Cover image for America's botanico-medical movements : vox populi
America's botanico-medical movements : vox populi
Berman, Alex, 1914-
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Publication Information:
New York : Pharmaceutical Products Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 289 pages, 27 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm

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RV5 .B47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Discover a fascinating lost episode of American pharmacological history! A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book!

The first comprehensive study of the American botanical movement, this fascinating volume recounts the rise and fall of nineteenth-century herbal medicine, the emergence of a second wave of interest arising from the counter-culture of the 1960s, and the recent herbal renaissance in the United States.

In the 1840s the American medical establishment was under attack. Its opponents in the botanico-medical movement claimed that herbs and other natural cures were more effective and considerably safer than conventional medicine. They were right. Conventional medicine at the time consisted of "heroic" doses of mercury and antimony, supplemented by Spanish fly and croton oil, with copious bloodletting as a treatment recommended for everything from mania to miscarriage.

By contrast, many of the herbal cures espoused by the new wave of medicine were helpful or at least not actively poisonous. Unfortunately, the botanico-medical movement harbored its share of quacks as well. The history recorded in America's Botanico--Medical Movements includes useless or dangerous treatments as well as petty politics of the worst kind: schisms, public denunciations, physical brawls (with weapons up to and including small cannons), and vicious invective worthy of Hunter Thompson. The favored treatments and pharmacopias of Thomsonians, Neo-Thomsonians, physio-medicalists, and eclectic practitioners are all discussed in detail.

In addition to its fascinating narrative, America's Botanico--Medical Movements offers hard-to-find source documents, including: a catalog of nineteenth-century medicinal plants the constitutions of several medical societies explaining their doctrines a libelous editorial attacking members of one of the schismatic groups patented formulas for fever medicines, emetics, enema preparations, and many other cures advertisements listing vegetable medicines for sale America's Botanico-Medical Movements provides a scholarly yet entertaining view of the rise and fall of a typically American medical movement. Pharmacists, historians, physicians, and herbalists will find instructive parallels between the nineteenth-century conflicts and the present-day battles between alternative medicine and the medical establishment. This fascinating book represents nearly 50 years of scholarship on the subject and offers the only comprehensive look at medical botany in this country.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Adapted from the late Alex Berman's 1954 dissertation, "The Impact of the Nineteenth Century Botanico-Medical Movement on American Pharmacy and Medicine," this book, extensively revised and brought up-to-date, still reads like a dissertation. Though the writing is often stilted, the content is as precious as rubies. Here, in a meticulous account by Berman and Flannery (Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham), is the history of the US's on-again-off-again romance with natural botanical remedies. "The Thomasonians," "The Eclectics," and "The Neo-Thomasonians" are brought clearly into focus. In addition to offering a therapeutic alternative to orthodox medicine, these systems were clearly antiauthoritarian. Here, then, is the crux of much of the botanico-medical movement. Before the rise of modern medicine, physicians were viewed as aristocratic, and many of their drugs, especially calomel, suspect. Wisdom of the natural was democratic and often as effective therapeutically. With the rise of scientific medicine, at first, herbal usage declined. Everyone, for example, embraced penicillin and other antibiotics. As the side effects of modern medical practice became evident, the modern botanico-medical movement emerged in the antiestablishment 1960s. This book is exhaustive, well documented, with a very useful bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. I. Richman Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

