Foxglove yields the invaluable heart drug digitalis. The medical properties of foxglove had been written about in the 16th century, but the plant fell into disrepute (!) and it was dropped from the all-important London Pharmacopoeia in 1745. Its health benefits were rediscovered (!) by a physician named William Withering, who published an Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses: with Practical Remarks on Dropsy and Other Diseases in 1785. We are planning to run excerpts from an article that tells the whole fascinating story, “William Withering and the Purple Foxglove,” by J. Worth Estes and Paul Dudley White, published in the June 1965 Scientific American. (White was the distinguished heart specialist who treated President Dwight D. Eisenhower.) There are many parallels between the Foxglove story and the Cannabis story. Among them: both William Withering and William Brooke O’Shaughnessy received their medical degrees from the University of Edinburgh. —FG
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managing editor, O'Shaughnessy's.