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Panacea (medicine)

The panacea /pænəˈsə/, named after the Greek goddess of universal remedy Panacea, is any supposed remedy that is claimed (for example) to cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. It was in the past sought by alchemists in connection with the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, a mythical substance which would enable the transmutation of common metals into gold.

The Cahuilla people of the Colorado Desert region of California used the red sap of the elephant tree (Bursera microphylla) as a panacea.[1]

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

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

The term "panacea" is used in a negative way to describe the overuse of any one solution to solve many different problems, especially in medicine.[2] The word has acquired has connotations of snake-oil and quackery.[3]

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  1. ^ Bean, Lowell John and Katherine Siva Saubel, 1972, Temalpakh (From the Earth); Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants, Banning, CA. Malki Museum Press, page 48.
  3. ^ Örtenblad, Anders, ed. (2015). "Foreword by David Collins". Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas: Adaptation and Context. Research Handbooks in Business and Management series. Chelthnham: Edward Elgar Publishing. p. xxvii. ISBN 9781783475605. Retrieved 21 November 2019. A panacea is [...] a cure-all. In modern medicine its lexical equivalents would include such things as 'elixirs', 'patent medicine' and 'snake-oil'. Panaceas are sold by 'quacks'. the purchasers of such preparations are, consequently, taken to be either gullible, desperate, or both.

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