Tincture of Castoreum

Files

Castorr.jpg

Title

Tincture of Castoreum

Description

Tincture of Castoreum, labelled by Sir Stuart Threipland in his medicine chest as ‘Ti Castor:R’.

Castoreum, a red-brown secretion from beaver inguinal sacs. The term ‘castor’ is the Latin word for beaver and is used to describe the castor sacs next to the beaver’s anal glands, used for scent marking territory. Castoreum, the secretion from these sacs, has been used since ancient times in medicine, food production and perfumery. Castoreum is not to be confused with castor oil, a pale yellow liquid extracted from castor beans which is used as a laxative and lubricant.

In the eighteenth century, castoreum, usually prepared as a tincture mixed with alcohol, was prescribed as a stimulant and antispasmodic, particularly for cases of hysteria and epilepsy.

Date

Mid-18th century

Archive Reference

OBJ/OBJ/3/8

Collection

Citation

“Tincture of Castoreum,” RCPE Artefacts, accessed May 23, 2019, http://artefacts.rcpe.ac.uk/items/show/333.