Definition of materia medica in English:

materia medica


mass noun
  • 1The body of remedial substances used in the practice of medicine.

    ‘his confidence in materia medica tends to waver’
    • ‘For the next 7 years, he continued his practice of medicine and lectured on materia medica in Cambridge, until his return to London, where he had a rich and productive professional career.’
    • ‘Even though, as far as I know, snail shell is not a substance used in the Chinese materia medica, it resembles in shape and quality other substances which are.’
    • ‘It is the milder substances that make up the vast bulk of the Chinese materia medica.’
    • ‘Of bioactive species, 63 are found in the Chinese materia medica and at least another 8 are derived from other ethnomedicines.’
    • ‘Although most of the plants in the healers' materia medica are available in New York City, they have to be purchased from botanical or otherwise imported.’
    • ‘Others feel that they have no place in our materia medica.’
    • ‘He adopted his new profession enthusiastically and was soon so proficient in his knowledge of the materia medica that, following the death of his employer, he was able to carry on the business.’
    • ‘She wandered back into the sitting room to find her new commander flipping idly through a book of herbal materia medica.’
    • ‘In this sense, Schizandra while classified as an astringent in the Chinese materia medica has definite mild adaptogenic properties which, like ginseng, help to regulate various body functions and counteract the effects of stress.’
    • ‘His cures reflect the complicated pharmacy of the day, a materia medica that would rival or certainly be comparable to a Traditional Chinese Medical pharmacy today.’
    1. 1.1The study of the origin and properties of substances used in the practice of medicine.
      ‘to one Professor is assigned Human Anatomy and Materia Medica’
      • ‘The early licensure exams consisted of six sections: medical nursing, surgical nursing, dietetics and home sanitation, obstetrical nursing, anatomy and physiology and materia medica.’
      • ‘Herbal preparations from the traditional Ayur-Vedic materia medica were utilized according to clinical indications.’
      • ‘He was so convinced of the importance of Arabic medicine that he began to learn the language himself, and wrote commentaries praising the therapeutics and materia medica of al-Razi.’
      • ‘One popular therapy at this time (which continues today in China) was the combination of anmo with herbal ointments, liniments and salves derived from the Chinese materia medica.’
      • ‘Two species, namely C. borivillianum and C. tuberosum, hold an important position in the Indian materia medica as integral components in herbal-drug prescriptions against general debility.’


Late 17th century modern Latin, translation of Greek hulē iatrikē ‘healing material’ (the title of a work by Dioscorides).


materia medica

/məˌtɪərɪə ˈmɛdɪkə/