Pharmacy vase for Electuary of Kermes, Italy, 1780-1850
The label of this pharmacy jar 'El: Alcherm' stands for a preparation called Electuary of Kermes. An electuary is highly prized medicinal paste which was often made using complex and sometimes very exotic ingredients. Kermes is a red dye obtained from the crushed dried bodies of a female insect. The recipe also called for 1 lb of silk, juice of sweet apples, rose water and honey. The preparation was used for 'palpations of the heard, fainting, disturbances of the mind, melancholy which has no obvious cause and in swooning.' In the late 1700s, Electurary of Kermes was heralded as one of the principal preparations for calming the mind and body.
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Glossary: dispensing pot
pot used to contain ointments, medications, perfumes
The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.
A category of mental illness from the Middle Ages to the 1800s. Melancholia expressed itself as dejection, anguish, sensations of mistrust, anxiety and trepidation with some hallucinations.