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Proper And Safe Remedies

Title:     Proper And Safe Remedies
Author: Aristotle [More Titles by Aristotle]


Having finished the first part of this book, and wherein, I hope, amply made good my promise to the reader, I am now come to treat only of those distempers to which they are more subject when in a breeding condition, and those that keep them from being so; together with such proper and safe remedies as may be sufficient to repel them. And since amongst all the diseases to which human nature is subject, there is none that more diametrically opposes the very end of our creation, and the design of nature in the formation of different sexes, and the power thereby given us for the work of generation, than that of sterility or barrenness which, where it prevails, renders the most accomplished midwife but a useless person, and destroys the design of our book; I think, therefore, that barrenness is an effect that deserves our first and principal consideration.



Of Barrenness; its several Kinds; with the proper Remedies for it; and the Signs of Insufficiency both in Men and Women.

SECTION I.--Of Barrenness in General.

Barrenness is either natural or artificial.

Natural barrenness is when a woman is barren, though the instruments of generation are perfect both in herself and in her husband, and no preposterous or diabolical course used to it, and neither age, nor disease, nor any defect hindering, and yet the woman remains naturally barren.

Now this may proceed from a natural cause, for if the man and woman be of one complexion, they seldom have children, and the reason is clear, for the universal course of nature being formed of a composition of contraries, cannot be increased by a composition of likes; and, therefore, if the constitution of the woman be hot and dry, as well as the man's there can be no conception; and if, on the contrary, the man should be of a cold and moist constitution, as well as the woman, the effect would be the same; and this barrenness is purely natural. The only way to help this is, for people, before they marry, to observe each others constitution and complexion, if they design to have children. If their complexions and constitutions be alike, they are not fit to come together, for discordant natures only, make harmony in the work of generation.

Another natural cause of barrenness, is want of love between man and wife. Love is that vivid principle that ought to inspire each organ in the act of generation, or else it will be spiritless and dull; for if their hearts be not united in love, how should their seed unite to cause Conception? And this is sufficiently evinced, in that there never follows conception on a rape. Therefore, if men and women design to have children, let them live so, that their hearts as well as their bodies may be united, or else they may miss their expectations.

A third cause of natural barrenness, is the letting virgins blood in the arm before their natural courses are come down, which is usually in the fourteenth and fifteenth year of their age; sometimes, perhaps before the thirteenth, but never before the twelfth. And because usually, they are out of order, and indisposed before their purgations come down, their parents run to the doctor to know what is the matter; and he, if not skilled, will naturally prescribe opening a vein in the arm, thinking fullness of blood the cause; and thus she seems recovered for the present: and when the young virgin happens to be in the same disorder, the mother applies again to the surgeon, who uses the same remedy; and by these means the blood is so diverted from its proper channel, that it comes not down the womb as usual, and so the womb dries up, and she is for ever barren. To prevent this, let no virgin blood in the arm before her courses come down well; for that will bring the blood downwards, and by that means provoke the _menstrua_ to come down.

Another cause of natural barrenness, is debility in copulation. If persons perform not that act with all the bent and ardour that nature requires, they may as well let it alone; for frigidity and coldness never produces conception. Of the cure of this we will speak by and by, after I have spoken of accidental barrenness, which is occasioned by some morbific matter or infirmity in the body, either of the man or of the woman, which being removed they become fruitful. And since, as I have before noted, the first and great law of creation, was to increase and multiply, and barrenness is in direct opposition to that law, and frustrates the end of our creation, and often causes man and wife to have hard thoughts one of another, I shall here, for the satisfaction of well meaning people, set down the signs and causes of insufficiency both in men and women; premising first that when people have no children, they must not presently blame either party, for neither may be in fault.


SECT. II.--Signs and Causes of Insufficiency in Men.

One cause may be in some viciousness of the yard, as if the same be crooked, or any ligaments thereof distorted and broken, whereby the ways and passages, through which the seed should flow, come to be stopped or vitiated.

