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Snow White

picture of Snow White and sleeping apple

Mediaeval literature and folklore is replete with magical sleeping potions. Apples were a popular delivery vehicle. As the story goes, Snow White was put to sleep by the poisoned apple of her wicked stepmother, the black witch Queen. After biting the apple, Snow White lies unconscious, apparently dead. A kiss from a passing prince causes the apple to fall from her lips - and Snow White wakes up unharmed.

Magical sleeping potions conjured up for the purposes of surgery, dentistry and childbirth seemed no less fanciful to distinguished 19th century doctors. The idea smacked of quackery. Enchanted happiness potions or soma-style pleasure drugs that leave all those who take them living happily ever after strike many contemporary medical men as fairy tales too. Perhaps they are right, and earthly suffering is eternal. But the era of post-genomic medicine may surprise us all.


Utopian Surgery
Refs and Further Reading
Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics