SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pedanius Dioscorides (c.40-c.90 AD), ancient Greek physician. Coloured historical artwork of Dioscorides (pictured at left and at right) receiving the mandrake plant from the nymph Euresis. When working as a surgeon in the Roman army of Nero, Dioscorides used the mandrake plant, combined with wine, as an anaesthetic when carrying out surgical procedures. He also wrote a five-volume book, De Materia Medica, in which he described herbs and herbal remedies. The book remained in use, in various translations, until 1600. Engraving from the 19th century book Vies des Savants Illustres.
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