Alchemical confusions in pharmacy II

Another confusion born out of the adoption of alchemical terms in late medieval and early modern pharmacy relates to the troublesome use of multiple names for the same apothecary product or of the same name for several products.
Among the solutions with multiple names one can mention for example Potassium acetate (the potassium salt of the acetic acid)that was referred to as either "terra foliata tartari", "sal Sennerti" (Sennert's salt), "tartarus regeneratus", "arcanum tartari" (alchemical), or "sal diureticus". These terms refer to the product's properties, alchemical value or the name of a person who prepared it.

Johann Heinrich RAHN,
There were also no less confusing cases of solutions with the same name:
§  aqua fortis =  concentrated azotic acid, wine spirit, concentrated soda solution
§  lapis infernalis = all caustic substances
§  nitrum =  saltpeter, talcum, borate of soda, potassium azotate
§  chrysocolla = copper alloy, borate of soda

Discover more on the topic by visiting the "Pharmacy and alchemy" temporary exhibition at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca.
See also previous blog posts on the topic here:

No comments: