Hyraceum and Castoreum

The petrified excrement (both feces and urine) of the rodents of the Cape Hyrax (Procavia capensis) species was used in the apothecary shops of old as a substitute for Castoreum. The latter, a much better known ingredient of animal origin, was obtained from beaver glands, of both sexes, and was used in the treatment of epilepsy, cholera, but also hysteria due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Both substances were also used in the perfume industry.
Actual 18th century hyraceum and castoreum samples, plus several early modern and modern apothecary jars for the two products are on display at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca part of the temporary exhibition entitled "Animals that heal" [Animale vindecatoare] - on display until the end of June a.c.


19th-c. apothecary jars, made of painted wood and glass, containing Castoreum

Milky cup, signature HYRACEUM, beginning of the 19th c., from Baia Mare.

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