Lecture entitled «The Green Gold of Greece: Medicinal plants – History and context»

The Green Gold of Greece

Medicinal plants – History and context
Guest Lecturer: Alain Touwaide

The Athens Centre
Archimidous 48, Mets

June 15, 7:00 pm

Greece is home to a unique range of medicinal plants and is the third hotspot for biodiversity in the world. Knowledge of the therapeutic properties of plants has been developed by trial and error over time. Handed down by oral tradition from one generation to the next, this unique knowledge was recorded by the Hippocratics as early as the 5th century BCE. Codification did not prevent validation, adjustments or improvements through repeated clinical trials. Transmission of this precious body of experience, science and wisdom reached the 20th century first through Byzantine manuscripts and, further on, through iatrosofia. This lecture will illustrate the richness and continuity of this tradition and suggest how it has the potential to renovate medicine.

Alain Touwaide is the recipient of one of the ten Foreign Fellowship awarded by the Onassis Foundation for the academic year 2015-16 to investigate the manuscripts preserved in Greece that transmitted the knowledge of medicinal plants inherited by the Greek populations in the Ottoman Empire. A Classicist and a Byzantinist, he obtained his PhD at the University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1981 and has traveled, done research and taught all over the world since. Over the past 15 years he has been in residence at the Botany Department of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC (USA). In 2007 he has co-founded the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions of which he is the Scientific Director.

A small reception follows the event. The event is open to the public.


Event information is also available on our Facebook page.

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