The term Apothecary has become popular and there are many springing up throughout the country.
The Old Time Apothecary
In the past, an Apothecary was a person who prepared and sold medicines and drugs and did some surgery. As an Apothecary would prescribe and make the remedies, they were a combination of today’s doctors and manufacturers.
In Colonial times, most apothecaries learned their healing methods through apprenticeships. Some also studied at medical schools, but this education method was not always readily available.
Apothecaries used herbs, spices and sometimes surgery to heal their patients. They also made pills, which were dried herbs that they bound with honey or other substances.
Common Herbs Used by Colonial Apothecary
Apothecaries used the experiences of those who went before them to prescribe medicines. Over hundreds of years of observation, professionals learned which herbs had what effects on people. Apothecaries would mix herbs to create several classes of medications, including pain relievers, vomit inducers, fever reducers and inflammation reducers. Common herbs used were:
Tools for Colonial Apothecaries
Basic tools for the apothecaries were Mortar and pestle sets, tools to grind the herbs, and scales for measuring. They used tea kettles and other cooking tools to make their remedies. They also performed some dental surgeries, which meant that many apothecaries kept tooth extractors on hand. For surgeries, they used needles and fine thread to stitch up patients. They sometimes used alcohol or opiums as pain relievers, but they did not have the technology to put patients under general anesthesia. Apothecaries also carried different forms of bandages to cover wounds, which often were made out of linen cloth.
A synonym for apothecary would be a pharmacist. The difference is that a pharmacist is a professional who dispenses prescription drugs in a hospital or retail pharmacy, while an apothecary is a person who makes and provides/sells drugs and/or medicines.
Words can evolve, and there are different uses of the the word Apothecary now a days. It is also said that a Modern Apothecary is a locally owned, independent modern pharmacy, with the hospitality of an old time apothecary. There are also different types of apothecary shops popping up, with products ranging from soaps, bath bombs, essential oils, lip balms, teas, tinctures, and anything herbal.
Probably the best word to describe a modern Apothecary is an Herbalist. This would actually be what an old time Apothecary was, a true and tried herbalist.
I trust this has been interesting to you. Come visit Herbs4You, Sioux Falls Apothecary Shop!
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About the Author
Amy Willis M.H.