Folio 188r

Credit: Serapio, Senior: Practica Io. Serapionis dicta breuiarium, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

and afterward well-dried in the sun. Juice of this sort dried out is called acacia. It has constrictive and strengthening virtue. It can be kept for a year.

It is effective against bilious vomiting from a weakness of the power to restrain. Take acacia, mummy[1], and tragacanth or gum Arabic. Let these be blended with egg white and a plaster made on the collar bones. Or make cakes of them in a frying pan and be given, when steeped in rainwater or rose water, to drink.

The same can be done against a menstrual flux.

Against diarrhea: take acacia, hematite stone, hypoquistidos[2] and rose or rainwater. Prepare them and administer.

Against nosebleed or menstrual flux: Make a suppository of acacia and sanguinaria[3] juice for menstrual flux; tansy is added to the aforesaid.

Another: mix tansy, acacia, into plantain juice and make a suppository.

A plaster can also be made against vomiting and diarrhea from acacia, dragon’s blood,[4] mastic, rose oil, and egg white.

Against hot inflammation: acacia steeped with plantain or bindweed juice, or that of any cold herb is effective in the beginning.


[1] Mummy could be anyone of several substances prepared from mummies: powdered mummy, a bituminous substance, etc., although modern scholarship suggests that it was a mineral compound found naturally and not associated with mummies. See below, f. 202v.

[2] This is defined as “the juice of the fungus that grows at the base of the dog rose.” See Alphita, 86.

[3] Pliny remarks that “the Greeks call this polygonum,” which would make it knotweed.

[4] Defined in Alphita as “the gum of some tree growing in India and Persia.” P. 162.

Chap. 12 (f.188r): Concerning Agaric

Agaricus campestris, Field mushroom[1]

Agaric is warm in the second degree, dry in the third. Agaric is like a mushroom, and it grows around the root of the silver fir tree[2], and especially in Lombardy. There are moreover two species: one is feminine and the other masculine. The feminine sort is better and has a rounded form; when it is dried, it becomes a very pure white. The masculine type has an oblong form and is not so white. The white feminine type is light and fragile, and it has certain swellings within, and certain bits within, as though divided up. The masculine does not have these, but is continuous, and it is not so fragile or white, but its lightness can be either from its soundness or from its decay. If it is light from corruption, when it is handled by hand it is easily pulverized and the hand is left dusty from it. If it is sound, it isn’t. It can be preserved for 5 years in great efficacy. Primarily it purges phlegm, but secondarily melancholy.

Against a quotidian fever arising from natural phlegm[3]: agaric may be placed in some decoction which is given to the feverish patient with some other kinds, as with lemon grass.

Or else: after a purgation of the matter has been done, if a fever still persists, take one ounce of agaric, one ounce of fennel[4] juice, and an ounce of fumitory juice, and let them be mixed together. This may be given to the patient prior to the third hour of onset. Many have been relieved by this attempt alone.

Against an obstruction of the intestines: this works in the same way, or otherwise the patient may be given a softening clyster before and after. The clyster may be made thus: take one ounce of agaric and prepare it with oil and honey and some sort of mitigative water, like mallow water, and let this be injected by means of a clyster.

Against painful urination: take saxifrage and cook it well in wine, and strain it, and put five ounces of agaric in the strainings, and give it to the patient.

Against a fistula: take toasted salt, tartar, agaric, and when a very fine powder is made, prepare it with honey, and anoint and apply a pledget. It draws out broken bones, eats away bad flesh, and heals the fistula.

Against hemorrhoids: take the finest powder of agaric and prepare it with cyclamen juice and oil, and warm it at a fire, and it can be applied with a bit of silk dipped into it.

Against a skin disorder: take the aforesaid powder, that is toasted salt, agaric, tartar, and when the skin has been scarified, sprinkle it with the powder.

A decoction of agaric, beaver’s testicle, camel’s grass[5], senna soothes a headache arising from an abundance of phlegm. It also soothes the stomach, or if pills are made of them and mixed with fennel juice or absinthe, they work the same way.


[1] There are many species of agaric mushrooms. The Field mushroom is one that is 1. White, 2. Edible, but Platearius may well be writing about some other type, or no one in particular.

[2] This should be Abies alba.

[3] “Natural phlegm” is in contrast to “unnatural or naughty phlegm,” which arises from corruption by another humor.

[4] Ed. 1: fenum, ed. 2: foenicum, ed. 3 feniculum. Hay or fennel.

[5] Cymbopogon schoenanthus, also know as lemon grass.

Chap. 13 (f. 188r): Concerning Dill

Anethum graveolens, Dill

Dill is warm and dry in the second degree. Dill is an herb whose seed is principally suited for medicinal use, secondarily its root, and thirdly the plant; whence when dill is found in recipes, it should be known that this is the seed. It should be collected in the Spring and dried on the plant itself. It can be kept for three years with great efficacy, but it is better if it is renewed annually. Its dried root, moreover, is either of little or no use, but the plant is a diuretic.

