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The pharmaceutical use of Lapis Lazuli in the Ancient East

British Society for the History of Pharmacy
Q House, Troon Way Business Centre, Humberstone Lane,
Thurmaston, LEICESTER LE4 9HA
Vol. 44 No. 4
December 2AI4
Founded 1967
The pharmaceutical use of Lapis
Lazuli in the Ancient East
Dr Christopher J. Duffin
Sutton, Surrey
Technically,lapis Iazludliis a rock, since it is made up of an
association of several different minerals.l The main
component is lazurite, an aluminosilicate belonging to
the feldspathoid sodalite goup of minerals and
possessing a somewhat varied composition. Its
distinctive intense marine blue to violet blue colour (with
lighter blue and green varieties also known) means that it
has sometimes been confused with the copper carbonate,
azurtte, especially in older literatwe. It is typically
metamorphic in origin, the bulk of geological
occrrrrences being related to the contact metamorphism
of limestones, dolomites and evaporates. The rock has
been the subject of several brief overviews.2 Historically
significant deposits were located in Badakfrstan (northern
Afghanistan and referred to in 13th century accounts by
Marco Polo), Pamir (Russia), theAtlas Mountains (North
Africa), Latium, Vesuvius and the Albano mountains
(Italy). Significant quantities of the rock were probably
produced in kan during the 13th and l4th centuries,
according to some medieval Arabic sources. Exfraction
was carried out by means of fire-setting, right into the
early 19th century.3 Lapis laztili was hidrly valued in
Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean region as a
decorative building stone, a syrnbol of diguty, in various
rifual and magical contexts, in votive offerings, as royal
gifts and fributes, ffid as stones in a wide variety of items
of jewellery.a It was also the base material for the
production of the artists'pigment, ulframarine,s and used
in the dyeing of cloth. The intense blue colour is believed
to be a function of the complex chemis@ of the various
oxides of sulphur in the crystal lattice.6
The objective ofthe present paper is to examine, for the
first time, the historical use of lapis laztili ils a
geopharmaceutical material. Further papers in this series
are intended to frace the use of lapis Lazuli within the
western Ernopean and Arabic medical traditions until its
elimination from the materia medica ataround 1750.
Ancient Egyptians
Traded withAfEhan suppliers, probably via Turkey, lapis
laztili was employed by the ancient Eglptians from pre-
dynastic times onwards for the production of beads,
scarabs, amulets and other small objects, as well as a
colonring agerfi.1 It seems that colours were deeply
symbolic; the blue of lapis taztiliwas associated withjoy,
delight and tranquilhty - it was the colour of heaven.s
Used extensively in the tomb of Tutanlilramun (18th
Dynasty pharaoh reigning from circa 1332-1333 BC),
lapis LazvLi was used for the eyebrows, eyelids and kohl
marks on the death mask of the young king whilst a lapis
substitute, Egyptian Blue, was used for the decorative
stripes on the nemes or headcloth of the gold maslq and
also to provide the inlay on the plaited false beard. This
use of the authentic lapis emphasises a connection with
the eyes in Eg5lptian culture.
Eg;ptian medical witings are mostly found on stelae
(stone or wooden blocks) and osfraca (shards of poffery
or clay tablets), os well as specialised medical papyn.
Amongst the latter, the Ebers Papynrs, now held by the
Universrty of Letpzig, is the most extensive. The 20m-
long scroll contains 110 pages and was supposedly fourd
between the legs of a mummy in the Assassif area of the
Theban necropolis on the East bank of the River Nile. It
is believed to date from 1534 BC, having been written
during the reign ofAmenhotep I, second pharaoh of the
18th Dynasty. TWo recipes in the papyrus refer to the use
of lapis lanili in treaftnents of the eye.e Recipe 378
recommends 'real'lapis lazvLi(i.e. not the Egyptian Blue
synthetic glass equivalen| mixed with green and black
eye paints or 'kohls' (based on malachite and galena
respectively), crocodile dung and two rather obscure
herbal components in a milk base. The mixfure was
applied to the outside of both eyes to 'eliminate stasis of
water', a condition believed to be cataracts. Recipe 390,
this time to 'eliminate blood vessels in both eyes'
(presumably dilated conjunctival capillaries or
conjunctivitis) recommends applyurg a 'ductile dough'
comprising equal parts of green and black kohls, lapis
laztili, ochre and honey to the eye surfaces.
