Botanical manuscript of 450 watercolors of flowers and plants

Plant of the Month: Dittany

Did women in the premodern world have much agency over reproduction? Their use of plants like dittany suggests that they did.
Alice Ball

The Chemist Whose Work Was Stolen from Her

The Black scientist Alice Ball helped develop a treatment for leprosy in the early twentieth century. But someone else took the credit.
A 19th-century advertisement for Hood's Tooth Powder

How the Ban on Medical Advertising Hurt Women Doctors

Intended to protect consumers from unscrupulous quackery, a nineteenth-century ban on medical advertising proved to be a double-edged sword.
A lode stone encased in a gilded stand

The Souls of Magnets

Lodestones are dull, lumpy, and slate-gray, but their “magnetic intelligence” made them fabulously expensive.
The Cast of Dave Malloy’s Octet. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Art of Digital Addiction

Digital addiction is inspiring plays, books, films, and art -- just as other forms of addiction have in the past.
A physician administers leeches to a patient. Colour reproduction of a lithograph by F-S. Delpech after L. Boilly, 1827.

Why Did the Victorians Harbor Warm Feelings for Leeches?

Medical authorities wrote about leeches as if they sucked blood out of the goodness of their hearts.
A power button filled with green leaves in front of a dark background.

The 4 Questions to Ask before You Unplug

If you're concerned about the internet's effects on the world and on yourself, unplugging might not be the answer.
medical leeches

Medical Leeches Are Back (Yes, You Read That Right)

Leeches are especially helpful when veins are damaged and unable to properly drain blood from extremities, for example, in recently reattached amputations.
Agatha Christie, pharmacist

Agatha Christie, Pharmacist

If you think “poison” when you think Agatha Christie, you’re dead on. Many of her novels feature poison. But did you know Dame Agatha was also a pharmacist?
narcotic stimulants

America’s Workforce Runs on Uppers

Uppers like Benzedrine and cocaine provided a willing workforce for our capitalist economy. Now, Americans are turning to ADHD medications.