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Glossary of Traditional Western Medicine Names
The following glossary provides an explanation to the names used in Traditional Western Medicine. Contemporary Latin names are given for Plant names, while the common names for mineral and animal medicines are given. Some of the names are ancient, derived from old Latin texts, while others are more modern or folk names.
Abies–see Fir tree
Acacia–see Gum Arabic
Acanthus (Bear’s Breech)–Acanthus mollis
Acetosella–see Wood Sorrel
Acetum–Vinegar of Wine; in a broader sense it can mean any Acid.
Acidum Salis–Hydrochloric acid; HCl
Aconite–a large number of Aconite species have been used, and an even larger number of other plants have been classed under the name ‘Aconite’ by various authors. The traditional European species most used was A. napellus. A number of Aconite species are also used in all asian systems of traditional medicine.
Aconitum Pardalianches (of Dioscorides)– thought by some to be a name for Arnica, but this is uncertain.
Aconitum Thelyphonon (of Theophrastus)– thought by some to be a name for Arnica, but this is uncertain.
Acorus adulterini–see Pseudoacorus
Adder’s Tongue–Ophioglossum vulgatum
Adeps–(Axungia) fat; generally it means the Suet and Grease. Especially means Hogs Grease.
Aetites–Geode; a stone with a smaller stone within it
Agaric–Polyporus officinalis growing on the Larch.
Ageratum–‘Lesser Costus’ or ‘Balsamita the less’; Achillaea ageratum Agrimony–Agrimonia eupatoria
Alabaster–a fine grained variety of Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate) or Calcite (Calcium Carbonate); mainly used in Ungentum Alabastris.
Album Graceum–dried, white, sun-bleached dog dung
Alchemilla–see Ladies Mantle
Alder, Black–Alnus nigra
Alder, Common–Alnus glutinosa
Alkahest–a term first used by Paracelsus to denote a universal solvent.
Alembic–a still (for distilling)
Alexipharmic–a medicine used in the prevention or treatment of Poisons and noxious influences including Infectious Diseases; used to prevent sickness and preserve health.
Alkekengi–see Winter Cherry
All Heal–Prunella vulgaris
Aloe–dried juice of Aloe vera and other species of Aloe.
Aloeswood–(also called Eaglewood); Aquilaria agallocha, the heartwood of which becomes infected with a fungus causing a very aromatic resin to form. It has been highly praised and much used in all medical systems, being good to move the Qi, stop Wind, ease Pain, calm the Heart and Spirits, and for Asthma etc. It is now very hard to obtain, and very expensive. It is commonly adulterated with other species or other woods. Sandalwood has been used as a substitute.
Alum–originally Potassium Aluminium Sulphate; in modern times, other Salts which replace Sodium or Ammonium for the Potassium are also classed under this name Alum Scariola–Gypsum
Alum de Pluma–Gypsum
Amalgam–'a mixing, calcining or corroding of Metals with Quicksilver thus: Take any Metal (except Iron) in thin plates or filings, mix it with 8 parts of Quicksilver, till all becomes one mass; then over a gentle Fire cause the Mercury to ascend (which by a head fitted to a glass Vesica you may save and the Metal will remain in a thin Calx'. (S) Amara Dulcis (Bittersweet)–Solanum dulcamara
Amber–a white, pale yellow, reddish or orange, transparent or opaque semi-fossilied resin of various trees. Baltic Amber, which suppiled the European trade for centuries, is around 20 million years old. Amber from various other countries is now found in a wide variety of colors. Young Amber, which may be only several thousands of years old is termed Copal. This is not nearly as valuable, and is used to make varnish. Amber has been used in most medical systems, and is good to Calm the Heart and Spirit, Move the Blood and clear Stagnation, promote Urine and clear Stones. It is finely levigated with Rose water for internal use in various compounds. NOTE: Amber and Ambergris were commonly mistaken, as often Ambergris was abbreviated to Amber. The Latin for Amber is Succinum, whereas the Latin for Ambergris is Ambergris.
Ambergris (Ambergreece)–a fragrant substance secreted by the sperm whale and found either floating or washed up on the shore. Much used in perfumery, and in Traditional Medicine. NOTE: as stated above, Amber and Ambergris were often confused because the latter was often called Amber.
Amianthus–traditionally classed as a type of Alum, Amianthus is believed to have been a type of Actinolite.
Ammoniac–1. Gum Ammoniac (which see); 2. the salt Sal Ammoniac (which see)
Amomum–Black Cardamon, Amomum subulatum
Anacardium–an extract from the green fruit attached to the nut of the Cashew nut tree
Anagallis–see Scarlet Pimpernel
Anagallis aquaticum–(Water Brooklime)
Angelica–Angelica archangelica, root and seed
Anise, Aniseed–Pimpinella anisum (the Star Aniseed is Illicium verum)
Anserina–‘Wild Tansy’; perhaps Potentilla anserina
Antalium–a shell, ‘a Marine tube of a fingers length, striated without’. (RE)
Anthophyllorum–fully matured Cloves, often called ‘Mother Cloves’.
Anthora–Aconitum anthora, the ‘Noble Aconite’, or ‘Wholesome Wolfsbane’; also called German Contrayerva, and the Arabian Zedoary of Avicenna. This was regarded as an Aconite that resisted the poison of other Aconites (which were called Thora, Anthora being derived from Anti-Thora). As with other Aconites, there is great uncertainty in the identification by old authors. Some claimed it the greatest antidote to poison, others claiming it to be a great poison itself, this almost certainly being because of the difference of identifying the correct plant. Some called it Napellus and Helmot flower, but these are more proper to the standard Aconite.
Antimony Diaphoretic–White Antimony oxide
Apiastrum–see Melissa (Lemon Balm)
Apple of Jerusalem–Malus sylvestris
Aqua Calcis–a saturated solution of Calcium Hydroxide
Aqua Fortis–Nitric acid (HNO3)
Aquamarine–sky-blue, sea-green, or blue- green Beryl (semi-precious stone)
Aqua Regia, Aqua Regis–a mix of Hydrochloric and Nitric acids; used to dissolve Gold.
Aqua Vitae–(lit. ‘Water of Life’); Brandy; alcohol distilled from Wine.
Aquilenus–stone from an Eagle's Stomach or neck
Aquilinus–stone from a Fishes head
Arabian Zedoary (of Avicenna)–see Anthora.
Archangel–see Dead Nettle
Arctium minus–see Lesser Burdock
Arage (Arrach)–Atriplex hortensis
Archangel–Lamium album (white) and others
Argentum Vive–’living silver’; Mercury
Argol, Argilla–crude Tartar
Armenian Earth–a red clay earth, very similar to kaolin, but red due to the presence of Iron.
Armenian Stone–Azurite; native Copper carbonate. It must be prepared by washing it well 12 times before using to remove its emetic quality (caused by copper salts).
Arnica–flowers of Arnica montana; also known as Doronicum (although mistakenly– see Doronicum), Mountain Tobacco, Wolfsbane, Leopards Bane; it was thought by some to be the Aconitum Pardalianches of Dioscorides and Aconitum Thelyphonon of Theophrastus, but this is uncertain.
Arnoglossum–Arnoglossum spp. ?
Arrach, Garden–Atriplex hortensis
Arrach, Stinking–Atriplex olida
Arrach, Wild–Atriplex olida
Artemisia pontici–see Pontic Wormwood
Arthritica–see Ground Pine
Asafetida–Ferula asafetida gum
Ash tree–Fraxinus excelsior and others
Asparagus–Asparagus officinalis root
Asparagus, Prickly–Asparagus sativus
Asparagus, Wild–Asparagus sativus
Asphalt, Asphaltum–see Bitumen
Atramentum Sutorium–Vitriol, ferrous sulphate
Auripigmentum (Orpiment)–Arsenic Trisulphide
Aurum Fulminans–Fulminating Gold; Gold Hydrazide; an olive green powder of Gold which explodes when concussed; AuHNNH2
Aurum Potable–’drinkable Gold’; any of a number of preparations of Gold made into a liquid form for administration as a tonic medicine.
Azure Stone–1. Lapis Lazuli; 2. Azurite in some cases
Balanium, oil of–variously given as oil of Sesame, and oil of Acorns Balastia–Pomegranate flowers (wild)
Balastines–Pomegranate flower (wild)
Balaustine–Wild Pomegranate flower
Balneo (-eum)–a bath; see BM.
Balneo Mariae–see BM.
Balsam Tree–Commiphora opobalsamum; ‘The plant of Balsam is a shrub but 3 cubits long, with leaves like Rue’ (SCH); various parts were used: Fruit: Carpobalsam; branches: Xylobalsam; liquor: Opobalsam
Balsamita–‘Water Mint’, or see Balsam herb
Balsam Herb–Chrysanthemum balsamita
Balsam of Tolu–Balsam from Myroxylon spp. of South America
Barberry–Berberis vulgaris root bark and fruit
Bardana minor–see Lesser Burdock
Barley water–water wherein Barley has been decocted
Barrow’s grease–the Fat of a castrated Swine.
Bastard Agrimony–(Water Agrimony) Bidens tripartita
Bastard Hemp–(Water Agrimony) Bidens tripartita
Bastard Saffron–see Safflower
Bay tree–Laurus nobilis
Bdellium–Indian Myrrh, Commiphora mukul and others; still widely used in Ayurveda, this was also much used in Europe.
Beans, French–Phaseolus vulgaris
Bearberry–Arctostaphylos uva ursi
Bear’s Breech–Acanthus mollis, A. spinosa; used similarly to Comfrey.
Bear’s Foot–see Black Hellebore
Bed Straw–Galium spp.
Bedeguar–excrescence made by an insect on the Briar (Wild) Rose.
Beech tree–Fagus sylvatica
Beet root–red: Beta rubra; white: Beta alba.
Behen–(Red and White); Behen album, B. rubrum; identification was said to be uncertain; some said Wild Parsnip or Red Valerian supplied the shops. In present day Unani Medicine, White Behen is collected from Centaurea behen, and Red Behen from Salvia haematodes. The roots of Tormentil and Avens were often used as substitutes. Belemnite–the fossil of an extinct mollusc with a bullet-shaped internal shell of the Jurassic and Cretaceous period.
Beleric Myrobalan–fruit of Terminalia belerica.
Benzoin–Styrax benzoin gum
Betony, Water–Betonica aquatica
Betony, Wood–Betonica officinalis
Bezoar–(from the Arabic bazahr for counter- poison); the real Bezoar is the Gall stone of various animals; in Europe, it was either Eastern (Oriental) or Western (Occidental), the former being best and obtained from a Deer-Goat, the latter coming from Cows and Oxes. Nowadays, the Bezoar stone is still much used in various countries, being worth around $US20,000 on the international market, all slaughter-houses being contracted to supply the market. These stones are very aromatic, and powerfully counter the effects of various poisons being taken in small amount with other medicines.
