So called because it is found in the stomach of the sort of goat named bezoar. This is originally a Persian word, viz. badzcher, or lazcher, or phahazar, which signifies an antidote. Avenzoar is the first who mentions it as a medicine, or who gives its history.
Bezoar stones are preternatural or morbid concretions formed in the bodies of many animals; they arc-composed of several strata, or layers, like an onion. In the Hist. de lacad. an. 1703, it is asserted, that all bezoar stones are bilious concretions of the respective animals which afford them.
Bezoars may be divided into: 1. The true oriental and occidental. 2. Animal concretions which resemble bezoar; as those from apes, and even the various species of pearls and crabs' eyes. 3. The several species of fossil bezoars. 4. Those which have only the shape, without the virtues of bezoar, as the calculi in the human bladder, kidneys, and gall bladder; or in the same parts of oxen. 5. The aegragropila, balls of matted hair, and bezoar Germanicum, see Capra Al-pina.
Bezoar orientalis, called also lapis bezoar, hircus bezoarticus, and the oriental bezoar stone, from the East Indies. It is supposed to be produced in the cavity at the bottom of the fourth stomach of a species of goat in Persia called parau. Antelope gazella Lin. though not peculiar to this species, as it occurs also in the antilope cervicapra and the capra aegagrus Lin. It is only found in the old ones, and exclusively in those which feed on particular mountains.
This stone, finely powdered and levigated with spirit of wine, was formerly made into balls, which were called Gascoigne balls, from Gascoign their inventor. What are at present sold under that name by the trading chemists, if any remain, are a sophisticated medicine without bezoar.
Bezoar occidentalis, called also lapis bezoar, Pe-ruvianus, the American or occidental bezoar, from the West Indies.
It is found in the stomach of an animal of the slag kind, called animate bezoarticum occidentale, a native of Peru, and other parts in the Spanish West Indies; and in the stomach of the yzard of the Alps, antilope rupi-caftra and capra ibex Lin.
Bezoar hystricis, (from the hedge hog, because its spots resemble the bristles of an hedge hog,) pila hystricis, bezoar porci, lapis porcinus, petro del porco, lapis Malacensis, the porcupine bezoar, or gall stone. It is found in the gall bladder of an Indian porcupine, particularly in the province of Malacca, of a roundish figure, and of a pale or purplish colour, or between a green and white; it is soft, smooth, and slippery to the touch; to the taste intensely bitter, and the water in which it is steeped soon becomes bitter also. It does not appear to differ from the biliary concretions of an ox or any other animal. It is carried in the pocket as an amulet, and hired in Portugal at about a shilling a day.
Bezoar simiae, or Lapis simiae, the bezoar of the monkey. Stones of this kind are found in the stomach of certain monkeys in Brasil and the East Indies, though they rarely produce them.. They are about the size of hazel nuts, harder than the oriental bezoar, of a dark green colour, almost black. The scarcity-renders them costly, and they are seldom to be met with. Bezoars are also taken from the stomachs of I i 2 crocodiles, dogs, mules, and the camelus vicugna Lin. All the true bezoars, when rubbed, exhale a perfume; and, when cut through, are found to contain a nucleus of vegetable matter, successively covered by laminae of an ammoniacal magnesian phosphat, mixed with a coloured extractive vegetable matter, and animal fluids of a bilious kind. These give the green colour and the smell of musk. On the molares of ruminant animals there is a brown golden coloured coat, like that on the surface of their bezoars. Fourcroy has analysed the oriental bezoars with some care, (Annales du Museum dhistoire' Naturelle, vol. i. p. 111). He considers them as an animal resin different from every concretion. They are softened by heat, easily penetrated by a hot needle, exhaling an aromatic and musky odour; they burn and inflame with a thick smoke, impart a colour to boiling water, and wholly dissolve in alcohol, which they colour. They are dissolved by caustic alkalis, differing in this from vegetable resins.
The false bezoars are prepared with powdered oyster shells made into small balls with gum water, and perfumed with ambergris. They effervesce with acids, and, when cut, have no concentric laminae; nor, when broken,any crystalline striae; nor, when rubbed on paper previously covered with chalk, do they leave an olive coloured mark. The Goa and Malacca stones are of this kind.
Bezoar fossile. Fossile bezoar is a small hollow body from Italy, found in sand and clay pits, of a purple colour, with a rough surface, the size of a walnut, and light. When broke, it is found to consist of an irony crust, containing in its hollow a fine greenish white earth resembling pale bezoar. The earth is used, and not the shells. It seems to be of the nature of bole armoniac, or rather calcareous; and is also called bezoar minerale, terra sicula et noceriana, lapis bezahan, sicu-lus albus, belzuar minor. Siciliana, mineral bezoar, and Sicilian earth.
Notwithstanding all the boasted virtues of these bezoars, viz. the power of destroying poisons and reanimating the vital powers, it is certain that they are absolutely indigestible in the stomachs of the animals in which they are found; and they are equally so in the human, except when accompanied with an acid; so that no more can be expected from them than from any of the testacea that are soluble in acids; but they are inferior to them, as far less absorbent, and more difficultly acted on by any acid.
Bezoar microcosmicum, called also calculus huma-nus, the calculus of the human bladder.
It is various in its degrees of hardness, as well as in its size and figure. It has been used in the place of the more costly sorts.
Bezoar animale. Animal bezoar. Take the whitest calcined hartshorn levigated to the greatest subtility, pour on it, drop by drop, the spirit of vitriol, to form it into a paste to be made into balls.
A powder of liver and heart of vipers is called ani-inal bezoar.
Bezoar bovinus, called also alcheron lapis. The Portuguese call it mesang de vaca. It is a stone found in the gall bladder of a bull.
Bezoar mineral. See Bezoar fossils.