This lecture explores botany and medicine in Edinburgh since 16th century, uncovering stories of doctors growing medicinal plants in dangerous times, pioneering women botanists, and what not to eat.

Using the College’s beautiful books, the lecture tells the turbulent life story of the College’s botanist founder, recounts Edinburgh’s part in a Georgian rhubarb craze, and warns of the more recent dangers of drinking belladonna laced gin and tonic.