Place where the object is located
Museum of Spanish Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Story of the object
The interests for drugs in the Arabic medicine starts at the Ummayad court as strategy the develop antidotes against poisons. Snakes, dogs, scorpions and spiders’ bites were frequent reason to go to a pharmacy in the Middle Age, as well the poison property of other minerals and plants, such as black hellebore, aconite and mandrake were object of interests for Arabic pharmacists (as-sayadanani – who works with sandalwood) working in the Saydanah, the Arabic pharmacy. Arabic pharmaceutical knowledge has his roots in Galen, Dioscorides and Indian medical tradition, the word saydanani comes from Sanskrit chandanani, in Sanskrit sandalwood is Chandan. The pharmacist working in the Saydanah had skills in preserving compounding and storing drugs, and to produce electuaries, syrups, ointments and other kinds of preparations. A number of new substances were introduced by the Arabic Pharmacy, camphor, aconite, mercury, musk, nutmeg, myrrh, and they introduced anaesthetic such as hemp & henbane. A number of new substances were introduced by the Arabic Pharmacy, camphor, aconite, mercury, musk, nutmeg, myrrh, and anaesthetic such as hemp & henbane. The most common products sold in the pharmacy were pills, elixirs, confections, suppositories and inhalants, ointments.
The Arabic Pharmacy is a recreation of a real pharmacy from 15th century in Toledo, built to be exposed in 1953 at the 3rd Congress of Spanish Hospitals. The collection related to pharmacy has been designed on the basis of real objects partially located at the Victoria and Albert museum in London and (a cupboard belonging to the Pharmacy of a Templar Castel in Toledo) and at the Don Juan Valencia Institute in Madrid (copies of the Paterna and Manises manufactures). The Pharmacy shows an inscription in Arabic on the top reporting the following text: no other victor over disease but Allah. In the counter are exposed copies of ceramic jars containing leaves, dried plants, and seeds to prepare drugs.