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Pedanius Dioscorides (c.40-c.90 AD, left), ancient Greek physician. At centre the nymph Euresis holds a mandrake plant, while an artist draws it. 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 Vies des Savants Illustres (1877).
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