Pioneering work on the medicinal properties of the foxglove is focus of lecture at University of Leicester

Posted by er134 at May 09, 2013 04:20 PM |
Dr Peter Sheldon will focus on the work of William Withering, a physician and learned botanist

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 9 May 2013

Free public lecture at 8pm on Thursday 16 May at University of Leicester main campus Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 3

The medicinal properties of plants will form the backdrop to a public lecture at the University of Leicester.

Former clinical lecturer at the University Dr Peter Sheldon, Senior Consultant Rheumatologist to the University Hospitals of Leicester, will deliver the Botanic Garden Lecture on Thursday 16 May.

The lecture, entitled ‘Withering - the English Linnaeus and the Flowering of Pharmacology’, takes place at 8pm in Ken Edwards Lecture theatre 3 on the University of Leicester campus.  It is free and open to the public.

Dr Richard Gornall, Director of the University of Leicester Botanic Garden, said: “Dr Sheldon’s topic focuses on William Withering, a physician and a learned botanist, who published a translation of Linnaeus' classification, translated into English. His pioneering work on the medicinal properties of the foxglove led to a more scientific approach towards its exploitation as a treatment for disease.

“William Withering was a member of the original Lunar Society, a group of intellectuals & scientists who met in the late 18th century to share their ideas.”

Dr Sheldon’s long-term interest in both Withering and medicinal plants, particularly foxglove, meadowsweet and wintergreen, led to the publication of two books: The life and times of William Withering, his work, his legacy and The fall and rise of aspirin: the wonder drug.

The University of Leicester Botanic Garden is also offering a part-time evening course: Medicinal herbs: a journey of modern, traditional & folklore uses of Herbs in medicine.

Each week, the course will explore a different system of the body and introduce people to the herbs that have a long history of use in that particular system.  It will cover active constituents, properties & medicinal uses; looking at the similarities and differences between traditional and modern uses.

The course will also go into the extensive medicinal herb garden to look at the live plants and discuss their properties further.

Systems provisionally covered:

1)      Cardiovascular system

2)      Digestive System

3)      Respiratory System

4)      Musculoskeletal system

5)      Skin


Cost £85.00 per person

Venue: Botanic Garden

Dates: Wednesday evenings 22 May-19th June, 7-9pm


For more information:

University of Leicester Botanic Garden

Stoughton Drive South

Oadby, Leics., LE2 2NE

Tel. 0116- 271-2933



Notes to editors:

For more information contact Dr Richard Gornall, on 0116 271 2933 or 0116 252 3394, or email:

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