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Castoréum et basilic : deux substances animales de la pharmacopée ancienne

Abstract : Castoreum has been used in the past against snakes’ bites and Erasistratus even recommend it in case of basilisk’s bite. An explanation based on antipathy can not be dismissed, but this use can be explained by pharmacological characteristics: this male antispasmodic being able to warm up has occasionally been perceived as a substance opposite to the wet and cold nature of the snake. Despite its northern origin this product did not belong to the dusporista pharmaka as physicians have always been widely using it, but like the others famous and expensive products it was probably counterfeited with plants like ferulae. The so-called use of the basilisk in pharmacy was a falsification by the magi who searched to catch the imagination with disquieting names as physicians did but with comforting names like castoreum.
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https://hal.univ-lille3.fr/hal-01653830
Contributor : Sébastien Barbara <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 1, 2017 - 11:13:21 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 14, 2018 - 9:56:05 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01653830, version 1

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Sébastien Barbara. Castoréum et basilic : deux substances animales de la pharmacopée ancienne . Le médecin initié par l’animal. Animaux et médecine dans l’Antiquité grecque et romaine, Isabelle BOEHM et Pascal LUCCIONI, Oct 2006, Lyon, France. ⟨hal-01653830⟩

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