WLM ID: aivg, aivv, aivw | Catalog Record
Pictured from left to right is an opium plaster made by Charles Shivers, an apothecary jar for opium, and a bottle for powdered opium extract manufactured by Eli Lilly.
Opium is a substance extracted from a specific kind of poppy plant. Humans have used opium since before recorded history. In 1784, Dr. James Moore (1763-1837), a British surgeon, may have been the first Westerner to record the effectiveness of opium for postoperative pain.
Medicinal plasters were applied to the body for various purposes. Opium plasters were thought to relieve rheumatic or arthritic pain in the areas to which they were applied. The opium once held in the apothecary jar may have been used for a variety of purposes, as opium was a key ingredient in a number of medicinal mixtures. The powder once held in the Eli Lilly jar was 20% morphine and may have been diluted so that it could be injected for pain relief. Morphine was the first of a number of pain relieving substances isolated from opium. Also see the opium tin from the 'U.S. Army Surgeon’s Field Companion' kit.