A limestone osfracon at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art (New YorD contains a prescription for hysteria
comprising lapis LaztlJi, 'green stone' (malachite), a
fumigant ('Ki-bu'), one herbal component ('Ssyt') and
raisins, all mixed together in ajug ofwine.lO Hysteria was
supposedly caused by internal movement of the uterus.
According to Plato (circa 428-348 BC),
The womb is an animal which longs to generate children.
When it remains baren for a long time after puberty, it feels
wroth, it goes about the body, closing the tissues for the air,
stopping the respiration, putting the body into exfeme
The resulting characteristic and rHrcomfortrable
sensation of having a mass ernbedded in the oesophagus
or frachea (globus hystericus) is a psychological disorder
allied to anxiety, and still little understood
The kingdom ofAssyria (late 25thcentury-605 BC) was
located in the area of present-day northern kaq. The
caprtal city of the Neo-Assyrian Empire was Nineveh
situated on the opposite bank of the River Tigns to
present-day Mosul, and razedto the ground by besiegtrg
Medes and Babylonians. Towards the end of its
existence, Nineveh was home to the famous library of
Ashurbanipal (685-ctrca 627 BC), the last of the Neo-
Assyrian sfrong kings. Excavation ofthe mound-ruins of
Kouyunjik begun in 1847 by Sir Austen Henry Layard
(1817-1894) yielded (in 1849) a collection of between
20,000 and 30,000 cuneiform tablets from Ashrn-
banipal's library, the bulk ofwhich made their way to the
British Museum. Amongst these is a rimge of medical
texts, first studied by Reginald Campbell Thompson
(1876-1 Here, lapis la li is recommended
84 Pharm Hist (Lond) 2014; 44 (4):
crushed in curd or ghee (an rHrclarified butter) as an eye
ointnent in cases of ocular complaints caused by 'the
Hand of Ghost'.l4
One tablet (K.4120;Fig. 1) also blames danlngofthe
eyes on Hand of Ghost, and prescribes lapis Laztiliplus a
mixture of other geological and herbal ingredients, finely
crushed together on copper and applied continuously to
the eyes iN an oinfinent in 'suet of the kidney of a black
ox'. 15
Amongst the various remedies for oral complaints, one
cuneiform tablet recommends the amuletic use of lapis
Iaztili, hung on a thread arorlrd the neck, together with
similar beads of cinnabar, iron oxide and alabaster.16 'If
the hand of a ghost seizes on a man, and his ears sing', the
recommended freaftnent was to crush lapis lazvli
together with myrrh, powdered arsenic, 'green stone'
(perhaps verdigris or malachite) and, bound together with
cedar oil, use it to anoint the ear lobes as well as inserting
it into the ear itself in order to effect a cure'I7 Together
with another 26 stones, including magnetite, carnelian,
coral and jasper, lapis laztili was recommended for
'emplacement of the intense pain of hand of ghost', and
ifbound to the site ofthe pain, alleviated the synlptoms.r8
Ifpowdered lapis lazr,ili,haematite, plus a range of other
stones andbotanical ingredients (many ofthe identities of
which are currently obscure) were continually rubbed in
a solution of oil upon the temples, neck and eye sockets
of a patient whilst reciting an incantation which is
franslated as 'The pointing ofthe evil finger ofmankind',
disease was guaranteed to be removed.le
The combination of incantation with the magico-
medical employment of lapis Iazvli, (togettrer with a
range of other geological and herbal ingredients) was
also used in cases where a frightening affay of symptoms
indicated that 'a roving ghost' afflicted the patient. The
symptoms included pain in the breast, scalp and temples,
roaring in the ears, numbness, shortrress of breath,
depression, chills, a crushing sensation in the chest,
shortrress of breath and persistent vomiting; the patient
wils perceived as specifically being rHrder the Hand of
Mardulq the somewhat capricious Babylonian deity who
was deemed to exercise confol over humanity.2O The
rather complex incantation, recited whilst holding the
patient's hand (which held a representative figurine) and
prosfrated before a specially consecrated potter's pit,
invoked Ea, the Sumerian andAl,rkadian God of creation
and father to Marduk, to exorcise the sufferer from the
influence ofthe God.2l
Ancient lndian sources
The Rasaratna Samuccaya is a 13th century alchemical
freatise from the late Thntric Perio4 named after the
Hindu and Buddhist scriptures produced at the time.
