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Medical History Society of New Jersey

MHSNJ Presents, "The Sniff Test: Making Sense of Medicinal Plants in Colonial North America."

  • Tuesday, December 21, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Zoom

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The MHSNJ's next monthly Zoom will be on Tuesday, December 21 at 7:00pm EST, with MHSNJ past president Karen Reeds presenting "The Sniff Test: Making Sense of Medicinal Plants in Colonial North America."



The fact that a common symptom of COVID-19 infection is loss of the sense of smell has made us realize how much we depend on our ability to smell. How did early European colonists in North America — surrounded by plants they had never seen before — decide what was safe to eat or take as medicines? They applied the sniff test.

Karen Reeds earned her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University with a dissertation entitled "Botany in Medieval and Renaissance Universities." She continues to publish in the history of botany and medicine. In addition to her service to the MHSNJ, she is a member of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and also the Princeton Research Forum. She is also the author of A State of Health: New Jersey's Medical Heritage (Rutgers University Press, 2002), a central text in the history of medicine in New Jersey.




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