Abstract Detail


Weiner, Peyton [1], Siegfried, Emma [1], Krakos, Kyra Neipp [2], Buchanan, Ashley [2].

From seeds to skulls: assessing the bioactivity of a Medici Archive recipe.

This is a historical ethnobotanical study focusing on the use of Paeonia officinalis and human skull to treat illness such as fevers and infant convulsions found in a recipe written by Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667-1716). The translated document contains a “recipe” for this medicine which includes one ounce of peony root and seed, two ounces of human skull from an individual who died violently, but was not buried, two ounces of red and white coral, and one ounce of amber. This recipe was frequently sought after, and the active ingredients in the recipe are likely the albiflorin and paeoniflorin in the peony roots and seeds. Specifically, this study focuses on the role of bone in the preservation of the bioactivity of the albiflorin and paeoniflorin in the roots and seeds of Paeonia officinalis. Six versions of the recipe outlined in the Medici document were made using bovine skull in place of human skull. The recipes were made so that there were combinations of bovine skull and bovine bone meal powder with both the pure albiflorin and paeoniflorin chemicals and the roots and seeds of Paeonia officinalis. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to analyze the bioactivity of the compounds by examining the retention times of each recipe twice a week for a span of twelve weeks. The experiment was conducted to analyze the effect of the bovine skull on the bioactivity and retention times of albiflorin and paeoniflorin found in the roots and seeds of Paeonia officinalis over a period of time that is comparable to the transit times recorded in the Medici records for the use of this recipe.

1 - Maryville University, 650 Maryville University Drive , St. Louis, MO, 63141, USA
2 - Maryville University, Biology, 650 Maryville University, St Louis, MO, 63141, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PET004
Abstract ID:258
Candidate for Awards:None

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