Dispensing pot for laudanum, Italy, 1771–1830

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Dispensing pot for laudanum, Italy, 1771–1830. Some of the ingredients used in medical treatments seem to belong to the world of fantasy rather than pharmacy. On the far left is a dispensing pot labelled “LAUD:NEP:QUERC”. This is laudanum, a treatment made from opium, gold and pearls. Mixed with a powdered bezoar stone from the stomach of an animal and shavings of mythical unicorn horn, the medicine was given to aid sleep and ease pain. The jar, one of four shown here, was presented as a gift to the Wellcome collection on the previous owner’s death in 1932. Controlled drug. Contributors: Science Museum, London. Work ID: nnqbxwfk.

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