Aldous would have been proud.
Aldous Haxley, the author of The Doors of Perception, was the first to use botanicals in medicine and his influence on modern medicine is still felt.
The botanist’s discovery of the alkaloid alkaloids led to the discovery of many new medicinal plants, which have become hugely popular today.
The drug he created, called ‘Alfred’s Remedy’, was used to treat asthma and other conditions, and is also used to cure cancer, arthritis and some types of diabetes.
But how does Aldous feel about his work in botany?
In a new book, ‘Botany, Medicine and the History of Medicine’ (Springer, 2017), he reveals his views on botany and medicinal use, and how his discovery led to his discovery of a new medicinal plant, ‘Alyosia’.
Aldous’s first botanical work, ‘The Alchemist’s Apprentice’, was published in 1818.
His first book, The History of Medicinal Plants, was published around 1838.
His second book, A History of Botany, was released in 1849.
But it wasn’t until the 1860s that Aldous started writing his first book about medicine.
‘A History of the Medicinal Vegetables’, published in 1865, had a much shorter title, ‘Medicinal Plants’.
It was a more practical book, written to help students who were struggling with the complexities of plant identification and cultivation.
Aldows life in botanistry was an interesting one.
He loved nature, and would often spend his days on the land.
‘I was a very happy person,’ he said in his autobiography, ‘and I was quite interested in the environment and its uses.
But I was also very critical of the idea that plants could be used for medicine.
I believed that plants had to be cultivated in order to be of any value.
I knew that the plants that we plant on the ground could not grow well without the help of some kind of environment.
I wanted to know what kind of conditions existed in the world before they were planted.’
Aldous was very interested in plants and their uses in medicine.
In his early 20s he began to study botany.
He read a lot about plants, and spent much of his time on his farm.
‘There were a lot of different varieties of trees that were grown, and they were all different kinds of hardy, good for different purposes.
It was quite a different way of life to how I was accustomed to growing vegetables in England.’
In 1869, Aldous wrote his first account of the plants he was studying, a book called ‘Botanics for a Medical Profession’.
In it he discussed the relationship between plants and medicine.
He said that plants contain the most active substances in nature, but the medicinal substances are made up of substances that are different in different parts of the plant.
For example, the alkaline substances in a plant are not made up in the same way that they are in the leaf, but they are different molecules that are found in different places on the plant.’
But Aldous had no particular love for plants.
‘To me they are just useless.
They are nothing more than a kind of waste,’ he wrote.
Aldos botanical research was interrupted by the war, and his interest in botanical plants was completely abandoned.
He wrote only two short books in his lifetime, both of which were published in the 1880s.
In 1884, Aldos died, but he was able to continue his research into botany, and published a book, An Enquiry into the Plants of the Earth.
It focused on plants and animals.
Aldoys books also included a short biography of Aldous entitled ‘The Author of the Works of Aldus’.
In this book Aldous discussed his life, his work, and wrote about his favourite botanical plant, Alyosia.
‘It was a great pleasure to read that book,’ Aldous said in the autobiography.
‘When I finished reading it, I began to feel a certain affection for the plant, which I have never felt for any other botanical species.’
Aldoies interest in plants also grew with the publication of a book titled ‘A Guide to Botany and the Sciences of Plants’ in 1894.
Aldoses life in the botanical world is often described as a bit of a ‘hobby’.
But the author says it wasn´t.
‘My work was a hobby, and my passion was in botanic plants.
I had a fascination with the plant,’ he writes.
‘The fact that I was fascinated with plants, was not an obstacle to my work, nor was my passion, but it was a handicap.
‘For my hobby, I took pleasure in observing and studying the plants of the world, as they lived.
I was interested in them because they were not my main concern.
My interest was in plants as a whole