Description (Brief)
This drug jar is marked CORTEX LIGN QUASSIAE. Cortex refers to the skin or peel of a plant. Ling is probably an abbreviation for Lignum or wood, and Quassiae is a bitter wood. The tree is native to the West Indies and South America. The bark can be made into a tea or tonic by soaking chips of wood in water or alcohol. It was used as a tonic, an antispasmodic, and to reduce fevers. Cups were made from Quassia, and when filled with water, properties from the wood would create a tonic which popular in the 19th century.
Pharmaceutical historian George Urdang attributes the containers 1991.0664.0760 through 1991.0664.0825 to Hanau in the late 18th century based on the floral design surrounding the medallion and the initials HN on the bottom of many of the jars in the series. However, in a letter to museum curators dated August 1983, the pharmaceutical historian Wolfgang-Hagen Hein wrote that the containers without initials and those marked FH were made in Florsheim in the German state of Hesse.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 11 cm; 6 5/16 in x 4 5/16 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 740
catalog number
European Apothecary
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Related Publication
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection

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