Seidlitz powder

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Seidlitz powder or Sedlitz powders is the name under which a commonly known regulator of digestion and laxative was distributed. It is composed of a mixture of tartaric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium sodium tartrate, and is used as a mild cathartic by dissolving it in water and drinking.

After ingestion, the powder combines with gastric juices to develop intestinal gases which are somewhat helpful in evacuating the users's bowels. However their use can also lead to unpleasant side effects, and can even be fatal in subjects with conditions such as hernia, bowel obstruction or other ailments.

Origin of the name "Seidlitz powder"

The name is derived from the village of Sedlec (Sedlitz in German), which was the source of a well-known bitter-mineral water called Zaječická hořká (Sedlitz water), used as a regulator of digestion and laxative since the 16th century.

The late 19th-century product generally called Sedlitz powder which was produced by many chemical factories had nothing to do with bitter spring water from the villages Sedlec, Zaječice and Korozluky in the Czech Republic near Most.

Biliner digestive pastilles, historical poster