Javascript must be enabled to view this site.

Read our system requirements.

Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda, collected 1919
1 of 1

Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda, collected 1919, result 1 of 1

Item Details
Open Artstor
Available to everyone
Title
Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda, collected 1919
Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda
See all records within the set
Work Type
Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Date
1919
Location
Uganda
Description
Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda, collected 1919
What makes this bag so special? At first glance it looks quite ordinary, but closer inspection reveals it to be covered with information. It also carries a neatly written label which tells us that it contains Oumuzhuma , a herb used in traditional Ugandan medicine for treating fevers. It is one of many thousands of samples which collector Henry Wellcome asked explorers, missionaries and colonists to send back to his headquarters in London.
What was he looking for? While he had an interest in different medical traditions, he was particularly focused on materia medica. That is, the materials, especially plants and herbs, used as the basis for medicines. Big pharmaceutical companies like his would examine traditional remedies to try and see if they had active chemical properties which could be isolated and reproduced. Important medicines, such as quinine for malaria, had already been developed this way.
It doesn't seem that Wellcome's team ultimately did any research into Oumuzhuma . The bag looks as though it has never been untied. But the practice of searching the world for active medicines belonging to different traditions continues and is now known as bio-prospecting. Pharmaceutical companies are actively testing many traditional remedies and plants. But if they succeed in developing a new pharmaceutical medicine, who should benefit from this success? Developing and testing a new drug can cost millions of pounds. But what about the traditional users? Should their rights to benefit from developments based on their knowledge be protected as well?
What makes this bag so special? At first glance it looks quite ordinary, but closer inspection reveals it to be covered with information. It also carries a neatly written label which tells us that it contains Oumuzhuma , a herb used in traditional Ugandan medicine for treating fevers. It is one of many thousands of samples which collector Henry Wellcome asked explorers, missionaries and colonists to send back to his headquarters in London.
What was he looking for? While he had an interest in different medical traditions, he was particularly focused on materia medica. That is, the materials, especially plants and herbs, used as the basis for medicines. Big pharmaceutical companies like his would examine traditional remedies to try and see if they had active chemical properties which could be isolated and reproduced. Important medicines, such as quinine for malaria, had already been developed this way.
It doesn't seem that Wellcome's team ultimately did any research into Oumuzhuma . The bag looks as though it has never been untied. But the practice of searching the world for active medicines belonging to different traditions continues and is now known as bio-prospecting. Pharmaceutical companies are actively testing many traditional remedies and plants. But if they succeed in developing a new pharmaceutical medicine, who should benefit from this success? Developing and testing a new drug can cost millions of pounds. But what about the traditional users? Should their rights to benefit from developments based on their knowledge be protected as well?
Accession Number
ID Number
co183280
Source
Image and original data from Science Museum Group
Rights
The source metadata displayed in the Description field is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
All other source metadata is released under Creative Commons Zero.
File Properties
File Name
large_A665335__0004_.jpg
SSID
26324892

Now viewing <!-- <button class="sort">004</button> -->Bag of `Omohukyi' plant, lantana salvifolia, Uganda, collected 1919