Iowa Bibliophiles "The Roots of Medicine"

April 14, 2021 - 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

As winter fades in Iowa and the landscape begins the welcome return to various shades of green, our thoughts turn to nature and the plants that sustain us. Plants and their by-products have a long history in medicine, predating the written record. Ancient medical philosophers, including Hippocrates and Galen, wrote of the medicinal “virtues” of plants that influenced Western medical practice for more than a thousand years. Some of the most striking illustrated early printed works are medicinal plant books, referred to as herbals.

To increase the visibility of these rare books and foster inclusion of history of medicine materials in curricula across campus, librarians from the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Iowa proposed to create a medicinal garden with an accompanying digital exhibit. Serendipitously, the College of Pharmacy planned a medicinal garden of their own for their planned new building. Joining forces with representatives from the College of Pharmacy, a local gardening group, and a horticulture expert from Iowa State University, they created The Roots of Medicine project. The Roots of Medicine combines images and information from rare herbal works in the John Martin Rare Book Room (JMRBR), modern, cutting-edge medical research, and digital technology to present an augmented garden walk through history.

Join Iowa Bibliophiles as we invite Damien Ihrig, Curator for the JMRBR, and Hardin Librarians Matt Regan and Chris Childs to present on the formation of the project, a demonstration of the technology, and the individual books used in the project.

This event is free and open to all. The presentation will also be recorded and placed on Special Collections' YouTube channel at a later date. Following the presentation, a brief Q&A will follow, which will not be recorded.