Box containing ampoules of Strophanthus extract, England, 1917
Strophanthus is a plant native to parts of Africa that is used both in traditional African medicine and as the basis for a heart stimulant drug in the West known as strophanthin. This is an example of a similar treatment being used across different medical traditions. Made by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co, this box of ten glass tubes of strophanthin solution was made to be injected into the skin or the veins. The treatment was only carried out by physicians as it can be toxic if taken in large doses.
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A drug extracted from the digitalis plants, specifically the Foxglove, used to treat heart failure. It heightens heart muscle contraction and decreases the heart rate. The line between therapeutic and toxic dose is fine.
Glossary: box - container
A name for a group of shrubs from central Africa. One variation of strophanthus is used in a drug to stimulate the heart after heart failure.