Drug jar for Water Germander electuary, England, 1720-1780

1720-1780 in England

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Drug jar, tin glazed earthenware, songbird motif, used for water rermander electuary, English, 1720-1780. Black
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Drug jar, tin glazed earthenware, song bird motif, used for water germander electuary, English, 1720-1780

This drug jar is labelled “DIASCORD”, an abbreviation of the full Latin name Diascodrium. This translates as “water germander”, which was a thick liquid medical preparation (known as an electuary) that had a similar consistency to honey. It contained a range of ingredients and existed in a variety of different recipes – some including opium. Among the conditions it was at times used to treat were diarrhoea, dysentery, plague, colic and fevers. It could induce sleep and was recommended for women during childbirth.

Drug jars have a number of different shapes, design motifs and decorative styles which can help date the objects. Although quite crude in design, the face of the winged cherub – a feature of numerous drug jars – is quite realistic. Elsewhere a songbird motif and peacock feathers can be seen.


Medical Ceramic-ware
Object Number:
drug jar
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle

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