Saturday, May 7, 2011

Medicines for the Head - 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."

Medicines for the Head

For pain in the Head
Take the juice of Ivy, that groweth upon trees, and oyl of Roses, and mingle them together with Wine, and anoint your Head therewith, and this will make it leave aking. Probatum.

Medicines for the Head. To purge the Head of evill humors
Take the root of Pellitory of Spain, and chew a piece thereof on either side of thy mouth, between thy gumms, and close thy mouth fast, till the water cometh down; then let the water go forth, but hold the root still a quarter of an houre.

Medicines for the Head. For lightness in the Head
Take small tents of linnen cloth, and dip them in Cinamon water, and put them into thy nostrills, and thou shalt be help't presently.

Medicines for the Head. A remedy for the Head
Take the juice of Ivy leaves, mixt with Oyl, and Vinegar, and rub therewith your temples, and your nostrills.

Medicines for the Head. An excellent medicine
Take a farthingworth of Pellitory of Spain, and a quarter of Stavesacre seed, and beat both together, and then drink a draught of Malmsey, and put a spoonfull of this powder in your mouth, rolling it up and down, till your mouth be hot, and full of flegme, and then spit it all out; then take a stool and set before you, and lay a cushion under your knees, and set a bason under your mouth, and gape as wide as you can, and then the flegme will void from you out of all the members of your Head to the bason, and let it go; use this once in a year, and you shall be the better for it, a long time.

Head medicine
Medicines for the Head. For hair that faileth on thy Head
Take and bray Linseed, and mingle it togther with oyl-Olive, and when it is well beaten together, anoint thy Head therewith three or four times, and this will heal thee, or take oyl of Tartar and warm it, and then rub your Head with it, or any place that is scald, eight or nine dayes, and the hair will come again.

Medicines for the Head. For the weakness of the Brain
Take a handfull of Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, Hysop, Betany, the leaves, and roots; and the seeds and roots of Pyony; wash all these said herbs , and put them into a pottle of fair Water, and let them seeth together untill the one half be wasted; then take out the herbs, and put to the said water almost half a pint of Honey clarified, and let it boil well together with a dram of Stecados, knit in a linnen cloth; and let it boil till the sweetness of the Honey be boiled out: then take out the Stecados, and put thereto a quarter of an ounce of Cinamon, three Nutmegs well bruised, and put them to the same liquor, and seeth them together a good while; then strain it through a linnen cloth, and for use to drink it morning and evening, and it shall comfort thy brain.

Medicines for the Head. For the Rheume in the Head
Take and seeth Pimpernell in Wine, and drink it in the Evening hot, and in the morning cold; this will help thee: Or take and stew Onions in Water, in a close pot, and bath thy Head, thy mouth, and thy nose therewith, and it will help thee.

Medicines for the Head. For a scalded Head
Take the liver of a Thornback and seeth it by it self, and six Elacampana roots, and seeth them by themselves in water three houres, and put thereto three handfulls of Houseleek stamped, and strained through a cloth, and make an ointment thereof, and anoint the Head therewith, and if the hair be gone, take a handfull of Wooll, and bray it hot to powder, then take two spoonfulls of Honey, and anoint thy Head therewith; where it is pilled, and thy hair will soon come again, as thick as in any other place of thy Head.

Medicines for the Head. To stop and dry up Rheume
Take Cummin-seed, a Nutmeg and a little Baysalt, every one beaten to powder alone, and spread the same upon hurds of Flaxe, in a cloth, and hold the same over the perfume of Frankincense, and lay it hot to your Head.

Medicines for the Head. For the Megrim in the Head
Take sowr Bread, and Chickweed, and bray them together, and boil it in Vinegar, and so bind it to the grieved place, or take and seeth Barley well in water, and as it seeths, put in Betanie, and other good herbs for the Head, and when they be well sodden, bind them to thy head.

Medicines for the Head. A water for the Rheume in the Head, and how to put away the Palsie
Take a red Onyon, and break it small, and seeth it in a little Verjuice, and put thereto a little Honey clarified, and when they be well sod together, put thereto a great spoonfull of Mustard, and let it seeth long together; then lay the sick upright, and he shall find ease: Do this three dayes twice per day, and be whole.

Medicines for the Head. To purge the Head
Take the juice of Primrose, and milk of a cow, and with a quill blow it into thy nostrills, and this will purge the head.

Medicines for the Head. For all manner of head-aches
Take the grease of a Hart, and mingle it with Oat meal, and Sorrell, and temper them well, then lay it plaisterwise to thy temples. This is proved.

Medicines for the Head. For pain in the Head
Take Rue, Heyhoad, Camomell flowers, Betany, Vervain, Mints, Hillwort, red Fennell, Wormwood and Sothernwood, of each a handfull, and wash them, and shred them small, and seeth them in water, and mingle the herbs with wheat bran, and make a plaister and lay it on thy mold as hot as thou canst suffer it, and bind it on with a Kerchief, and thou shalt be whole in short space.

Medicines for the Head. A remedy for the Head, whatsoever the pain be
Take an handfull of Betanie, an handfull of Cammomell, and a handfull of Vervain leaves picked, stamp them and seeth them in black Wort, or in Ale for went of Wort, and in the latter end of the seething, put to it a little Cummin brayed, the powder of a Harts-horn, and the yolks of two Egges, and a Saffron a little, and stir them well together, and lay a plaister hot over all the forehead and Temples. This is an excellent remedy: also for the Megrim, it shall pierce the better, if you shall add to the medicine, a little Vinegar.

Medicines for the Head. A remedy for the universall pain of the Head
First, beware of all things which do hurt the Head, as Garlick, Onions, Chiboles, Wine stooping, downe with thy Head, extreme labour, and such like; and beware of surfeiting and drunkenness, and purge thy Head with Gargacies, and sternutations, and purge thy Head and thy stomack twice per week, with pills of Coch, or such like, and be whole.