Folio 193r

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

(Caperbush, cont.) given, moreover, twice in a week, evening or morning with warm water. And note that when a formula using it is found among medicines, the rind of its root ought to be put in.

Chap. 9 (f. 193r): Concerning Calamint[1]

Calamentha montana from Abe Books

 Calamint is warm and dry in the third degree. It is an herb which some call by another name, Nepeta. Mountain calamint is better, since it is drier. It should be collected when it produces flowers, and it can be kept for a year, hung in a shady place, and there it should be dried. It has very great effect, the property of dissolving and consuming.

Against a cold cough and asthma: give old wine in which it has been steeped, or wine of a decoction of ground calamint, raisins, and dried figs.

The electuary which is called diacalamentum is also effective, and this is it: ℞ ground calamint in great quantity, ground gentian, or in its place, licorice, in 3 or 4 parts; let this be consumed with  honey for a cough.

Let ground calamint be given in a soft-boiled egg, as well.

Little wafers may also be made from ground calamint and barley flour.

Against a stomachache and coldness of the intestines: a patient may use it ground in foods, and in a wine in which it has been steeped.

Against a cold flow of rheum, the back of the head may be anointed with honey in which a powder of it has been steeped; afterwards a little pouch of ground calamint, heated in a clay pot, or of the herb itself, is quite soothing.

Against a morbid inflammation of the uvula, make a gargle of vinegar in which it has been steeped. Relieve this with powdered roses and calamint; it is sufficient enough.

Against tenesmus from glassy phlegm or from some cold humor: the kidneys may be rubbed with honey alone or with honey in which ground calamint has been steeped. Afterward, sprinkle ground Greek pitch, nasturtium seed, and calamint over it, and bind tightly with a cloth. When he defecates, moreover, after a suffumigation of ground Greek pitch, calamint powder should be applied to the anus with a cotton ball, and thus Master Matthaeus Platearius was released, and his mother.

For drying up menstrual superfluity and fluid in the womb: make a foment of water in which calamint was steeped; this is effective enough, as Salernitanian women testify.

Calamint plastered on the bite of a reptile draws the venom from the interior parts to the exterior.

Its juice dripped into the ears kills worms, and in the same way all wounds, it destroys libido, it helps against leprosy.

If green calamint cooked in wine is put on pustules, it cleanses them.


Chap. 10 (f. 193r): Concerning Centaury

Greater and Lesser Centaury from Wikimedia[2]

 Centaury is warm and dry in the fourth degree. It is, moreover, a very bitter herb, whence it is called by its own name, “gall of the earth.” There is a greater centaury, which has greater efficacy, and a lesser which is of less efficacy. Constantine says that the root of the greater is warm and dry in the second degree and has bitterness with a little sweetness. It also has brininess, from which it has the property of binding together. From its bitterness it has a diuretic property. Centaury has greater effect according to its leaves and flowers, whence it should be collected when it begins to produce flowers and hung in a shaded place to dry. It can be kept for a year with great efficacy. It has a diuretic, attractive, and consumptive effect. Note that when centaury simply is found, the greater should be used.

Against an obstruction of the spleen, the liver, and the vessels of the kidneys, strangury and dysuria, wine in which centaury has been steeped is effective, with sugar added.

The herb itself, cooked in wine and oil and plastered on the kidneys, the pubes, and around the perineum and pudenda, also on the spleen, is soothing.

An ointment made from ground centaury or from its juice or oil with wax added, helps the spleen.

For hardness of the spleen and liver, make a syrup in the this way. Cook fennel root, wild celery, and parsley in centaury juice, and strain it. With sugar added, a syrup may be made.

Against severe pain in the intestines: ground centaury with salt water and oil may be injected through a clyster, with a softening medication preceding the clyster.

Give this also by the mouth: 5 scruples with simple benedictina[3] electuary with warm water.

It may be administered in the same way against paralysis.

Against worms of the ears: its juice mixed with leek juice may be dripped into the hollow of the ear.

