Mercury or mercury?

In previous posts, I have written about the historical omnipresence of mercury in medicine. For my new research project, I am trying to figure out how the first academic chemists looked at mercury, and whether the experiments they did with it changed the way mercury was used in drugs. In the early eighteenth century, theContinue reading “Mercury or mercury?”

The practical uses of a mummie

In our culture, we have a deeply ingrained aversion against ingesting other people‚Äôs bodies and bodily substances. Or don’t we? It seems a bit random, as exchanges of certain bodily fluids between partners are generally accepted as long as it happens in private, as are blood and organ donations. Yet the idea of ingesting (preparationsContinue reading “The practical uses of a mummie”

The seventeenth-century pharmacy: learning by doing

After focusing on objects and materiality for a bit, this week I returned to the library to read texts. It struck me once again how dense very small pieces of text can be. Part of my new project on metals in Boerhaavian chemistry is getting an idea of how popular and academic medicine worked inContinue reading “The seventeenth-century pharmacy: learning by doing”