Another cause may be, too much weakness of the yard, and tenderness thereof, so that it is not strong enough erected to inject seed into the womb; for the strength and stiffness of the yard very much conduces to conception, by reason of the forcible injection of the seed.

Also, if the stones have received any hurt, so that they cannot exercise the proper gift in producing seed, or if they be oppressed with an inflammation, tumour, wound or ulcer, or drawn up within the belly, and not appearing outwardly.

Also, a man may be barren by reason of the defect of seed, as first, if he cast forth no seed at all, or less in substance than is needful. Or, secondly, if the seed be vicious, or unfit for generation; as on the one side, it happens in bodies that are gross and fat, the matter of it being defective; and on the other side, too much leanness, or continual wasting or consumption of the body, destroys seed; nature turning all the matter and substance thereof into the nutriment of the body.

Too frequent copulation is also one great cause of barrenness in men; for it attracteth the seminal moisture from the stones, before it is sufficiently prepared and concocted. So if any one, by daily copulation, do exhaust and draw out all their moisture of the seed, then do the stones draw the moist humours from the superior veins unto themselves; and so, having but a little blood in them, they are forced of necessity to cast it out raw and unconcocted, and thus the stones are violently deprived of the moisture of their veins, and the superior veins, and all the other parts of the body, of their vital spirits; therefore it is no wonder that those who use immoderate copulation are very weak in their bodies, seeing their whole body is deprived of the best and purest blood, and of the spirit, insomuch that many who have been too much addicted to that pleasure, have killed themselves in the very act.

Gluttony, drunkenness, and other excesses, do so much hinder men from fruitfulness, that it makes them unfit for generation.

But among other causes of barrenness of men, this also is one, and makes them almost of the nature of eunuchs, and that is the incision or the cutting of the veins behind their ears, which in case of distempers is oftentimes done; for, according to the opinions of most physicians and anatomists, the seed flows from the brain by those veins behind the ears, more than any part of the body. From whence it is very probable, that the transmission of the seed is hindered by the cutting of the veins behind the ears, so that it cannot descend to the testicles, or may come thither very crude and raw.


SECT. III.--Signs and Causes of Insufficiency or Barrenness in Women.

Although there are many causes of the barrenness of women, yet the chief and principal are internal, respecting either the privy parts, the womb or menstruous blood.

Therefore, Hippocrates saith (speaking as well of easy as difficult conception in women) the first consideration is to be had of their species; for little women are more apt to conceive than great, slender than gross, white and fair than ruddy and high coloured, black than wan, those that have their veins conspicuous, than others; but to be very fleshy is evil, and to have great swelled breasts is good.

The next thing to be considered is, the monthly purgations, whether they have been duly every month, whether they flow plentifully, are of a good colour, and whether they have been equal every month.

Then the womb, or place of conception, is to be considered. It ought to be clean and sound, dry and soft, not retracted or drawn up; not prone or descending downward; nor the mouth thereof turned away, nor too close shut up. But to speak more particularly:--

The first parts to be spoken of are the _pudenda_, or privities, and the womb; which parts are shut and enclosed either by nature or against nature; and from hence, such women are called _imperforate_; as in some women the mouth of their womb continues compressed, or closed up, from the time of their birth until the coming down of their courses, and then, on a sudden, when their terms press forward to purgation, they are molested with great and unusual pains. Sometimes these break of their own accord, others are dissected and opened by physicians; others never break at all, which bring on disorders that end in death.

All these _Aetius_ particularly handles, showing that the womb is shut three manner of ways, which hinders conception. And the first is when the _pudenda_ grow and cleave together. The second is, when these certain membranes grow in the middle part of the matrix within. The third is, when (though the lips and bosom of the _pudenda_ may appear fair and open), the mouth of the womb may be quite shut up. All which are occasions of barrenness, as they hinder the intercourse with man, the monthly courses, and conception.

