Folio 193v

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

(Cassia wood, Cont.) Is given to the fasting.

A spiced wine, made from honey and wine in which cassia wood has been steeped, also warms a chilled stomach and assists digestion.

Against bad breath, make little pills of ground cassia wood and storax, because storax can easily be softened in the hands.

These pills are also effective against every internal problem arising from a cold cause.

Against underarm odor and corruption of the gums: with the underarm hair shaved first, wash the area afterward with wine and rose water or with a decoction of ground cassia wood.

Against corruption of the gums, make a gargle of the aforesaid.

Against bad breath, as well, when cassia wood has been chewed it either takes it away entirely or diminishes it.

For provoking menstruation and soothing the womb, make a suppository with silk dipped in nutmeg oil or olive oil in which ground cassia wood has been steeped.

Its bark, boiled with nutmeg oil, inserted whole stimulates menstruation.

Against a problem of the spleen and liver: cooked in oil and plastered on it remedies their problems.

Tenasmus stemming from a cold cause is remedied as well when it is inserted in the same way.

Against cardiac arrest and fainting, a syrup made from ground cassia wood and rose water and bone of stag’s heart.

Tempered with honey and inserted, it dissolves and cures hard and moist swellings.

Chap. 12 (f. 193v): Concerning Castoreum[1]

A beaver being hunted for its testicles. From the Getty Center.

 Castoreum is warm in the 3rd degree and dry in the 2nd.  It is, moreover, the testiclc of an animal called a castor or a beaver. Some say that, sensing that hunters are pursuing it, it cuts off its own testicles with its teeth and casts them aside, believing that the hunter only want the testicles. This is false, for it is not of such discernment. For they pursue it more on account of its pelt than its testicles, and the hunters themselves cut off the testicles. The cut-off testicles are dried in a shaded place.

And note that the testicles of a young beaver are not as effective as those of an old one. The former dried testicle is white and soft. If it is of an adolescent beaver or one just beyond adolescence, however, that is the best. If it is of a beaver decrepit in age, it is not of such great efficacy.

It is adulterated by some in this way: they take the skin in which the beaver testicle or some other fresh testicle has been[2] and fill it with blood and sinews[3], with ground beaver testicle added so that it has the savor of a beaver. Others put in blood and earth. Still others counterfeit it better; they put in blood, Persian asafetida, and sinews; they put in pepper so that it is of stronger savor. That should be chosen which has a moderately sharp savor, since if it has a more acute savor and is as if earthen[4], it is counterfeited, and if it does not have the intricate sinews. Good castoreum has a moderately sharp savor, is gluey, and has a rather dreadful savor and intricate sinews, and clinging skin and adjoining some extremity. It can be kept with great efficacy for 7 years. The fresher is however better. In medicine, it should be used with the skin cast aside. That which is inside should be weighed out and put in medicine; it has the effect of dissolving, consuming, of thinning, and especially of comforting nerve locations.

Against epilepsy and other sufferings of the head caused by cold, 5 scruples of castor can be given in quantity; 2 or 3 scruples may also be given in rue juice in a beverage or wine in which it has been steeped.

Against paralysis of the tongue a powder of castoreum can be placed under the tongue, until it is dissolved and consumed.

Against paralysis of the whole body, give wine in which it has been steeped and rue and sage.

Against paralysis of the penis, make a foment around the pubes from wine in which it has been steeped, frequently, and reapply often.

Against gomoream steep it in the juice of agnus castus, with a bit of vinegar added, and plaster it on, then the kidneys, the penis, and the pubes.

Against litargium. Let sneezing be induced by castoreum; it stimulates the brain and soothes it. Or steep it with mint in rue juice and a bit of vinegar, and with the occiput shaved, rub it in well with the hands, et plaster it over.

Ground castoreum with rue juice can be into the nose, or one can receive its fumes through the nostrils.

