Three Late 19thC Glass Apothecary Bottles with Painted Banners for Potassium Bromide, Infusion of Orange Peel & Senega Root


Origin: English
Period: Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885
Circumference: 10 inches
Height: 7.5 inches
Circumference: 10 inches
Height: 7.5 inches
Circumference: 9.5 inches
Height: 8 inches

A trio of attractive and well maintained apothecary bottles having painted banners of ebony, gold umber and claret. The labels are in differing condition but each could be described as either good or excellent. All three possess their original cut glass stoppers.

The first would have held TR: SENEGA which is Tinctura of Senega root. This consists of the dried root and root-stock of Polygala Senega. The drug is greyish-brown or yellowish-brown, slender and frequently curved. The odour of senega recalls that of wintergreen; the taste is it first sweetish, but afterwards acrid. The powdered drug is very irritating when inhaled, and imparts to water the property of frothing. It is employed as a stimulating expectorant in chronic bronchitis but is not absorbed into the system.

The second slightly more bulbous vessel would have carried POT:BROM: - Potassium Bromide. This substance is colourless or white, odourless, with cubic crystals, and a strong saline taste. Potassium bromide is used for its action on the central nervous system. The effect is produced by a direct action on the drug on the nerve cells. By lowering the activity of both motor and sensory cells, the bromides are of great service in controlling epilepsy, and in cerebral excitement.

Lastly the third bottle, and perhaps the most exceptional of the trio, would have held INF. AURANT. CO. CONC which is a Concentrated Compound Infusion of Orange Peel. This would have more than likely consisted of dried bitter-orange peel (about 1 in 5); prepared by maceration with dried lemon peel and clove in alcohol (25 %).  The dose would be 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims).