Three Late 19thC Glass Apothecary Bottles with Painted Banners to include Bicarbonate of Soda & two Oleum examples for Cassia & Cumin Oils

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Origin: English
Period: Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1875
SODAE. BICAR
Circumference: 10 inches
Height: 8 inches
OL: CASSIE with pourer & cleft
Circumference: 10 inches
Height: 8 inches
OL: CUMINI with pourer & cleft
Circumference: 9.5 inches
Height: 8 inches


Three early examples, two being oleum or oil bottles featuring pourers and clefts.  Having hand-painted banners, which have some wear but are still attractive and most importantly being clearly decipherable. All three bottles have their original stoppers and are not jammed. There is a small link missing on the rim of the OL: CUMINI.

The first would have once carried sodium bicarbonate, which was and is still used in an aqueous solution as an antacid taken orally to treat acid indigestion and heartburn.[8] It may also be used in an oral form to treat chronic forms of metabolic acidosis such as chronic renal failure and renal tubular acidosis.

The second bottle would have bore a sweet smelling Cassia Oil or Cinnamomum cassia of the Lauraceae family, also known as false cinnamon and cassia lignea. It is native to China and is also known as cassia bark or Chinese cinnamon. This slender, evergreen tree grows up to 20 meters (65 feet) high, with thick, leathery leaves and small white flowers. Cassia as a dried herb, or oil in this case, would have been useful for digestive complaints such as flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, diarrhea and nausea. It could also be used for colds, influenza, fevers, arthritis and rheumatism.

The third, also being an oil bottle, would have held Cumin Oil. Having a strong spicy smell, cumin oil was originally from the Mediterranean area, and is a small annual herb about 50cm ( 20 inches) high, with deep green, narrow feathery leaves and tiny white or pink flowers, followed by small oblong seeds. Known since Biblical times, it is mainly used for its digestive properties. The Egyptians used it for headaches. The Pharisees paid their taxes with it and in the Middle Ages, feudal lords paid serfs with cumin for services rendered.

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