Title:“From Witchcraft, to Wisdom, to Science. A XXIst century look at diagnostics and pharmacology in veterinary medicine, based on the “Nâçeri” (1333) by Abu Bakr Eddin Ibn El Moundir El Baïtar and on “Les secrets de différents auteurs” (1804), a manuscript by Hermann Voirol”
Beyond the historic dust, ancient texts on veterinary diagnostics and pharmacology are increasingly being rediscovered by scholars, historians, and medical practitioners alike. After having dusted the contents of those texts by freeing them from superstition and pseudo-science [which may be of a high socio-cultural interest but are to a lesser extent important in our context], what strikes the reader first is the wisdom and reverence reflected by most of these texts, wisdom based on the passing-on of purely empirical knowledge acquired through generations and from different cultures and reverence to the endless line of past generations of practitioners. Disregarding the precision of some of the diagnostics and timelessness of pharmacological remedies, even if they may seem bizarre when seen from a XXI century perspective, is a fundamental error, as proven by modern research focusing on the biochemical analysis of the ancient remedies, their interactions and pathogen effects. This thesis uses two ancient texts from different periods and cultural environments, which a priori would have nothing to do with one another to highlight the parallels between ancient therapies and modern treatments in addition to pharmacological and medical knowledge in different historical and cultural contexts. While some types of ancient treatments have no medical or scientific basis or justification and can be considered as “background noise”, echoing the days of superstition and witchcraft, many have therapeutic properties the workings and interactions of which were largely ignored in those old times and still need to be extensively studied today, as they continue to be in use in modern medicine.