Most apothecary ingredients were obtained from plants and minerals, but there were also stranger ones obtained from animals, insects and even humans – such as the legendary Mummy Powder. The beginnings of pharmacy were times of trial and error when everything that was curious, exotic or famous was a possible cure. People tried to heal themselves with mummy powder, excrements of exotic rodents, beaver glands, precious stones, bezoars (stones from the stomach of goats) and other medicine that today seems at least bizarre. In Transylvania such things were only abandoned during the 19th century in favour of chemical ingredients that we commonly associate with modern pharmacy.
Most of the unusual medicines are on display in the Officina, in the central showcase, where they are individually described.
Those familiar with Latin or those who want to test their knowledge can try to decipher the signatures on the apothecary jars. These abbreviated inscriptions indicate both the type of preparation and the ingredients, mainly the name of the plants employed. As for the types, the most common are: EX or EXT - extractum, i.e. extract; PULV - pulveris, powder; SYR - syrup; OL - oil; CONS - conserva, fruits preserved in sugar, i.e. jam; ELECTUAR - plants preserved in honey; TINCT - tincture; ELIX - elixir and many others.
We invite you to discover throughout the exhibition the story of the various ingredients used in the apothecary shops of old!
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