Scincus Officinalis

Stincus Marinus, the skink from the Scincidae family, is a sand lizard from Africa and Asia (also known as the „fish with leg” or „sand fish”), famous among the Jews due to the century-old debate on its kosher or non-kosher character. As a pharmaceutical ingredient Scincus Officinalis designated the powdered skeleton of this peculiar lizard, considered in Europe to be very effective in stirring passion, especially in young ladies. Another effect, apparently contradictory to the aphrodisiac one, is the diuretic effect and this it enter the composition of various remedies. The Scincus features in all European pharmacopoeias until the eighteenth century, including those from Transylvania. It also features in the inventories of the apothecary shops from the province during the sixteenth and the eighteenth century.

Sincus Marinus specimens

The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca includes two such jars, dated to the eighteenth century, once used in a pharmacy from Baia Mare: a prolonged wooden box inscribed Scincus Marinus and a container with skeleton parts of such a lizard.

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