But amongst all causes of barrenness in women, the greatest is in the womb, which is the field of generation; and if this field is corrupt, it is in vain to expect any fruit, be it ever so well sown. It may be unfit for generation by reason of many distempers to which it is subject; as for instance, overmuch heat and overmuch cold; for women whose wombs are too thick and cold, cannot conceive, because coldness extinguishes the heat of the human seed. Immoderate moisture of the womb also destroys the seed of man, and makes it ineffectual, as corn sown in ponds and marshes; and so does overmuch dryness of the womb, so that the seed perisheth for want of nutriment. Immoderate heat of the womb is also a cause of barrenness for it scorcheth up the seed as corn sown in the drought of summer; for immoderate heat burns all parts of the body, so that no conception can live in the womb.

When unnatural humours are engendered, as too much phlegm, tympanies, wind, water, worms, or any other evil humour abounding contrary to nature, it causes barrenness as do all terms not coming down in due order.

A woman may also have accidental causes of barrenness (at least such as may hinder her conception), as sudden frights, anger, grief and perturbation of mind; too violent exercises, as leaping, dancing, running, after copulation, and the like. But I will now add some signs, by which these things may be known.

If the cause of barrenness be in the man, through overmuch heat in the seed, the woman may easily feel that in receiving it.

If the nature of the woman be too hot, and so unfit for conception, it will appear by her having her terms very little, and the colour inclining to yellowness; she is also very hasty, choleric and crafty; her pulse beats very swift, and she is very desirous of copulation.

To know whether the fault is in the man or in the woman, sprinkle the man's urine upon a lettuce leaf, and the woman's urine upon another, and that which dries away first is unfruitful. Also take five wheaten corns and seven beans, put them into an earthen pot, and let the party make water therein; let this stand seven days, and if in that time they begin to sprout, then the party is fruitful; but if they sprout not, then the party is barren, whether it be the man or the woman; this is a certain sign.

There are some that make this experiment of a woman's fruitfulness; take myrrh, red storax and some odoriferous things, and make a perfume of which let the woman receive into the neck of the womb through a funnel; if the woman feels the smoke ascend through her body to the nose, then she is fruitful; otherwise she is barren. Some also take garlic and beer, and cause the woman to lie upon her back upon it, and if she feel the scent thereof in her nose, it is a sign of her being fruitful.

Culpepper and others also give a great deal of credit to the following experiment. Take a handful of barley, and steep half of it in the urine of a man, and the other half in the urine of the woman, for the space of twenty-four hours; then take it out, and put the man's by itself, and the woman's by itself; set it in a flower-pot, or some other thing, where let it dry; water the man's every morning with his own urine, and the woman's with hers, and that which grows first is the most fruitful; but if they grow not at all, they are both naturally barren.

Cure. If the barrenness proceeds from stoppage of the menstrua, let the woman sweat, for that opens the parts; and the best way to sweat is in a hot-house. Then let the womb be strengthened by drinking a draught of white wine, wherein a handful of stinking arrach, first bruised, has been boiled, for by a secret magnetic virtue, it strengthens the womb, and by a sympathetic quality, removes any disease thereof. To which add also a handful of vervain, which is very good to strengthen both the womb and the head, which are commonly afflicted together by sympathy. Having used these two or three days, if they come not down, take of calamint, pennyroyal, thyme, betony, dittany, burnet, feverfew, mugwort, sage, peony roots, juniper berries, half a handful of each, or as many as can be got; let these be boiled in beer, and taken for her drink.

Take one part of gentian-root, two parts of centaury, distil them with ale in an alembic after you have bruised the gentian-roots and infused them well. This water is an admirable remedy to provoke the terms. But if you have not this water in readiness, take a drachm of centaury, and half a drachm of gentian-roots bruised, boiled in posset drink, and drink half a drachm of it at night going to bed. Seed of wild navew beaten to powder, and a drachm of it taken in the morning in white wine, also is very good; but if it answers not, she must be let blood in the legs. And be sure you administer your medicines a little before the full of the moon, by no means in the wane of the moon; if you do, you will find them ineffectual.

