Antique Apothecary Cabinet
An Antique Apothecary Cabinet or Apothecary chest of drawers, is a type of cabinet (a piece of furniture) that has multiple parallel, horizontal drawers usually stacked one above another for the storage of Medical paraphanalia or perscriptions.
Apothecary is one term for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons, and patients. The modern pharmacist (also colloquially referred to as a chemist in British English) has taken over this role. In some languages and regions, the word “apothecary” is still used to refer to a retail pharmacy or a pharmacist who owns one. Apothecaries’ investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients was a precursor to the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology.
In addition to dispensing herbs and medicine, the apothecary offered general medical advice and a range of services that are now performed by other specialist practitioners, such as surgeons and obstetricians. Apothecary shops sold ingredients and the medicines they prepared wholesale to other medical practitioners, as well as dispensing them to patients. In seventeenth century England, they also controlled the trade of tobacco which was imported as a medicine.
Antique Apothecary Cabinet Entymology
Apothecary derives from the Ancient Greek word ἀποθήκη (apothḗkē, “a repository, storehouse”) via Latin apotheca (“repository, storehouse, warehouse”), Medieval Latin apothecarius (“storekeeper”), and eventually Old French apotecaire.
In some languages the word “apothecary” is still used to designate a pharmacist/chemist, such as German and Dutch (Apotheker) and Luxembourgish (Apdikter). Likewise, “pharmacy” translates as “apotek” and “apteekki” in the Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish), Finnish, and some Slavic languages such as Bosnian “apoteka”, Serbian “апотека”, Russian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian “аптека” (pronounced “apteka”). In Yiddish the word is “אַפּטייק”, pronounced “apteik”.
Use of the term “apothecary” in the names of businesses varies with time and location. In some areas of the United States it has experienced a nostalgic revival and been used for a wide variety of businesses, while in other areas such as California its use is restricted to licensed pharmacies.
Antique Apothecary Cabinet History
Apothecary, as a profession, could date back to 2600 BCE to ancient Babylon, which provides one of the earliest records of the practice of the apothecary. Clay tablets were found with medical texts recording symptoms, the prescriptions, and the directions for compounding it.
The Papyrus Ebers from ancient Egypt, written around 1500 BCE, contain a collection of more than 800 prescriptions, or ancient recipes for the apothecaries of the time. It mentions over 700 different drugs.
The Shen-nung pen ts’ao ching, a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants (3rd century CE), is considered a foundational material for Chinese medicine and herbalism and became an important source for Chinese apothecaries. The book, which documented 365 treatments, had a focus on roots and grass. It had treatments which came from minerals, roots and grass, and animals.
Many of the mentioned drugs and their uses are still followed today. Ginseng’s use as a sexual stimulant and aid for erectile dysfunction stems from this book. Ma huang, an herb first mentioned in the book, led to the introduction of the drug ephedrine into modern medicine.
More Antique Dressers at heatherbraeantiques.com