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This earthenware jar was used to store cinchona bark. Cinchona was used to prevent heavy bleeding and diarrhoea but is better known as a source of quinine. The active ingredient of cinchona bark, quinine was used for pain relief and to prevent fevers but was primarily a treatment for malaria. The jar is painted with the figures of the Christian Apostles (the twelve original followers of Jesus) and is believed to be from the Castelli region of Italy.

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Glossary: drug jar

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

Glossary: diarrhoea

Frequent movement of the bowels, commonly in liquid form.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

Glossary: malaria

Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

Glossary: quinine

A substance taken to fight malaria. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is also an ingredient in tonic water.

Glossary: cinchona

The dried bark of any of the Cinchona trees. Used to stimulate the appetite, prevent bleeding and, in the past, to treat malaria.