Panaceia's Daughters provides the first book-length study of blewomen's healing activities in early modern Europe. Drawing on rich archival sources, Alisha Rankin demonstrates that numerous German blewomen were deeply involved in making medicines and recommending them to patients, and many gained widespread fame for their remedies. Turning a common historical argument on its head, Rankin maintains that blewomen's pharmacy came to prominence t in spite of their gender but because of it. Rankin demonstrates the ways in which blewomen's pharmacy was bound up in tions of charity, class, religion, and household roles, as well as in expanding networks of kwledge and early forms of scientific experimentation. The opening chapters place blewomen's healing within the context of cultural exchange, experiential kwledge, and the widespread search for medicinal recipes in early modern Europe. Case studies of rewned healers Dorothea of Mansfeld and Anna of Saxony then demonstrate the value their pharmacy held in their respective roles as elderly widow and royal consort, while a study of the long-suffering Duchess Elisabeth of Rochlitz emphasizes the importance of experiential kwledge and medicinal remedies to the patient's experience of illness.
Alisha Rankin is assistant professor of history at Tufts University. She is coeditor of Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800.