An Account of the Foxglove, and some of its medical uses: with practical remarks on dropsy, and other diseases.

Birmingham: Printed by M. Swinney,...1785

8vo, pp. (ii), xx, (i), 207, (1), large folding coloured engraved plate of the foxglove by J. Sowerby. With the half-title, but without the first leaf (blank but for signature 'a'). Some spotting especially in gathering D, 2 leaves with small pieces torn from the blank fore-edge margin, tear in one fold of plate repaired from behind. Good modern half calf. Early signature of B. Williamson on title-page.

FIRST EDITION. Before Withering’s time, digitalis, obtained from the leaves of the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), had been used widely in popular medicine, but Withering conducted a series of clinical trials over a period of ten years to define its correct dosage and effective use in dropsy and heart disease, carefully stating that it was ineffective for certain other conditions. It was to become the most valuable cardiac drug ever discovered, and its introduction was one of the landmarks in the history of cardiac disease. “It is one of the classics of medical literature, and greatly prized by collectors” (Major). G&M 1836 (pharmacology) and 2734.31 (cardiology). Lilly, Notable medical books, 139. Willius & Keys, Cardiac Classics, pp. 225–252. Major, Classic descriptions of disease, pp. 437–443. Norman Catalogue 2255.


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