The history of Eau d'Arquebusade

Eau d’Arquebusade is a classic, renowned product, and appears as a common name in the Littré dictionary of the French language, whose first edition dates back to 1872.

What does the term arquebusade mean?

arquebusade fem. noun (ar-ke-bu-za-d’)

  1. A strike from an arquebus weapon.
  2. Eau d’Arquebusade, an infusion or maceration of vulnerary plants, very common amongst the population.
  3. Arquebusade wounds, ancient name given to wounds inflicted by a firearm.

arquebuseThe arquebus is a short-range firearm which first appeared in the 15th century. Archaic in origin, it inflicted burns and wounds to both its users and intended victims. Thus, in the year of grace 1516, King François 1st, seeing that his armies had no cure to help heal the musket blows, or so-called arquebusades, asked the monks who mastered chemistry and the use of plants for medicinal purposes to prepare an effective plant extract to treat these injuries.

Hence, several religious orders began developing different vegetable extracts to effectively cure wounds, skin infections and other skin injuries occurring during battles. The extract prepared by certain monks from flowers and medicinal plants proved to be particularly effective in the recovery of wounded soldiers. News of the curative water rapidly spread among the civilian population, who began to apply it not just to heal wounds, but for aesthetic purposes as well, or to treat skin problems. The Eau d’Arquebusade was thus born!

From Vercors to Switzerland


The origin of the recipe is linked to the monks living in the monastery of St-Antoine in Vercors, France. The eau has been produced and distributed according to this recipe for centuries. However, the friars are not the only ones to have kept and mastered its secret. Indeed, the 17th century was a difficult time for the religious order in France, and conflict pushed some of the monks, holders of the secret of production of Eau d’Arquebusade, to seek refuge in Switzerland, where they continued on with the production of the curative water.

During the early 18th century, attracted by the success of the remedy, the pharmacists Fabre and Bouet of Lausanne approached the monks and managed to acquire the original formula in all likelihood through a large charitable donation. Documents attest to the fact that the pharmacists used the composition and production process specified in recipes dating from the 1600s for the production of their water.

In any case, our historic and documentary research shows that the two pharmacists were the first, in the 1790s, to begin selling "Véritable Eau Arquebusade" on a large scale, obtaining the first large commercial success. This traditional recipe is still preserved today, and can be found in the secrets of ARQUADE Eau d’Arquebusade.


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