Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum
The Regimen of Health from the School of Salerno
Part 3. HERBS
The Regimen of Health from the School of Salerno
Part 3. HERBS
Nederlandtse Herbarius, Nylandt, 1670
IN Physic Mallow have much reputation
The very name of Mallow seems to sound,
The root thereof will give a kind purgation,
By them both men and women good have found,
To womens monthly flowers they give laxation,
They make men soluble that have been bound.
And lest wee seem in Mallows praises partial,
Long since hath Horace praised them, and Martial
The worms that gnaw the womb & never stint,
Are killed, and purged, and driven away with Mint.
BUT who can write thy worth (O soveraigne Sage!).
Some ask how man can die, where thou dost grow,
Oh that there were a medicine curing age,
Death comes at last, though death comes never so slow:
Sage strengthens the sinews, fevers heat doth swage,
The Palsy helps, and rids of mickle woe.
In Latin (Salvia) takes the name of safety,
In English (Sage) is rather wise then crafty.
Sith then the name betokens wise and saving,
We count it natures friend and worth the having.
TAKE Sage and Primrose, Lavender and Cresses,
With Walwort that doth grow twixt lime and stone,
For he that of these herbs the juice expresses,
And mix with powder of a Castor-stone,
May breed their ease whom palsy much oppresses,
Or if this breed not help, then look for none.
Rue is a noble herb to give to right,
To chew it fasting, it will purge the sight,
One quality thereof yet blame I must,
It makes men chaste, and women fills with lust.
FAIR Ladies, if these Physic rules be true,
That Rue hath such strange qualities as these,
Eat little Rue, lest your good husbands (REW)
And breed between you both a shrew'd disease,
Rue wets the wit, and more to pleasure you,
In water boiled, it rids the room of fleas,
I would not to you Ladies, Onions praise,
Save that they make one fair (Aesclepias says)
Yet taking them requires some good direction,
They are not good alike for each complexion.
IF unto Choler men be much inclined,
'Tis thought that Onions are not good for those,
But if a man be phlegmatic (by kind)
It does his stomach good, as some suppose:
For Ointment Juice of Onions is assigned,
To heads whose hair falls faster than it grows:
If Onions cannot help in such mishap,
A man must get him a Gregorian cap.
And if your hound by hap should bite his master,
With Honey, Rue, and Onions make a plaster.
THE seed of Mustard is the smallest grain,
And yet the force thereof is very great,
It hath a present power to purge the brain,
It adds unto the stomach force and heat:
All poison it expels, and it is plain,
With sugar 'tis a passing sauce for meat.
She that hath hap a husband had to bury,
And is therefore in heart not sad, but merry,
Yet if in show good manners she will keep,
Onions and Mustard-feed will make her weep.
THOUGH Violets smell sweet, Nettles offensive,
Yet each in several kind much good procures,
The first doth purge the heavy head and pensive,
Recovers surfeits, falling sickness cures:
Tho Nettles stink, yet make they recompence,
If your belly by the Colic pain endures,
Against the Colic Nettle-seed and honey
Is Physic: better none is had for money.
It breeds sleep, stays vomits, phlegms doth soften,
It helps him of the Gout that eats it often.
CLEAN Hyssop is an herb to purge and cleanse
Raw phlegms, and hurtful humors from the breast
The same unto the lungs great comfort lends,
With honey boiled: but far above the rest,
It gives good color, and complexion mends,
And is therefore with women in request:
With Honey mixed, Cinquefoil cures the Canker,
That eats out inward parts with cruel ranker.
But mixed with wine, it helps a grieved side,
And stays the vomit, and the lask beside.
ELECAMPANE strengthens each inward part,
A little looseness is thereby provoken,
It swages grief of mind, it cheers the heart,
Allays wrath, and makes a man fair spoken:
And drunk with Rue in wine, it doth impart
Great help to those that have their bellies broken
Let them that unto choler much incline,
Drinke Penny-royal steeped in their wine.
And some affirm that they have found by trial,
The pain of Gout is cured by Pennyroyal.
TO tell of Cresses virtues long it were,
But diverse patients unto that are
It helps the teeth, it gives to bald men hair,
With Honey mixed, it Ring-worms kills and Tetter
But let not women that would children bear
Feed much thereof, for they to fast were better.
An herb there is takes of the Swallows name
And by the Swallows gets no little fame,
For Pliny writes (tho some thereof make doubt)
It helps young Swallows eyes when they are out.
GREEN Willow though in scorn it oft is used,
Yet some are there in it not scornful parts,
It kills worms, the juice in ears infused,
With Vinegar: the bark destroys warts
But at one quality I much have mused,
That adds and bates much of his good deserts.
For writers old and new, both ours and foreign,
Affirm the seed make women chaste and barren.
Take Saffron if your Heart make glad you will,
But not too much for that the heart may kill.
GREEN Leeks are good, as some Physicians say,
Yet would I choose how er'e I them believe,
To wear Leeks rather on Saint Davids day,
Then eat the Leek upon Saint Davids Eve,
The bleeding at the nose Leeks juice will stay,
And women bearing children much relieve.
Black Pepper beaten gross you good shall find,
If cold your stomach be, or full of wind:
White Pepper helps the cough, and phlegm it rids
And Agues fit to come it oft forbids.
OUR hearing is a choice and dainty sense,
And hard to men, yet soon it may be marred,
These are the things that breed it most offense,
To sleep on stomach full and drinking hard,
Blows, falls, and noise, and fasting violence,
Great heat and sodden cooling afterwards;
All these, as is by sundry proofs appearing,
Breed tingling in our ears, and hurt our hearings
Then think it good advice, not idle talk,
That after Supper bids us stand or walk.
YOU heard before what is for hearing naught,
Now shall you see what hurtful is for sight:
Wine, women, Baths, by art to nature wrought,
Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Mustard-seed, fire and light,
Smoke, bruises, dust, Pepper to powder brought
Beams, Lentils, strains, Wind, Tears, & Phœbus bright,
And all sharp things our eye-sight do molest:
Yet watching hurts them more then all the rest.
Of Fennels, Vervain, Chelidon, Roses, Rue:
Is water made, that will the sight renew.
IF in your teeth you hap to be tormented,
By mean some little worms therein do breed;
Which pain (if heed be tane) may be prevented,
By keeping clean your teeth when as you feed,
Burn Frankincense (a gum not evil scented)
Put Henbane unto this, and Onion seed,
And in a Tunnel to the Tooth that's hollow,
Convey the smoke thereof, and ease shall follow.
By Nuts, Oil, Eels, and cold in head,
By Apples and raw fruits is hoarseness bred.
TO show you how to shun raw running Rheums,
Exceed not much in meat, in drink, and sleep,
For all excess is cause of hurtful fumes,
Eat warm broth warm, strive in your breath to keep,
Use exercise that vapors ill consumes:
In Northern winds abroad do never peep.
If Fistula do rise in any part,
And so procure your danger and your smart,
Take Arsenic, Brimstone, mixed with Lime and Soap,
And make a tent, and then of cure there's hope.
IF so your head do pain you oft with aching,
Fair water or small beer drink then or never
So may you scrape the burning fits and shaking
That wanted are to company the Fever.
If with much heat your head be ill in aching,
To rub your head and temples still persevere,
And make a bath of Morrell (boiled warm)
And it shall keep your head from further harm,
A Flux dangerous evil is, and common,
In it shun cold, much drink, and strain of women.
TO fast in Summer does the body dry,
Yet does it good, if thereto you endure it,
Against a surfeit vomiting to try,
Is remedy but some cannot endure it.
Yet some so much themselves found help thereby
They go to sea a purpose to procure it.
Four seasons of the year there are in all,
The Summer and the Winter, Spring and Fall:
In every one of these, the rule of reason
Bids keep good diet, suiting every season.
THEN Spring is moist, of temper good and warm,
Then best it is to bathe, to sweat, and purge,
Then may one open a vein in either arm, If boiling blood or fear of agues urge: Then Venus recreation doth no harm,
Yet may too much thereof turn to a scourge.
In Summers heat (when choller hath dominion)
Cool meats and moist are best in some opinion :
The Fall is like the Spring, but ends colder,
With Wines and Spice the Winter may be bolder.
NOW if perhaps some have desire to know,
The number of our bones, our teeth, our veins,
This verse ensuing plainly doth it show,
To him that doth observe, it takes pains:
The teeth thrice ten, and two, twice eight arow.
Eleven score bones save one in us remains:
For veins, that all may vain in us appear,
A vein we have for each day in the year:
All these are like in number and connection.
The difference grows in bigness and complexion.
Monthly flowers=Menstruation; lax=loose; promote
soluble again means loose; bound=constipated
Sage has long been associated with longevity.
Here is the Salerno remedy for Palsy (=Paralysis)
Castor-stone=Beaver Castor; Castoreum
Purge the Sight=clear the Eyes
Rue lessens excess desire in Men, but has a reputation for stimulating desire in Women.
Onions are heating, therefore not good for Bile types.
However, Onions are very good for Phlegmatic types.
Mustard purges Damp and Phlegm from the Brain.
This amusing passage tells if the wife is not sad but happy of the passing of her husband, she can use Mustard seed and Onion to 'help her weep'.
Violet purges Bile and Melancholy from the Head, and helps Epilepsy in children.
Nettle clears Phlegm and helps Gout (=Arthritis)
Hyssop helps complexion
Canker in this case refers to a foul Ulcer which can in fact be Cancerous.
A clear example of Elecampane as a strengthening (Qi tonic) remedy.
It also shows its benefit to strengthen the Mind and Heart.
The herb that takes the Swallows name is Chelidonium: Celandine.
Willow cools Kidneys, stops Lust, hinders Fertility.
Saffron gladdens the Heart, makes Happy, but is dangerous in large doses.
Ages=Fever; or Fever with Chills
Here are things detrimental to the hearing, including sleeping on a full stomach, excess drinking, excess noise, getting cold suddenly after being hot.
Here are things detrimental to the Sight
Here is a distilled water that benefits Sights.
Toothache and caries were traditionally said to be caused by 'little Worms'.
Here, a clear message to keep teeth clean to prevent decay.
Here is a remedy in the form of smoke to be applied to a 'hollow' teeth.
Here some things that cause hoarseness.
To prevent 'Rheums' (Damp, the cause of Rheumatism), avoid overeating, over-drinking and excess sleep.
Eating warm soup and exercising, and avoid (North) Wind.
A remedy for Fistula of Arsenic and Sulphur.
A tent is a small piece of material made into the shape of a tent with medicine applied, put into the Fistula.