Defunct medical traditions, and the herbal remedies contained therein, can be seen as a source of
new drugs. As an example, various members of the Polyporaceae family of mushrooms have
been used, by various cultures around the world, to combat infection and fight cancer. This fact
led researchers to examine the family of mushrooms for immune stimulating capacity. Over time,
researchers have determined that many members of Polyporaceae act as immune stimulants
(Grifola frondosa, Trametes versicolor). In addition, researchers have identified compounds
within these mushrooms (Beta?d?Glucans) that act as immune stimulants. Anti?cancer drugs are
now being developed based on this research.
The question is, how does one reach into a defunct medical tradition and extract potentially
interesting remedies that warrant further investigation? I have, over the last twenty years,
extracted data from defunct medical traditions and brought that information into the modern age
and contemporary usage. A methodology has developed for doing this and it is the one I applied
to this project.
Define the universe
First, it is important to define the universe from which you are going to be extracting
information. It is essential to familiarize oneself with the history of the defunct medical tradition
and the culture from whence it sprung, as well as the key players and the key texts, before
beginning the extraction process.