Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.
The term lichen is frequently used in modern dermatology. Hippocrates (460-371 bc), who was among the first to use the term lichen, described it as “an eruption of a papulae,” a definition still given in the Merriam Webster dictionary.1 Near to the first century ad, the Roman physician, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, characterized lichen as a “papulae,” and an eroding blistering eruption. The Roman naturalist and philosopher, Gaius Plinius Secundus (ad 23-79), better known as Pliny the Elder, characterized lichen as “synonymous with the impetigo of the Latins.”2 Approximately 100 years later, Galen of Pergamon (ad 129-217) was the first to associate lichen with pruritus by describing lichen as “a roughness of the skin, attended with much itching.”3
Zaghi D, Griffin JR. Defining “Lichen”From Greek Mycology to Modern Dermatology. JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(10):1136. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.1915