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Ship wreck reveals ancient secrets of medicine

The Washington Post, 1 February 2011
Publié le : 1 février 2011
 Adrian Higgins 

"It has been more than 2,000 years since a Roman merchant ship foundered off the west coast of the Italian peninsula and almost 40 years since the wreck was discovered. Now, the DNA trapped in medicines found aboard the ship is yielding secrets of health care in the ancient world.

"Samples from two tablets analyzed at the Smithsonian's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics reveal a dried concoction of about a dozen medicinal herbs, including celery, alfalfa and wild onion, bound together with clay and zinc.

"The tablets may have been used externally to treat skin conditions or dissolved in water or wine and taken for intestinal ailments such as dysentery, speculates Alain Touwaide, historian of sciences in the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History."

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Mise à jour le 1 février 2011
Créé le 1 février 2011
ISSN 2107-7029
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