“Aesculapius in Lisbon”

The Goa stone: myths, empiricism and insights on chemistry was presented by Maria do Sameiro Barroso in the 46th ISHM Congress, that took place in Lisbon in 3-7 September 2018.

The work was now published in a supplement of the Journal of the International Society for the History of Medicine and it can be consulted online HERE


The Goa Stone or Cordial Stone, an artificial bezoar created by the Jesuit Gaspar Antonio in the mid-seventeenth century, was composed of precious animal ingredients, such as scrapings of bezoar stones and unicorn horns, and vegetable and mineral ingredients, bringing together respected, long-standing traditions, imported from the Oriental and Arabic Medicine. Ancient myths built upon these substances and possible evidence of empirical effectiveness sealed their path to glory. Although the composition of the Goa Stone was kept in secrecy, it was reputed, or even more, as bezoars. Its splendour lasted for about 150 years until the end of the eighteenth century when chemistry emerged and significant advances in medicine put forward new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches which enabled more accurate scientific theories that replaced myths.

“Aesculapius in Lisbon”

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