Zibethum is a substance obtained from the anal glands of the wild cats of the Viverridae and Nandiniidae families (Civets) of Africa and Asia. Nowadays the paste in question is used in the perfume industry, but in the eighteenth century it was employed for its pharmaceutical properties, part of several antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, or stimulant products. Since Zibethum was exotic and among the curious ingredients of animal origin, in Transylvanian pharmacies it was mentioned as “Zibethum veris” (real, authentic Zibetum). The stress on its authenticity betrays the clients’ lack of trust in the bizarre products of the era. Similarly, the Mummy Powder was also accompanied by the adjective “veris”.

Those who believe the consumption of wild cat secretions is weird must be consoled with the fact that sometimes Zibetum occidentale designated human excrements.
Zibethum is mentioned in several of the pharmacy inventories of Transylvania (of Alba Iulia in 1751 and 1752, of Târgu Mureş in 1789), in al three apothecary taxes written for Transylvania during the eighteenth century (by Tobias Maucksch in 1750, by Hutter-Soterius in 1753, by Felfalusi and Ahlefeld in 1753) and in the Pharmacopoeia Austriacoprovincialis of 1774.
The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca includes one jar made of milky glass with the paper label inscribed ZIBETUM and the 1789 inventory of the pharmacy from Târgu Mureş that mentions the product. The glass jar was used in the beginning of the nineteenth century in a pharmacy from Baia Mare – evidence of the fact that the product continued to be used after the end of the nineteenth century.

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