Infusion of Catechu, commonly called Japonic Infusion

March 3rd, 2016

Take of

  • Extract of catechu, two drachms and a half;
  • Cinnamon, half a drachm;
  • Boiling water, seven ounces;
  • Simple syrup, one ounce.

Macerate the extract and cinnamon in the hot water, in a covered vessel, for two hours, then strain it, and add the syrup.

Extract of catechu is almost pure tan[n]in. This infusion is therefore a powerfully astringent solution. The cinnamon and syrup render it a very agreeable medicine, which will be found serviceable in fluxes proceeding from a laxity of the intestines. Its dose is a spoonful or two every other hour. As this preparation will not keep above a day or two, it must always be made extemporaneously. The two hours maceration, therefore, becomes very often extremely inconvenient; but it may be prepared in a few minutes by boiling, without in the least impairing the virtues of the medicine.

Source: The Edinburgh New Dispensatory, Andrew Duncan

Bloody Flux

September 23rd, 2015

Apply a suppository of linen dipt in Aqua Vitae.

Or, drink cold water, as largely as possible, taking nothing else till the flux stops.

Or, take a large apple, and at the top pick out all the core, and fill up the place with a piece of honey comb; (the honey being strained out,) roast the apple in embers, and eat it, and this will stop the flux immediately.

Or grated rhubarb, as much as lies on a shilling, with half as much of grated nutmeg, in a glass of white wine, at lying down, every other night. Tried.

Or take four drops of Laudanum, and apply to the belly a poultice of wormwood and red roses boiled in milk.

In a Dysentery, the worst of all fluxes, feed on rice, saloup, sago, and sometimes beef-tea; but no flesh.

To stop it, take a spoonful of suet melted over a slow fire. Do not let blood.

A person was cured in one day, by feeding on rice milk, and sitting a quarter of an hour in a shallow tub, having in it warm water three inches deep.

Source: Primitive Physic: or an easy and natural method of curing most diseases, John Wesley.

For the Bloody Flux

May 18th, 2015

This powder will be found exceedingly useful in abating the irritation and giving retentive power to the intestines, when the evacuations from the bowels are frequent, have a frothy appearance, and are tinged with blood. The best mode of taking this medicine is the following:—

Take of the Astringent Powder, one scruple;
Aromatic Confection, one scruple;
Powdered Rhubarb, five grains;
Cinnamon Water, one ounce and a half.

Mix, and make a draught, which may be taken every four hours, if required. Four or five drops of laudanum may be added to each draught, if the evacuations are attended with pain.

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredient: Periwinkle

March 24th, 2015

There are two British Periwinkles growing wild; the one Vinca major, or greater, a doubtful native, and found only in the neighbourhood of dwelling-houses; the other Vinca minor lesser, abounding in English woods, particularly in the Western counties, and often entirely covering the ground with its prostrate evergreen leaves. The common name of each is derived from vincio, to bind, as it were by its stems resembling cord; or because bound in olden times into festive garlands and funeral chaplets. Their title used also to be Pervinca, and Pervinkle, Pervenkle, and Pucellage (or virgin flower).

This generic name has been derived either from pervincire, to bind closely, or from pervincere, to overcome. Lord Bacon observes that it was common in his time for persons to wear bands of green Periwinkle about the calf of the leg to prevent cramp. Now-a-days we use for the same purpose a garter of small new corks strung on worsted. In Germany this plant is the emblem of immortality. It bears the name “Pennywinkles” in Hampshire, probably by an inland confusion with the shell fish “winkles.”

Each of the two kinds possesses acrid astringent properties, but the lesser Periwinkle, Vinca minor or Winter-green, is the Herbal Simple best known of the pair, for its medicinal virtues in domestic use. The Periwinkle order is called Apocynaceoe, from the Greek apo, against, and kunos, a dog; or dog’s bane.

The flowers of the greater Periwinkle are gently purgative, but lose their effect by drying. If gathered in the Spring, and made into a syrup, they will impart all their virtues, and this is excellent to keep the bowels of children gently open, as well as to overcome habitual constipation in grown persons. But the leaves are astringent, contracting and strengthening the genitals if applied thereto either as a decoction, or as the bruised leaves themselves. An infusion of the greater Periwinkle, one part of the fresh plant to ten of water, may be used for staying female fluxes, by giving a wine-glassful thereof when cool, frequently; or of the liquid extract, half a teaspoonful for a dose in water. On account of its striking colour, and its use for magical purposes, the plant, when in bloom, has been named the Sorcerer’s Violet, and in some parts of Devon the flowers are known as Cut Finger or Blue Buttons. The Italians use it in making garlands for their dead infants, and so call it Death’s flower.

Simon Fraser, whose father was a faithful adherent of Sir William Wallace, when on his way to be executed (in 1306) was crowned in mockery with the Periwinkle, as he passed through the City of London, with his legs tied under the horse’s belly. In Gloucestershire, the flowers of the greater Periwinkle are called Cockles.

The lesser Periwinkle is perennial, and is sometimes cultivated in gardens, where it has acquired variegated leaves. It has no odour, but gives a bitterish taste which lasts in the mouth. Its leaves are strongly astringent, and therefore very useful to be applied for staying bleedings. If bruised and put into the nostrils, they will arrest fluxes from the nose, and a decoction made from them is of service for the diarrhoea of a weak subject, as well as for chronic looseness of the bowels; likewise for bleeding piles, by being applied externally, and by being taken internally. Again, the decoction makes a capital gargle for relaxed sore throat, and for sponginess of the mouth, of the tonsils, and the gums.

