Crystals of Discontent
If your blood is full of uric acid to the point that it forms painful crystals around your joints, you have hyperuricemia, which causes a form of arthritis commonly known as "gout." As kidneys filter my blood of excess uric acid in a sense my "internal river" is purified. But what if the waste itself was also purified and its constituents reclaimed?
(1) sample my personal waste water during a gout attack (upper left), (2) power the waste's distillation by the rays of the sun (lower left), to (3) retrieve clean clear water, which leaves a concentrate from which is collected pure crystals of various compounds filtered from my body. These crystals form their own characteristic shapes - orthorhombic and the like. Those of uric acid, calcium oxalate, and the phosphates clustered together reveal their distinct and inherent forms.
The woodcut image of the woman pulling crystals out of a dead chicken is from the 1491 edition of Hortus Sanitatis, a medical text also known as the Garden of Health.
Robert Hooke's drawing from in his 1665 book Micrographia: or, Some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses on the right.
It shows his observations of "gravel of urine."