[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 1993


Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md.

Arch Dermatol. 1993;129(11):1388. doi:10.1001/archderm.1993.01680320022001

THE word cosmetic, being derived from cosmeo, and meaning "I adorn, I embellish," there seems to be no reason why the study of any drug which may be used for such a purpose should not be scientifically followed. It appears eminently proper that such a study is relegated to the dermatologist, who is called upon often to do something to remedy the external blemishes of mankind.

Twenty years ago I listened to Liebreich's lectures on materia medica in Berlin. Speaking of the various schools of medicine, he mentioned a volume published in the last century, the "Dreck Apothecke," a book describing the use of excrement of man and animals for the cure of all diseases. After many years' search, I have procured a copy of that book and shall really begin my article today by modestly referring to its pages for a few cosmetics recommended by the author.

TRANSLATION.  Take white snowdrops, as much as you wish, pour water upon them and distil.Then take some of Soliman's seal, as much as you wish, sprinkle the already distilled water upon it and distil again. Then take cow dung, gathered in May, just as much as you wish, shake the double-distilled water upon it and distil the whole again. Finally take white roses and lilies, according to your wish, and distil them with what has already been distilled. Thus you will obtain a fine beautifying mixture.But still better is the water found upon a fat cow-flake, which, if applied to the skin upon a cloth or sponge, beautifies it wonderfully.The distilled water from man's excrement gives a fine color to the complexion. Also when worms, which grow in human excrement, are distilled into water by the sun, they give a beautiful color to the face.Herman Avenarías, while he was studying in Gotha, had horrid, rough, discolored hands. I advised him to rub his hands in a mixture of vinegar and fox excrement, which did them much good. This I learnt of Schroedern.How the ancients made their beautifying mixture of crocodile dung Jacob Grand has well shown. It makes one think of one's Horace—Neque Uli Jam manet húmida creta, colorque, stercore fugatus crocodile.Galen also says the dung of the small land crocodile has made pleasant, tender women change to being cold and distant, because they chose it to beautify themselves with.Lizard's dung makes wrinkled old women smooth and ...J Cutan Genito-Urin Dis.November 1893;11:425-433.