against their better judgment, to employ it as a remedy. So great are its virtues that many imitations are made."
The name bezoar, derived from the Persian padzahr (pad, expelling; zahr, poison),
or some of its many variants, was often used to designate any antidote
for poison, so that the Arabs would say that such or such a substance
was the bezoar for a particular poison. This should be understood to
signify that the stone received its name because it was regarded as a
specially powerful antidote.
various authors give many different sources for the bezoar. We have
already cited Monardes and repeated his account; other writers asserted
that this concretion came from the heads of certain animals, others
again said that it was taken from their livers, and still others stated
that it was formed in the eye of the stag. Naturally, concretions of a
similar form and quality may well have been obtained from any of these
sources. Indeed, one of the most potent bezoars was that taken from the
monkey. A specimen of this kind is described and figured in the Museum
Brittani-cum4 with the following description:
Monkey's Bezoar, very much resembling one from the goat, of an oblong
shape broke in two, with a long straw, or some such like substance in
its centre; its colour brown, pink, or deep yellow. I found it set as
generally they are for preservation in a little chest, or case, of
what is called Lignum Lœvisiunum; the pith or medula of which appears to resemble the common elder, and may, for what I know, be as curious as the stone itself.
Jacob Bontius to the effect that these monkey bezoars, which were
rounded and a little longer than the finger, were considered the best
the chief quality claimed for the bezoar was that it induced a profuse
perspiration, we might understand that it could have a beneficial
effect in some cases. It was
4 Museum Brittanicum, John and Andrew van Rymsdyk, London, pp. 60-51. »De Boot, " De lapidibus," ed. Toll, Lug. Bat., 1636, p. 3βΓ.