Lecture: Humoral Medicine and Spagyric Anatomy
The topic of this presentation, Humoral Medicine and Spagyric Anatomy, is a progress report about an on-going laboratory research project investigating the Elemental and Humoral constitution of materials (mainly plants) as given by classical sources. So for example when the Roman physician Galen or the renaissance herbalist Nicholas Culpepper say that Hemlock is an herb which is Cold in the 4th degree and Dry in the 3rd degree, we may have a method of confirming such a classification or of producing a classification if one does not exist.
The methodology employs modern thermo-gravimetric analysis combined with the classical “analysis by fire” or “Spagyric anatomy” as described by alchemists from at least the time of Jabir ibn Hayyan (circa 800 CE) and the center of a great debate in the 17th century.
The presentation will include a short examination of the development of elemental theory as applied to medicine and an introduction to the four humors or humoral medicine practiced for over a thousand years, and indeed still practiced in parts of the world.
The laboratory methods are fully explained with many graphic examples and comparisons between materials and the methods of data reduction to arrive at a final classification for a material.
Future possibilities are discussed and include the possibility of confirming classical designations for medicinal herbs and the development of a new method of designation based on the phytochemistry of the specific plant materials.
Robert A Bartlett is a world renowned lecturer and author on Practical Alchemy. Long term student of Frater Albertus and the PRS and Headmaster of Spagyricus School of Alchemy in NW Washington. He is also a Chemist and was Cheif Chemist at Paralab and appointed Directorb of Research there by Frater,(Dr Albert Reidel).