Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: foxglove

  • The other Charles Darwin (1758–1778)

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom “’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 the Darwin family. For almost two hundred years digitalis was the…

  • William Withering and the foxglove

    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 write on this subject and had been rather diffident about it, feeling unqualified…