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Title: Cynomorium cocdneum linnaeus 17-19th century Materia Medica Melitensis
Authors: Savona-Ventura, Charles
Keywords: Cynomoriaceae -- Malta
Cynomorium coccineum
Plants -- Therapeutic use
Issue Date: 2007-06
Publisher: Malta College of Family Doctors
Citation: Savona-Ventura, C. (2007). Cynomorium cocdneum linnaeus 17-19th century Materia Medica Melitensis. Maltese Family Doctor, 16(1), 6-8.
Abstract: The search for possible effective therapeutic agents in the 17th century led to the discovery of Fungus Melitensis. This parasitic flowering plant was initially believed to grow only on a small islet off Gozo known variably as General's or Fungus Rod,. First mentioned by the Maltese historian Gian Francisco Abela in 1647, the plant was described and illustrated by the botanist Paulo Boccone from Palenno in 1674. A detailed clinical treatise was prepared by the Maltese physician Gio Francesco Bonamico in 1689. Basing the rationale of therapeutic properties on the "doctrine of signatures", the Fungus Melitensis was considered useful by virtue of its colour in conditions involving blood [particularly Jar dysentery]; while on the basis of its phallic appearance it was considered efficacious for venereal disease. The plant gained increasing popularity and started being exported overseas to Europe. The increasing demand on this restricted plant led to concern on its possible extinction and legislative measures were enforced whereby its gathering was reserved Jar the Grandmaster. The sides of General's Rock were also made smooth to make access to the rock difficult. The plant lost its medicinal reputation dwing the early decades of the nineteenth century. The plant has now been relegated to the annals of medical history and folklore, though it is now designated a protected species.
Appears in Collections:MFD, Volume 16, Issue 1
MFD, Volume 16, Issue 1
Scholarly Works - FacM&SOG

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