• Moonmilk was previously mined in at least 18 caves in the Eastern Alps
  • Most of these mines were small and secret operations
  • Oldest reports go back to 1650 for Austria and 1555 for Switzerland
  • Moonmilk was used as a human and veterinary medicine but also for a variety of other purposes
  • Locally, these so-called Nixbergwerke were in operation until the first half of the 20th century


The use of moonmilk for medical and other purposes in the Alps is documented since the 16th century. This article reviews speleological reports and sparse historical accounts about the extraction of moonmilk from 18 caves in the Eastern Alps of Austria in an artisan mining style. One such example from a cave in Tyrol is documented in detail, where moonmilk was mined until the beginning of the 20th century and which, due to its remote location, uniquely preserved traces of both the mining and processing style.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Included in

Speleology Commons