De plantis Aegypti liber. Cum observationibus & Notis Ioannis Veslingii eqvitis in patavino Gymnasio anatomiæ & pharmacie professoris primarii. Accessit Alpini de Balsamo liber. Editio altera emendatior.
Farmaceutica - Erbari
Alpino, having concluded his studies in Medicine in 1578 at Padua (he was born in Marostica in 1533), went to Egypt in 1580 under the guidance of the consul Giorgio Emo. There he was able to make a series of observations, not only on the medical practices of the Egyptians, but also on the plants that in part he himself collected. The De plantis Aegypti, published for the first time in 1592 after the return of Alpino to Padua as Professor of Botany and Prefect of the Botanical Garden, represents the synthesis of his activity as a scholar of botany during his stay in Egypt. Nonetheless, his medical training, in addition to his background as a naturalist, is evident in every sentence. Of particular interest in the work, presented as a conversation with an interlocutor named Gualandino, are the "innovations" it introduced into Europe for the first time. Among these, in particular is the description of a tonic and fortifying drink made with the seeds of a plant imported from Arabia that the locals drink in the place of wine (clearly the coffee plant), as well as the description of Mecca balsam with a detailed illustration. But the work is also interesting for its use of Egyptian and Latin synonyms and for its original images. Examples of plants cited are cotton, lablab (with an illustration of its trellis cultivation), the Abrus precatorius, the banana, sesame, taro, pistia, psyllium and so forth. This edition of the De plantis is the one edited by Giovanni Veslingio, a professor of Anatomy and Pharmacy at the Gymnasium of Pavia. Bound with the De plantis Aegypti is the work Prosperi Alpini De Balsamo Dialogus, printed in Pavia in MDCXXXIX, also on the press of Paolo Frambotto (54 pages, separate numbering). In this work Alpino, again in a dialogue format, between Abdella, medicus aegyptius, Abdachim, hebreus, and Alpino himself, italus, speaks of Balsam (Balasson ab Aegyptiis vocato), specifically its origins, its extraction and preservation techniques, and its adulterations. The image of the plant is the same as in the De plantis. A third contribution follows (80 pages), the De plantis Aegyptiis Observationes et Notae by Giovanni Veslingio Mindano, who here defines himself as a knight and head professor of Anatomy and Surgery at the Pavian Gymnasium, printed by the same author of the De plantis in MDCXXXIII. The author reexamines all of the monographs written by Alpino making notes and comparisons with the plants that he has seen. He also adds some new ones, such as the beid el ssar, Indian origan, loofah, the datura aegyptia, lupine, convolvulus.