Armen Sahakyan

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Timeless: Researcher uses ancient manuscripts for modern medicine

By Suren Deheryan
ArmeniaNow Reporter
Used with permission from http://www.armenianow.com

A doctor who became a priest has devoted himself to the life of a pharmacist to maintain a science that reaches to the days when Armenia was a land of kings.

In a small laboratory that looks to be picked from the pages of a fantasy book, 43-year old Armen Sahakyan concocts paints, herbs and ointments, using recipes found in the ancient manuscripts of the Matenadaran.

In 1993, Sahakyan, who is a priest at St. Astvatsatsin Church in Parakar, began collecting the ingredients found in pharmacological recipes dating to the 10th century and turning them into the same sort of products used in those times. And, since 2004, he has been selling those products in the gift shop at the Matenadaran. He has produced skin lotion, ointment, tea - items that sell from $5 to $24.

His role as a senior researcher at the Manuscripts Museum led him on a quest to make paints - in 14 colors - using Armenian herbs and flora. He developed paints, using barberry roots, apricot pulp and other distinctly Armenian natural products. The paint is now being used by artists in the Matenadaran to produce paintings and pottery.