Bezoar

From Academic Kids

A bezoar is a sort of calculus or concretion, a stone found in the intestines of mostly ruminant animals. There are several varieties of bezoar, some of which have inorganic constituents and others organic.

Bezoars were formerly sought after because they were believed to have the power of a universal antidote against any poison. It was believed that a drinking glass which contained a bezoar set within would neutralize any poison poured into the glass. The word "bezoar" ultimately comes from the Persian pâdzahr (پادزهر), which literally means "protection from poison."

A famous case in the common law of England (Chandelor v. Lopus, 79 Eng Rep. 3, Cro. Jac. 4, Eng. Ct. Exch. 1603) announced the rule of caveat emptor, "let the buyer beware" if the goods he purchased are in fact genuine and effective, in a case over a purchaser who sued for the return of the purchase price of an allegedly fraudulent bezoar. (How the plaintiff discovered that the bezoar did not work is unfortunately not discussed in the report.) Judicial scepticism over the alleged magical powers of bezoars may well have justified this judgment in this particular case. The ruling, however, was seized on and formed an impediment to the formation of effective consumer protection remedies and the law of implied warranty well into the nineteenth century.

Bezoars are given a passing mention in the Harry Potter books. The Potions Master, Severus Snape, tests Harry's knowledge in order to humiliate him on his first day at Hogwarts.

Types of bezoars

  • A trichobezoar is a bezoar formed from hair - an extreme form of hairball.
  • Phytobezoars are composed of nondigestible food material by humans (e.g. cellulose) and is frequently reported in patients with impaired digestion and decreased gastric motility.
  • Pharmacobezoars (or medication bezoars) are mostly tablets or semi-liquid masses of drugs.
  • Bezoars also known as Ox Gallstone or Niuhuang or Calculus Bovis

Miscellaneous

Other types of bezoars are formed from items such as stone or sand, usually in young children. Pharmaceutical Name : Calculus Bovis

Zoological Name : Bos taurus domesticus Gmelin

Common Name : Ox gallstone, Bos calculus

Source of Earliest Record : Shennong Bencao Jing

Part Used & Method for Pharmaceutical Preparations: The gallstone of an ox is collected in any season, or the bile of an ox or pig is used instead. After gathering, the material is dried and made into powder or pills.

Properties & Taste : Bitter and cool

External links

  • A trichobezoar (http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/explore/anatifacts/4_trich.html) at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington DC.

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