by Arthur Hollman, 40 pp, with illus, paper £7.50, ISBN 0-7279-0744-1, London, England, British Medical Journal; Philadelphia, Pa, American College of Physicians, distributor, 1992.
We are in an era of sophisticated artificial synthesis of pharmaceuticals and dwindling forests. It is thus appropriate that we be reminded of the debts owed to the plant kingdom for the origin of many medicines used today.
In this monograph Dr Hollman describes the plants from which were derived some of the drugs most commonly used today in cardiology. For each he gives a historical synopsis of the work that led from a chemical of plant origin to a medicine of clinical utility. In some cases the pharmaceutical product is still identical to and derived from the naturally occurring substance (eg, atropine), while, in others, considerable modification of the structure of the natural chemical was needed to produce a clinically useful agent (eg, lidocaine, verapamil). Each of the 17 sections is very short, with a full-page black-and-white engraving of the plant being discussed and up to an additional page-and-a-half
MacAlpin R. Plants in Cardiology. JAMA. 1993;269(8):1049-1050. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500080101044