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Revista de Ciências Agrárias

Print version ISSN 0871-018X


LIBERATO, Maria Cândida. Contribution to the knowledge of Garcia de Orta. Rev. de Ciências Agrárias [online]. 2011, vol.34, n.1, pp.110-119. ISSN 0871-018X.

By the end of the Middle Age, namely in Portugal, the interest about the observation and record of nature arose. The Portuguese expansion odyssey in the 15th and 16th centuries allowed, from the early beginning, to understand that the natural world was different from that found in old c1assical literature from the Greek-roman culture, where the knowledge about Asia was very incipient and distorted. The discovery of the maritime pathway for India, in 1498, the subsequent establishment of a government in Goa, the creation of several trading posts in strategic points of the Indian ocean and the establishment of some local alliances allowed Portugal to control the access to the spices and pharmaceutical drugs, very solicited in the European markets. To this Indian State, clerics, soldiers, royal servants, physicians, chemists and many others started to arrive. In this context, Garcia de Orta, with academic background based on the c1assics, went to India as a doctor of the appointed captain-in-chief of the Indian sea, where he stayed for the rest of his life. The direct contact with drugs and Asian special medicines allowed him to check and correct, as a pioneer, the existing concepts about those merchandises, some of them used, since a very long time, by western medicine, and to show some new products. He left his knowledges recorded in the book Colóquios dos simples, e drogas e cousas medicinais da índia, e ...This work constitutes the first European scientific contribute for the knowledge of oriental medicinal plants. After having been known in Europe, in Latin, the book had an enormous repercussion, until nowadays, being important to medicine, pharmacognosy and botany.

Keywords : Garcia de Orta; oriental medicinal plants; renaissance portuguese man.

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