Ornamental Separator

Compounding Conserve of Mint

Conserves are one of the varied forms of medicine compounded by 18th-century apothecaries. They are plant matter ground with sugar. Conserve of mint, one such medicine, was prescribed to settle the stomach and stop vomiting.

It is fairly simple to compound. First, fresh spearmint leaves are ground into a paste using a marble mortar and pestle.
Here the mint has been ground into a paste.
Next we add sugar. The sugar should weigh three times the weight of the mint. I’ll balance the mint leaves three times with sugar to attain the correct amount.]
Grind the mint and sugar together into a homogeneous mass.
This is the final product, a sugary mass of ground mint leaves.
One dose is the size of a nutmeg, or the amount taken up by the point of a knife once or twice.
Fresh Conserva foliorum Menthae, ready to be dispensed!

Mark Henley is the Apothecary Assistant at Colonial Williamsburg’s Apothecary Shop. As part of his training he will use period recipes and techniques to make forms of medicine compounded by 18th century apothecaries.


William Lewis, The New Dispensatory […]. (Dublin: James Potts, 1768) 333-34.

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