Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Early Herbalist Still Important

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Early Herbalist Still Important

Article excerpt

Nicholas Culpeper is now known as one of the founding fathers of alternative medicine. His practice was never based on anything but practical knowledge, as he never received the official status of physician, barber-surgeon, or apothecary.

In 1616, Culpeper was born 19 days after the death of his father, a minister. His mother, Mary Attersoll Culpeper, returned home to her father, another minister, with her newborn son in tow. Early on, Culpeper's interest in "astrology and occult philosophy" became apparent. At the time, astrology was part of mainstream religion, as it was believed that the movements of the planets and stars were indicative of God's will. Young Nicholas likely learned to read in his grandfather's library and had many kinds of philosophy available to him very early.

At sixteen, Culpeper went to Cambridge but a failed elopement in which his fiancee died on the way to the meeting place seems to have quelled any interest in his studies. He subsequently became the apprentice of a series of apothecaries which guided his vast knowledge of herbs and medicines. At the time, the powerful College of Physicians created laws that limited apothecaries to making the concoctions that the physicians needed. …

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