If barrenness proceed from the overflowing of the menstrua, then strengthen the womb as you were taught before; afterwards anoint the veins of the back with oil of roses, oil of myrtle and oil of quinces every night, and then wrap a piece of white baise about your veins, the cotton side next to the skin and keep the same always to it. But above all, I recommend this medicine to you. Take comfrey-leaves or roots, and clown woundwort, of each a handful; bruise them well, and boil them in ale, and drink a good draught of it now and then. Or take cinnamon, cassia lignea, opium, of each two drachms; myrrh, white pepper, galbanum, of each one drachm; dissolve the gum and opium in white wine; beat the rest into powder and make pills, mixing them together exactly, and let the patient take two each night going to bed; but let the pills not exceed fifteen grains.

If barrenness proceed from a flux in the womb, the cure must be according to the cause producing it, or which the flux proceeds from, which may be known by signs; for a flux of the womb, being a continual distillation from it for a long time together, the colour of what is voided shows what humour it is that offends; in some it is red, and that proceeds from blood putrified, in some it is yellow, and that denotes choler; in others white and pale, and denotes phlegm. If pure blood comes out, as if a vein were opened, some corrosion or gnawing of the womb is to be feared. All these are known by the following signs:

The place of conception is continually moist with the humours, the face ill-coloured, the party loathes meat and breathes with difficulty, the eyes are much swollen, which is sometimes without pain. If the offending humour be pure blood, then you must let blood in the arm, and the cephalic vein is fittest to draw back the blood; then let the juice of plantain and comfrey be injected into the womb. If phlegm be a cause, let cinnamon be a spice used in all her meats and drinks, and let her take a little Venice treacle or mithridate every morning. Let her boil burnet, mugwort, feverfew and vervain in all her broths. Also, half a drachm of myrrh, taken every morning, is an excellent remedy against this malady. If choler be the cause, let her take burrage, buglos, red roses, endive and succory roots, lettuce and white poppy-seed, of each a handful; boil these in white wine until one half be wasted; let her drink half a pint every morning to which half pint add syrup of chicory and syrup of peach-flowers, of each an ounce, with a little rhubarb, and this will gently purge her. If it proceed from putrified blood, let her be bled in the foot, and then strengthen the womb, as I have directed in stopping the menstrua.

If barrenness be occasioned by the falling out of the womb, as sometimes it happens, let her apply sweet scents to the nose, such as civet, galbanum, storax, calamitis, wood of aloes; and such other things as are of that nature; and let her lay stinking things to the womb, such as asafoetida, oil of amber, or the smoke of her own hair, being burnt; for this is a certain truth, that the womb flies from all stinking, and to all sweet things. But the most infallible cure in this case is; take a common burdock leaf (which you may keep dry, if you please, all the year), apply this to her head and it will draw the womb upwards. In fits of the mother, apply it to the soles of the feet, and it will draw the womb downwards. But seed beaten into a powder, draws the womb which way you please, accordingly as it is applied.

If barrenness in the woman proceed from a hot cause, let her take whey and clarify it; then boil plantain leaves and roots in it, and drink it for her ordinary drink. Let her inject plantain juice into her womb with a syringe. If it be in the winter, when you cannot get the juice, make a strong decoction of the leaves and roots in water, and inject that up with a syringe, but let it be blood warm, and you will find this medicine of great efficacy. And further, to take away barrenness proceeding from hot causes, take of conserve of roses, cold lozenges, make a tragacanth, the confections of trincatelia; and use, to smell to, camphor, rosewater and saunders. It is also good to bleed the basilica or liver vein, and take four or five ounces of blood, and then take this purge; take electuarium de epithymo de succo rosarum, of each two drachms and a half; clarified whey, four ounces; mix them well together, and take it in the morning fasting; sleep after it about an hour and a half, and fast for four hours after; and about an hour before you eat anything, drink a good draught of whey. