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Friday, September 17, 2021

Day 36

According to Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) every household should have on hand the following “list of drugs, &c.”: Antimonial Powder [periodic element Sb], Antimonial Wine [14gms of said powder added to a cup of Lisbon wine, strained; induces perspiration and in larger doses proves cathartic and excites vomiting], Blister Compound [a powerful-blistering substance often obtained from blister beetles, also known as Spanish Flies, other ingredients included pepper, mustard-seed and verdigris (the green pigment on copper); thought to aid with hysteria, anxiety, gout, fevers, certain types of inflammation and insanity], Blue Pill [pilula hydrargyri; ⅓ mercury plus liquorice, marshmallow and glycerol], Calomel [mercury chloride mineral; small doses acted as a stimulant, often leading to bowel movements, while larger doses caused sedation], Carbonate of potash, Compound Iron Pills [most likely Blaud's Pills with Dr. William’s Pink Pills entering the market in the 1890s], Compound Extract of Colocynth [also known as Bitter Apple or Cucumber; strong laxative, small amounts cause severe irritation of stomach and intestine lining and can be easily overdosed], Compound Tincture of Camphor [still used in balms/creams to heal burn wounds and relieve pain or inflammation; toxic if consumed], Epsom Salt [see your bathroom cupboard], Goulard’s Extract [a solution of lead; applied to bruises and sprains], Jalap in Powder [a stimulant laxative herb], Linseed Oil, Myrrh and Aloes Pills [most likely Morrison Pill’s], Nitre [potassium nitrate], Oil of Turpentine, Opium, powdered and Laudanum, Sal Ammoniac [ammonium chloride; still used as a cough agent, for blood pressure and to reduce stomach PH levels]; Senna Leaves [laxative, still used]; Soap Liniment [usually containing soap, camphor and alcohol], Opodeldoc [a medical plaster usually made from same ingredients as previous plus wormwood], Sweet Spirits of Nitre [distilled alcohol with nitric and sulphuric acids; used till 1980], and Turner’s Cerate [skin drying ointment containing calamine].

📸:Domestic medicine chest made by Keating & Co, London, England, 1830-1845. Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.