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The jar on the left hand side was used to store Sciroppo di Stecade di Mesue, translated from Latin as “Mesue’s Syrup of French Lavender”. Honey was infused with lavender and was taken to treat disorders of the brain and nerves, including paralysis, epilepsy, spasms, tremors and pain. Mesue (777-857 CE) was the European name for Yuhanna Ibn Masawayh, a prominent Christian physician who wrote in Arabic. ‘Mesue’ was also the pseudonym of a pharmaceutical writer. St Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) is shown on the drug jar receiving the stigmata from heaven. His stigmata, which are said to have appeared in 1224, were the first recorded instance of the phenomenon. He is believed to have received the stigmata in recognition of the difficulty of setting up his religious order, the Franciscans. The jar is shown with a similar example for Mesue’s Syrup of French Lavender (A42624).

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: epilepsy

A disorder of brain function characterized by seizures that occur suddenly. The seizures can be triggered by fast flashing lights, especially strobe lighting.

Glossary: drug jar

A (usually earthenware) container designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

Glossary: paralysis

The loss of function in one or more muscle groups. It causes loss of mobility and feeling.

Glossary: tremor

An involuntary quivering or trembling.

Glossary: stigmata

Bodily marks or sores believed to correspond to the crucifixion marks of Jesus Christ.