Cowans' Materia Medica & Therapeutics

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MMM/23/1/24
  • Dates of Creation
      Oct 1879-Apr 1880
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      1 volume, 314 folios

Scope and Content

Notes from lectures given by John Black Cowan (1829-1896) at Glasgow University taken by an unknown student. The title page reads 'Lectures on Materia Medica and Therapeutics by Dr Cowan: [Glasgow] Winter Session 1879-80'. The volume has the original pagination pp.1-598 and each lecture is individually numbered and dated with 94 lectures in total. The final 12 folios are blank.

The contents of the lectures are as follows: (1) definition of therapeutics & pharmacology, (2) useful textbooks and origin of knowledge of drugs, (3) methods of discovering the powers of medicines, (4) actual experiment & action of medicines, (5) consequence of impressions, (6) effect of passing through the body on medicines, (7) action of acids, (8) action of alkalis, (9) conveyance of poison in the body & operation by sympathy, (10) difference between constitutional and irritant action, propagation, & what becomes of the medicine, (11) nature of effect produced, (12) variations in effect of medicines on different people, (13-14) applications to different organs & surfaces, (15) therapeutical action of medicines, (16) modus operandi of medicines in removing disease, (17) action by sympathy & homeopathic doctrine, (18) allopathic remedies & classification of medicines, (19-31) classes of medicines and their actions continued, with prescriptions in some instances, (32-56) INORGANIC SUBSTANCES with properties, forms and uses - [(32) oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, sulphur, phosphorus, (33-34) iodine, (35) iodine cont., bromine & chlorine, (36-38) acids, (39) acids cont. & ammonium salts, (40) ammonium salts & aluminium, (41) antimony, (42) argentum & arsenicum, (43) arsenic cont., (44) arsenic, gold, barium, bismuth, cadmium, lime, (45) lime, cerium, copper, (46) copper & iron, (47) iron & mercury, (48-50) forms & uses of mercury, (51) lithium, magnesium, manganese, lead, (52) lead cont., (53) potassium, (54) potassium & sodium, (55) sodium & zinc, (56) zinc cont.], (56-90) ORGANIC SUBSTANCES with properties, forms and uses - [(56) Natural order ranunculaceae - aconite, podophylum, (57) black hellebore, delphinium staphysagria, actaea racemosa, (58) Natural order menispermaceae - calumba, pareira brava, cocculus indiens. Papaveraceae - opium, (59) meconic acid, morphia, narcotine, codeine, narcine, papaverine, thebaica, apomorphia, (60-61) action & uses of opium, (62) mustard, horseradish. Polygalaceae - senega root, rhatany root. Linaceae - linseed. Malvaceae - marsh mallow, cotton, (63) Aurantiaceae - orange, lemon, bael [quince]. Guttiferae - gamboge. (64) Canellaceae - canella alba. Zygophyllaceae. Rutaceae - buchu, angostura bark. Simaroubaceae - simaruba, (65) cedron. Rhamnaceae - purging buckthorn, black alder, terebinth, mastick, myrrh, rhus toxicodendron, olypanum. Leguminosae - liquorice root, gum tragacanth, cowage, broom, red sandal wood, kino, (66) balsam of Peru, balsam of solu, calabar bean, logwood, senna, cassia, (67) tamarind, balsam copaiba, gum arabic, catechu, (68) indigo, rosaceae, tormentil root, almonds, prunes, cherry laurel, kousso. Myrtaceae - cloves, allspice, cajeput, (69) elaterium. Umbelliferae - hemlock, (70) asafoetida, galvanum, lagapenum, gum ammoniae, (71) Rubiaceae - cinchona, (72) Umbellifereae cont. - anise, fennel, cumin, coriander, dill, caraway, sumbul. Caprifoliacea - elder flower, (73) cinchona cont., (74) Ipecacuanha. Valerianaceae - valerian, (75) Compositae - worm seeds, chamomile flowers, dandelion, arnica. Lobeliacae - indian tobacco, bearberry leaves. Gutta percha, styraceae, benzoine, olive oil, (76) manna, strychina, (77) Asclepiadaceae - hemedesmi radix, carolina pink. Gentianaceae - gentian, chirata. Convolvulaceae - scammony, jalap. (78) Solanaceae - dulcamara, belladonna, (79) stramonium, henbane, (80) tobacco, capsicum. Scrophulariaceae - digitalis, (81) labiatae. Polygonaceae - rhubarb, (82) Myristicaceae-nutmeg, Lauraceae-cinnamon, camphor, sassafras, bebeera bark, (83) Aristolochiae-serpentary, Thymelaceae-mezereon, Euphorbiaceae-cascarilla, croton oil, castor oil, kamila, Piperaceae-pepper, cubeb pepper, matico, willow bark, elm bark, oak bark, (84) nut galls, tannic acid, gallic acid, Moraceae-figs, mulberry juice, Cannabinaceae-cannabis indica, (85) hops, Coniferae-turpentines, (86) Canada balsam, frankincense, burgundy pitch, tar, juniper, savin, ginger, turmeric, cardamon, saffron, (87) sarsaparilla, Liliaceae-squill, aloes, (88) no notes, (89) ergot, male fern, (90) Lichenes-Iceland moss, litmus. New remedies-eucalyptus globulus, guava, jaborandi, boldo, goa powder, cocoa, dugong oil, gurjun oil, gelsemium, hydrastin, castor, musk], (91) prepared suet, sugar of milk, pepsine, pancreatine, prepared lard, cod liver oil, honey, (92) cartharides, blood letting, (93) alcohol & ether, (94-mistakenly numbered CXIV) chloroform & chloral.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Black Cowan was born in Glasgow on 14 September 1829. He studied medicine at the University of Glasgow, receiving his MD in 1851, and served as Regius Professor of Materia Medica there from 1865-1880. Prior to this appointment he had served as a civil surgeon in the Crimean War during the 1850s and also as a lecturer at Anderson's College. He died on 27 July 1896.

Related Material

Glasgow University Archive Services hold the Papers of Robert Cowan, 1796-1841, and John Black Cowan, 1829-1896, physicians and surgeons [ GB 248 DC/003 ] which contain family certificates and correspondence, notes on pharmacology, and lecture notes, essays and papers, including copies of other lectures given by John Black Cowan.