A decoction of it is effective for painful or stopped urination; it is effective for this when given with litontropon.[1]

A syrup made from a decoction of it works for the same condition in the delicate; it may be given in the morning with sugar, with a decoction of dill.

But for children let a plaster be made about the hair of the pubes, from dill cooked in oil.

Against a pain of the uterus: two bunches of dill can be boiled in wine and plastered on, or dill sprouts can boil in wine and be made a suppository. It thus cleanses cold menstrual superfluities and draws out the afterbirth and the menses.

Against a disorder of the chest from the cold: five dried figs or four may be placed in dill juice overnight and, in the morning, a bit of wine added. Let this be well boiled and the strained liquid be administered.

Against hemorrhoids: take powdered nettle and powdered dill and prepare it with honey and rub it on the hemorrhoids. Or thus: dill, acanthus, (i) the seed of nettle, dried, pulverized and, when made into a plaster, put it on. If the hemorrhoids are flowing, apply the powder alone, for it contracts them a good deal. If the veins are not bleeding, but they appear inflated on the outside, steep the powder of dill with honey and egg white and apply it.

This is also effective against a fig-shaped hemorrhoid if it is inside the anus when made into a suppository.

A decoction of dill and mastic is effective against vomiting from a cold cause.

It also avails against hiccups arising from the same cause when placed on the nostrils, or when chewed, or cooked with meat, or drunk, for it comforts the head and the stomach.

Dill assuages severe pains and flatulence; it stops ordinary vomiting caused by food. Cooked in oil and plastered on, it stops hiccupping caused by fullness.

It provokes slumber and matures soft inflammations yet impairs the accustomed vision.

The flower of dill takes away headache when cooked in wine and applied. It also alleviates pain in struggling intestines and bellies.


[1] Norri, p. 607: “Electuary against urinary stones, containing herbs, roots, spices, and various seeds mixed with honey.”

Chap. 14 (f. 188r): Concerning Asphodel[1]

White Asphodel, from Wikimedia Commons

Asphodel is the same plant as one hundred-headed albutium,[2] It is warm and dry in the second degree. Its leaves are similar to the leaves of a leek. The root is better suited to medicine than the leaves. It is better in the green than dried. It has a diuretic force: it is effective for consuming, attracting, and drying. It is effective for the aforesaid, and in the same manner as dill, except that it is effective for sickness of the skin and alopecia in this way: take charred bees and mix a powder of them with asphodel juice, and this will be a fitting ointment against the aforesaid.

Against strangury and the stoppage of urine: in three ounces of asphodel juice, dissolve 1 ounce of powdered saxifrage and 1 ounce of gromwell and let them boil up to the consumption of two-thirds, and give the patient the strained fluid with sugar.

Against dropsy: let the mid-bark of dwarf-elder and 3 drams of dropwort [an] boil in 4 ounces of asphodel juice, and this may be given especially against white dropsy.[3]

Against an ulcer or any other affliction of the eyes: take 5 ounces of saffron and 5 ounces of myrrh and boil them in 5 pounds of good red wine and five pounds of asphodel juice up to reduction by half, and put it in the sun for many days so that it is reduced by half. It should be placed in a brazen vessel. It is marvelously effective if the eyes are daubed with such a salve.

It is also good against impetigo, as it was described for alopecia.


[1] There is a great deal of confusion about the meaning of “affodillus” in glossaries; identifications range from daffodil to garlic and sweet woodruff. Modern asphodel is a member of the Asphodelaceae.

[2] Again, this identification is circular: albutium is either asphodel or crow’s garlic; either will have a flower head or stalk composed of many flowers. Here, the 1587 ed. has the preferred reading: centum capita albutium, while the 1497 ed. reads cecum capita albutiam.

[3] Leucofleuma is “Dropsy stemming from phlegmatic humours, affecting entire body and making skin white.” Norri, 594.

Chap. 15 (f. 188r): Concerning Garlic

Garden Garlic (Allium sativum)  from Wikimedia commons

Wild garlic or scordeon (Allium vineale), from Wikimedia Commons

Garlic is warm and dry in the middle of the fourth grade. Some garlic is domestic, some is wild, that which is called scordeon. The latter, however, is less dry and warm than cultivated garlic, but we do not have a determination by how much in the authorities. It works moderately, however, whence the wild form should be used in medicinal recipes rather than the domestic, which works more violently. The former, however, does not.

We use the flowers of the wild garlic; this should be collected at the end of spring, hung in a shady place, and dried. They can be preserved with much efficacy for two years, but it is better if they are refreshed annually.

We use the heads of domestic garlic. It has the power of dissolving, consuming, and of expelling poison.

Against the bite of venomous animals: take crushed garlic and plaster it on.