Against tapeworms: let its juice be given, or its powder with honey.

For clarifying the sight, greater centaury root juice may be mixed with rose water, and the eye smeared with it.

For knitting together wounds: crush centaury root and put it over the wound, since it consolidates. The proof of this is that if a little is put on cut flesh, it draws it together, as Constantine says.

For a pustule of the eye make a salve of ground centaury and rose water. This is quite effective if the blemish is large. If, however, it is small, it shouldn’t be applied, since it corrodes the tissue of the eye.

For pain in the eyes, put a bit of silk dipped in nutmeg oil in which ground centaury has been mixed over it.

Against hemorrhoids, do likewise.

For a sickness of the chest, take centaury juice and three grains of sal ammoniac, and prepare them and give them for use. And if the illness was from a cold cause, even so with cold anointments preceding.

For provoking menstruation, take Persian asafetida and warm it at a fire, and add ground centaury so that it is glued together with the asafetida. And afterwards, dip it in centaury juice and make a suppository.

Or make a suppository of ground centaury with the lees of olive oil.

This may be injected by means of a pessary with bull’s gall dissolved in centaury juice. It induces menstruation, the afterbirth, and the dead fetus.

A water in which the former has been steeped works too.

Constantine says that this water and Persian asafetida cooked in it knit together wounds.

A measure of centaury, that is drunk with wine, aids a stomachache and the prickling of thick humors and thick gassiness. Its juice mixed with honey clears obscured vision.

Chap. 11 (f. 193r): Concerning Cassia Wood[4]

Cinnamomum cassia from Wikipedia

Cassia wood is warm and dry in the third degree. Cassia wood is the bark of a tree or shrub growing near the border of Babylon. There are two sorts of cassia, that is cassia wood and cassia fistula. When just “cassia” is found, cassia fistula should be understood, for cassia wood is never found without a qualification in recipes.

Cassia wood and xylocassia are the same thing. There are two sorts of this: one is like cinnamon, which is generally reddish and round. And note that it has a solid substance, and when it is broken it is not equally divided, but it resists breakage without folding. It has a sharp flavor mixed with sweetness, with aromaticity. And this is the better sort, but we do not use it in medicine. There is another sort, which is reddish , having different colors in part. The kind that should be chosen, then, is not that which breaks easily, but folds, and when it is broken, has whitish colors inside and many different reddish colors. It has a sharp flavor mixed with sweetness and aroma. It may be kept for 10 years, moreover.

It is sometimes adulterated with an admixture of caper root, but it can be detected because caper root is of a bitterish flavor.

It has a diuretic property from its fine substance, a consuming property from its qualities, and a soothing quality from its aromaticness.

Against a cold watery humor or other cold causes of the head and for epileptics: 3 little pills of ground cassia wood made very well from ground cassia wood and laudanum, with absinthe juice mixed in, may be given, and soothe the brain.

A suffumigation may also be made in this way: put ground cassia wood above coals, on a hook, and put rose water on it. Let the patient receive the smoke.

Against strangury and dysuria of the kidneys and vesicles: let wine in which cassia wood has been steeped be given to the patient. Ground cassia wood in nutmeg oil, or at least in common oil, may be cooked, with which the perineum and the penis and the afflicted parts may be anointed.

Against obstruction of the spleen and liver, the kidneys and vesicles: it is effective if ground cassia wood is put in water and syrup.

Against a cold stomach and also against the aforesaid complaints: wine in which it has been steeped and mastic and fennel seed (cont.)


[1] There are a number of species of calamint, many of which go by the same names used here today – including Calamintha nepeta. These are the catmints.

[2] Today, Greater Centaury is identified as Centauria scabiosa. Lesser Centaury is Centaurium pulchellum.

[3] According to Norri, p. 93, a benedicta electuary consisted of a purgative, like scammony, with aromatic spices, honey, and the like, and it was used to treat gout and urinary stones. A “simple benedicta” was made with a streamlined recipe.

[4] Its common name today is Chinese cinnamon.