Tag Archives: digitalis

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Portrait of Doctor Gachet by Vincent van Gogh. June 1890. Private collection. Via Wikimedia. On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside […]

The other Charles Darwin (1758-1778)

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Erasmus Darwin and William Withering. “Precursoritis” is the bane of historiography.” – Stephen Jay Gould   One of the best-known and important discoveries in the practice of medicine was the introduction of digitalis by William Withering (Fig 1). It was the subject of controversy that involved […]

William Withering and the foxglove

William Withering, W. Bond, 19th century Engraving of Carl Frederik von Breda painting In 1785 William Withering, physician and botanist in Birmingham, England, wrote a book describing how for ten years he had used an extract of foxglove to treat patients afflicted with swollen legs and abdomen. He said he had often been urged to […]