17th century poison cabinet
This was listed in an auction by Hermann Historica Auction house in 2008. The listing read
“A Hollow Book Used As a Secret Poison Cabinet,” and it was dated the 17th century.
It was sold for $7,000.
The interior is crafted into 11 drawers, all different in size and it is actually described as a book and was named the ‘Hallow Book’.
Nobody is actually sure of its real purpose or where it had come from but its assumed it was created to store toxic herbs and poisons.
Was these herbs and poisons used to heal or kill?..who knows.
However, even though the intentions of its owner is unknown, it is no secret that herbs and remedies was used before the scientific development of modern medicine. Some used mainly killed the patient or victim even if the intention was to cure.
The first of the 11 drawers contained a poisonous herb named Henbane.
This plant dates back to ancient Greece and is mentioned in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is the poison used to kill Hamlet’s father after being poured into his ear.
However, the same plant is known to have helped heal tooth pains and even rheumatism over the years.
The second drawer carried a stronger and more powerful herb, called Opium Poppy. Today, this plant is well noted for producing dangerous illegal drugs, but used to be used by our ancestors has a pain-killer.
Has you go down the drawers they get more dangerous…..
In the 3rd draw, monkshood or wolf’s bane was found. This was often used on the end of weapons such as spears. It did have its medical uses as a pain-killer or to prevent infections but it was more known for killing and was banned throughout the roman empire.
In the last of the 11 drawers, a herb named belladonna (deadly nightshade) was found. This was often used in arrows also to kill but was also small doses was found in many cosmetics.
Lations inscriptions on the fourth and fifth drawers read the names Cicuta Virosa and Byronia Alba. Cicuta Virosa was a toxin that affected the functionally of the central system and Byronia was also used to heal but with caution for pains in the stomach.
Other drawers appeared to have contained plants such as the Devil’s snare, Valerian and February Dephne.
Medieval medicinal practitioners may have used Devil’s snare as a painkiller. However, if consumed in high doses, it could cause hallucinations as well as death.
February Daphne is really toxic and is commonly known as Spurge Laurel. If taken it normally results in choking, vomiting and can result in an unpleasant death. It was also used in small doses to treat snake bites and various skin complaints as well as relieve toothache.
According to the Hermann Historica, the book cabinet carried so many toxic and medicinal herbs that it actually ended up in a private collection!!
Makes you wonder what its real purpose was used for.
To heal or to kill!