- Kermes mineral
Kermes mineral or "Alkermes mineral" (Sb2S3) is a compound of
antimonyoxides and sulphides, more specifically, antimony trioxide and trisulphide. This substance occurs in nature as the mineral Kermesite. It can be made or obtained in the laboratory by the actions of Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3) on antimony Sulphide. The compound is reddish brown in color and described as a velvety powder which is insoluble in water. It was used extensively in the medical field until the general use of antimonycompounds declined due to toxic affects.
History and Uses
The name is derived from the word Kermes as denoting the compound’s red color. The origins of the term is from the French "kermès", which is short for "alkermès", from the Arabic "al-qirmiz" a reference to
crimsondye made from the bodies of insects (see Kermes (dye)). I was also known as poudre des Chartreuxfrom a story of how it saved the life of a Carthusianmonk in 1714. Because of its reputation as a medication and heal-all (or panacea), the formula and production process for Kermes mineral was purchased by the French government in 1720. Used for centuries in medicine as a health treatment, diaphoretic (causing sweat), anti-inflammatory and emetic it was used through the 19th century and its use extended to epilepsytreatment in addition to hectic fever.
* [http://webmineral.com/data/Kermesite.shtml Kermesite]
* [http://people.depauw.edu/bhanson/hutchings/HutchingsAntimony.pdf Paschal, Ashley and Prof. Bryan Hanson "Dr. William D. Hutchings, 19th Century American Medicine and the Use of Antimony Compounds: A Chemist’s Perspective" (pdf)]
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