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Albarello drug jar used to store badger fat, Italy, 1585

Animal fats were used as a common base for a number of ointments. Each animal was credited with special properties. The jar on the right is labelled Grasso di Tasso, Latin for “Badger Fat”. It was believed to have soothing and pain relieving qualities and to mend broken bones and muscles or reduce fevers and inflammation. The symbol painted above the date, 1585, is probably a mark of a monastery. It is shown here with a drug jar for horse fat (A42493).

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Glossary: unguent

No description.

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: inflammation

The body’s response to injury. An inflammation is marked by redness, heat, pain, swelling, and often loss of function. The process leads to the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue.

Glossary: fever

A rise in body temperature above normal. Fever usually occurs as a natural response to infection.