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Empirics, Physicians, and Wonder Drugs in Early Modern Germany: The Case of the Panacea Amwaldina

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This essay examines the conflicting approaches towards marvelous cures in sixteenth-century Germany. As pharmaceutical substances flooded in from both east and west, they brought with them a market for "wonder drugs" that would cure any ailment. In this climate, university-trained physicians felt threatened by the rising popularity of cures hawked by empirical practitioners, while at the same time endorsing certain wonder drugs. Using the example of one particularly controversial empiric, Georg am Wald, and his wonder drug, the Panacea Amwaldina, this article parses the various factors that made the medical elite embrace certain cures while deriding others.

Affiliations: 1: Tufts University


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