Wriffen by Yagabhatacarya, this work explains the
preparation and properties of mineral drugs.22 The best
quahty lapis Iaz1ili is taken to be that showing flecks of
associated iron pyrites, also known as 'golden fly'. One
possibly contemporaneous description of the rock
recounts that 'lapis Lazuli must be regarded as genuine
and auspiciom, which is without white flecks, is blackish
+. K"4ltro-
e*qH* r#F'Hft{ ffi#.#
Figure 1. Figure 1. Assyrian cuneiform tablet @ritish
Museum K.4L20) from the library ofAshurbanipal at
Nineveh (circa 620 BC), after Campbell Thompson
(l923,plate 12 fi5. q.
or dark blue, smooth, heavy, pwe, shining and like a
peacock's neck'.23 Incorporated into the specialised eye
ointnent, 'sttme ', lapis lanili was prepared by boiling in
a mixture of cow's urine, lemon juice and salts prepared
from various herbs for a period of six hous in a
specialised earthenware pot (Daula yantra).
Alternatively, the lapis lazuli could be oxidised to a red
colour by a complex process involving mixing and
gnnding with sulphur and lemonjuice, fashioned into ttre
form of a tablet which was dried in the surl before being
fired seven times in a specialised arrangement of two
conjoined clay pots. This could then be used to freat
' aggravated bile', haemorrhoids, tuberculosis, jaundice,
coughing and 'illnesses produced by humors of mucus
and wind'. Furthermore, a paste or 'pishthi' could be
made for the freafinent of dysuria, tuberculosis, jarurdice,
coughs, haemorrhoids, diabetes, insomnia, restlessness
and neurosis. This involved ginding the stone with apple
juice for a period of 14 duyr; stirring the mixtrne for three
hours per day for three successive days, allowing the
mixture to settle and then pouring off the supernatant
apple juice. After drying and a fifiher period of grinding,
the paste was taken orally with honey, rose petal jam and
murabba (a sweet jam pickle) of Indian Gooseberry
(P hyll anthus emb I i c a, formerly Emb I ic a ffi cinal is) .2a
Generally referred to as Rajavartah, lapis laz,ili also
has the following synonyrns: Nilaima, Nrpapalah,
Swarnadhdtu, Raj adrT and Avarta-manilt. In Ayurvedic
medicine, it is fraditionally believed to alleviate problems
in each ofthe three humours or doshas. Based heavily on
the Rasaratna Samuccaya cited above, plus the 13th
century Dhanwantari nighantu andthe 1 7th cenhrry Ral a
nighanht,zs it is commended iN having rejuvenating,
nourishing, appetirirg, digestive and aphrodisiac
qualities, and employed for urinary disorders,
Pharm Hist (Lond) 20la; aa @) 85
fuberculosis, haemorrhoids, anaemia, hiccough,
vomiting and even alcoholism!26
Chinese and Tibetan sources
Geopharmaceuticals figure strongly in Traditional
Chinese Materia Medrc*7 but, possibly rather
surprisingly, references to lapis laziili are quite spurse.
Liu-li is taken by some authorities to refer to lapis Laz.l/ii,
whilst others think that the name applies to rock crystal
(qaanz).28 Those identifytng it and its synonyrns as lapis
Laztili indicate that the powdered mineral, or water in
which the stone was dipped, was used to cure fevers and
inflammation of the eyes.
