Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dr. Rush's Bilious Pills

Snake rattle, sage, chocolate, and Dr. Rush's Bilious Pills were just a few of the medicines packed in the medicine chest of Captain M. Lewis. In preparation for leading the Corps west, Meriwether Lewis studied for one month with the famous physician, Dr. Benjamin Rush. Dr. Rush was a professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Although many of the chemicals in the medicine chest would now be considered poison and toxic, they were used with some result in the practice of medicine popular at that time: the removal of disease by flushing it out of the body and by bleeding.

On a side note, Dr. Rush was a founding father of the United States. An original signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was a personal friend of Benjamin Franklin and fought for the removal of George Washington after a series of war defeats (something he later regretted).

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