M. Adam and his fellow apothecaries sold Perpetual Pills of metallic antimony. These were swallowed, irritated the mucous membrane as they passed through the intestine, thus acting as a purgative, and could be recovered from the chamber pot, washed and used again, indefinitely. After the first capital outlay, there was no further need for spending money on cathartics. [….] Perpetual Pills were treated as heirlooms and after passing through one generation were passed on to the next.
(On 17th century France)
Aldous Huxley. The Devils of Loudun. 1952.