Skip to content

Double, double toil and trouble; what really made the cauldron bubble? 

The Tragedie of Macbeth

Tis’ the season for trick or treat, and while our Himmelfarb Library resources might be limited on dragon scales and tooth of wolf, Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth was not entirely far fetched when it came to medicinal trends in the 1500s.

“Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark”

Did you know, that while poisonous, practitioners used diluted hemlock for its sedative, antispasmodic, and paralyzing properties? Beware, this species is not as appealing as it may sound for in Ancient Greece, the plant was actually used in the execution of condemned prisoners. Find out more via the library's Natural Medicines database which has a professional-level monograph on Hemlock.

Natural Medicines can provide information and evidence on plants, roots and herbs and allow you to learn about what people use it for as well as safety, effectiveness, dosing and administration, adverse effects, and toxicology.  Natural Medicines can also help you identify possible interactions with drugs, food, laboratory tests, and diseases.

“... slips of yew

Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,” Macbeth

While one can only imagine what ‘Witches Mummy’ and ‘slips of yew’ may have been used for, why not take a look at our database and see what unusual remedies you can find?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GW is committed to digital accessibility. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access content on this page, let us know via the Accessibility Feedback Form.