Blue and white albarello vase, used for savin oil, North Italy, 1701-1800
The inscription Estratto di Sabina translates from Latin as “Extract of Savin”. This refers to a species of juniper, whose berries would have been pressed and infused with olive oil to make the treatment.
A pharmacy text from the 1730s recommended its use for easing the pain of childbirth and for asthma. Just over a hundred years later, the same treatment was used to control menstrual bleeding and to treat or prevent infections caused by parasitic worms.