One of the most venerated of the Tibetan Mahayana
Buddhist pantheon is the Medicine Buddha, Bhaish-
ajyaguru Vaiduryaprfuha, or the Healing Master of Lapis
Lanili Radiance. Represented pictorially in the
distinctive deep blue of lapid lanili,wearing the robes of
a monk and sitting cross-legged holding a myrobalan
stem in one hand he is revered as the source of the
Tibetan healing arts, embodying the teaching of the Four
Medical Thnfras. These tanfras are ascribed to the
teaching of the Lord Buddha at the age of 72, and one
ffadition holds that they were franslated into Tibetan by
Vairocana during the 8th centuryAD. An alternative view
is that the Tanfas were gathered together and presented
by Yuthong Yonten Gonpo II (1126-1202), one of a
family lineage of royal court students and practitioners of
traditional Tibetan medicine. Derived from this historical
base, lapis laz1ili is known by a number of synonyms in
Traditional Tibetan Medicine, and esteemed for curing
cases of poisoning, disorders of the lymph and leprosy.
According to one text, it is even able to cure grey hatrlze
Author's Address: Dr Christopher J. Duffin, Scientific
Associate, Deparfinent of Earth Sciences, Palaeontology
Section, The Natual History Museum, Cromwell Roa4
London SW7 5BD, UK and 146 Church Hill Road,
Sutton, Surrey, SM3 8NF, England. Email:
Endnotes and References
1. Accessory minerals usually include pyrite, calcite
and Hatiyne.
2. Rosen, Lvon. Lapis Laziliin geoloEcal contexts and
in ancient written sources. Studies in Mediterranean
archaeolog and literature. Pocket-book 65, 1988; da
Cunha, C. Le Lapis Lazuli. Monaco: Editions du Rocher,
3. Wood, J. A Personal Ir{arrative of a journqt to the
Source of the River Oxus in the Years 1836-1838.
London: John Murray, I84l: 265.
4. Rosen, Ref, 1; Rosen, L von. Lapis laztili in
archaeological contexts. Studies in Mediterranean
arcltaeolog and literature. Pocket-book 93, 1990;
Searight,S. Lapis Lazuli. In Pursuit of a Celestial Stone.
London: East and West Publishing Ltd,20I0.
5. The earliest recorded use is from around 500 AD in
wall paintings of Cenfral Asia; Moorey, PRS. Ancient
Mesopotamian Materials and Industries: The
Archaeological Evidence. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns,
1999: 85; Merrifield, MP. Medianl and Renaissance
Theatises on the Arts of Painting: Original TLxts with
English translations. Mineola, New York Dover
Publications, 1967:340ff. Originally published in 1849;
Curiosa arcana: being curious secrets, artificial and
natural. In three parts. ... From the last edition in French;
which contains near as much ... printedfor J. N. Printed
for T King in Little Brittain, 1711: 108-109.
6. Thuson VL, Sapozhnikov AN. On the nature of
lazttnte coloring. Zapiski Vserossijskogo
Mineralogicheskogo Obshchestva lin Russian], 2003;
132 (s): 102-107.
7. Lucas, A & Harris, IP.. Ancient Eg,tptian Materials
and Industries. 4th edn. London: Histories & Mysteries
of Man IJd, 1989: 399; Herrmann, G. Lapis Laztilr: the
early Phases of its Tiade. Iroq, 1968; 30 (1) :21,-57.
8. Van Benthem, H. Coloring the Ancient Eglptian
World. The Ostracon. The Journal of the Eg,,ptian Study
Society, 2006; 17 (1), 17 -19.
9. Ghalioungui,P. The Ebers Papyrus. A nsu English
Translation, Commentaries and Glossaries. Cairo:
Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, 1987:
10. Coriat, IH. An Ancient Eglptian medical
prescription for Hysteria. Annals of Medical History,
1921; 3 (1) :12-76.
11. Plato, Timaeus, quoted in Ref. 10: 15.
12. Finkenbine, R & Miele, VJ. Globus hystericus: a
brief review. General Hospital Psychiatry, 2004: 26:
78-82; Klein, DF. Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia:
Hypothesis Hothouse. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,
1996;57 (strppl. 6): 2l-27.
13. Campbell Thompson, R. Assyrian Medical Tbxts
"fro* the originals in the British lvIusanm. London:
Oxford Universrty Press, 1923; Campbell Thompson, R.
