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Albarello drug jar used for cinchona bark, Spain, 1731-1770

The inscription “Cort Calisay” gives an indication as to what the earthenware albarello would have contained. Calisaya is another name for cinchona bark. The active ingredient in cinchona is quinine. Quinine is used for pain relief and to prevent fevers and for a long time was the primary treatment for malaria. Calisay or Calisaya is also a strong, bitter alcoholic liqueur made from cinchona bark in the Catalonia region of Spain .

Object number:

A97758

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Glossary:

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: malaria

Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

Glossary: quinine

A substance taken to fight malaria. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is also an ingredient in tonic water.

Glossary: earthenware

Pottery made of clay which is fired at a relatively low temperature. Earthenware is often semi-porous, meaning some liquid or air can pass through it. This can be altered by treating the pottery with a glaze.

Glossary: cinchona

The dried bark of any of the Cinchona trees. Used to stimulate the appetite, prevent bleeding and, in the past, to treat malaria.