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Materia medica

Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing. Nowadays we would call these drugs. In Latin, the term literally means "medical matters".

The term was used from the period of the Roman Empire until the twentieth century, but has now been generally replaced in medical education contexts by pharmacology.

One of the best-known early uses of the term was in the title of a work by the Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century A.D., entitled de materia medica libri quinque (concerning medical matter in five volumes). This famous commentary covered about 600 plant drugs plus a number of therapeutically useful animal and mineral products.

In the early twentieth century, the body of knowledge termed materia medica was transformed by the methods and knowledge of medicinal chemistry into the science of pharmacology.

See also

  • Homeopathic Materia Medica
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Materia_medica". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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