Table of Contents

John S. Haller Jr.Michael A. Flannery
Forewordp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
The Significance of the Botanico-Medical Movementsp. xv
Historiographical Review--The Berman Legacyp. xvii
A Note on Methodologyp. xx
Acknowledgmentsp. xxiii
Part I Background of the Botanico-Medical Movement
Chapter 1. The Therapeutic Factorp. 3
The Colonial Roots of Botanicismp. 3
The Heroic Approach--"A Strange Mishmash Indeed"p. 5
Early Thomsonians and Eclecticsp. 10
The Decline of Heroic Therapyp. 12
Chapter 2. The People's Medicinep. 21
Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Influencesp. 21
The "Spirit of Radicalism"p. 24
Standards of Medical Educationp. 27
The Public Views the Medical Professionp. 31
The Medical Profession Views Itselfp. 34
Summaryp. 36
Chapter 3. Growth and Utilization of the Plant Materia Medicap. 37
Toward a Plant Materia Medica of the United Statesp. 37
Botanic Practitioners and the Plant Materia Medicap. 45
Procter's Critique of Kost and Kingp. 53
William H. Cook's Dispensatoryp. 57
Rafinesque: Unique and Controversial Medical Botanistp. 59
Vox Populi!p. 64
Part II The Botanico-Medical Revolt, Decline, and Revival
Chapter 4. The Thomsoniansp. 69
A Roster of Botanic Groupsp. 69
Samuel Thomson and His Followersp. 73
Patents, Agencies, and Sale of Rightsp. 76
The Decline of Thomsonianismp. 78
Attitude Toward Regular Pharmacyp. 82
Manufacture, Sale, and Distribution of Remediesp. 84
Thomson's "Six Numbers" and Other Remediesp. 88
Conclusionp. 91
Chapter 5. The Neo-Thomsoniansp. 95
The New Therapeuticsp. 96
Organizational Phases of Neo-Thomsonianismp. 101
The Physio-Medical Medical Schoolsp. 106
Pharmaceutical Resources of Neo-Thomsonianismp. 109
Chapter 6. The Eclecticsp. 115
Wooster Beach (1794-1868)p. 115
American Eclecticism: A Brief Historical Appraisalp. 117
The Eclectic Impact on American Pharmacy, 1830-1869p. 124
The "Antiphlogistic" Period, 1830-1850p. 125
The "Concentrated Preparations," 1847 to the Civil Warp. 126
E. S. Wayne versus B. Keith and Companyp. 130
Parrish's Critique of the Concentratesp. 134
Procter's Critique of King and the Eclectics Revisitedp. 136
The Shakers and Eclectic Pharmacyp. 137
Conclusion of the Early Periodp. 138
A New Era Dawns--Specific Medication, 1869-1936p. 138
John Uri Lloyd (1849-1936)p. 141
Interprofessional Relations Between American Eclecticism and American Pharmacyp. 144
An Evaluationp. 146
Chapter 7. Where Have All the Botanics Gone?p. 149
The End, 1910 and Afterp. 149
Causes for Decline--Science and Culturep. 153
The Botanic Legacyp. 157
The Current Botanicismp. 159
Conclusionp. 162
Appendix 1 Materia Medica of Dr. Samuel Thomson's Guide and Narrative, Being a Correct Catalogue of all the Plants Recommended by Him, in His Practice of Medicinep. 167
Appendix 2 Platform of Principles Adopted by the National Convention at Baltimore, October 1852p. 173
Appendix 3 Union Platform of Principles (Subscribed to by the Middle States Reformed Medical Society and the Faculty of the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania)p. 175
Appendix 4 Platform, Constitution, and By-Laws of the American Physio-Medical Associationp. 177
Appendix 5 Specification of a Patent Granted for "Fever Medicine." To SAMUEL THOMSON, of Surrey, County of Cheshire, New Hampshire, March 2, 1813p. 183
Appendix 6 An Attack Made by Morris Mattson Against the Alva Curtis Faction That Seceded During the Seventh National Thomsonian Convention in 1838p. 189
Appendix 7 Preamble and Constitution of the New York Thomsonian Medical Societyp. 191
Appendix 8 Advertisement in Samuel Emmons' Book The Vegetable Family Physician, Boston, 1842p. 195
Appendix 9 Notice for an Alleged Libel Against the Impositions of Paine D. Badger, Boston, 1839p. 197
Appendix 10 Some Typical Remedies Compounded and Sold in Thomsonian Establishmentsp. 199
A Note on Resourcesp. 207
Notesp. 211
Bibliographyp. 259
Indexp. 275