From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy

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Show simple item record Leonti, Marco Staub, Peter O. Cabras, Stefano Castellanos, María Eugenia Casu, Laura 2021-06-09T07:36:08Z 2021-06-09T07:36:08Z 2015-09-30
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Leonti, M., Staub, P. O., Cabras, S., Castellanos, M. E. & Casu, L. (2015). From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 6:207.
dc.identifier.issn 1663-9812
dc.description.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.
dc.description.sponsorship The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's 7th Framework programme FP7/2007/2013 under REA grantagreement no. PITN-GA-2013-606895/MedPlant.
dc.format.extent 15
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Frontiers
dc.rights © 2015 Leonti, Staub, Cabras, Castellanos and Casu.
dc.rights Atribución 3.0 España
dc.subject.other Traditional medical knowledge
dc.subject.other Cultural transmission and evolution
dc.subject.other Causal effect
dc.subject.other Evidence-based
dc.subject.other Herbal medicine
dc.subject.other Historical ethnopharmacology
dc.subject.other De materia medica
dc.subject.other Globalization
dc.subject.other Traditional phytotherapy
dc.subject.other Folk medicine
dc.subject.other National-park
dc.subject.other Campania
dc.subject.other Ethnopharmacology
dc.subject.other Sardinia
dc.subject.other Perspectives
dc.subject.other Mechanisms
dc.subject.other District
dc.subject.other Placebo
dc.title From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy
dc.type article
dc.subject.eciencia Estadística
dc.rights.accessRights openAccess
dc.type.version publishedVersion
dc.identifier.publicationfirstpage 207
dc.identifier.publicationissue 6
dc.identifier.publicationtitle Frontiers in Pharmacology
dc.identifier.uxxi AR/0000017512
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