Clare GriffinMar 6, 2023
The Global Drug Trade and Early Modern Russia
Intoxicating Histories 2022
Clare Griffin's book Mixing Medicines: The Global Drug Trade and Early Modern Russia (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022) introduces the reader to the dynamic and complex world of early modern Russian medical drugs, from the enthusiasm for newly imported American botanicals to the disgust at Western European medicines made from human corpses.
Based on a unique set of previously unused sources, this book is the first study of how the Russian Empire took part in the early modern global trade in medical drugs. The extensive and detailed records kept by the Moscow court show how ingredients produced elsewhere and passed through the massive, long-distance trade network of the early modern world were finally consumed. Looking at medicine as materia medica gives us a different perspective than when looking at practitioners, texts, and ideas.
Erika Monahan is the author of The Merchants of Siberia: Trade in Early Modern Eurasia (Cornell UP, 2016) and a 2023-2024 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow.