A garden of medicinal plants

A garden of medicinal plants


Henry Oakeley, Jane Knowles, Michael de Swiet and Anthony Dayan

A garden of medicinal plants describes 50 plants from the Medicinal Garden at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) that are sources of ancient and modern medicines.

It outlines their uses, discovery, history, mythology and the illnesses they treat or cause, sourced from the earliest herbals to modern pharmacopoeias and medical journals. The book presents over 100 photos and woodcuts and brief biographies of the medical authors of past millennia.

The modern references have been omitted from the book due to space considerations but are available online.


  • The history of the garden
  • Plants from the beginning of time
  • Plants illustrating the doctrines of signatures and humours
  • Plants with an association with the College
  • Plants from the College's Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (1618)
  • Plants that were milestones in the discovery of medicines
  • Poisonous plants which have changed the world
  • More poisonous plants, uses and abuses
  • Herbal medicines
  • Plants for treating cancer
  • Plants as sources of modern medicines

Other books in the series

Anatomy of a building - Rowan Moore

Quacks, rogues and charlatans - Paul Strathern

Physicians and war - Humphrey Hodgson and Simon Shorvan

Curiosities from the College museum - Richard Thompson

Grave and learned men: the physicians 1518-1660 - Louella Vaughan

Ever persons capable and able: the physicians 1660-2018 - Louella Vaughan

Physicians and their images - Ludmilla Jordanova

Simples and rarities suitable and honourable to the College - Alastair Compston

Physicians and global health - Krishna Chinthapalli

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