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confectio damocritis


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  • "'...half an ounce of opium, and six drachms of confectio Damocritis.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Truelove, 143

    March 11, 2008

  • "Memorandum on Mithridate.

    The mithridate above alluded to is described as 'Mithridatum, sive Confectio Damocritis;' its composition is detailed at pp. 340, 341 of the 'London Dispensatory' of 1746.

    According to the work by Pomet, already quoted, p. 281, the following is the recipe for mithridate; 'Take of a choice myrrh, saffron, white agaric, ginger, fine cinnamon, Indian spikenard, frankincense, and thlaspi, or treacle mustard-seed, of each ten drams; Marsilian hartwort, balsam of Judaea, camel's bay, Arabian staochas, costus, galbanum, turpentine, long pepper, castor, juice of hypocistis, storax in tears, opoponax and Indian leaves, of each one ounce; cassia lignea, poley mountain, white pepper, water germander, candy carrots, fruit of the balsam tree, troches of Cephi and bdellium, of each seven drams; celtic spikenard, gum Arabic, Macedonian parsley, opium, the lesser cardamom, fennel, gentian, red roses and dittany of Crete, of each five drams; aniseed, the true acorus, small valerian, and gum serapin, of each three drams; spignel, acacia, and the sea skink, St. John's wort-seed, of each two drams and a half; Spanish wine, a sufficient quantity; fine honey, nine pounds, eight ounces and two drams.' Thus it becomes apparent that the difference between the composition of these famous drugs is really not very great. Democritus, whose name is attached to the mithridate, died B.C. 361, at the age of 109 years."

    —Charles Alexander Gordon, Hai guan zong shui wu si shu, China, China Hai guan zong shu, Hai guan zong shu, An Epitome of the Reports of the Medical Officers to the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service, from 1871 to 1882: With Chapters on the History of Medicine in China; Materia Medica; Epidemics; Famine; Ethnology; and Chronology in Relation to Medicine and Public Health (Ballière, Tindall, and Cox, 1884) 239

    October 16, 2008

  • There's more discussion over on confectio Damocritis.

    January 30, 2011

  • Well. Which is it? Damocritus or Democritus?

    January 30, 2011

  • Damocritis the stuff; Democritus the dude? I don't know. At this point you'll have to ask Stephen Maturin. It seems he took it with his fictional self to his fictional grave.

    February 1, 2011

  • Wait. He dies?

    Great. Thanks a lot, c_b.

    *starts muttering again*

    February 1, 2011