Browse Items (111 total)

Staff Variations

One snake or two? Some see the staff with one snake as the 'true' symbol of medicine. The staff with one snake was symbolic of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, whereas a staff with two snakes represented Hermes, the god of sun and…

Ext: Sabinae (Sabina)

The extract from the evergreen shrub called Sabina was highly stimulant, increasing secretions, expecially those of the skin and uterus. It was used much in the treatment of amenorrhea and occasionally as a remedy for worms.

Ext: de Quinq: (Quina or Quinquina)

Extracted from cinchona bark, the drug that was stored in this apothecary jar was used as an antiperiodic, but later alkaloids were chosen for this purpose rather than the cinchona bark extract. During the Revolutionary War, cinchona bark, also known…

Ext: de Noix V: (Noix vomique)

Noix vomique, Nux vomica, and is also known as the strychine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica). Extracted from a tree covered with a smooth, dark gray bark, the drug that was stored in this jar was believed by some physicians to act favorably upon the…

Ext: de Lait: (Almond Extract)

This jar was used to hold an almond extract, used as an agreeable, nutritive demulcent in catarrhal and dysenteric affections and in irritations of the urinary passages.

Ext: de Bour: (Alder Buckthorn)

An extract from the bark of a shrub, commonly called alder buckthorn, was used as a drug. It was very irritant to the gastrointestinal mucous membrane, producing, when taken in sufficient quantity, violent catharsis, accompanied by vomiting and much…

Cold-Cream (Rose Cold Cream)

Cold cream, the white, soft, and elegant unguent, derived its odor from rose water. It was used as a pleasant cooling application to heal irritated and excoriated surfaces, particularly chapped lips and hands. From 'King's American dispensatory'…

Mariner's Cross

A Mariner's cross (a stylized cross in the shape of an anchor) is visible on this apothecary jar. This may have been inspired by kamals, Arabian navigation devices from the 9th century. Note the winged symbol at the top of the staff. This is similar…

But: Cacao (Cacao Butter)

The fixed oil of the chocolate nut, cacao butter, was used as an ingredient in cosmetic ointments. In pharmacies, it was used as a coating for pills and in the preparation of suppositories

Hygieia / Salus

The Greeks called her Hygieia. The Romans called her Salus. She was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. On ancient Roman coins, Salus is often depicted with a snake along one arm.