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The Medicinal Lungs Limited Edition Print A2

The Medicinal Lungs Limited Edition Print A2

Hand signed, giclée print on 310 gsm Museum Heritage acid-free paper, meeting the highest museum quality archival standards.

Size is A2 (420 x 594mm or 16.5 x 23.4 inches).

This is a limited edition with only 200 available.

Shipping is usually within 1 week and sent next day special delivery, tracked and signed for. The art is carefully packed in a solid cardboard tube and wrapped in glassine acid-free paper.

If you would like this item framed in a solid oak, glass fronted frame with a custom made mount, then please select this option at checkout for an additional £60. Please allow additional time for dispatch as the mounts are made to order and frames ordered as required.

COLLECTION - if you are local to Hitchin and would prefer to collect, please send me a direct message.



This is the second piece in a series of botanical illustrations, which aim to highlight where modern prescription medications were first derived. These medicinal plants grow out of a root system, which represents the organ these plants go on to treat. In this instance, the bronchial “tree”, which forms the lungs. In fact, this can be the “root” of delivery of several of these drugs.

The controversial plant in this piece is the Nicotiana tobacum, as its medicinal properties are questionable. However, this plant has had such a huge impact on the lungs, that it was essential to demonstrate its significant role in respiratory disease. Nicotine is the active drug derived from this plant, but it is the carcinogenic and toxic effects of the chemicals released from the process of inhaling burning tobacco, that does all of the harm. The impact of tar is vividly shown with the blackening, of the right (anatomically-speaking) lung. Nicotine itself is a highly addictive drug, which gives cigarette smokers the positive experience that they return to seek.

The remaining 3 plants all have positive medicinal effects on the lung, which is depicted by the healthy anatomical left lung root system. Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is the 2nd plant from the left. Small amounts of theophylline are found in tea, which causes relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle and is therefore helpful as an asthma treatment. In fact, caffeine generally, is metabolised into theophylline. The benefits of strong coffee for the treatment of asthma, were first noted by Sir John Pringle in the 1700’s.

Dioscorea polystachya, also known as Chinese yam, is the glossy-leafed climber, at the bottom of the botanicals. This plant contains diosgenin. This is one of several types of sterol, which can be extracted from the plant and converted into steroids. Many countries still use plants to make steroids. Steroids come in many different forms, including hormones, such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Another category of steroids is glucocorticoids. Prednisolone is a hugely important glucocorticoid steroid. It is commonly given in exacerbations of asthma, COPD and many other inflammatory lung disorders and they are a fundamental part of treating flares of lung disease.

The final botanical is Datura stramonium, known commonly as the thorn apple, for obvious reasons. It does have large white flowers, as well as, these distinctive spiky seed pods. In 1836, Sigmond reported that it was effective at relaxing the airways. It was smoked in combination with tobacco, lobelia and cannabis, in cigarettes, as an asthma remedy. In 1840, animal experiments reported that it worked by stimulating the vagus nerve, therefore stopping the airways contracting. In 1881 Ladenburg isolated hyoscine

Further modifications of these antimuscarinic properties, led to the development of hyoscine butylbromide in 1950’s (which is used as buscopan for bowel spasm in IBS, or to reduce airway secretions in end of life care), ipratropium bromide (an asthma and COPD treatment) in the 1970’s and tiotropium bromide in 2005 (for COPD).




Care Advice

Please keep the print out of direct sunlight and frame under acrylic or glass protection to avoid deterioration in pigments.

Please make sure your hands are clean and remove the print carefully from the packaging.


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