Nicolás Monardes. Historia medicinal. pt. 2. Seuilla: Casa de Alonso Escriuano Impressor, 1571.

Nicolás Monardes was a medical doctor and businessman. He belonged to the school of "humanist galenism," which opposed the influence of medieval Arabic science. Monardes conducted trade between Seville and the New World, sending cloth and black slaves to America and obtaining leather and medicinal plants. Although he never visited the Indies, the large quantity of American products reaching Seville allowed him to write his most important work, the Historia medicinal, which was originally published in three parts (1565, 1571 and 1574).

Monardes drew on indigenous practices and his own medical experimentation to introduce numerous medicinal products from the New World to Europe. The Segunda parte includes the first known treatise on the healing properties of the tobacco leaf. Among other medical novelties, he recommended the use of ground tail bone of armadillo for earaches.

The significance of Monardes' work can be appreciated by the numerous translations made during his lifetime: six in Italian, five in Latin, three in French, and three in English; fourteen additional translations were published in the next century. The Durand Collection contains the rare original edition of the second part, which was never reprinted separately.

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