Dr. John Harley, in the Gulstonian lectures of three decades ago, discussed four vegetable neurotics which have occupied an important place in materia medica for more than twenty centuries, These drugs were conium, opium, belladonna, and hyoscyamus. To these might justly be added aconite and mandragora. These remedies have maintained practically their present positions since the renaissance of medicine. Aconite was very early employed by the monks in the treatment of fever, since under the canon law of the church they were forbidden to shed blood unless by special dispensation Consequently, around the ruins of the old monasteries are to be found wild plants of aconite, originally employed for medicine, and not for poison, as is usually, but uncharitably, believed.
Of these vegetable neurotics, the one most abused has undoubtedly been opium, its chief alkaloid having produced more misery, though it has relieved more suffering, than any other agent in