Assyrian Medical Texts. Proceedings of the Royal
Society of tuIedicine, 1924; 17: l-34; Campbell
Thompson, R. Assyrian Medical Texts. II. Proceedings of
the Royal Society of Medicine, 1926: 19;29-78; Jasftow,
M. The Medicine of the Babylonians and Assyrians.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, l9l4; 7 :
14. Campell Thompson Ref. 13, 1926: 39:' See also
Scurlock, J. Magico-medical means of treating ghost-
induced illnesses in ancient Mesopotamia. Leiden : Brill,
15. Campbell Thompson, Ref. 13, 1926: 43; the other
ingredients are 'magnetic iron ore, mineral of lead, mil'u-
salt, sulphate of iron, sab-stone, subu-nttrteral, bal-
mineral, male copper, . . . tamarisk-seed, laurel-seed, seed
of male C1perus, ffid arsenic'. See also Scurlock, Ref.
16. Campbell Thompson, Ref, 13,1926:77.
17. Campbell Thompson, R. Assyrian Prescriptions for
Diseases of the Ear. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
of Great Britain and lreland, 1931; l: I-25; Scurlock,
Ref. 14: 404.
18. Scurlock, J. Ref. 14:269-270,44I.
19. Scurlock, Ref. 14:337-8.
86 Pharm Hist (Lond) 2014;44 (4):
20. Oshima, T. Babylonian Prayers to Marduk.
Orientalische religionen in der Antike,20ll1'7: 58.
21. Scurlock, Ref. 14: 346-347 .
22. Tripathi, ID. Rasaratna Samuchchaya of
Vagbhatacharya: TTanslated with' Rasprabha' Hindi
Commentary, Critical notes, and Introduction.
Yaranasi : Chaukhamba Sanskrit Bhawan,2006.
23. Rajanighantu, Chapter 13, verse 216; Winder,
M. Vaidurya. In Meulenbeld, GJ. and Wujastyk, D
(eds). Studies on Indian Medical History. New Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass, 2001: 90. The white flecks in
the description refer to associated crystals of calcite.
24. Johari, H. The healing power of gemstones in
Tantra, Ayurveda, & Astrology. Rochester: Destiny
Books, 1997:178-179.
25. Sharma, PV. The date of the Dhanwarfiari
nighantu. Indian Journal of the History of Science,
1970; 5: 364-370; Prasad, PV. and Narayana, A.
Biography of Narahari - the author of Raja-
Nighantu. Bulletin of the Indian Institute for the
History of Medicine in Hyderabad, 2007;37 (1): 1-8;
note that these dates are contested Narahari is
supposed to have written the Rajanighantu sometime
between 1235 and 1250 according to Ramachandra
Rao, SK. Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine:
historical perspective. Encyclopaedia of Indian
Medicine, 1985; I : 68, but is asserted to have
flourished around 1500 according to Wujastyk, D.
Jambudvipa: Apples or Plums? In Burnett, C,
Hogendrjk, JP, Plofker, K and Yano, M (eds). Studies
in the history of the Exact Sciences in honour of
David Pingree.Leiden: Brill, 2004: 288.
26. Sudarshan, SR. Encyclopaedia of Indian
Medicine. Volume Five. Materia Medica - Metallic
and Mineral Drugs. Bangalore: Dr V. Parameshvara
Charitable Trust,2005: 37 .
27. Duffin, CJ. Lithotherapeutical research sources
from antiquify to the mid-18th century. InDufftn, CJ,
Moody, RTJ & Gardner-Thorpe, C. (eds.) A History
of Geology and Medicine. Geological Society of
London Special Publication , 37 5. (in press).
28. Smith, FP. Contributions to the Materia Medica
and natural history of China. For the use of medical
missionaries and native medical students. Shanghai:
American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai,
1891: 129; Read, BE & Pak, C. A Compendium of
Minerals and Stones used in Chinese Medicine from
the Pen T'Sao Kang Mu Li Shih Chen 1597 AD. The
Peking Society of lr{atural History Bulletin 1928: 3
(2),24. fSouthern Materials Center reprint, 1982]; De
M61y, F. Les lapidaires de l'antiquite et du moyen
age. Tbme I. Les Lapidaires Chinois. Paris : Ernest
Leroux, Paris, 1896: 63,258; Morgan, HT. Cltinese
Symbols and Superstitions. Los Angeles: Times-
Mirror, 1942: 138.
