as exploring the constituents and actions of selected herbs with their uses and preparations. This event will be of interest to a variety of researchers, practitioners and lecturers including ethnobotanists, historians of medicine, medical herbalists, pharmacists and other academic and independent researchers.
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2010 – ‘Researching the History of Western Herbal Medicine: Appraising Methods and Sources’. (2 seminars) Middlesex University, London & Institute of Historical Research, London.

Seminar 1: Classical & medieval medicine 
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Seminar 2: Branching out in early modern herbal medicine
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