BIGELOW, JACOB, 1786-1879.
American Medical Botany. Boston: Cummings & Howard, 1817-1820. 3 vols.

Botanist Jacob Bigelow produced the first American botanical encyclopedia to feature colored illustrations, using a color printing process he devised himself. The blue gentian (Gentiana catesbaei), shown here, is one of over 400 species of the Gentiana family. The gentian takes its name from a king of ancient Illyria, Gentius, who allegedly discovered its medicinal properties. A natural antacid, the bitter roots have been used in herbal cures for a variety of digestive complaints.

College of Physicians of Philadelphia

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