Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gout - 17th-Century Medical Remedies

Jan Steen (Dutch Baroque era painter, 1625-1679) The Doctors Visit

These medical remedies from a book by 17th-century physician are transcribed by Londoner Sheyne Lucock. He writes on his personal blog, "For many years I have been planning to get around to transcribing and publishing on the Internet a wonderful little book that has been in my family for many years. It is a handbook used by a practising Physician in the 17th century, and liberally annotated in the margins with comments and additions to the many and varied treatments and remedies. If nothing else, it helps to explain the high mortality rate associated with visits by a doctor!" Lucock writes on his transcription blog, "There is a preface by R.W., and although it is not known what the initials stand for, he was closely associated with the works of Culpeper, and therefore very familiar with the latest herbal treatments and remedies."

A Few Remedies for Gout

Medicines for the Gout. For the Gout in the Feet
Take and stamp nettles, and lay them to the Podagra feet or Legs, and this will joyn flesh to the bone that is risen; but you must mingle it with salt, for that drieth up evill humors in short time.

Medicines for the Gout. Medicnes for the Gout appropriate in all causes
Take cow dung, and seeth it in sweet Milk, and lay a plaister thereof to the Gout: Also the yolks of Eggs, womans Milk, Lynseed, and Saffron all together in a plaister asswageth the diseases of the Gout, and if you be disposed to break the skin, and to let the humor issue out (as by such means many a one is eased) you shall make a little plaister of black Sope, and Aqua vitae, which will blister it without pain: Also very hare old cheese cut and sodden in the broth of a gammon of Bacon, and afterwards stamped with a little of the broth, and made in manner of a plaister, is a singular remedy for the diseses of the Gout, and was first practised by Galen the Prince of all Phisitians.

Medicines for the Gout. To comfort the Joynts and Synews
Take five or six handfulls of Walworts, and seeth them well in Wine, then strain them with a little wax, oyl of Spike, and Aqua vitae, make an ointment wherewith you must annoint the place morning and evening every day.

Medicines for the Gout. For the Gout, and all manner of Aches
Take of Clot roots two pound, and seeth them in pisse till they be tender, and then bray them and strain them through a cloth, and then take six Oxen galls, or Neats, and look that you have a pottle of unrine or more well strained, and then put thereto a quart of Oyl Olive, and seeth this together till it do come to the quantity of the Oyl, for this will work wonders in the Gout.

Medicines for the Gout. For the Gout in the hand called Chyragra
The cause of this impediment doth come of rheume, and evill dirt, and there be two kinds of Gout in the hands, the one is confirmed and cannot be made whole, for it do come by kind, and the joynts be broken, the sicknesse is incurable, the other which is not confirmed, may be made whole, as followeth.

Take of Colworts three handfulls, and seeth them with a little Lie, with three spoonfulls of Vineger, and a little salt, stamp all these together with the said little, and make a plaister thereof. Or take and eat Treacle, and make a plaister thereof, and lay it to the place, and mark if the matter do come of a hot cause, you may minister hot Medicines, and if of a cold cause, not hot medicines but cold, and let the patient beware of eating those things that may be over hot or cold.

Medicines for the Gout. An approved Medicine for the Gout
Take Wormwood, Smallage, Camomill, holy-Oak leaves, Horehound, of each a handfull, then take a pint of Neatsfoot Oyl, and half a pint of the Oyl of Shomakers patches, and boyl the Oyls together a little while, and scum it, and the herbs being well chopped, then put them into the Oyls, and let thm all boyl together a quarter of an hour, and strain it through a cloth, and keep it for your use: to this must be added Deers sewet, and two spoonfulls of Aqua vitae.

Medicines for the Gout.
There be four kinds of Gout, named in Latin, Chiragra, Podagra, Scyatica and Artetica: the one in the hands, fingers, and armes, the which is called Chiragra: The other is named Podagra and that is the feet, toes and legs: The third doth keep the huckle bone, and doth run to the knee, and in processe of time descendeth to the ancle, and to the toe, and is called Scyatica: The fourth kind of the Gout, is named the Gout Artetick, the which doth run over all the joynts and parts of a mans body, and the Medicines of every one follow.

For the Gout
Take a pint and a half of good Ale, and half a pound of black Sope, and a handfull of bay Salt beaten small, then mingle them all together till half be consumed, then put four spoonfulls of Aqua vitae, and let it boyl a little more, then take a cloth and dip it in it, and lay it to the griefe, as hot as he can suffer it, and be whole. Or take a pint of good Ale, and clarifie it on the fire, and put therein a handfull of Bay Salt, and stir it well a good while, put thereto two spoonfulls of black Sope, and before you lay on the medicine, take a linnen cloth, and rub it well a good while, and then lay on the medicine.