Pulvis ad guttetam

From Kook Science

Pulvis ad guttetam refers to a preparation intended for the treatment of convulsions, including particularly epilepsy, which was given in certain recipes as containing a quantity of human skull (cranium humanum), in addition to elk hoof (ungla alcis), white dittany, peony, oak mistletoe, contrayerva, valerian, &c. The use of human skull is presumably on the basis of similia similibus curentur, while the elk hoof was supposed to have anti-convulsive properties on the basis of the animal falling prostrate when dead or the observation of an elk apparently curing itself of convulsions by placing its hoof into its ear.


  • Quincy, John (1728), The Dispensatory of the Royal College of Physicians in London, London: J. Bettenham, p. 86, 

    Take of white Dittany, Mistletoe of the Oak, Contrayerva, Virginian Serpentaria, and Male Piony Roots, of the male Piony Seeds, of Burnt Hartshorn, and Elks Claws, each two Drams; of wild Valerian Root one ounce; of red Coral, and human Scull, each three Drams; of Jacinth Stone on Dram; of occidental Bezoar one dram and an half; of the Oriental one Scruple: Mix them into a Powder; to which may be added at pleasure, of Musk five Grains, and of the Leaves of beaten Gold No. thirty.

    "This is a Modern Composition, and, as I think, first prescribed by Riverius. It was never before in any Dispensatory of our College, but Shipton hath inserted it amongst his Additamenta to the last, exactly as it here stands. There are indeed many of the same intention under the Title of Pulveres Epileptici, in Schroder, Zwelfer, and other Dispensatory Writers; but they are very different from this here given."