Chap. 13 (f. 193v): Concerning Cubeb

Piper Cubeb from Wikipedia

Cubeb is warm and dry, although moderately. It is, moreover, the fruit of a tree growing in overseas parts. It can be kept for 10 years. That should be chosen which has a moderately sharp flavor with much aromaticity.

Whence it avails against fainting in this way: ground cubeb, 4 scruples in quantity, may be given with borage juice or with the juice of parsnip root or leaves. It strengthens greatly.

It can be smelled as a remedy against a cold flow from the head or for soothing the brain – let it be applied to the nostrils frequently.

Again, against a cold and discolored stomach, make a spiced wine out of wine and honey and among other spices put in cubeb in greater quantity.

Against coldness of the stomach and discoloration from cold, use it ground with food.

Chap. 14 (f. 193v): Concerning Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum capillus-veneris from Wikipedia

Maidenhair fern is cold and dry, yet moderately, from its fine substance. It has a diuretic force. Fresh is of more efficacy, yet it may be kept for a shor while. It is the plant that is of use, not the root.

Against warmth of the liver, water in which it has been steeped may be given, or water in which it has been steeped and sugar can be made into a syrup.

If there is a vice of the spleen, let something diuretic be added.

Compresses dipped in its juice can be placed over or even the crushed plant itself.

Drunk with wine, it resists poison and humors flowing to the stomach.

Plastered on, it is effective against alopecia and scrofula.

Cooked with water, it cleanses pustules and rot from the head washed with it.

Chap. 15 (f. 193v): Concerning Cypress[5]

Cypress is warm in the first degree, dry in the second. It is a tree whose fruit, wood and leaves are all suited to medicinal purposes, but the fruits are styptic, the wood consolidative, and the leaves diuretic.

Against a flux from the belly from a debility of retention, the patient may eat fresh cypress fruits or ground dried fruits may be given in food. Patients may also drink water in which they have been stepped.

Against painful obstruction of the bowels, steep the fruits in rainwater and

Against strangury and dysuria, let ground cypress be given, that is the wood or leaves placed in a jar with wine, and especially in new wine. Such a wine prevents intestinal distress.

A wine in which ground cypress or its leaves is steeped, given at the very beginning of this, soothes in a marvelous way.

For hemorrhoids with a severe flow, make a foment out of rainwater, leaves and berries of cypress; afterwards, the patient may sit in warm water. Then give ground cypress in food and water in which it has been steeped.

This same is effective at the opening of the anus.

Chap. 16 (f. 193v): Concerning Cinnamon

Cinnamomum verum from Wikipedia

Cinnamon is warm in the third degree and dry in the second. There are two sorts of cinnamon, the heavy and thick, and a little concave, which is the bark of a tree, and the fine which is concave and not thick, which is the rind of a shrub found either in India or Europe. That which is thick is used in medicines on ulcers; that which is fine in other medicines. That which is fine should be chosen; it has an intense flavor mixed with sweetness, with intense aromaticity and a reddish color. That which is whitish may be chosen, and that which is black, cast aside – this selection is especially by color. When moreover it is chosen by taste, it is considered good and the tongue is bathed in saliva or water, since the good taints the taste and sometimes seems bad. The good type can be kept for 10 years. From its aroma it has the effect of soothing the brain, from its stickiness the effect of consolidating. Against a stomach illness and a weakness of the digestion from (cont.)

[1] Castoreum, the substance referred to here, is actually extracted from glands between the pelvis and the base of the tail, not the testicles themselves. Both genders have these sacs. It is still used in making artificial flavoring and scents.

[2] Presumably the scrotum.

[3] The word “nervus,” used here, can also mean nerves or tendons. Platearius is probably referring to the spermatic ducts and is describing the anatomy of a testicle rather than the castor sac.

[4] The 1582 ed. reads “iron-like” instead of “earthen”.

[5] Many species of coniferous trees belong to the Cypress family. Many have needle-like evergreen leaves, berries (the junipers), or small, dense cones. The illustration here is not supposed to represent the exact species that Platearius is concerned with, but simply represents a common European Cypress, Cupressus sempervrens, or Italian cypress.