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European Records of Botanical Medical Knowledge of Southern India: Resources for Contemporary Biomedical Sciences

Annamma Spudich

Tuesday, Aug 1 2023. 11 am.
Lecture Hall – 1 (Haapus), NCBS


This lecture will present excerpts from Portuguese, Dutch and British documents from the 16-18th centuries to establish critical contributions of Indian botanical medical knowledge to early European colonial enterprise and the study of tropical botany. In addition, the interfaces between these colonial documents suggest that the regional medical knowledge of individual medicinal plants from Southern India available in these documents could be valuable tools for contemporary biomedical research.

Annamma (Anna) Spudich, a native of Kerala, did her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at Stanford University and was a research scientist at Stanford for 25 years. In 2000 she left her career in basic science to pursue her lifelong interest in the Ashtavaidya scholar medical traditions of Southwest India, and the contributions of Indian scientific traditions in the natural sciences to the European colonial enterprise in India and other tropical regions. She brings her rigorous training as an experimental scientist and her firsthand knowledge of the medical-botanical traditions of Southwest India to her work. Dr. Spudich was a visiting scholar at NCBS since 2008 and curated exhibitions on her work at NCBS, and internationally. The Indian Spice Trade: In Search for Knowledge and Riches: