İn earlier times, healers and health workers used strangely-named plants for medicinal purposes. Plants with names such as dragon’s blood, mandrake root and devil’s snare could be bought at a drugstore called an apothecary.
Today, one of the best preserved apothecaries in the United States has been turned into a museum in Alexandria, Virginia. The museum provides interesting examples of medicines used before the development of modern drugs.
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary served customers for more than 140 years, from 1792 to 1933. When the business failed, the store and its contents were bought. It was redesigned to look as it had in the 18th century. In 1939, it reopened as a museum.
“A lot of the medicines that people would have been purchasing here were probably for minor ailments, rashes, skin conditions, the flu, a headache.”
The apothecary has many thousands of objects. Some seem strange now, like the bloodletting tools. They were used to take blood from patients in hopes of removing their sickness as well. The treatment was often harmful, however, and ended in the late 19th century.
Many famous people visited the apothecary while it was still a business, including America’s first president. George Washington and his wife Martha lived nearby in the early 1800s at their home of Mount Vernon.
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