Brygder och besvärjelser : En arkeobotanisk studie av medicinalväxter och den medeltida staden Nya Lödöse
The study of medicinal plants is a popular subject that, at least in the archaeological sciences, has met a lot of criticism due to the lack of physical data. It is problematic to distinguish the medicinal plants from local flora since many herbs that were used often could be found in the nearby vegetation. The purpose of this essay is to archaebotanically analyze samples from the medieval town Nya Lödöse and compare the data with a previous analysis from the site and a literature study. The herbs meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla sp.), sweet gale (Myrica gale), hop (Humulus lupulus), common tormentil (Potentilla erecta), St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), catnip (Nepeta cataria) and motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) have been selected for closer analysis since they occur with frequency in the historical medicinal texts and in previous analysis made on the site. The aim is to investigate the similarity between the samples and what is written about the plants in the different medieval medicinal documentations. The paper will also discuss the different contemporary views on medicine and the people who practiced it, and thus extend the subject for future studies. The Nya Lödöse locale is interesting since it was active in a period of increased trade, turbulent times of political power games, witch trials and ecclesiastical power. The harbor town of Nya Lödöse has had an intense history with numerous fires and invasions. In a time of reformation, when the plague had hit Gothenburg, the witch pyres were burning and the Dane was at hand, the need for medicine must have been great.
Keywords: Archeobotany, middle ages, medicinal plants, Nya Lödöse, monastery medicine, indigenous medicine and witch craft.
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