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Bezoar

Bezoar

A red precious stone that was supposed to possess magical properties and was found in the bodies of certain animals. At one time these stones fetched ten times their weight in gold as a remedy against poison and contagion; and for this purpose they were taken both internally and worn round the neck. There were said to be nine varieties of bezoar that differed greatly in composition but were generally divided into those composed mainly from minerals and those composed of organic matter.

A strange origin was assigned to this stone by some of the early naturalists. It is said that aging Oriental stags fed upon serpents, which renewed their youth. In order to counteract the poison which was absorbed into their system they plunged into a running stream, keeping their heads only above water. This caused a viscous fluid to be distilled from their eyes, which was indurated by the heat of the sun and formed the bezoar.

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Bezoars

Bezoars

Bezoars are balls of undigested materials, insoluble fiber , and undissolved medicines that resist the action of digestive enzymes in the stomach. Bezoars are the result of a lack of stomach hydrochloric acid secretion, without which medicine like sulfa drugs , iron , and antacid tablets may not dissolve. They may also be caused by poor stomach emptying.

Bezoars in humans cause the feeling of fullness, pain, nausea , and vomiting, and they reduce or prevent stomach emptying. Treatment may include avoidance of fibrous foods such as apples, berries, Brussels sprouts, beans, and sauerkraut, as well as changes in any medication being taken. Bezoars may also form in animals' stomachs. In ancient Persian medicine, bezoars were used as an antidote to poison.

see also Cravings; Pica.

Simin B. Vaghefi

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bezoar

bezoar A hard ball of undigested food, sometimes together with hair, which forms in the stomach or intestine and can cause obstruction. Foods with a high content of indigestible pectin, such as orange pith, can form bezoars if swallowed without chewing. The name is derived from the Arabic meaning ‘protection against poison’, since bezoars were formerly believed to have protective properties.

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bezoar

bezoar (bee-zor) n. a mass of swallowed foreign material within the stomach.

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bezoar

bezoar •bezoar

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