• Pomegranate: a Divine Fruit?

    Original Date: November 1, 2013
    Presenter: Alain Touwaide, PhD and Emanuela Appetiti
    CEUs: 2.0 general CEUs approved by OBNM

    Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is undergoing a Renaissance of attention for its health benefits. Traditional knowledge, probably dating back to domestication of plant species, has accumulated a wealth of information about the fruit and its effects on the human body – best summarized by its association with major goddesses of Greek mythology. This body of knowledge has been transmitted through the centuries until not so long ago.

    Based on ancient written documentation, artistic representations and archaeological remains, Smithsonian scholars Alain Touwaide, PhD, and Emanuela Appetiti will summarize the experience and knowledge of pomegranate in the Mediterranean tradition. After documenting that ancient physicians actually used pomegranate, Touwaide and Appetiti scrutinize its medical applications, the part(s) used, preparations, dosages, modes of administration and expected health effects.

    Since the data span 5th century BCE to 16th century CE, Touwaide and Appetiti devote special attention to possible differentiation through time and among populations inhabiting the Mediterranean area during the period. They will test the hypothesis that differences may be treated as biomarkers revealing epidemiological information not otherwise available. This discussion will generate a historical pharmacopoeia of pomegranate of a new genre: dynamic and evolutionary, and reflecting the possible geographical and chronological variations in pomegranate ancient uses.
  • Hippocrates, a Shipwreck and the Revival of Medical Traditions

    Original Date: October 30, 2013
    Presenter: Alain Touwaide, PhD and Emanuela Appetiti
    CEUs: Please note that NO CEUs are offered for this presentation. This presentation is offered for informational purposes only.

    The name of Hippocrates is synonymous with medicine. But does the historical man deserve the title “Father of Medicine?” Or does the appellation actually limit our understanding of ancient Greek medicine and its importance through history?

    Join Smithsonian scholars Alain Touwaide, PhD and Emanuela Appetiti to explore this topic through extensive study of the history of Greek medicine from its most ancient written trace to present-day heirs of this long tradition. From case stories and documents generated by the Hippocratics to the DNA sequencing of the plant medicines recovered from a 2nd century BCE shipwreck, Touwaide and Appetiti explore how research and modern technologies bring ancient Greek medicine alive in our time.

    The emergent picture is not only more real and lively, but also much richer, made of empirical discoveries by trial and error during centuries, carefully repeated and refined generation after generation, and constantly transmitted with great care. Hippocrates and Greek medicine appear in a very new light: not so much the hieratic “Father of Medicine” and a canonical corpus, but the conclusion of a long journey of humankind – and the starting point of the next adventure of the human spirit.