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So Glad I Live Now

Yesterday, in order to be on hand for some household stuff, I took the day off. Which meant I went up to the UCSF Medical Library and did research on syphilis and treatments therefor in 1810.

Let me simply say this: eeeeeew. The disease itself is awful. The cures? What on earth are "sugars of lead?" Goes off and Googles: Like other lead(II) salts, lead(II) acetate has a sweet taste, which has led to its use as a sugar substitute throughout history.

Makes high-fructose corn syrup sound positively enchanting.


It's my understanding -- though I don't have a cite handy -- that the Romans used it to flavor wine.
This is what goes into lead-based paints, which is why children in slums eat paint flakes, and children in Ye Old Days when I was in grade school used to chew on the yellow paint on their pencils. And why it's banned now, of course.
THere's some thought that Pope Clement II was poisoned thus. "Here, have another sugared date!" "Don't mind if I--" **clunk**
Aside from that, the Romans used "lead sugar" as an artificial sweetener. Not a good idea...