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Chelae Cancrorum, c1745-1807

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


Glass specie jar containing nine specimens of crab claw, chelae cancrorum. From the Burges Collection.

Text on paper contents label reads ‘Cat. mat. med. p. 111 No. 11, Chelae Cancrorum.’

Pomet, in his Compleat History of Druggs, says that the black tips of sea crabs are made into a powder either by levigation (grinding) or calcination (burning in a crucible), and are used to ‘cure Heart-Burnings, take away Sourness from the Stomach, absorb Acidities, and ease Pains in the Bowels, proceeding from sharp Humours.’