29. Arya, PY. Dictionary of Tibetan Materia Medica.
New Delhi: Montilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1998:
'What the Dickens!' The Out-patients
pharmacy at the Middlesex Hospital,
Norma Gox
Wandsworth, London
In 1979 I was the staffpharmacist in charge of the out-
patients deparfrnent pharmacy at the Middlesex Hospital,
London. The out-patients deparfinent was in a brick
building in Cleveland Sfreet. (See figure 1). It was a
separate building from the main Middlesex Hospital in
Mortimer Sfreet. The out-patients deparlrnent and the
main Middlesex Hospital were connected by a myriad of
rHrderground pinsageways that allowed the movement of
people, supplies and tolleys along narrow tunnels.
Figure L. The out-patients deparfinent of the Middlesex
Hospital in Cleveland Sfreet.
The out-patients pharmacy w€rs underground, beneath
the out-patients building in Cleveland Sfreet. Patients
called in for their medicines, after seeing the consultants
and registars in their clinics in the out-patients block.
The pharmacy had a reception area with seating for
patients to wait. The dispensary led from the reception
area. There was anareawithin the dispensary for the staff
to have their tea-breals and lunch. I don't recall where
the toilet facilities were. I left this position at the end of
1979 and thought little of the place except for nostalgic
memories with contemporaries.
I knew that the MiddlesexHospital had become part of
University College Hospital NHS Trust in 1994.r The
Tiust had sold the Middlesex Hospital site for housing,
offices and retail outlets to fund the University College
Hospital Private Finance Initiative.r The Middlesex
Hospital was then demolished in 2008 after anger and
outcry.2 Worse still, the new building works had been
delayed and only the hospital's listed Chapel remained
intact in the middle of a building site.3
In 2013 I visited the Middlesex Hospital site in
Mortimer Sfreet and found building works well
underway, with completion dates predicted for 2014. I
walked along Cleveland Sfreet towards the Middlesex
Hospital out-patients deparfrnent expecting to find
demolition or building works. To my amazement the
out-patients building w€rs still there. The perimeter wall
wns boarded by a wooden fence and worlcnen were busy.
Pharm Hist (Lond) 20Ia; aa () 87
... Bu bağlamda örneğin lapis lazulinin bir türünün ismi Akadca a ki adu asummatum (taşın Sumerce adı ZA.GÌN.GÚ.TU'dur) adıyla kaydedilmiştir. 23 Taşın isminde Akadca summatu kelimesi seçilmiş ve MU EN (kuş) sumeogramı kullanılmıştır. Akadca summatu kelimesi "(dişi) güvercin, kumru" anlamlarına gelmektedir. ...
Full-text available
Mezopotamya’da ham madde kaynağı bulunmayan Lapis Lazuli, bu coğrafyada yaşamış toplumlar tarafından benimsenmiş ve onların kültürlerinde yoğun bir şekilde kullanılmıştır. Çivi yazılı belgelerde lapis lazuli, Sumerce ZA.GÌN, Akadca uqnû kelimesi ile ifade edilmiştir. Literatürdeki yeni değerlendirmeler, uqnû kelimesinin mavi taşları içeren genel bir adlandırma olduğunu ve bu kelimenin maviden mavimsi renk tonlarına kadar benzer taş türlerini ifade ettiğini göstermektedir. Lapis lazuli, yıldızlı gökyüzüne benzeyen derin mavi renge sahip bir taştır. Mezopotamya toplumları taşın renginden ve görünüşünden dolayı ona kutsiyet atfetmişler ve ona sembolik anlamlar yüklemişlerdir. Mezopotamya’da cam üretim teknolojisinin gelişimiyle lapis lazulinin imitasyonu yapılmış dolayısıyla bu taş bazı çivi yazılı belgelerde “dağ lapis lazulisi” (hakiki) veya “fırın lapis lazulisi” (yapay) gibi farklı isimlerle kaydedilmiştir. Lapis lazulinin aralarında fark bulunan türleri ve onlar hakkındaki bilgiler ḪAR.ra=ḫubullû Serisi ve Abnu šikinšu Serisi gibi mineraloji ve petroloji alanlarına yönelik bilgiler aktaran yayınlar sayesinde aydınlatılmıştır. Bu çalışmada, çivi yazılı belgeler doğrultusunda yapılmış analizlere göre Mezopotamya’da lapis lazuli taşının önemi, kullanım alanları ve taşın bazı türleri ele alınacaktır.
