The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2018, and to observe this landmark is publishing this series of ten books. Each of the books focuses on fifty themed elements that have contributed to making the RCP what it is today, together adding up to 500 reflections on 500 years.
Some of the people, ideas, objects and manuscripts featured are directly connected to the College, while others have had an influence that can still be felt in its work. A Garden of Medicinal Plants, the second book in the Reflections series, focuses on the RCP's gardens and their history; important plants and doctors and others involved the gardens' development.
Dr. Henry Oakeley was a psychiatrist whose main botanical interest for 50 years was in orchids, but for the last ten has been in the use of plants as medicines, from earliest times to the present day.
Jane Knowles has been in charge of the Garden at the Royal College of Physicians since 2005, after eleven years at the Chelsea Physic Garden as head of propagation and medicinal plants.
Prof. Michael de Swiet is professor emeritus of obstetric medicine at Imperial College London and is particularly interested in medicinal plants and women's health. He also volunteers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Prof. Tony Dayan was a neuropathologist before moving into toxicology, first in drug industry research and then in academia. His abiding scientific interest is in mechanisms of health and disease.