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Syrup jar for Syrup of Roses, Faenza, Italy, 1571-1600

The abbreviated Italian inscription Sciroppo Rosato Solutivo translates into English as “Laxative Syrup of Roses”. The syrup was made by heating 5 lb (2.6 kg) of pale roses and 4 lb (2.6 kg) of sugar to treat fevers and purge bile from the body – it acted as a laxative. The mixture was probably taken as a drink or by the spoonful and would have been very sweet.

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Glossary: drug jar

A (usually earthenware) container designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

Glossary: laxative

An agent that acts to encourage evacuation of the bowels