Author: RA Kashanipour

Monkey Gland Cocktail

Lucy Jane Santos Think of cocktails and, more than likely, imagery of impossibly glamorous people, s…

Palm Trees and Potions: On Portuguese Pharmacy Signs

By Benjamin Breen Anyone who has walked in a European city at night will be familiar with the glow of them: a vivid and snakelike green, slightly eerie when encountered on a lonely street, beautiful in the rain. They were once neon; now most are arrays of ultra-bright Chinese LEDs that…

How to Make an Inca Mummy

Christopher Heaney   As any National Geographic reader will tell you, the Incas and their predecessors in the Andes made mummies, that category of deceased being whose selfhood is artificially or environmentally preserved. In the sixteenth century, however, learned Europeans weren’t sure of anything of the sort, given that ‘mummy,’…

Recipes for Curing Syphilis from Colonial Mexico

By Heather R. Peterson, Assistant Professor of History University of South Carolina, Aiken While there is debate about the origins of syphilis, most Spanish doctors in the sixteenth century followed the physician Nicolas de Monardes in believing it to be of New World origin. Because the disease had appeared and spread…

Introduction – Joyful News of Medicine from Iberian Worlds

R.A. Kashanipour In 1565, the Spanish physician and herbologist, Nicolás Monardes wrote of the great secrets of nature revealed by Spanish encounters of the New World. In the first book of his Dos libros of medicine, Doctor Monardes remarked of the discovery of new and diverse kingdoms in the Occident…

Thomas Gage’s Chocolate Recipe and Regimen

By R.A. Kashanipour In A New Survey of the West-Indies of 1655, the English friar Thomas Gage celebrated the ubiquitous consumption and qualities of chocolate throughout the early modern Spanish Atlantic World, particularly in New Spain. “Chocolate,” wrote the Dominican priest, was consumed in “all the West-India’s, but also in…

Sickness Personified: Clandestine Remedies from Colonial Yucatán (Part 2)

  By R.A. Kashanipour My previous post introduced how colonial Maya healers writing in Ritual of the Bacabs situated their remedies in line with deeply rooted traditions that saw sickness as aspects of supernatural relations. Let’s now return to the matter … Continue reading →    

Words of the Wise: Colonial Maya Medicine

By R.A. Kashanipour Early Spanish settlers, administrators, and chroniclers frequently lamented how Old World diseases ravaged native communities in the New World. The famed Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas described the ferocity of the first epidemics: “Then came a terrible … Continue reading →