From symptom to agent: mapping historical concepts of diseases to their biological causes or agents

Map disease descriptions found in the literature in the Nordic Countries to their likely biological cause or disease agent, so that the treatments at monasteries and quarantines can be tied to particular biomedical diseases with more certainty, and that their active ingredients can be evaluated against our current knowledge about these diseases.

Tracing the ingredients: medicinal plants in monastic and hospital gardens

Identify which species were commonly used in herbal medicine in quarantine islands, hospitals and monasteries through field studies and sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA). Medicinal plants still growing at such sites (cultural relict species) will be collected and grown in the Oslo Botanical Garden to provide the biological material for further analyses.

From compound to medical treatment: characterizing the active components from historical medicine to assess their current potential

Isolate and characterize bioactive compounds from historically neglected and understudied Nordic medical plants. Historically, water based plant decoctions were most widely used and we therefore focus on extracting polysaccharides and polyphenols. The components will be characterized using a range of modern analytical approaches, such as GC, GC-MS using electron impact (EI) and chemical ionization (CI), LC-MS, HRMS and 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy.

From historical medicinal usage to novel pharmaceuticals

Provide a proof-of-concept for novel immunomodulatory plant-derived compounds isolated from plants with past use discovered in the project, and pinpoint exact chemical structure needed for optimal immune and microbiome modulation.