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Let not thy food be confused with thy medicine: The Hippocratic misquotation


Información de la publicación

Información de la publicación
Tipo de publicación

Científica

Tipología

Investigación y estudios

Medio de publicación

Impreso: Revista indexada

Resumen

Background and aim: The link between food and health has been documented since Antiquity. The aim of the article is to show that the alleged Hippocratic phrase “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” is a widespread misquotation, lying at the root of an entire misconception about the ancient concepts of food and medicine.


Methods: Examples of publications gathered from the MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases which cite the phrase verbatim and attribute it to Hippocrates were selected. Then, an extensive review of the works related to food and diet in the Corpus Hippocraticum was made in order to search for the phrase.

Results: At least for the last 30 years this phrase has mistakenly helped scientists confirm the importance of food to health and highlight new ethical challenges in medicine and dietetics. We showed that at least one biomedical journal per year has cited the phrase.

Conclusion: This literary creation has led to an essential misconception. For Hippocrates, even if food was closely linked to health and disease, the concept of food was not confused with that of medication.

Autores

Diana Cardenas

Registro ISSN

ISSN: 1751-4991

SNIES Área

Medicine

SNIES Categoría

Nutrition and Dietetics

Fecha de publicación 20 de noviembre de 2014
Fecha de aceptación 20 de noviembre de 2014
Medio indexado (nombre)

E-SPEN CLINICAL NUTRITION

Bases de datos donde está referenciada

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnme.2013.10.002

English information
Title

Let not thy food be confused with thy medicine: The Hippocratic misquotation

Abstract

ackground and aim: The link between food and health has been documented since Antiquity. The aim of
the article is to show that the alleged Hippocratic phrase “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy
food” is a widespread misquotation, lying at the root of an entire misconception about the ancient
concepts of food and medicine.
Methods: Examples of publications gathered from the MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases which
cite the phrase verbatim and attribute it to Hippocrates were selected. Then, an extensive review of the
works related to food and diet in the Corpus Hippocraticum was made in order to search for the phrase.
Results: At least for the last 30 years this phrase has mistakenly helped scientists confirm the importance
of food to health and highlight new ethical challenges in medicine and dietetics. We showed that at least
one biomedical journal per year has cited the phrase.
Conclusion: This literary creation has led to an essential misconception. For Hippocrates, even if food was
closely linked to health and disease, the concept of food was not confused with that of medication.

Keywords

History of medicine, Ethics, Nutrition, Dietetics, Food

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