Syrup jar used for Scabious Water, Italy, 1648
The Latin inscription painted on the side, Aqua Scabiosae, translates into English as “Scabious Water”. Water infused with pink, white and blue scabious flowers was stored in this earthenware jar, probably with a protective cover of vellum or paper tied with string. The water was drunk to expel phlegm from the body, especially if coughs and colds were affecting the chest. Taken with theriac – an expensive thick sticky liquid medicine made from numerous ingredients – the treatment was used against plague.
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Glossary: syrup jar
An acute contagious fever with high levels of mortality. Both the 'Black Death' that swept Europe in the 1340s and the Great Plague of London in 1665 are believed to have been bubonic plague.
The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.
An ointment used as an antidote to snake venom or other poison.
Mucus produced by the respiratory system, and expelled by coughing. Healthy phlegm is normally clear and white.