Various other Bezoar stones have been used, the term commonly being applied to any Stones used against Poison; stones from the Heads of Fishes, Toads and Snakes have been used, along with many other types of stones. Man-made Bezoars commonly used include Bezoar Animale (made either of Deer horn or Vipers), or Bezoar Mineral composed of various Metals. Modern TCM uses man-made substitute for Bezoar which are made of bile with other ingredients. Bhasma–(from Ayurveda) ’ash’; refers to the traditional Ayurvedic process of burning Metals, Minerals, Gems etc., into an ash. These processes are often complex, involving several stages, with the juices or powders of herbs often being added. These are then dried into small round cakes, close- sealed in a crucible, and fired several times, sometimes as many as 100 or 1000 times to achieve a truly ashed medicine. These ash medicines usually float on water, and will not smoke if nitric acid is dropped onto them.
A European version commonly used in the 16th and 17th centuries to achieve a similar result is to calcine the powdered metal, mineral or gem with a sufficient amount of Sulphur and/or Nitre. These are then washed of the irritant salts.
Bilberry (Red or Black)–Vaccinium myrtillus
Birch tree–Betula pendula, B. alba
Bird Pepper–Capsicum frutescens
Bird’s Foot–Ornithopus purpusillus
Birthwort, Round and Long (or Thin)– various species of Aristolchia; Long Birthwort: A. parviflora; Round Birthwort: A. pallida.
Bishop’s Leaves–Betonica aquatica
Bishop’s Weed–1. Ammi majus; 2. Aegopodium podagraria (also called Gout weed, Herb Gerard, English or Wild Masterwort, Ground Elder); used for Arthritis, Gout and Sciatica.
Bitumen (Mineral Pitch)–see also Pissasphaltos.
Black Alder–Alnus nigra (as an astringent and hemostatic); Rhamnus frangula is sometimes called Black Alder, and is used as a laxative.
Black Nightshade–Solanum nigrum
Black Cumin–see Nigella
Black Hellebore–Helleborus niger root (prepared for use)
Black Pepper–Piper nigrum fruit
Black Poplar–Poplar nigra
Blatta Byzantia–the operculum of a species of Sea-snail, found on the shores of the Red Sea; including Onyx marinus, Strombus lentiginosus, and Unguis Odoratus. It is odoriferous, and was used in perfumed body powders and incense.
Blessed Thistle–Carduus benedictus (now called Cnicus benedictus) seed, herb.
Blind Nettle–Scrophularia nodosa; used for Nodes and Scrophula (hence its name); also used for all swellings of the throat and neck. Blites–Amarantus blitum
Blood Stone–1. Hematite type of Iron Mineral; 2. Bloodstone variety of Chal- cedony (green opaque cryptocrystalline quartz with red spots). Most commonly the Iron mineral Hematite is being referred to when ‘Bloodstone’ appears in a formula, as this was used far more commonly. It is mostly used for Bleeding and Blood disorders.
Bluebell–species of Hyacinthus
Blue Bottle–Centaurea cyanus
Blue Copperas–Copper Sulphate
Blue Stone–Copper Sulphate
Blue Vitriol–Copper Sulphate
BM–Balneo Maria, the Marian Bath. A vessel to digest or distill in; it is a vessel of water with a heat source underneath in which another vessel sits; into this vessel may be put herbs and other medicines to be digested or distilled. This has the advantage of not allowing the medicine to be heated above 100 degrees centigrade. It is said to be named after ‘Mary the Jewess’ who is said to have been first to use it.
Boar’s Tooth–tusk of a Boar or Wild Pig was used to clear Heat, especially for Pleurisy.
Bole–Earth; often Kaolin-type clay earths were used, named depending on the area in which they originate from.
Bole Armeniac–see Earth of Armenia
Bone of a Stag’s Heart–a round cartilage (valve) found in the Heart of a mature Stag; it was often adulterated with the same from a male Goat, which was never as large, hard or white as the true.
Borage–Borago officinalis leaf, flower; often the juice was used.
Borax–(from the Persian Borak); Sodium Tetraborate; traditionally collected from certain lakes, it is said to have was first been taken to Europe from Tibet in the 13th century. Although toxic in moderate amounts, it strongly clears Heat and Poison, relieves swelling, and is antibacterial and anti-fungal. It has also long been used in both east and west to promote labor; more recntly, Boron has been found to relieve Menopause, prevent Osteoporosis, and is also included in some muscle-building supplements.
Brake Fern–Pteris aquilina
Braken Fern–Pteris aquilina
Brank Ursine–Acanthus mollis, A. spinosa; used similarly to Comfrey. Brassica–Cabbage
Breakstone, Parsley–Alchemilla arvense
Brimstone-wort–see Hog Fennel
Broom Rape–Orobanche major
Bruscus–see Butcher’s Broom
Bryony (white)–Bryonia dioica
Buck’s-Horn Plantain–Plantago coronopsus
Bugle–Ajuga reptans herb
Bugloss–a boraginaceous plant, Lycopsis arvensis (sometimes Anchusa officinalis); used synonomously with Borage, they were often combined, or may substitute each other.
Burdock–Arctium lappa seed and root
Burnt Alum–Alum which has been burnt to remove the water of crystallisation. It was usually only used internally.
Burnt Ivory–see Spodium
Bursa pastoris–see Shepherd’s Purse
Butcher’s Broom–Ruscus aculeatus
Butter of Antimony–Antimony Trichloride: SbCl3
Butter of Tin–Hydrated Stannic Chloride: SnCl4.5H20
Butter of Zinc–Zinc Chloride: ZnCl2
Cabali marini–Seahorses; dried in the sun, with or without Salt.
Calaminaris, Calamine–native Zinc carbonate; universally used in all medical systems for eye disorders and ulcers (both topically)
Calamint–Calamintha officinalis herb
Calamus–root of Acorus calamus; used in all medical systems as an aromatic stimulant, to Move the Qi, Open the Orificies and benefit the Brain; an important herb for various disorders of the brain, senses and nervous system.
Calendula–flowers of Calendula officinalis
Caltrops, Water–Trapa natans; Tribulus aquatica
Calx–the Ashes of things (especially of a Metal: an Oxide); something calcined and burnt until brittle. Often used to indicate Lime (Calcium Carbonate)
Calx Chlorinata–Chloride of Lime
Calx Jovis–calcined Tin
Calx Mercurii–Precipitated Mercury
Calx Sulphurata–Calcium Sulphide
Calx Viva–Quicklime (Calcium Oxide)
Camel’s Hay–Juncus odoratus
Cammock–Ononis spinosa, O. repens
Camomile–Anthemis nobilis, Garden Camomile; Matricaria recutita (syn. M. camomilla) German Camomile.
Camphor–crystals extracted from the branches of Cinnamonum camphora.
Campion, Wild–Cucubalus behen
Cancami–Gum Lacca ? (some list Cancami as a substitute for Lacca, and therefore suggest them to be different products)
Candlewick Plant–Verbascum thapsus
Cantharides–Blister Bettle, ‘Spanish Fly’; the beetle Lytta vesicatoria (and other related and non-related species which are used synonomously), used topically to draw blisters.
Capers–Capparis spinosa, flower buds.
Capillus veneris–see Maidenhair
Capon–a gelded or castrated Cock; used to prepare a nourishing broth.
Capsicum–Capsicum frutescens fruit
Caraway–Carum carvi fruit
Carbuncle–ancient name for red gems: Ruby, Cornelian, Garnet and Spinel in particular.
Carduus benedictus–see Blessed Thistle
Carduus mariae–see Mary’s Thistle
Carline Thistle–Carlina vulgaris
Cassia–1. Cassia pulp, drawn from Cassia pods, used as a gentle laxative, derived from Cassia fistula and other related spp.; 2. Cassia species of Cinnamon (Cinnamonum cassia).
Cassia Lignea–Chinese Cinnamon derived from Cinnamomum cassia; regarded as best.
Castor–1. Castoreum; a brown aromatic substance taken from the gland of a Beaver, used in medicine and perfumery. 2. Castor seed
Catechu–Acacia catechu gum
Cauda Equina–see Horsetail
Caustic Calcareous Earth–Calcium Hydroxide: Ca(OH)2
Caustic Potash–Potassium Hydroxide
Caustic Soda–Sodium Hydroxide
Cayenne Pepper–Capsicum frutescens
Cephalic–for the Head.
Celandine, Lesser–Ranunculus ficaria
Celery–Apium graveolens root & seed
Celtic Spikenard–Valeriana celtica
Centaury–Centaurium erythraea herb
Cerefolium–Anthriscus cerefolium herb
Ceruse–’White Lead’; Lead Carbonate; used in various external remedies.
Cerusite–Native Lead Carbonate
Ceterach–Asplenium ceterach (syn. Ceterach officinarum)
Chalk–native Calcium Carbonate
Chamepitys–see Ground Pine
Chaste Tree–Agnus Castus seed
Chebulic Myrobalans–fruits of Terminalia chebula
Chelidonium minus–see Lesser Celandine
Chermes (Kermes)–scale insects of the genus Kermes which secrete a red dye on the Kermes Oak, Quercus coccifera.
Chervil–Anthriscus cerefolium herb
Chestnut–Castanea sativa nuts
Chicken Gizzard skin–the cleansed inner skin of a Chicken’s Gizzard; long used in both east and west, it is given to promote Digestion, clear Stagnant Food, promote Urine, and cleanse Stones.
Chickweed–Stellaria media herb
Chicory–Chicorium intylus; used similarly to Dandelion.
China root–Smilax glabra root
Chives–Allium schoenoprasum and other related Alliums.
Chlorosis–’Green Sickness’; a type of anemia seen in young girls who have not yet menstruated, marked by a pale yellow-green complexion.
Christmas Flower–Helleborus niger
Christmas Herb–Helleborus niger
Chrysocolla–‘Gold solder’; Borax
Cinnabar–native red Mercuric Sulphide
Cinnamon–Cinnamonum zeylanicum; the Chinese Cinnamon is C. cassia (called Cassia).
Cipers root–see Cyperus
Cistus–(source of Hypocistus)
Citron–Citrus medica fruit, peel, seed
Citrullus–Melon; esp. Watermelom
Civet–1. synonym for Chives; 2. name for an aromatic excretion from the Civet cat
Clary–see Clary Sage
Clary Sage–Salvia solarea
Cleavers–Galium aparine herb
Clove–Eugenia caryophyllus flower buds
Clove Basil–Ocinum gratissimum
Clove Gilliflower–Pink Carnation; Dianthus Caryophyllus
Clown’s All-Heal–see Figwort
Clown’s Woundwort–(‘Panax coloni’); Stachys palustris
Cochlite–1. stone from a Snails Head; 2. Materia Medica Animalia (1858) says Cochlites is a fossil shell with a mouth like a Snail.
Coccus Baphica–see Cochineal
Cochineal–secretion from the insect Kermes ilices, usually found on Quercus coccifera.
Colchicum–Colchicum autumnale root, seed.
Colcothar–Red Ferric Oxide: Fe2O3
Colocynth–Citrullus colocynthis; the pulp of the fruit is used medicinally as a purgative.
Colophony–rosin (the resin left after the distillation of Oil of Turpentine)
Columbine–Aquilegia vulgaris herb, seed
Cold Seeds–see Four Greater Cold Seeds and Four Lesser Cold Seeds.
Coltsfoot–Tussilago farfara herb or flower
Comfrey–Symphytum officinale root and leaf
Condite–conserves made either with Sugar or Pickle.
