Article ID: CBB894668613

La virtù emetica dell'antimonio: "calices vomitorii" e "pillulae perpetuae" (2019)


"Triumph-Wagen Antimonii" ("The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony") by Basil Valentine published for the first time in Leipzig in 1604. It is an important milestone in the development of medicines based on powerful and effective mineral compounds. Although by many considered to be a poison, antimony has been widely used in the past as emetic and purgative drug. Worthy of a particular note are antimonial medicines, that could be used and reused many times without losing their efficacy. Among them are the so-called “eternal pills,” made of antimony which - if ingested - provoked vomiting, and after being expelled from the body and washed well, could still be used. Antimony was also used for the manufacturing of emetic cups for wine. Tartaric acid and other wine acids, as well as hydrochloric acid from the stomach in the case of the eternal pills, dissolved small amount of antimony producing the emetic compound. This article focuses mainly on the mineral itself, its processing and its place in the popular medicine and culture of the early modern age.

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Authors & Contributors
Kahn, Didier
Principe, Lawrence M.
Riva, Ernesto
Lehmann, Hartmut
Trepp, Anne-Charlott
Bernschneider-Reif, Sabine
Atti e Memorie, Rivista di Storia della Farmacia
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Edizioni ETS
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Science History Publications
AMS Press
Science and religion
Earth sciences
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Boerhaave, Herman
Kircher, Athanasius
Scheuchzer, Johann Jakob
Descartes, René
Hartlieb, Johannes
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Early modern
18th century
19th century

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