Panacea (medicine)

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The panacea /pænəˈsə/, named after the Greek goddess of universal remedy, Panacea, also known as panchrest,[citation needed] was supposed to be a remedy that would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. It was sought by the alchemists as a connection to the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, a mythical substance which would enable the transmutation of common metals into gold.

The Cahuilla Indian people of the Colorado Desert region of California, according to legend, used the red sap of the elephant tree (or Bursera microphylla) as a panacea medicine.[citation needed]

A panacea (or panaceum) is also a literary term to represent any solution to solve all problems related to a particular issue.

The Latin genus name of ginseng is Panax, (or "panacea") reflecting Linnean understanding that ginseng was widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a cure-all.[citation needed]

Historical examples[edit]

The Universal Antidote is a mixture that contains activated charcoal, magnesium oxide, and tannic acid. All three components neutralize the actions of many poisons. It is prepared by mixing "of two parts activated charcoal, one part tannic acid, and one part magnesium oxide intended to be administered to patients who consumed poison. The mixture is ineffective and no longer used; activated charcoal is useful."[1] It is now believed that activated charcoal and water is just as effective.[2]

Tar water was also suspected to be a panacea due to its seemingly universal effects.[3]

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