Pedanios Dioscorides

1st Century AD

Dioscorides is considered to be the father of medical botany. He was a Greek physician who lived during the first century AD. He grew up in Cilicia, what is now southern Turkey, and studied at nearby Tarsus, which was at that time a center for the study of pharmacology. He served as a physician and soldier in the Roman army under emperors Nero, Caligula, and Claudius.

In about AD 65, after studying plants in their natural habitats and gaining practical experience on the medicinal uses of herbs, he wrote De Materia Medica. It was a five volume series "on the preparation, properties, and testing of drugs". The books described over 600 plants and plant extracts. Dioscorides’ work served as a basis for pharmaceutical use of plants for 1500 years.

Writing of Dioscorides

Dioscorides: de Materia Medica. Retrieved from on January 11, 2010.