Museum treasures: Lapis judaicus, from the Burges Collection of materia medica, 1745–1807

An ancient treatment for urinary disorders.

The use of Hajr ul Yahood or ‘Jew’s Stone’,made primarily from the fossilised spines of sea urchins, began in Roman times.

The mineral drug was administered by practitioners of the Unani system of medicine to treat urinary disorders, such as dysuria, and kidney and bladder stones.

Unani medicine originated in ancient Greece and was practised by the ancient Greek practitioners Hippocrates and Galen. It was developed over subsequent centuries by Persian and Arab scholars, such as Ibn Sina.   

To take this as a medicine, the patient would either suck the individual stone or powder it into drinks.

This medicine is rarely used for kidney stones today. Although there have been clinical investigations of the drug, there is not yet enough evidence to confirm whether it has any effect.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2021, Vol 307, No 7953;307(7953)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.103705