Moyse Charas

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Moyse Charas
Moyse Charas - Portrait.jpg
Born 1619
Uzès, Gard
Died 1698
Nationality French
Occupation Apothecary

Moyse Charas (1619, Uzès, Gard - 1698) was an apothecary in France during the reign of Louis XIV. He became famous for publishing compendiums of medication formulas, many of which had been kept secret for centuries to maintain a monopoly.[1]

Pharmacopée Royale Galénique et Chymique, first published in 1676, was the best-known of Charas's works and was the first medical book from Europe translated into Chinese. A medication included in his formulary was theriac which was first made popular by the Greeks as an antidote to animal bites and disseminated over the Silk Route. The formula for theriac included as many as 600 separate ingredients and was kept secret for over seventeen centuries. Another medication included was orvietan. Charas is considered an important figure for the dissemination of medical knowledge.[1]

Charas was inducted as member of the Academie Des Sciences (the French Academy of Sciences) in 1692 at the age of 73. As well as the publishing of his works, he had enjoyed a distinguished career as a lecturer in Chemistry. He was an expert in areas such poisons, antidotes, opium, and viperidae.[2] There is evidence that his nomination and acceptance into the Academie Des Sciences was based on the importance of his publications on pharmacology rather than on his credentials as a scientific researcher, contrary to the usual practice of the day.[3]


  1. ^ a b Boulnois, Luce (2005). Silk Road: Monks, Warriors & Merchants. Hong Kong: Odyssey Books. pp. 131, 262. ISBN 962-217-721-2. 
  2. ^ "A Company of Scientists". Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  3. ^ Science and Social Status: The Members of the Academie Des Sciences. Retrieved 2008-05-25.