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Alchemy and Chemical Medicines in Early Colonial Lima, Peru

Citation: Newson, Linda A (2020) Alchemy and Chemical Medicines in Early Colonial Lima, Peru. Ambix, 67 (2). pp. 1-28. ISSN 1745-8234

Newson - 10 March 2020 MS OA.docx

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

The article explores the use of minerals and the nature of chemical methods employed in Lima in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It does so through examining the availability of mineral resources, including pre-European knowledge of their use, through surveying the books and equipment used by physicians and apothecaries, and finally by examining prescriptions for medicines
that were used to treat patients. It concludes that minerals were probably more commonly employed inmedicines in Lima than in Spain but suggests that their preparation and use at this time drew on Spain’s alchemical tradition rather than on writings by Paracelsus and his followers. It argues that this did not reflect the effectiveness of censorship by the Inquisition.

Creators: Newson, Linda A (0000-0001-5900-2316) and
Official URL:
Subjects: History
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Keywords: alchemy, distillation, minerals, apothecaries, Peru, Inquisition
Divisions: Institute of Latin American Studies
  • 3 March 2020 (accepted)
  • 14 April 2020 (published)


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