Confection–the covering of anything with Sugar.
Consolida aurea–Golden rod
Contrayerva–root of the tropical American Dorstenia contrayerva and other related spp.
Conval-Lillies–see Lilly of the Valley
Copperas–Ferrous Sulphate; Blue Copperas is Copper Sulphate.
Coral–Red and White Coral were used in medicine.
Cordial–for the Heart; something that nourishes or strengthens the Heart, or that protects the Heart in Fevers.
Cordial Flowers–Borage, Bugloss, Rose, Violet
Coriander–Coriandrum sativum seed and herb.
Corn Poppy–Papaver rhoeas
Corn Rose–Papaver rhoeas
Corrosive Sublimate–Mercuric Chloride: HgCl2. Extremely Toxic.
Costus–Saussurea lappa root (syn. Aucklandia lappa); True and False Costus was known, with the True also being divided into Sweet and Bitter
Cotton Thistle–Carduus vulgatissimus
Couch Grass–Triticum repens roots.
Cowslip–Primula veris flower and root
Crab’s Claws–1. Claws of a Crab, Cancer spp.; the Black Tips being strongest; 2. Sedum spp. 3. Sempervium aquatica (Water Houseleek)
Crab’s Eyes–round balls of calcium carbonate found in the stomachs of freshwater crays or yabbies which they use to repair their shells.
Cranesbill–see Herb Robert
Cream of Tartar–rectified or pure Potassium bitartrate.
Creat–Chalk; a native form of Calcium Carbonate
Creta Cinolia–a pale red clay earth from Armenia
Cretanus marinus–‘Sea fennel’; Christhmum maritimum
Cress, Black–Sisymbrium nigra
Cress, Sciatica–Iberis sisymbrium
Cress, Water–Nasturtium officinale
Cretian Daucus–see Meum
Crocus–1. Saffron; 2. Red Ferric Oxide; or 3. a yellow powder made of Iron, Copper or Antimony.
Crocus Martis Aperiens–Iron Carbonate
Crocus Martis Astringens–Iron Oxide
Crocus Metallorum–Compound of Iron and Antimony
Crosswort–Galium cruciata (formerly Valantia cruciata)
Crowfoot–Ranunculus sceleratus (Marsh); R. acris (Meadow)
Crude Tartar–crude or unrefined Potassium bitartrate.
Crystal of Nitre–Silver nitrate
Crystal of Tartar–Potassium tartrate
Cubebs–fruit of Piper cubeba.
Cuckoo Flower–Cardamine pratensis
Cuckoo Pint–Arum vulgare
Cucumber seed–seed of Cucumis sativus; one of the Cold seeds
Cumin Royal–Ammi majus
Cupressus–a type of Southernwood or Sea Wormwood
Cuprite–Red Cuprous Oxide ore
Currant–Ribes sativum (red currant); R. nigrum (black currant)
Cyanus–Corn flower; Centaurea cyanus
Cynosbatus–see Rose Hip
Cynoglossum–see Hounds Tongue
Cyperus–Cyperus rotundus root; long and round types of Cyperus were used. It is an aromatic carminative, used to move the Qi and Blood, ease pain, and regulate Menstruation.
Cypress–a coniferous tree, Cupressus semperviens; the wood and the fruit were used, being drying and strongly astringent, and used for Diarrhea, Dysentery, Incontinence and Hernias etc.
Cypress nuts–the fruit of the above tree.
Cytinus–Cytinus hypocistus, the source of Hypocistus.
Cytini–Pomegranate flowers (garden)
Daisy–Bellis perennis; sometimes also Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Daisy, Lesser or Little–Bellis minor perennis
Dandelion–Taraxacum officinale leaf and root
Damask Rose–the fragrant pink rose of Rosa damascena
Darnel–Lolium spp.; white: alba; Red: rubra
Dates (Date palm)–Diospyros lotus fruit
Deadly Nightshade–Atropa belladonna
Dead Nettle–Lamiun spp., esp. L. album.
Dentalis Utalis–see Deantalium.
Dentalium–‘small, long, round, white shell, smooth within, crooked, and acuminated on one side, wherein a certain sea-worm lives’ (RE). Used in The Citrine Ointment.
Despumated–to skin; cleanse, or remove the skin of.
Devil’s Bit (Scabious)–Succisa pratensis (syn. Scabiosa succisa)
Devils Dung–see Asafetida
Diabetes–in traditional medicine, this simply means an inability to hold on to water; it overlaps the modern under-standing of Diabetes.
Diagridium–prepared Scammony; it was usually prepared by being put inside a Quince which was then roasted. This helped reduce its drastic effects.
Dill–Anethum graveolens seed or herb
Dittany of Crete–Origanum dictamnus.
Dock, Common–Rumex obtusifolius
Dodder–the parasitic herb Cuscuta; see Dodder of Thyme
Dodder of Thyme–parasitic herb of the Cuscuta spp., growing on various herbs; Dodder of Thyme was most preferred in European medicine.
Dog Rose–Rosa canina
Dog’s Arrach–(Wild Arrach) Atriplex olida
Dog’s Grass–see Couch Grass
Dog’s Mercury–Mercurialis perennis
Dog’s Stones–see Orchis
Dog Tooth Violet–Erythronium dens canis
Double Rocket–Hesperis matronalis
Dove’s Foot–Geranium mole
Down Thistle–Carduus vulgatissimus
Draconites–lit. 'Dragon Stones'; a Calculus taken from the Head of certain snakes.
Dragons, Dracontium–Arum triphyllum and A. dracunculus Iin classical formula); Several plants were called ‘Dragon' including Bistort; Dracontium spp.; and Dracunculus vulgaris. Arum was used when unavailable.
Dragon’s Blood–the resin obtained from Daemonorops draco.
Dragonwort–(Bistort) Polygonum bistorta
Dropwort–1. see Filipendula spp.; 2. Oenanthe fistulosa
Duck’s Meat–Lens palustris
Dwarf Bay–Daphne mezereum
Dwarf Elder–Sambucus ebulus
Eagle Wood–see Aloeswood
Earth of Armenia–a red Earth, similar to Kaolin, but red due to the presence of Iron oxide.
Earth of Lemnos–Kaolin, or Kaolin-like Earth.
Earth of Samnos–similar to preceding (ie. like Kaolin)
Earthworm–Lumbricus spp. and others
Ebulus–see Dwarf Elder
Elaterium–the dried juice of the Wild Cucumber
Elder–Sambucus nigra flower, leaf, bark and fruit
Elder, Dwarf–Sambucus ebulus
Elecampane–Inula helenium root, flower
Elk’s Hoof–the powder was given against Epilepsy.
Emblic Myrobalan–fruit of Emblica officinalis
Enchusa–(Alkanet) Anchusa tinctoria
English Mercury–Mercurialis annua
English Serpentary–(Bistort) Polygonum bistorta
Enulae Campane–see Elecampane
Epithymum–see Dodder of Thyme
Epsom Salts–Magnesium Sulphate; named after the Epsom spa.
Eryngo–Sea Holly; the roots of Eryngo maritimum, or other related species. Used as a tonic medicine, especially when confected.
Esula–Spurge (Euphorbium) spp.
Ethiopian Cumin seed–Ammi majus
Ethiops Mineral Black–Black Mercury Sulphide
Eupatorium–Agrimony; sometimes Water Agrimony (Bidens tripartita)
Euphorbium–the irritant resin from a plant of the species Euphorbia (Spurge). Traditionally used as a drastic cathartic, used for purging Phlegm and Water.
Evergreen Laurel–Daphne laureola
Exungulated–refers to the removal of the White or bottom parts of flowers; used almost exclusively for Roses.
Eyebright–Euphrasia rostkoviana (syn. E. officinalis) herb.
Faverel, Woolly–Draba incana
Featherfew (Feverfew)–Tanacetum parthenium
Fecula–starch or dregs obtained from certain plants
Felwort–1. (Swertia perennis); probably a species of Gentiana; 2. Less commonly White Mullein
Fennel–Foeniculum vulgare root, seed
Fennel Flower–Nigella sativa
Fennel Giant–see Galbanum
Fennel, Hog’s–Peucedanum officinale
Fennel, Sow–Peucedanum officinale
Fern, Brake–Pteris aquilina
Fern, Braken–Pteris aquilina
Fern, Osmund Royal–Osmunda regalis
Fern, Water–Osmunda regalis
Ferrum Vitriolatum–Ferrous Sulphate
Feverfew, Sea–Tanacetum maritima
Feverfew, Sweet–Tanacetum suaveolen
Field Ladies Mantle–Alchemilla arvensis
Figwort–Scrophularia nodosa root
Figwort, Water–Scrophularia aquatica root Filbert–see Hazel
Filicis floridae–see Water Fern
Fine Bole–see Bole Armeniac
Fir tree–1. Abies species, esp. A. balsamea (the Balsam Fir); 2. Pinus picea (Spruce Fir); 3. P. sylvestris (Scotch Pine or Scotch Fir). In older books, either of the last 2 are being referred to as the former in native to Canada.
Fistic Nut–Pistachio nut
Five Capillary Herbs–Maiden Hair, Wall Rue, Ceterach, Hart's Tongue, Politricum.
Five-Fingered Grass–Potentilla reptans
Five-Leaved Grass–Potentilla reptans
Five Fragmants of Precious Stones– fragments of equal weights of Garnet, Jacinth, Sapphire, Sardine, Emerald. These must be very finely levigated with Rose water, or else reduced to ash before being used.
Five Opening roots–roots of Smallage (Celery), Fennel, Asparagus, Parsley, Sea Holly.
Five-leaved Grass–see Cinquefoil
Flag, Yellow–Iris pseudoacorus
Flax–Linum usitatissimum Flaxseed–Linseed
Fleabane, Marsh–Senecio vulgaris
Fleabane, Mountain–Senecio jacobea
Fleabane, Small–Pulicaria dysenterica
Fleawort seed–Plantago psyllium
Flint–a type of Chalcedony used to cause sparks.
Florentine Orris–Iris florentina
Flores, Flos (Flowers)–1. flower of a plant; 2. a fine, light powder, produced primarily from minerals by sublimation; Flos Sulphuris is one example.
Flos Sulphuris–Sublimed Sulphur
Flower de Luce–see Orris
Flower Gentle–Amaranthus hypochondriacus
Flowering Rush–Butomus umbellatus
Flowers–(see Flores, Flos): 1. the flowers of a plant; 2. the flowers of a mineral, being the sublimed form. Most commonly Flowers of Sulphur are referred to (Sublimed Sulphur)
Flowers of Sulphur–Sublimed Sulphur
Flowers of Tin–Tin Oxide
Flowers of Zinc–crude Zinc Oxide found as a deposit in Zinc chimneys
Flux–any abnormal leakage or bleeding; Flux of the belly is diarrhea; Flux of the Terms is excessive Menstrual bleeding, etc.
Folii–Indian leaf, which see.
Folium Indium–Indian Leaf (which see).
Fool’s Stones–see Orchis
Four Cordial Flowers–flowers of Borage, Bugloss, Rose, Violet
Four Greater Cold Seeds–seed of Citruls, Cucumber, Gourds, Melon
Four Greater Hot Seeds–seeds of Annis, Caraway, Cummin, Fennel
Four Lesser Cold Seeds–seeds of Chicory, Endive, Lettuce, Purslain
Four Lesser Hot Seeds–seeds of Bishop's Weed, Amomus, Smallage, Carrots.
Fox Stones–Orchis maculata root
Frankincense–Boswellia thurifera gum
French Lavender–Lavendula stoechas
French Mercury–M. gallium
Fulminating Gold–Gold Hydrazide: an olive-colored powder of Gold that is highly explosive (much more so than Gunpowder): it explodes when concussed: AuHNNH2: made by adding Ammonia to Auric Hydroxide
Fulminating Silver–Silver Nitride; very explosive in dry form. Made by dissolving Silver Oxide in Ammonia.
Fumaria bulbosa–Bulbous Fumitory, also called Round Birthwort
Fumitory–Fumaria officinalis herb
Furze Bush–Ulex europeus
Galangal–Alpina officinarum root
Galangal, English–Cyperus longus
Galbanum–a foul-smelling gum-resin from a species of Ferula, F. galbaniflua; similar to Asafetida which may usually substitute it. Galega–see Goats Rue
Galena–Native Lead Sulphate: PbS; also a Lead or Silver ore, or the Slag remaining after refining of Lead.
Galiopsis–see Dead Nettle (Lamium)
Gall–1. Bile; 2. the hard, round growths on various trees caused by certain insects.
Gall Oak–Quercus infectoria
Garden Basil–Ocimum basilicum
Garden Dock–see Monk’s Rhubarb
Garden Mint–Mentha viridis
Garden Rocket–Eruca sativa
Garlic–Allium sativum root
Garlic Cress, Common–Alliaria officinalis
Gentian–Gentiana lutea root
Geranium–see Herb Robert
German Acacia–‘no more than the expressed juice of unripe wild Sloes, inspissated in a Bath heat’.
German Contrayerva–see Anthora.
Germander–Teucrium chamaedrys; T. marum; Large-leaved Germander was called Chamedrys.
Gersa–a type of Fecula of Dragons Root; take roots of the greater herb Dragon in Spring, washed and dried; powder finely and put in an earthen vessel with Rose water; cover with a linen cloth, and dry in the Sun; powder, cover with Rose water again, dry by evaporation, and repeat for 3 or 4 days; powder again mix with odoriferous wine, form which, form Pastils, and dry in the shade. (RE)
Gersa Serpentina–see Gersa.
Ginger–Zingiber officinalis root
Gips–Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate)
Gladiole, Water–Butomus umbellatus
Glass of Antimony–impure Antimony Tetroxide; made by roasting Stibnite (a native ore of Antimony). Used in medicine, and also as a Yellow Pigment.
Glaubers Salt–Sal Mirabilis; Sodium Sulphate: Na2SO4.10H2O
Goat herb–Aegopodium podagraria
Goat’s Arrach–(Wild Arrach) Atriplex olida
Goat’s Beard, Purple–Tragopogon pratensis
Goat’s Beard, Yellow–Tragopogon porrifolius
Goat’s Blood prepared–Goat’s Blood was prepared by beheading a Goat at the full Moon, and collecting the blood which flowed. This was dried into square bricks to be used in medicine, mainly to promote Urine and clear Stones, but also to help move the Blood and resist Poison. If used to promote Urine and clear Stones, the Goat was to bed fed on diuretic herbs for one month such as Parsley, Nettle, Ground Ivy etc.
Goat’s Rue–Galega officinalis
Goat’s Thorn–Astragalus tragacanth
Gold Cups–Ranunculus spp.
Golden Rod–Solidago virgaurea
Golden Rod, Narrow-Leaved–Solidago angustifolia
Golden Rod, Welsh–Solidago cambrica
Golden Samphire–Inula crithmifolia
Gold of Pleasure–Myagrum sativum
Gooseberry bush–Ribes grossularia
Goose Grass–Potentilla anserina
Goose Grease–Galium aparine herb
Gosmore, Long-rooted–Hypochoeris radicata
Gosmore, Smooth–Hypochoeris glabra
Gosmore, Spotted–Hypochoeris maculata
Grains of Kermes–Cochineal, from the insect Kermes ilices, usually found on Quercus coccifera. It was principally used in Confection of Alkermes, as was mainly used to give a red color. It was also applied to wounds.
Grains of Paradise–aromatic seeds of Aframomum species; similar to, but better than Cardamom.
Granite, Granat–old name for the stone Garnet
Gratia Dei–see Herb Robert
Gratiola–Hedge Hyssop, Gratiola officinalis
Great Broad-Leaved Ragwort–Senecio saracenicus
Great Garden Patience–Rumex alpinus
Greek Hayes–Trigonella foenum-graecum
Green Copperas–Iron Sulphate
Green Vitriol–Iron Sulphate
Green, Winter–Trientalis europea
Grommel (Gromwell)–Lithospermum spp.
Ground Ivy–Glechoma hederacea herb
Ground Pine–Ajuga chamaepitys
Groundsel, Cotton–Senecio viscosus
Groundsel, Hoary–Senecio erucefolius
Groundsel, Mountain–Senecio sylvaticus
Groundsel, Stinking–Senecio viscosus
Groundsel, Water–Senecio jacobea
Grove Marjoram–Origanum vulgare
Guaiacum–Guaiacum officinale wood and gum.
Gum–see Gum Arabic
Gum Acacia–as for Gum Arabic
Gum Ammoniac–Dorema ammoniacum
Gum Arabic–Acacia senegal, A. arabica
Gum Tragacanth–Astragalus gummifer, A. tragacanth
Gutta Gambi–see Gamboge
Gypsum–native Calcium sulphate
Hare’s Ear–Bupleurum rotundifolium Hart–Deer
Hart’s Bone–see Bone of a Stag’s Heart
Hart’s Horn–1. Deer Horn; in Europe, both the mature calcified Horn and the young ‘Velvet’ Horn were used. Usually the young horns is referred to as ‘Young Horn’, or ‘Buds’. Mature horn was often used in the form of its ashes or salts, but was sometimes used as powder. Hartshorn was also used as a source of Ammonia, Spirits of Hartshorn being an old name of Spirit of Ammonia. 2. Another name for Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus)
Hart’s Tongue–a fern, traditionally listed as Asplenium scolopendrium or Scolopendrium officinarum; more recently, Phyllitis scolopendrium
Hawkweed, Common Broad-leaved–Hyeracia murorum
Hawthorn–Crataegus laevigata leaf, fruit, seed, flower
Heartsease–Viola tricolor herb
Hedge Hyssop–Gratiola officinalis
Hedera Arborea–Tree Ivy (see Ivy)
Hedera terrestris–see Ground Ivy
Hedgeweed–Erysimum officinale, E. barbarea
Hellebore, Black–Helleborus niger; used to clear Melancholy, in Madness, Cancer, and other diseases caused by Melancholy. It must be prepared before use, which was often done by steeping the root in Vinegar for 24 hours. It must be used cautiously, as it is toxic.
Hellebore, White–Veratrum album, V. viride less commonly used than the Black.
Hellebori albi–see White Hellebore
Hellebori nigri–see Black Hellebore
Hematite–usually refers to a reddish Iron Ore (Iron oxide); however Hematite means ‘Bloodstone’, and there has been confusion between this Iron ore and the Chalcedony stone with the same name. See Bloodstone for more.
Hemp, Indian–Cannabis sativa
Henry, Good–Mercurialis annua
Herba Stellaria–Rhamnus catharticus
Herb Bennet–Geum herbanum.
Herb Christopher–Actoea spicata
Herb Guard–Aegopodium podagraria
Herb Ivy (Buckthorn)–Rhamnus catharticus
Herb Paris–see Herb True-Love
Herb Robert–Geranium robertianum
Herb True-Love–Paris quadrifolia
Herb Twopence–Lysmachia nummularia
Herb William–Ammi majus
Hermodactils–root of Colchicum autumnale; various related species were used
Hog Fennel–Peucedanum officinale
Hog’s Lice–see Pill Millipedes
Holy Thistle–Carduus benedictus
Holly, Sea–Eryngium maritimum
Honewort, Slender–(‘a species of Stone Parsley’) Sison ammonium Honeysuckle–Lonicera caprifolium
Honeysuckle, Dwarf–Cornus herbacea
Hops–Humulus lupulus strobiles
Horehound–Marrubium vulgare herb
Horehound, Black–Ballota nigra
Horse Parsley–Smyrnium olusatrum
Horseradish–Armordica rusticana root
Horsetail–Equisetum arvense herb
Hot Seeds–see Four Greater Hot Seeds and Four Lesser Hot Seeds.
Hound’s Tongue–Cynoglossum officinale.
Houseleek, Small–Sedum minus; S. album
Houseleek, Stone-crop–Sedum minus; or S. acre(?)
Houseleek, Water–Sempervium aquatica
Hyacinth–1. the roots of Hyacinthus spp. of the Lilliaceae; ‘there are many species’ (C); 2. a reddiesh-yellow type of the stone Zircon. Hydrargyrum–Mercury
Hydromel–Mead, Metheglin; made of Water and Honey, boiled and fermented together. Sometimes Hydromel simply meant a mixture of water and Honey without fermentation.
Hypocystis/Hypocistus–Ledum; Cytinus hypocistis; the black juice is collected and depurated by being boiled over gentle fire in a glased earthen vessel, to the thickness of a semi-solid extract; see Cistus. Hyssop–Hyssopus officinalis herb
Hyssop, Hedge–Gratiola officinalis
Indian Leaf–‘Folium Indium’; the leaves of Laurus Cassia; the plant called this by Dioscorides was probably different to that used during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Indian Poke–Veratrum viride
Indian Spikenard–Nardostachys jatamansi, an important Ayurvedic medicine, similar in use to Valerian.
Iris Florentine–see Florentine Orris
Iva Arthritica–see Germander
Ivy–Hedera helix leaf; also the gum
Ivy tree–see Ivy
Jacinth–a synonym of Hyacinth; a reddish- yellow type of Zircon. Jack-by-the-Hedge–Alliaria officinalis
Jade–either of 2 green stones: Jadeite or Nephrite.
Japanic Earth–Catechu (especially Pale Catechu, Uncaria gambier). Jasmine–Jasminum officinale
Jew’s Ear–(Fungii) Hirneola auricula-Judae
Jew’s Stone–see Lapis Judaicus
Jujube–Ziziphus jujuba fruit
July Flower–Motthiala incona
Juncus odoratus–see Camels Hay
Juniper–Juniperus communis fruit
Kelp–Fucus spp.; also Laminaria
Kidney Bean–Phaseolus vulgaris
Kidney Stone–Nephrite form of Jade
King’s Clover–Meliotus officinalis
Knapweed, Black–Centaurea nigra
Knapweed, Greater–Centaurea scabiosa
Knee Holy–see Butcher’s Broom
Knee Hulver–see Butcher’s Broom
Knotgrass–Polygonum aviculare herb
Labdanum–juice from Rock Rose, a type of Cistus
Lacca–resinous product, secreted by the insect Carteria lacca, usually lives on Ficus species
Lac Sulphuris–Precipitated Sulphur
Ladies Bed Straw–Galium spp.
Ladies Mantle–Alchemilla vulgaris
Lady’s Smock–Cardamine pratensis
Lapis Aquileius–’Eagle Stone’; Geode
Lapis Calaminaris–see Calamine
Lapis Cancri–Crab’s Stone; round balls of Calcium carbonate found on the underbelly of freshwater Crayfish.
Lapis Geodes–a Geode; a stone with a smaller stone within it.
Lapis Infernalis–Silver Nitrate
Lapis Judaicus–’Jews Stone’; fossil Sea Urchin spine, used for Urinary stones.
Lapis Lazuli–deep blue semi-precious gem stone with golden flecks of iron pyrite
Lapis Lyncis–Lynx stone; ancient name for Belemnite (a fossil); thought by some (including Pliny) to be a synonym for Amber; a transparent yellow stone, thought to be derived from the place where a Lynx had urinated. Caspar Neumann (1773) and others state that the ancient Lyncurium was the Jacinth (Zircon). Used for Urinary Stones, also against Nightmare.
Lapis Nephriticus–Nephrite form of Jade
Lapis Selenites–Selenite; either a type of Gypsum or the gem Feldspar
Lapis Silex–Flint (a type of Chalcedony)
Lapis Specularis–Several stones were known by this name: 1. Salmon said the Lapis Specularis, Selenite, Aphroselene and Alumen Scariole were called in English Specular stone or Mucovy Glass. This last is the Muscovite type of Mica which was separated into thin sheets to be used in glazing, as noted by Salmon. Sometimes Lapis Specularis appears to have been used for a type of Gypsum or the gem Feldspar.
Lapis Spongie–’Sponge Stone’; the stone found in the center of a Sponge.
Lapis Tiliceus–Flint (a type of Chalcedony, used to create sparks)
Lapis Vegetabilis–Vegetable Stone; 'a salt medicine, being a Tincture and Oil boiled hard as a stone'.
Lappa major–see Burdock
Laudanum–either a Tincture of Opium, or more Traditionally, a medicine whose chief ingredient was Opium. The term was popularised by Paracelsus.
Laurel, Evergreen–Daphne laureola
Laurel, Spurge–Daphne laureola
Laurus–see Bay tree
Lavender, Cotton–Lavendula temina
Lees–is the settlings or sediment of a liquid; specifically that of wine.
Lemnian Earth–Earth of Lemnos
Lemon–Citrus limonum seed, peel
Lemon Grass–see Camel’s Hay
Lesser Burdock–a smaller variety of Arctium
Lesser Celandine–Ranunculus ficaria
Lettuce, Common–Lactuosa sativa
Lettuce, Garden–Lactuosa sativa
Lettuce, Wild–Lactuosa virosa
Levigation–the method of finely powdering a stone or gem with water or Rose water upon a Mortar until it is so fine that it cannot be felt between the fingers when rubbed–like flour or Talcum powder. It is most important that all parts of the stone are extremely fine, especially with the harder gem stones. Failure to properly levigate a stone may result in serious internal injury. For this reason, one lot of stones was often levigated for 2 weeks. It can then be mixed with Rose water and passed through several layers of fine cloth (which attracts and keeps any larger pieces). Evaporation of the Rose water will give a most fine powder.
Lichen–normally refers to Liverwort
Licorice–Glycyrrhiza glabra root
1. Sedum telephium
2. Helichrysum, Yellow Everlasting
Lightwort, Sea–Pneumonia maritima
Lignum Aloes–Aloes Wood, Eagle Wood; Aquilaria agallocha; rare and expensive, it can usually be substituted by Sandalwood.
Lignum Crucis–’Wood of the Cross’; Mistletoe wood (often forms a Cross)
Lignum Guaiacum–Guaiacum wood
Lignum Sanctum–Guaiacum wood
Lignum Vitae–Guaiacum wood
Lillium convallium–see Lilly of the Valley
Lily of the Valley–Convallaria majalis
Lily, Water–Nymphea odorata
Lily, White–Lilium candidum
Lime–1. Calx; Calcium Oxide, CaO; 2. Lime tree, Linden, Tilias europa; 3. Lime fruit, Citrus aurantifolia. Lime water usually refers to a solution of Calcium oxide, while Lime juice refers to the Citrus juice.
Lime, Slaked–Calcium Hydroxide, Ca(OH)2
Lime Water–Liquor Calcis, saturated aqueous solution of Calcium hydroxide.
Linden–Tilia europea flowers
Lingua avis–Ash tree seed, Fraxinus exelsior
Lingua cervina–Scolopendra officinalis
Linseed–Linium usitatissimum seed
Liquor Calcis–(Lime Water) saturated aqueous solution of Calcium hydroxide.
Litharge–Lead Monoxide; Litharge of ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ were used, both being oxides of Lead ceased at different stages of the burning of lead, one being silver in color, that heated for longer being golden, and that burned for a long time becomes reddish in color (being Minium). Both Gold and Silver Litharge are used the same and were often combined. Litharge was commonly used in external remedies for Ulcers, Wounds and Inflammations etc.
Liver of Sulphur–a complex mix of the Polysulphides of Potassium; made by fusing Potassium and Sulphur
Liverwort–any of a number of species of Hepatica
Lixivium–A solution of Lye; a solution where alkaline Salts have been dissolved.
Lluellin Speedwell–Veronica officinalis
Long Birthwort–Aristolchia longa
Long Pepper–Piper longum fruit
Lovage–Levisticum officinale root
Luna–1. Moon; 2. Silver
Luna Caustic–Silver Nitrate
Lupin(e)–Lupinus spp. (some species are poisonous, while some are used for fodder); esp. L. albus, the White Lupin, the seeds of which were used as diuretics and emmenagogues. (See Electuary Provoking Menstruation)
Lye–a lye can be any solution obtained by leaching, typically obtained from Wood ashes; normally giving a solution of Potassium Hydroxide: KOH
Lyncurium–see Lapis Lyncis
Mabathematicon–juice of wild cabbage
Mace–Myristica fragrans; dried arillus of the Nutmeg.
Macedonian Stone Parsley–Petro-selinum macedonicum seed and root. The seed of Smyrnium olusatrum was used by the Apothecaries for it. Similar to Italian Parsley.
Madder–Rubia tinctorum root
Magistery–a special alchemical preparation, usually made of gems. Maiden-hair–Adiantum spp.; most often Adiantum capillus-veneris
Maiden-hair, Golden–Adiantum aureum
Maiden-hair of Montpelier–Adiantum capillus-yoneris?
Maiden-hair, White–Asplenium ruta muraria
Malabathrum–see Folium Indicum
Mallow, Common–Malva sylvestris leaf
Mallow, Marsh–Althea officinalis
Malmsey Wine–strong, sweet wine with a strong flavor, originally made in Greece, but now in Madeira.
Malva arborea–see Hollyhock
Mangel Wurzel–Beta altissima
Manna–exudate of Fraxinus ornus
Man’s Skull–powdered human skull was sometimes added to formulas for brain and nervous diseases, especially Epilepsy.
Manus Christi–a Confection made of Rose water and Sugar; if Pearl powder is added (1 dram to every ounce), and a little Gold leaf, it
makes Manus Christi Perlatum, or Manus Christi with Pearls.
Maple tree–Acer spp.
Marcasite–native Iron Disulphide
March-Pane–(Martius panis; Marzi-pan) a confection made of Sweet Almonds and Sugar (an equal, double, or triple quantity), with Rose Water.
Marjoram–Origanum marjorana herb
Marjoram, Common–Origanum vulgare
Marjoram, Sweet–Origanum marjorana herb
Marjoram, Wild–Origanum vulgare
Marjoram, Winter Sweet–Origanum heracleoticum
Marshmallow–Althea officinalis root
Marsh Pennywort–Hydrocotyle vulgaris
Marsh Samphire–Salsola kali
Marsh Trefoil–Menyanthes trifoliata
Marum–identity uncertain; similar to Marjoram or Dittany of Crete, either of which can be substituted for it.
Mary’s Thistle–Silybum marianum
Masterwort–Imperatoria ostruthium (syn. Peucedanum ostruthium)
Mastic–an aromatic gum collected from Pistacia lentiscus or related species, mainly from the Greek island of Chio.
Mastic Herb–Thymus mastichina (C)
Mayweed, Stinking–Anthemis cotula (syn. Pyrethrum parthenium)
Mead–Fermented Honey and Water
Mentha Saracenica–see Saracen’s Mint
Mercurialis–see Mercury (herb)
Mercurius Calcinatus per se–Red Precipitate: Mercuric Oxide: HgO
Mercurius Precipitatus–Red Mercuric Oxide (first described by Gerber)
Mercurius Dulcis–see Calomel
Mercury–1. the Metal; 2. one of the 3 alchemical elements, Salt, Sulphur and Mercury; 3. herbs of the euphorbiaceous genus Mercurialis, such as M. perennis (which is poison), and M. annua, also called English Mercury. French Mercury is M. gallium. The latter is being called for when 1 oz. of Mercury is written in an internal formula!!!
Meu(m)–Spignel, Meu athamanticum
Mezeron Spurge–Daphne mezereum
Middle Comfrey–see Bugle
Mild Arssmart–Persicaria maculata
Milk Thistle–Silybum marianum
Milk of Sulphur–Precipitated Sulphur
Millipedes, Pill–usually Armadillidium vulgare; Glomeris marginata is the common European Pill Millipede
Milii Solis– see Gromwell
Millium Solis–see Gromwell
Mineral Alkali–Hydrated Sodium Carbonate
Mineral Pitch–see Bitumen
Minium–Red Lead Oxide: Pb3O4
Mints–a number of Mentha species were commonly used: Garden Mint, Wild Mint, Water Mint and Field Mint (also called Calamint) being among the most common.
Mint, Garden–Mentha viridis
Mint, Horse–Mentha sylvestris
Mint, Water–Mentha aquatica
Mint, Wild–Mentha sylvestris
Mirrhis–Anthriscus cerefolium herb
Mistletoe–Viscum album leaf, twigs, wood; most revered was that of the Oak; but Apple, Pear, Peach, Mulberry, Ash tree, Barberry etc. have been used.
Mithridate–a large compound used as an Antipoison, and used for around 2000 years. Named after King Mithridate.
Momordica–see Apple of Jerusalem
Monk’s Rhubarb–Rumex alpinus
Mortal (Bittersweet)–Solanum dulcamara
Morus diaboli–see Devil’s Bit
Moss–various species of Muscus.
Moss, Ground–Lychen terrestris
Mother of Pearl–the inner lining of the shell of the shellfish in which Pearls are found. Other shells containing nacre are also called Mother of Pearl.
Mother of Thyme–Thymus serpilliun
Motherwort–Leonurus cardiaca herb
Mountain Fleabane–Senecio jacobea
Mountain Parsley–Athamanta Oreoselinum (syn. Apium montanum) Mouse-ear–Hieracium pilosella (syn. Cerastium vulgatum)
Mullein, Black–Verbascum nigra
Mullein Dock–Verbascum thapsus flower, herb
Mullein, White–Verbascum thapsus flower, herb
Mummy–1. ‘and the mumia of Avicen is supposed to be a kind of pissasphaltum’. This means the Indian Shilajit of modern use in India. The similar product derived from Arab regions is still called ‘Mumiya’;
2. mummified Human flesh. This was used to move the blood and clear bruising. Traditionally, Mummy was derived from ancient mummified bodies in Arab countries, particularly Egypt.
In the 17th Century, these mummified bodies were often the remains of Caravan trains which had been swallowed by the Desert Sands in wind storms. The people were suffocated and dried by the sands, thus preserving them. At a later time, they would appear as the sands moved. They were then treated and prepared for the market.
A more gruesome source was the abduction and murder of street people in some Arab countries and supposedly, even in some European towns. Some old writers giving detailed instructions for the preparation of Mummy from a freshly killed body. Shilajit or Myrrh are substitutes.
Mumiya was mistranslated from the Arabs as Mummy–mummified human flesh. But the real medicine they referred to was Shilajit, still called Mumiya in some countries. Thus, the whole inspiration for the use of mummified flesh was based on a misconception, and most formulas where 'Mummy' was called for was in fact based on the use of Mumiya (Shilajit) by the Arabs.
Muriatic Acid–Hydrochloric Acid
Muscus–1. Moss; 2. sometimes Musk
Muscus terrestris–Earth moss
Musk–secretion from, or whole gland of the Musk Deer, Moschus moschiferus. Storax may be used as a substitute, which may be combined with Calamus, Camphor or Saffron for added effect.
Mustard, Black–Sinapis nigra seed
Mustard, Hedge–Sisymbrium officinal
Mustard, White–Sinapis alba seed
Myrobalans–a term used for several Indian fruits. Traditionally, 5 different types were listed; nowadays, these may be replaced by the 3 main Myrobalans, Belleric, Chebulic and Emblic (as used in Ayurveda under the name Triphala). The Five Myrobalan fruits:
i. Belleric (Terminalia bellerica)
ii. Chebulic (Terminalia chebula)
iii. Emblic (Emblica officinalis)
iv. Black or Indian (small black type of Terminalia chebula)
v. Citrine or Yellow (large yellow type of Terminalia chebula)
Myrrh–Commiphora molmol gum
Myrrh, English–Cicufaria odorata
Myrtle Flag–Iris pseudoacorus
Myrtle Grass–Iris pseudoacorus
Nardi Celtica–see Celtic Spikenard
Nardi Indica–see Spikenard
Nasturtium aquaticum–see Water-cress
Nasturtium hortensis–see Garden Cress
Nephritic wood–a wood imported from South America.
Nettle–Urtica dioica seed, root, leaf
Nightshade, Black–Solanum nigrum
Nightshade, Common–Solanum nigrum
Nightshade, Deadly–Atropa belladonna
Nitre–Saltpetre; Potassium nitrate; KNO3
Noble Aconite–see Anthora
Nut–usually refers to Walnuts
Nutgrass–see Cyperus rotundus
Nux–Nut; usually refers to Walnut
Nux Moschata–see Nutmeg
Nux Pinea–Pine Nuts
Nux Vomica–the seed of Strychnos nux vomica which contain strychnine, a potent toxin.
Oak–Quercus spp. leaf, bark and acorns
Oats–Avena sativa seed
Ochre–Yellow Ochre, a natural earth containing hydrated iron oxide. Oenantha–see Filipendula
Oil (if unspecified)–Olive (in Europe), or Sesame (in Indian and China).
Oil of Peter–Petroleum
Oil of Sulphur per Campanum–Sulphuric acid.
Oil of Tartar per deliquium–Potassium subcarbonate that's taken up water
Oil of Vitriol–Sulphuric Acid (made by distilling Iron Sulphate)
Olibanum–another name for Frankincense, Boswellia spp.
Olive Spurge–Daphne mezereum
Omphacine, Oil–oil of unripe Olives.
Onycha–see Blatta Byzantina.
One Berry–Paris quadrifolia
Opening roots–see the Two Opening
Opium Poppy–Papaver somniferum
Opobalsamum–liquor (resin) of Commiphora opobalsamum Opopanax–gum-resin of Opopanax chironum (syn. Ferula opopanax) of Turkish and Persian origin.
Orach (Arrach)–Atriplex hortensis
Orange–Citrus x sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium var. dulcis, or Citrus aurantium)
Orchis–Orchis maculata root
Oregane–Origanum vulgare herb
Oregano–Origanum vulgare herb
Oreganum–Origanum vulgare herb
Orris–Iris germanica root
Osmund Royal–see Water Fern
Osteocolla–Tubes of bone-like structure of limestone and sand that form in the soil around dead tree roots and inside often contain wood particles. Used for Fractures. Soloman’s Seal root was an accepted substitute.
Ox-eye–Leucanthemum vulgare, syn. Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Oxycrate–a mixture of Vinegar and Water.
Oxymel–mixture of Vinegar and Honey
Oxyrrhodina–a mixture of Rose Vinegar with Oil of Roses; used as a fomentation externally for heat type headache and pain; often a little Camphor was added.
Palma–see Date palm
Papaver erraticum–see Red Poppy
Parietaria–see Pellitory of the Wall
Parsley–Petroselinum hortense, P. crispum seed, leaf, root
Parsley Breakstone–Alchemilla arvense
Parsley, Common Stone–Sison amomum
Parsley Piert–Alchemilla arvense
Parsley, Rock–Peucedanum officinale
Parsley, Small Stone–Caucalis arvensis
Parsley, Smooth Stone–Caucalis leptophylla
Parsnip (Garden Parsnip)–Pastinaca sativa
Parsnip, Cow–Heracleum sphondylium
Parsnip, Upright Water–Sium latifolium, S. angustifolium
Parsnip, Water–Sempervium aquatica
Pasque flower–Pulsatilla vulgaris
Pastinacae latifolia–see Parsnip
Pastinacae sylvestris–see Wild Parsnip
Paul’s Betony––Veronica officinalis
Peach–Prunus persica, kernels, bark
Pearmaines–any of several varieties of Apple
Pellitory of Spain–Anacyclus pyrethrum
Pellitory of the Wall–Parietaria diffusa
Penids–also called Pennets or Sugar Pennets, a sugar confection made with Barley water.
Pennyroyal–Mentha pulegium herb
Pennyroyal, Wall–Cotyledon umbilicus
Pennywort, Marsh–Hydrocotyle vulgaris
Pennywort, Wall–Cotyledon umbilicus
Pentaphyllum– see Cinquefoil
Peony–Paeonia officinalis root and seed; the Chinese White Peony may be used synonymously.
Peony, Male–Paeonia officinalis
Pepper–see Long and Black Peppers
Pepper, Guinea–Capsicum frutescens
Peppermint–Mentha x piperita herb
Pepper, Water–Polygonum hydropier
Periwinkle–Vinca major herb
Periwinkle, Great–Vinca major herb
Periwinkle, Lesser–Vinca minor herb
Petroselinum–see Stone Parsley
Petroselinum montanum–see Mountain Parsley
Petroselinum Macedonicum–see Macedonian Stone Parsley Phistaciorum–Pistachio
Phu magnum–Garden Valerian
Phu parvum–Wild Valerian
Pill Millipedes–Pill Bug, any of various species of Armadillidium
Pimpernel Rose–Rosa rubigosa
Pimpernel, Water–Anagallis aquatica
Pine–Pinus spp.; bark, leaves, nuts; typically Pinus sylvestris
Pineatum (Pineolatum)–made of Pine Nuts, Sugar and Rose Water as March Pane is of Almonds.
Pinings–1. to Long for something; 2. failing Health or Energy, or Wasting due to Grief, Longing, Emotions etc.
Pissasphaltos–1. a mixture of Pitch and Resin; 2. a natural product resembling a mixture of Pitch and Bitumen; 3. Asphalt or ‘Indian Bitumen’. It is likely that the natural Pissasphaltum is the same as the modern Indian Shilajit.
Pistachio–Pistachio vera, nut
Pitch–Pitch from Pine, Fir, Larch, Cedar or Turpentine trees
Pix Liquida–Tar; Pitch from Pinus sylvestris
Pizzle–genitals, usually of Bull or Stag
Plantaginis aquatica–see Water Plantain
Plantain–Plantago major herb, seed; see also Ribwort Plantain
Plantain, Buck’s-Horn–Plantago coronopsus
Plantain, Grass–Plantago coronopsus
Plantain, Ribwort–Plantago lanceolata
Ploughman’s Spikenard–Conyza squarrosa
Polii–see Poley Mountain
Poley–see Poley Mountain
Poley Montane–Teucrium polium
Polypody–a fern of the genus Polypodium, especially P. vulgare. The best was that gathered from an Oak tree, ‘Polypody of the Oak’.
Polypody quercini–Polypody of the Oak
Polytrichum–a Red Maidenhair
Pomegranate–Punica granatum bark, flower, and skin of the fruit.
Pontic Rhubarb–Rheum rhaponticum
Pontic Wormwood–Artemesia ponticum
Poplar, Black–Poplar nigra
Poplar, White–Poplar albus
Poppy–Papaver somniferum seed, dried juice.
Poppy, Black–Papaver nigrum
Poppy, Crowfoot–Papaver ranunculus
Poppy, Opium–Papaver somniferum
Poppy, Red–Papaver rhoeas
Poppy, Violet-horned–Chelidonium corniculatum
Poppy, White–Papaver somniferum
Poppy, Yellow-horned–Glaucium luteum
Pot Marjoram–Origanum onites
Prassium album–see Marrubium
Precipitated Chalk–Precipitated Calcium Carbonate: CaCO3
Prepared–used in general to show that a medicine must be prepared for use; in herbs it often referred to steeping in Vinegar (this includes Coriander seed, Hellebore etc.); in Metals and Minerals, it may refer to heating and quenching a number of times, then levigating with water or Rose water until it cannot be felt when rubbed between the fingers. For Lapis Lazuli, it means washing the powdered stone with water or Rose water 10-15 times to wash off irritant salts.
Prickly Bindweed–see Sarsaparilla
Puff-Ball–(Fungii) Lycoperdon spp.
Pugil–a measurement, usually reserved for flowers, in which a pinch of what can be picked up by 3 fingers at once is meant.
Pulmonaria arborea–Tree Lungwort
Pumice–a mineral found floating in the ocean; either from volcanic eruptions, or from the dried bones of Costazia spp; mainly Silicon Dioxide
Pumpkin–Curcurbita maxima, seed
Purslane–Portulacea oleracea herb, seed.
Pyrite–’Fire Stone’; native Iron Disulphide or Iron-Copper Sulphide
Pyrola–Pyrola rotundifolia (Wintergreen)
Quick grass–see Couch Grass
Radish, Common–Raphanus sativus
Radish, Garden–Raphanus sativus
Radish, Wild–Cochlearia armoracia
Ragwort, Great Broad-Leaved–Senecio saracenicus
Ragwort, Water–Senecio jacobea
Raisins of the Sun–Sun-dried Raisins
Rampion, Hairy Sheep’s–Phyteuma spicatum
Rampion, Horned–Phyteuma obiclare
Rampion, Sheep’s–Jasione montana
Raphani hortensis–see Radish
Raphani sylvestris–see Horseradish
Raspberry–Rubus idaeus leaf, fruit
Rattle Grass–Rhinanthus crista-galli
Raw Silk–the untreated cocoons of the Silkworm after the worm has left. These were often used in Cordial medicines, to protect the Heart from Poison.
Red Clover–Trifolium pratense flower
Red Lead–Minium, Red Lead Oxide
Red Poppy–Papaver rhoeas
Red Precipitate–Red Oxide of Mercury: HgO.
Red Rattle Grass–Pedicularis sylvatica
Reins–Kidneys and Ureters.
Resin–of the Turpentine tree, or of Cyprus Turpentine (which is best) Restharrow–Ononis spinosa, O. repens
Rhenish Wine–Rhine Wine, wine from the Rhine region
Rhubarb–Rheum palmatum root
Rhubarb, Culinary–Rheum rhaponticum
Rhubarb, Monk’s–Rumex alpinus
Rhubarb of Peru–see Mechoachanna
Rhubarb, Tart–Rheum rhaponticum
Ribwort Plantain–Plantago lanceolata
River Crabs Eyes–see Crabs Eyes
River Crayfish Eyes–see Crabs Eyes
Rocket Cress, Annual–Hesperis matronalis
Rocket Cress, Dwarf–Iberis nudicaulis
Rocket, Garden–Eruca sativa
Rocket, Purple Sea–Cakile maritima
Rocket, Wild–Eruca sylvestris
Rocket, Winter–Eruca brumalis
Roman Nigella–Nigella romana
Root of Scarcity–Beta altissima
Rosa Solis–see Sundew
Rose–flowers of R. gallica (syn. R. rubra), the Gallic or Red Rose; R. damascena, the Damask Rose; R. centifolia, the French Rose. When ‘Rose’ was ordered, the first was meant; ‘Damask Rose’ signifying the second, the third rarely being called for. Red flowers were used, rarely the white.
Rose, Damask–Rosa damascena
Rose Oil–infusion of Roses in olive oil (usually repeated 3 or more times)
Rosehip–Rosa canina fruit
Rosemary–Rosmarinus officinalis leaf, flowers; rarely the wood
Rosemary, Marsh–Andromeda polifolia
Rose, White–Rosa alba
Rubia Tinctorum–see Madder
Rue–Ruta graveolens herb, seed
Rue, Meadow–Thalictum flavum
Rue, Wild–Thalictum flavum
Ruscus–see Butcher’s Broom
Rush Leeks–see Chives
Rush Squinanth–Juncus odoratus
Rust of Iron–Iron oxide
Rushy Glonde–Subularia aquatica
Ruta muraria–see Wall Rue
Sack (Wine)–any one of various strong, dry, white Wines from Spain or the Canary Islands.
Safflower–Carthamus tinctorius flower
Saffron–Crocus sativus flower pistils; 3-5 times the amount of Safflower or Calendula can be used as a substitute.
Saffron, Bastard–Carthamus tinctorius
Saffron, Meadow–Colchicum autumnale
Saffron, Wild–Carthamus tinctorius
Sagapen–Ferula persica gum-resin; similar to and related to Asafetida.
Sage–Salvia officinalis leaf, flower
Sage, Small–Salvia minor virtutis
Sage of Life–see Wall Rue
Sage of Virtue–Salvia minor virtutis
Sage, Wood–Salvia agrestis
St. John’s Wort–Hypericum perforatum
St. Peter’s Wort–Ascyrum stans
Sal–Salt; common Sea Salt (unrefined)
Sal Ammoniac–Ammonium chloride, NH4Cl
Sal Commune–Common Salt: NaCl
Sal Enixum–Potassium Bisulphate:
Sal Gem–Rock Salt (mined, not from the ocean)
Sal Mirabilis–Glauber's Salt; Sodium Sulphate, Na2SO4.10H2O
Sal Nominus–Rock Salt
Sal Polycrestum–Tartar Vitriolate, Potassium Sulphate
Sal Prunella–Fused Saltpeter or Niter (potassium nitrate), purified with Sulphur.
Salt of Alembroth–a double chloride of Mercury and Ammonia; Hg2(NH4) 2Cl4.H2O
Salt Essential–see Essential Salt
Salt, Fixed–see Fixed Salt
Salt of Greece–Alum
Salt of Hartshorn–Ammonium carbonate, (NH4)2CO3
Salt of Hungary–Rock Salt.
Salt of Saturn–Lead acetate
Salt of Tartar–Potassium carbonate; white, calcined Tartar.
Salt of Wormwood–principally Potassium carbonate, K2CO3.
Salts of Herbs (Essential Salt)–The herb is burnt to ashes and dissolved in water, filtered, and evaporated to obtain a Salt; the remaining insoluble salts are called the Caput Mortam.
Salzburg Vitriol–Copper Sulphate
Samech–Tartar, or Salt of Tartar.
Samnian Earth–see Earth of Samnos
Samphire, Marsh–Salsola kali
Samphire, Prickly–Echinophora spinosa
Samphire, Rock–Crithmum maritimum
Samphire, Small–Crithmum maritimum
Sandalwood–Santalum album (White), S. rubrum (Red, syn. Pterocarpus santilinus), S. citrinum (Yellow), wood
Sandaraca–1. Juniper gum; 2. Realgar (Arsenic)
Sanguinaria (Buckthorn)–Rhamnus catharticus
Sanguis Draconis–see Dragon’s Blood
Sanicle–the umbelliferous herb Sanicula europaea or other related species.
Sapphirus–generally taken for Sapphire, Sapphirus was Lapis Lazuli in Pliny’s day.
Saracenica–see Golden Rod
Saracen’s All-heal–see Golden Rod
Saracen’s Consound–Senecio saracenicus
Saracen’s Mint–(also called Roman Mint and St. Mary’s Mint)
Sarcocol, Sarcocolla–a gum resin similar to Frankincense
Sardonix–(Sardonyx); a kind of the stone onyx with bands of Sard in it (Sard is a brownish-red chalcedony); Pharmacopoeia Augustana lists Carnioli (Carnelian)
Sarsaparilla–Smilax officinalis root
Sassafras–Sassafras albidum wood
Savin–tops of Juniperus sabina
Savory–Satureia spp.; S. hortensis is the Summer Savory; S. montana is the Winter Savory.
Savory, Summer–1. Satureia hortensis; 2. Thymus mastichina (C) (less commonly)
Saxifrage–(lit. ‘Stone-breaker’) Pimpinella saxifraga or related species
Saxifrage Burnet–Pimpinella saxifraga
Saxifrage, Great Burnet–Pimpinella magna; Pimpinella saxifraga major
Saxifrage, White–Saxifraga alba
Scarlet Pimpernel–Anagallis arvensis herb
Scolopendrium verum–see Ceterach
Scolopendrium vulgaris–see Hound’s Tongue
Scordium–see Water Germander
Scorzonera–also called Spanish Scorzonera; it is the root of Scorzonera hispanica.
Sea Colewort–Brassica marina
Sea Eryngo–Eryngium maritimum
Sea Fennel–Echinophora spinosa
Sea Feverfew–Tanacetum maritima
Sea Grass–Salsola kali
Sea Holly–Eryngium maritinum root
Sea Onion–see Squill
Sea Wormwood–Artemisia maritima, Absynthium serippium
Sealed Earth–see Terra Sigillata
Sebestens–Plum-like fruit of Cordia Myxa, and Cordia latifolia
Self Heal–Prunella vulgaris herb, spikes
Senna–Cassia spp. C. angustifolia, C. acutifolia, C. senna and others; leaf, seed pods
Serpentary, English–(Bistort) Polygonum bistorta
Serpillum–see Mother of Thyme
Sesame–Sesamum indicum seed
Seseleos–see Siler Montane
Seseli–1. see Siler Montane; 2. Hartwort
Shepherd’s Purse–Capsella bursa-pastoris
Sigilli Salomonis–see Solomon’s Seal
Siler Montane– Laserpitium siler (syn. Siler montanum)
Silk–Raw Silk was used, often in its ‘Toasted’ or ‘Torrefied’ state. This refers to the raw Cocoons of the Silkworms before they are treated. These are sometimes used in TCM.
Sisimbrium–Mentha hortensis; Mentha aquatica
Slaked Lime–Calcium Hydroxide, Ca(OH)2
Smallage–wild Celery; Apium graveolens
Small Dock–see Lesser Burdock
Smallage–Celery, Apium graveolens, especially in its wild state.
Snails–Helix spp., flesh of
Snakeweed–(Bistort) Polygonum bistorta
Sneezewort–see White Hellebore
Sol–1. the Sun; 2. Gold
Soloman’s Seal–Polygonatum spp. P. multiflorum, P. officinale and others; root.
Sowbread–Cyclamen hederifolium spp.
Sow Fennel–Peucedanum officinale
Spanish Bugloss–Anchusa tinctoria
Spearmint–Mentha spicata herb
Spermaceti–a pale waxy substance found in the head of a Sperm Whale, used in ointments and cosmetics.
Spica Celtica–see Spikenard, Celtic
Spica Indica–see Indian Spikenard
Spike–see Spikenard; sometimes used for Lavender
Spikenard, Celtic–Valeriana celtica
Spikenard, Indian–Nardostachys jatamansi, an important Ayurvedic medicine, similar in use to Valerian.
Spikenard, Ploughman’s–Conyza squarrosa
Spina alba–several plants were known as Spina alba: 1. Carduus marianus; 2. Rhamnus catharticus (Buckthorn); 3. Onopordum acanthium (Cotton thistle, Scotch thistle); 4. Echinopis spp.; 5. Eryngium spp.
Spirit of Nitre–Nitric acid, HNO3.
Spirit of Salt–Hydrochloric Acid, HCl
Spirit of Turpentine–Oil of Turpentine
Spirit of Vitriol–Sulphuric acid, H2SO4.
Spirit of Wine–Alcohol; Brandy.
Spiritum Vini–Spirits of Wine; Brandy
Spodium–The term ‘Spodium’ is used for two separate things: Spodium Graecum, the Spodium of the Greeks which is Burnt Ivory (also called Antispodium), and Spodium Arabum, the Arab Spodium which is Tabasheer, or Bamboo silica. In addition, ancient Greek sources sometimes called Pompholyx Spodium.
In basically all formulas where Spodium is listed, it is the latter Arab Spodium, or Tabasheer. This Spodium appearing in formulas of the Arab writers including Avicenna, Mesue and Nicolas is referring to Tabasheer.
Renodeus said: ‘Burnt Ivory is foolishly and ineptly called Spodium, and substituted for the fictitious Arabian Spodium; for let Apothecaries believe as they will, there is but one true Spodium, and that is Greek Pompholyx [probably crude Zinc oxide], which should never be introsumed [inwardly taken]. The Arabian interpreters are also miserably out, in rendering Tabaxir [Tabasheer] Spodium, and Spodium Burnt Ivory: for Tabaxir is the succe [juice] or concreted liquor of certain trees, or very crass and tall reeds [ie Bamboo] ... from which burning Avicenna mendicated his Spodium, or rather Tabaxir, which his insidious interpreter Clusius calls his Spodium. But we get not this Tabaxir from India’.
Tabasheer is much used in Indian, Unani, Tibetan and Chinese medicine to clear Heat and Phlegm, clear Toxin, and Stops Spasms; used for Fevers, Convulsions from Heat etc.
Spotted Lungwort–see Lungwort
Spurge–Greater and Lesser Spurge
Spurge Laurel–Daphne laureola
Squill–Drimia maritima is the most recent name; traditionally known to herbalists as Scilla maritima
Stag’s Heart Bone–see Bones of a Deers Heart.
Stinking Arrach–Atriplex olida
Stinking Gladwin–Iris foetidissima
Stinking Mayweed–Anthemis cotula (syn. Pyrethrumparthenium)
Stinking Motherwort–(Wild Arrach) Atriplex olida
Stoechas–see French Lavender
Stonecrop, Common–Sedum acre
Stonecrop, Crooked Yellow–Sedum reflexum
Stonecrop Houseleek–Sedum reflexum
Stonecrop, Orpine–Sedum telephium
Stone of Vulcan–Pumice
Stone Parsley–Sison amomum
Stone Smallage–see Macedonian Stone Parsley
Stones from the Head of Fish–(Perches, Whitings etc.): used to clear Stones; sometimes used for mental or brain disorders.
Storax–a solid resin obtained from Styrax officinalis
Strawberry–Fragaria sp., leaf, fruit
Styrax Calamitis–a liquid balsam obtained from Liquidamber orientalis
Succinite, Succinum–Amber (see Amber)
Succory–Chicory, Chicorium intylus; used similarly to Dandelion.
Suet–hard fatty tissues around the loins and kidneys of sheep, cattle etc.
Sugar of Lead–Saccharum Saturni: Lead Acetate: Pb(CH3CO)2
Sulphurated Potash–complex Polysulphides of Potassium
Sulphur Vive–’live Sulphur’; Sulphur which has not been fired or sublimed.
Sulphur-wort–see Hog Fennel
Summer Savory–1. Satureia hortensis; 2. Thymus mastichina (C) (less commonly) Sundew–(Rosa solis); Drosera rotundifolia; also D. peltata (Pale Sundew)
SV–Spiritum Vitae, alcohol or brandy
Swallow-wort–1. Celandine (which see). 2. Vincetoxicum officinale (used as an emetic and counterpoison).
Sweet Basil–Ocimum basilicum
Sweet Briar–Rosa rubigosa
Sweet Chervil–Anthriscus cerefolium herb
Sweet Cicely–Anthriscus cerefolium herb
Tamarinds–the fruit of Tamarindus indica
Tamarisk–Tamarix gallica, a tree of the Mediterranean.
Tansy–Tanacetum vulgare flowering herb
Tartar–Tartar of Wine: Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate (this becomes Cream of Tartar when purified): KNC4H4O6
Tartar Emetic––Potassium Anti-monyl Tartrate, KSbOC4H4O6.1/2H2O
Tartar Vitriolate–Sal Polycrestum, Potassium Sulphate, K2SO4 Tartarum–Argall, Lees of Wine
Terra–Earth; often Kaolin-type clay earths were used, named depending on the area in which they originate from.
Terra Alba–synonym for Chalk
Terra Argenti: Silver Litharge
Terra Auri–Gold Litharge
Terra Foetida–synonym for Ceruse
Terra Japonica–Catechu (especially Pale Catechu, Uncaria gambier)
Terra Lemnia–Earth of Lemnos.
Terra Sigilatta–Sealed Earth
Theriac–a large compound (up to 250 ingredients in the original), used for almost 1000 years; the Venice version contained over 60 medicines and was most commonly used throughout 16th and 17th century Europe.
Thistle, Blessed–Carduus benedictus
Thistle, Gum–Euphorbia helioscopia
Thistle, Mary’s–Silybum marianum
Thistle, St. Mary’s–Silybum marianum
Thlapsi–several species of Penny-cress; inc. Thlapsi arvense, T. rotundifolium
Thorough-wax–(Hares Ear) Bupleurum rotundifolium
Throatwort–Scrophularia nodosa root
Thuja–Thuja occidentalis leaf
Thyme–Thymus vulgaris herb
Tile tree–see Linden
Topaz–a clear or yellow transparent gemstone; a fluosilicate of alumina. The ancient Topaz was Chrysolite or Peridot.
Tormentil–Potentilla tormentilla root
Torrefied–parched or roasted
Tragacanth–see Gum Tragacanth
Tribulus–Tribulus terrestris seed
Trichomanes–a Red Maidenhair, Asplenium trichomanes
Trifolium–Three plants were called by this name: 1. Sorrel; 2. Golden Trifolium is Liverwort (Epatica); 3. Sweet Trifolium (Meliot)
Tumeric–Curcurma longa root
Turkey Rhubarb–see Rhubarb
Turpentine–oleoresin of Pinus palustris or Pistacia terebinthus
Turpeth Mineral–a hydrolysed form of Mercuric Sulphate: a yellow crystalline powder of Mercuric Sulphate made by Basil Valentine.
Tutty–impure Zinc oxide, traditionally obtained from the flutes of smelting furnaces, or from certain native minerals.
Two Opening Roots–roots of Fennel and Parsley.
Umbilicus Marinus–a Sea shell which represents the human umbilicus.
Unguis odoratus–see Blatta Byzantina.
Unicorns Horn–thought to be from the mythical Unicorn, this horn was actually derived from the Narwal, most of the horns being found washed up on beaches of the Arctic and northern islands, presumably where there were also white horses roaming!
Urtica mortua–see Dead Nettle
Valerian–Valeriana officinalis root
Valerian, Greek–Polemonium ceruleum
Velvet Dock–Verbascum thapsus
Velvet Flower–Amaranthus hypochondriacus
Venushair–similar to Maidenhair.
Verdigris–mainly basic Copper Sulphate. Used in various external remedies.
Verjuice–a sour juice made from unripe Grapes, or sometimes unripe Crab apples etc. Used for culinary or other purposes.
Vermillion–Cinnabar (usually the artifical, the native form being called Cinnabar)
Vernix–Juniper tree gum
Veronica–Speedwell, Veronica officinlis
Vervain–Verbena officinalis herb
Vinca Pevinca–see Periwinkle
Violet–Viola odorata herb, flower
Vipers Bugloss–Echium vulgare
Vipers Grass–Scorzonera hispanica
Virga aurea–see Golden Rod
Virginian Snakeroot–Aristolchia serpentina.
Virginian Snakeweed–Aristolchia serpentina
Vitis– ‘Vine’ (Grape-vine)
Vitriol–1. certain metallic sulphates with a glass-like appearance, they are crystallised sulfates of divalent metals, typically Green (Ferrous), Blue (Copper, with large amounts of ferrous sulphate admixed), and White (Zinc); 2. Sulphuric acid
Vitriol of Iron–Iron Sulphate
Volatile Salt–the volatile Salts which rise during sublimation of mineral or animal medicines.
Vulvaria–(Wild Arrach) Atriplex olida
Wake Robin–Arum vulgare, A. triphyllum
Wallflower–(White) Cheiranthus cheiri; (Red) Mathiola incana.
Wall Pennywort–Cotyledon umbilicus
Wall Rue–Asplenium rutamuraria
Walnut–Jugulans regia nut, green husk, leaf, bark,
Water–a water of a specific Herb means the distilled water of that Herb. This was sometimes distilled of the fresh herb; otherwise it was distilled from the dry herb which had been steeped in water or wine; sometimes the herb was fermented before being distilled (which is generally best).
Water Agrimony–Bidens tripartita
Water Betony–1. Betonica aquatica; 2. Scrophularia nodosa.
Water Caltrops–Trapa spp. (maybe also Tribulus terrestris)
Watercress–Nasturtium officinale herb
Water Fern–(Osmund Royal) Osmunda regalis
Water Figwort–Scrophularia aquatica root
Water Germander–Teucrium Scordium
Water Gladiole–Butomus umbellatus
Water Hemp–(Water Agrimony) Bidens tripartita
Water Lentils–Lens palustris
Water Lily–Nymphea spp.; N. alba (White), N. lutea (Yellow); root, leaf, flower, seed
Water Parsnip–Sempervium aquatica
Water Pepper–Polygonum hydropier
Water Pimpernel–Veronica spp.
Water Plantain–Alisma plantago
Water Houseleek–Sedum spp.
Water Seagreen–Sedum spp.
White Amber–a white variety of Amber; said to the most ‘matured’, with the best scent, and was therefore accounted best.
White Dittany–Dictamnus albus
White Hellebore–Hellborus alba
White Lily–Lilium candidum
White Maidenhair–see Wall Rue
White Mullein–Verbascum thapsus
White Poplar–Poplar alba
White Saxifrage–Saxifraga alba
White Vitriol–Zinc Sulphate
Whitlow Grass–Draba verna
Wholesome Wolfsbane–see Anthora
Whortleberries (Red or Black)–Vaccinium myrtillus
Wild Arrach–Atriplex olida
Wild Briar–R. canina; Rosa rubigosa
Wild Carrot–Daucus carota, both wild and domestic; mainly the seed
Wild Cucumber–Elaterium is the dried juice of the Wild Cucumber
Wild Gourd–see Coloquintida
Wild Marjoram–Origanum vulgare
Wild Mint–Mentha sylvestris
Wild Mustard–1. Erysimon officinale; 2. sometimes Horseradish
Wild Parsley–Smyrnium olusatrum
Wild Parsnip–Pastinaca sativa
Wild Pink–Motthiala incona
Wild Radish–see Horseradish
Wild Rocket–Eruca sylvestris
Wild Saffron–see Safflower
Wild Thyme–Thymus serpillyum
Wild Vine (white)–Bryonia dioica
Willow–Salix alba leaf, bark
Winter Cherry–Physalis alkekengi
Winter Cress–Eruca brumalis
Winter Marjoram–Origanum vulgare
Winter Rocket–Eruca brumalis
Wood Betony–Betonica officinalis
Wood of Aloes–see Aloeswood
Wood Sage–Salvia agrestis
Wood Sorrel–Oxalis acetosella
Wood Vine (Bryony)–Bryonia dioica
Woody Nightshade (Bittersweet)– Solanum dulcamara
Woolly Faverel–Draba incana
Wormseed (European)–Artemisia maritima, var. Stechmanniana
Wormwood–Artemisia absinthum herb
Woundwort, Clown’s–Stachys palustris
Woundwort, Hedge–Stachys sylvatica
Woundwort, Marsh–Stachys palustris
Xanthium–see Lesser Burdock
Yarrow–Achillea millefolium herb
Yellow Flag–Iris pseudoacorus
Yellow Goat’s Beard–Tragopogon porrifolius
Yellow Rattle Grass–Rhinanthus crista-galli
Yellow Willow Herb–Lysimachia vulgaris
Zedoary–Curcuma zedoaria, an important medicine in India, China and Tibet, and formerly in European medicine; used to move the Blood, clear Stasis, promote Menstruation and promote Digestion. Zerumbeth–Arabian or Round Zedoary; used similarly to Zedoary.
Zinc White–Zinc Oxide, ZnO