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Albarello drug jar used to store savin oil, Italy, 1701-1800

The inscription Estratto di Sabina translates from Latin as “Extract of Savin”. This refers to a species of juniper, whose berries would have been pressed and infused with olive oil to make the treatment. A pharmacy text from the 1730s recommended its use for easing the pain of childbirth and for asthma. Just over a hundred years later, the same treatment was used to control menstrual bleeding and to treat or prevent infections caused by parasitic worms.

Object number:

A631906

 

Glossary:

Glossary: childbirth

No description.

Glossary: drug jar

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

Glossary: asthma

A common condition in which the airways go into spasm and become constricted. It causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing. It is often a reaction to hypersensitivity, but can also be triggered by exercise or stress.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

Glossary: menstrual cycle

The stage during which the female body prepares for pregnancy. The cycle consists of the thickening of the uterus lining and the release of an egg into the uterus from the ovaries. If the egg is not fertilized, the thickened lining dissolves and is released as a 'period'. In humans, the average cycle length is 28 days, and occurs in females who have reached puberty.