Murder, Magic, and Medicine

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Medical - 256 pages
People have always been curious about the plants and animals with which they coexist. Primitive cultures identified edible and poisonous plants largely by trial and error, and then used them for hunting, executions, euthanasia, and magico-religious rites, as well as for their medicinalproperties. In this fascinating book, John Mann investigates the evolution of modern medicine from its roots in folk medicine, and reveals the continuing importance of natural plant and animal products, many of which remain undiscovered but under threat by the wholesale destruction of the Earth'swild places. In this new edition, he has updated the material to include discussion of the background to some of the most talked-about drugs of recent years, including Prozac and Viagra. 'This is an erudite treasure trove in which each page sparkles with a concoction of historical anecdote andscientific revelation.' The Good Book Guide 'The book is peppered throughout with the legend, superstition and science of bygone ages, and interesting reading they make.' New Scientist 'This highly entertaining account investigates the evolution of modern medicines. ...Professor Mann does it withgreat style.' The Lancet '... an excellent introductory text for those not liable to dizziness as they jump from one culture to another, or one century to the next. ' Nature '... provides intelligent material for those advocating conservation of our global plant resources because of theirpotentially important reservoir of therapeutically active chemicals for animal and human disease.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Delightfully rich... buy and read Mann's wonderful book.' Chemical and Engineering News

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About the author (2000)

John Mann is Professor of Organic Chemistry at Reading University.

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