This plant was also a noted Simple for increasing the milk of wet nurses, and was advised for such purpose by physicians of repute. Culpeper gravely says: “The leaves of the lesser Periwinkle, if eaten by man and wife together, will cause love between them.”

A tincture is made (H.) from the said plant, the Vinca minor, with spirit of wine. It is given medicinally for the milk-crust of infants, as well as for internal haemorrhages, the dose being from two to ten drops three or four times in the day, with a spoonful of water.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernies.

Flux

March 10th, 2015

Receive the smoke of Turpentine cast on burning coals. This cures also the Bloody Flux and the Falling of the Fundament.

Or put a large brown Toast into three quarts of water, with a drachm of cochineal powdered, and a drachm of salt of wormwood. Drink it all in as short time as you conveniently can. This rarely fails to cure all Fluxes, Cholera Morbus, yea, and inflammations of the bowels. Tried.

Or take a spoonful of Plantane-seed bruised, morning and evening till it stops.

Or ten grains of Ipecacuanha, three mornings successively. It is likewise excellent as a sudorific.

Or boil four ounces of rasped Logwood, or fresh Logwood chips, in three quarts of water to two; strain it, and drink a quarter of a pint, sweetened with loaf-sugar warm, twice a day. It both binds and heals. Or take a small tea-cupful of it every hour.

Or boil the fat of a breast of mutton in a quart of water for an hour. Drink the broth as soon as you can conveniently. This will cure the most inveterate flux. Tried.

Source: Primitive Physic: or an easy and natural method of curing most diseases, John Wesley.

Ingredients: Flax (Linseed)

May 13th, 2008

The common Flax plant, from which we get our Linseed, is of great antiquity, dating from the twenty-third century before Christ, and having been cultivated in all countries down to the present time. But it is exhausting to the soil in England, and therefore not favoured in home growth for commercial uses. The seeds come to us chiefly from the Baltic. Nevertheless, the plant (Linum usitatissimum) is by no means uncommon in our cornfields, flowering in June, and ripening its seed in September. Provincially it is called “Lint” and “Lyne.” A rustic proverb says “if put in the shoes it preserves from poverty”; wherever found it is probably an escape from cultivation.

The word “flax” is derived from filare, to spin, or, filum, a thread; and the botanical title, linum, is got from the Celtic lin also signifying thread. The fibres of the bark are separated from the woody matter by soaking it in water, and they then form tow, which is afterwards spun into yarn, and woven into cloth. This water becomes poisonous, so that Henry the Eighth prohibited the washing of flax in any running stream.

The seeds are very rich in linseed oil, after expressing which, the refuse is oil-cake, a well-known fattening food for cattle. The oil exists chiefly in the outer skins of the seeds, and is easily extracted by boiling water, as in the making of a linseed poultice. These seeds contain gum, acetic acid, acetate and muriate of potash, and other salts, with twenty-two parts per cent. of the oil. They were taken as food by the ancient Greeks and Romans, whilst Hippocrates knew the demulcent properties of linseed. An infusion of the seeds has long been given as Linseed tea for soothing a sore chest or throat in severe catarrh, or pulmonary complaints; also the crushed seed is used for making poultices. Linseed oil has laxative properties, and forms, when mixed with lime water, or with spirit of turpentine, a capital external application to recent burns or scalds.

Tumours of a simple nature, and sprains, may be usefully rubbed with Linseed oil; and another principal service to which the oil is put is for mixing the paints of artists. To make Linseed tea, wash two ounces of Linseed by putting them into a small strainer, and pouring cold water through it; then pare off as thinly as possible the yellow rind of half a lemon; to the Linseed and lemon rind add a quart of cold water, and allow them to simmer over the fire for an hour-and-a-half; strain away the seeds, and to each half-pint of the tea add a teaspoonful of sugar, or sugar candy, with some lemon juice, in the proportion of the juice of one lemon to each pint of tea.

The seeds afford but little actual nourishment, and are difficult of digestion; they provoke troublesome flatulence, though sometimes used fraudulently for adulterating pepper. Flax seed has been mixed with corn for making bread, but it proved indigestible and hurtful to the stomach. In the sixteenth century during a scarcity of wheat, the inhabitants of Middleburgh had recourse to Linseed for making cakes, but the death of many citizens was caused thereby, it bringing about in those who partook of the cakes dreadful swellings on the body and face. There is an Act of Parliament still in force which forbids the steeping of Flax in rivers, or any waters which cattle are accustomed to drink, as it is found to communicate a poison destructive to cattle and to the fish inhabiting such waters. In Dundee a hank of yarn is worn round the loins as a cure for lumbago, and girls may be seen with a single thread of yarn round the head as an infallible specific for tic douloureux.

The Purging Flax (Linum catharticum), or Mill Mountain (Kamailinon), or Ground Flax, is a variety of the Flax common on our heaths and pastures, being called also Fairy Flax from its delicacy, and Dwarf Flax. It contains a resinous, purgative principle, and is known to country folk as a safe, active purge. They infuse the herb in water, which they afterwards take medicinally. Also a tincture is made (H.) from the entire fresh plant, which may be given curatively for frequent, wattery, painless diarrhoea, two or three drops for a dose with water every hour or two until the flux is stayed.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie