West Sussex History of Medicine Society – Archive

West Sussex History of Medicine Society – All Posts

Each Autumn for the last few years I have attended the WSHOMS lectures at St Richards Hospital. This is an august gathering of over one hundred local doctors, practising and retired, who come to listen to the Saturday morning lectures delivered by different guest speakers each weak. The subject matter is eclectic but every talk brings to light some fascinating aspect of medical history: Churchill’s doctor, Stretcher bearers in the first world war, or early attempts to cure scurvy.

After writing about one of these lectures on my blog I was invited to be the official WSHOMs blogger!


WSHOMS Nov 5th 2016 (11/19/2016) - 1) How Graylingwell Hospital near Chichester West Sussex served war wounded during WW1 2) Why Malta was known as the 'Hospital Island' Continue reading
WSHOMS Dec 5th 2015 (11/19/2016) - (1) The incredible history of plastic and cosmetic surgery that was initially mastered in ancient India (2) Toulouse Lautrec and his Muse, Jane Avril Continue reading
WSHoMSoc 2015 lecture Nov 21st (12/5/2015) - (1) Dr Albert Carpenter: public health measures in the 19th century (2) The life of Sir Henry Wellcome Continue reading
WSHoMSoc 2015 lecture Nov 7th (12/5/2015) - Unsung heroes of the First World War: Nurses and Stretcher Bearers Continue reading
WSHoMSoc 2015 lecture Oct 24th (11/7/2015) - Dr Helen Bynum: Tuberculous Lives from Smollet to Orwell & Dr William Bynum: Darwin & the Doctors Continue reading
Healing Rituals in West Sussex / Syphilis and War (11/8/2014) - Healing rituals in West Sussex and Syphilis and War Continue reading
Fothergill, Lettsom, Priestly / Scrofula, Gout and Dropsy (10/14/2014) - Today we enjoyed the inaugural Dr Brian Owen-Smith Memorial Lecture, given by Dr Nicholas Cambridge MD FSA FLS FRSA. Continue reading
November 9th 2013 (11/23/2013) - Lecture 1: World War 1 and the birth of Maxillo-Facial Surgery by Colonel Michael Williams; Lecture 2: Did the President of the Royal College of Physicians help Churchill win the war? by Dr Anthony Eisinger FRCP Continue reading
WSHoMSoc lectures October 26th (11/9/2013) - (2013) "The History of the Study of Human Movement" - Mike Whittle, and "Dracula: Myth and Medicine"- Fiona Subotsky Continue reading
WSHoMSoc lectures Oct 12th (10/26/2013) - Hooray, the West Sussex History of Medicine Society autumn lecture season has begun! I am looking forward to reporting on these gems combining as they do knowledgeable speakers, historical topics and academic investigation. On Saturday 12th Oct we launched the term … Continue reading
WSHoMSoc lectures Dec 8th (1/4/2013) - Samual Alexander Kinnier-Wilson by Dr Edward Reynolds MD FRCP FRCPsych; Artists's Eyes: Oscar Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh by Winston Leigh BA MB ChB MRCGP Continue reading
WSHoMSoc lectures Nov 24th (12/9/2012) - There can be nobody who isn’t fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians. Clearly the first of todays lecturers was so riveted by the ancestral treasure trove of Egypt that she made it her life’s work. By tentatively approaching their iconic and … Continue reading
WSHoMSoc lectures Nov 10th (11/20/2012) - I have been slow to post this on my blog, but at the last West Sussex History of Medicine Society meeting the presentations were of their usual high standard. I am so glad that I discovered this society as those who select … Continue reading
West Sussex History of Medicine Society (10/14/2012) - Yesterday I was busy, but not in a rushing around way, more in a nourishing, warm, mind expanding and communicative way. I will explain. I attended the first of this season’s West Sussex History of Medicine Society’s lectures. As usual … Continue reading

Recent Posts

The bitter truth is sweeter than we thought

Cocktail bitters like Angostura and Peychaud’s have pedigrees going back to the 1830’s. Looking like something out of a victorian apothecary these intriguing botanical preparations may indeed have medicinal properties deeper than anyone thought.

Following our recent infographic (Health Hack #1: An alternative to fizzy drinks) in which I recommended using Angostura bitters as a basis for a healthy fizzy drink, I felt I had more to say about bitters in general.

In traditional herbal medicine bitter herbs were considered aids to digestion through stimulation of bile and digestive juices. Taken fifteen minutes before a meal they were used to increase appetite –  the concept behind the idea of the aperitif – or after a meal as a digestive, but they are also thought to stimulate and ‘detoxify’ the liver, and generally are considered a ‘tonic’ to revivify the blood and to ‘enhance the vigour’ of the digestive system. Such vague and ill-defined terminology has led to these claims being largely dismissed. However, recent research is not only confirming the health value of bitter tasting substances but discovering that they have important physiological effects throughout the body.

The story of herbal bitters just took a fascinating turn that is proving to be sweeter than anyone might have imagined …

Read time: 12 minutes (2300 words) Continue reading

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