Lupines, manganese, and devil-sickness: An Anglo-Saxon medical response to epilepsy

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The most frequently prescribed herb for "devil-sickness" in the vernacular medical books from Anglo-Saxon England, the lupine, is exceptionally high in manganese. Since manganese depletion has been linked with recurring seizures in both clinical and experimental studies, it is possible that lupine administration responded to the particular pathophysiology of epilepsy. Lupine is not prescribed for seizures in classical Mediterranean medical sources, implying that the Northern European peoples (if not the Anglo-Saxons them-selves) discovered whatever anticonvulsive properties the herb may exhibit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalBulletin of the History of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • History


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