... Likewise, geological components are well represented and required little preparation other than reducing to a powder, including: silver (Ag), gold (Au); Chalcitis (Chalcopyrite); antimony (Sb); Cinnabar (HgS); zinc (Zn); bismuth (Bi); Cerussa (PbCO 3 ); Litharge (PbO); Silex (flint); Crystallus (rock crystal or quartz); graphite (C); Haematite (Fe 2 O 3 ); Pyrite (FeS); Lapis calaminaris (ZnCO 3 ); Lapis lazuli (Duffin, 2014); Lapis lincis (fossil belemnites; Duffin, 2008); lapis judaicus (fossil echinoid spines; Duffin, 2006Duffin, , 2008; Gypsum (CaSO 4 ); realgar (As 4 S 4 ); orpiment (As 2 S 3 ); lapis hibernicus (Irish slate; Duffin, 2013b); pumice (Duffin, 2013c) and numerous others. ...
Full-text available
The frontispieces of the Gart der Gesundheit (1485) and the Pharmacopée royale galénique et chymyque (1676) illustrate the changes taking place in pharmacy over that time period: increasingly rapid distribution of information as printing technology and efficiency developed, changes to the philosophical underpinnings of the science, reduced reliance on medical authorities from Antiquity, access to therapies from newly discovered sources, and the rise of iatrochemistry. Seven British late seventeenth and early eighteenth century materia medica collections representing medical chests, teaching resources and personal cabinets contain a mixture of ‘galenical’ simples, iatrochemical derivatives and exotic pharmaceutical materials.
... Alternatively, B78 may have consumed powdered lapis lazuli as a form of lapidary medicine. Since antiquity, lapis lazuli stone has been ascribed magical and healing powers by many Old World cultures, who used it primarily as an amulet stone and as a component of eye ointments (3,26). The first-century Greek medical text De Materia Medica by Dioscorides describes the medicinal libation of lapis lazuli to treat scorpion bites, ulcers, eye growths, pustules, and herniated membranes (27), and an inventory of a Jewish apothecary in Cairo dating to the 13th and 14th centuries refers to the use of lapis lazuli as both an antivenom and an eye treatment (28). ...
During the European Middle Ages, the opening of long-distance Asian trade routes introduced exotic goods, including ultramarine, a brilliant blue pigment produced from lapis lazuli stone mined only in Afghanistan. Rare and as expensive as gold, this pigment transformed the European color palette, but little is known about its early trade or use. Here, we report the discovery of lapis lazuli pigment preserved in the dental calculus of a religious woman in Germany radiocarbon-dated to the 11th or early 12th century. The early use of this pigment by a religious woman challenges widespread assumptions about its limited availability in medieval Europe and the gendered production of illuminated texts.
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In the Unani System of Medicine drugs are uses, obtained mainly from three sources (Mawaleed-i-Thalatha) viz., plants, minerals, and animals. Most of the drugs used from plant origin, but mineral and animal substances also play an important role in therapeutics. There are a vast description available on mineral substances under Hajariyat (stones), Filzat (metals), Gil (soils) etc. which are used as medicine after detoxification or rectification by various methods. Various Hajariyat (stones) have been claimed by Unani scholars to be useful in the management of various diseases of the body using either alone or including in compound formulations. Lapis lazuli is a valuable gem that has been listed peculiar to curing asthma, palpitation, mania, melancholia, amenorrhea, nephralgia, and to strengthen vital organs. However Hajariyat and metals are considered to be poisonous, so for medicinal purposes they are used after subjecting certain Tadbeer (detoxifying method) which make them useful. After the purification process, the drugs become physically and chemically pure, therapeutically more effective, and less toxic, otherwise, they may destroy the physiological function of the body. The objective of the present paper is to explore the hidden medicinal properties of Lajward (Lapis lazuli) from various Unani kinds of literature written by eminent Unani physicians and in the light of modern researches.
