Original Article · Originalarbeit
Are the Correct Herbal Claims by Hildegard von Bingen Only Lucky Strikes? A New Statistical ApproachUehleke B.a,b,c · Hopfenmueller W.d · Stange R.b · Saller R.a
a Institute for Complementary Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland b Department of Natural Healing, Charite Medical University, Immanuel-Krankenhaus, c University of Health and Sports, d Institute for Biometrics, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charite Medical University, Berlin, Germany
Prof. Dr. Dr. Bernhard Uehleke
Hochschule für Gesundheit und Sport
Vulkanstraße 1, 10367 Berlin, Germany
Do you have an account?
Background: Ancient and medieval herbal books are often believed to describe the same claims still in use today. Medieval herbal books, however, provide long lists of claims for each herb, most of which are not approved today, while the herb’s modern use is often missing. So the hypothesis arises that a medieval author could have randomly hit on ’correct‘ claims among his many ’wrong’ ones. Methods: We developed a statistical procedure based on a simple probability model. We applied our procedure to the herbal books of Hildegard von Bingen (1098– 1179) as an example for its usefulness. Claim attributions for a certain herb were classified as ’correct‘ if approximately the same as indicated in actual monographs. Results: The number of ‘correct‘ claim attributions was significantly higher than it could have been by pure chance, even though the vast majority of Hildegard von Bingen’s claims were not ’correct‘. The hypothesis that Hildegard would have achieved her ’correct‘ claims purely by chance can be clearly rejected. Conclusion: The finding that medical claims provided by a medieval author are significantly related to modern herbal use supports the importance of traditional medicinal systems as an empirical source. However, since many traditional claims are not in accordance with modern applications, they should be used carefully and analyzed in a systematic, statistics-based manner. Our statistical approach can be used for further systematic comparison of herbal claims of traditional sources as well as in the fields of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology.
© 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel
Article / Publication Details
Copyright / Drug Dosage / DisclaimerCopyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.