An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15872 entries, 13813 authors and 1928 subjects. Updated: March 23, 2023

BRAVO, Francisco

1 entries
  • 5372

Opera medicinalia.

Mexico: Pedro Ocharte, 1570.

Opera medicinalia was the first medical book printed in the Western Hemisphere, and its botanical images were the first illustrations of plants printed in the Western Hemisphere. Of the original edition only two copies are known, of which the only complete copy is at the La Biblioteca José María Lafragua at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico. In 1862 American bookseller and bibliographer Henry Stevens purchased an incomplete copy at an auction sale of the library of collector/dealer/book thief Guglielmo Libri in London. This he resold to the American collector James Lennox. The Lennox copy is preserved in the New York Public Library. In 1970 London antiquarian booksellers Dawsons of Pall issued a facsimile of the complete Universidad de Puebla copy with a companion volume of commentary by Francisco Guerra.

"Opera Medicinalia consists of a set of treatises on various medical topics including a long discourse on a disease called “tabardete,” which may have been typhus, citing works on the topic by earlier Arab and Greek physicians. Typhus is a disease spread by lice, and was common on board ships crossing the Atlantic during the colonial period. Also included in the book is a long treatise in the form of a dialog on bloodletting accompanied by a simplistic woodcut of the venous system inspired by Andreas Vesalius’ Epistle [on Venesection], printed in Basel in 1539. Bravo also included a long discussion of the sarsaparilla plant (Smilax aspera), native to North America, including Mexico, whose roots were thought to cure a number of ailments. The book includes two woodcut illustrations of the plant by Juan Ortiz which were based upon illustrations from Pietro Mattioli’s Commentaries on Dioscorides (Commentarii… De Materia Medica) published in Venice in 1554. The fact that Bravo’s book was written in Latin, shows that it was aimed at a scholarly audience rather than the general public" (, accessed 02-2017).

Digital facsimile of the 1570 edition from at this link.

Portions of the book have been translated into Spanish as: 

BRAVO, Francisco, (ca 1525-1595) Observations on the raicilla, which in the indigenous language they call zarzaparrilla / Francisco Bravo Puebla; Preliminary study, translation into Spanish and notes by José Gaspar Rodolfo Cortés Riveroll; Paleography and biographies of Rodolfo Cortés Madrazo. Puebla, México: Benemérita Autonomous University of Puebla, Faculty of Medicine, 2011, 175 p., ISBN 978-607-487-326-9 [ View the full text of this work in PDF format ]

BRAVO, Francisco, (ca 1525-1595) On venosection in pleuritis and in general of other inflammations of the body / Francisco Bravo Puebla; Preliminary study, translation into Castilian and notes of Jose Gaspar Rodolfo Cortés Riveroll. Puebla, Mexico: Benemérita Autonomous University of Puebla, Faculty of Medicine, Dirección de Fomento Editorial, 2008, 206 p., ISBN 978-968-9391-408 [ View full text of this work in PDF format ]