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January 2009

When Galeni Met Paracelsus: A Paleodermatological Case of Luetic Gumma Care

Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(1):101. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2008.523

Mary of Aragon (1503-1568) was a beautiful and cultured noblewoman who suffered from gummatous syphilis and condyloma acuminatum, which was supported by the identification of human papillomavirus 18.1,2 Medication that had been applied to care for an ulcerated luetic gumma was found on the left arm of her mummy. This case represents the only known example of ancient wound care with drug and bandage found in situ and exemplifies the medicophilosophical dispute between the authority of Galenic medicine and the growing power of the Spagyric medicine.

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