Egyptian women used one form of antimony, stibium, as eyeliner (hence the symbol for antimony, Sb, even though neither letter appears in the element's name). Pills of the element became popular as a medicine in the 1700s, especially as a laxative, able to blast through the most compacted bowels. It was so good the chronically constipated would root through their excrement to retrieve the pill and reuse it later. Some lucky families passed down antimony laxatives from generation to generation.
Unfortunately, antimony purges the bowels so well partly because it's poison—the body wants to get rid of it. But these were the days in medicine of fighting fire with fire: Doctors believed the only way to cure a violent illness was with an equally violent reaction to medicine, and antimony's popularity grew.
Other elements will be posted through the month of July. Link to introduction. Link to antimony.