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The frontispieces of the Gart der Gesundheit (1485) and the Pharmacopée royale galénique et chymyque (1676) illustrate the changes taking place in pharmacy over that time period: increasingly rapid distribution of information as printing technology and efficiency developed, changes to the philosophical underpinnings of the science, reduced reliance on medical authorities from Antiquity, access to therapies from newly discovered sources, and the rise of iatrochemistry. British late seventeenth and early eighteenth century materia medica collections representing medical chests, teaching resources and personal cabinets contain a mixture of ‘galenical’ simples, iatrochemical derivatives and exotic pharmaceutical materials.
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supported my consuming interest in the subject investigated in these pages. Abstract Mineral materials include rocks, minerals, fossils, earths, mineraloids, biogenic skeletal remains and synthetic stones. Each of these classes of material has enjoyed much popularity as supposedly therapeutic medicinal ingredients in the history of pharmacy; many have an unbroken record of use since ancient and classical times. The historical materia medica incorporates minerals that have been made use of in both medical folklore and academic analysis. This thesis presents a body of work which develops examples from each class of mineral material, tries to establish their identities, and explores the evolution of their therapeutic use against the backdrop of changing philosophies in the history of medicine. The most rudimentary use of mineral materials was in a magico-medicinal way as amulets wom for protection against harmful influences which might be expressed in the body as loss of health, and as prophylactics against specific diseases and poisons. Amulets were often worn as pendants, necklaces and rings, or appended to the clothing in some way. The humoral system of Greek medicine saw the health of the body as being a state of balance between the four humours. Humoral imbalance was corrected by, amongst other interventions, the application of medicinal simples or 'Galenicals', which were largely unmodified (other than by trituration) herbal, zoological and mineralogical materials. The choice of simple was determined by the Aristotelian qualities ascribed to them, and their perceived efficacy according to the Doctrine of Signatures. This approach to prescribing practice held sway from classical times until the work of Paracelsus at the beginning of the Scientific Revolution which commended the use of only the active ingredients of a particular simple, separated from the remainder by alchemical means. These iatrochemical preparations permitted dosage standardisation and encouraged a more empirical approach to prescribing practice. The mineral materials most closely examined in this thesis in the context of the evolving materia medica are pumice, gemstones, holed flints, amber, unicom horn, Jews' stones (fossil echinoid spines), Porcupine bezoars, otoliths and synthetic stones. The analyses presented here rely on the study of manuscript, archival, printed and material sources.
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Panic disorder and agoraphobia have been postulated to occur when (1) fear is elicited by some automatic mechanism that requires catastrophic cognition, (2) there is a flaw in the physiology of fear, with special reference to the noradrenergic system, or (3) a putative suffocation alarm mechanism sends out false alarms. The presence of a suffocation alarm system has been supported by studies of children who lack this protective mechanism because they suffer from congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. Antidepressants with serotonin activity seem to control panic disorder by down-regulating the suffocation alarm system. Serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the most effective drugs for panic disorder, emphasizing the role of serotonin in respiratory regulation. Dyspnea and hyperventilation are the cardinal signs of a panic attack. Because carbon monoxide (CO) does not cause panic, it may sabotage the suffocation alarm system by acting as an inhibitory neurotransmitter within the carotid body.
Globus hystericus, a form of conversion disorder, is characterized by an uncomfortable sensation of a mass in the esophagus or airway. Evaluation proves no mass exists. Anxiety or psychological conflict is judged to be significantly related to the onset and progression of the sensation. The sensation may lead to difficulty swallowing or breathing and may become severe or life threatening. The disorder is poorly studied and understood. The differential diagnosis is vast. Management of the disorder is similar to that suggested for other conversion disorders. This article reviews the current literature about diagnosis, etiology, treatment, and prognosis of globus hystericus.
Coloring the Ancient Eglptian World. The Ostracon
  • H Van Benthem
Van Benthem, H. Coloring the Ancient Eglptian World. The Ostracon. The Journal of the Eg,,ptian Study Society, 2006; 17 (1), 17 -19.
Rasaratna Samuchchaya of Vagbhatacharya: TTanslated with' Rasprabha' Hindi Commentary, Critical notes, and Introduction
  • Id Tripathi
Tripathi, ID. Rasaratna Samuchchaya of Vagbhatacharya: TTanslated with' Rasprabha' Hindi Commentary, Critical notes, and Introduction.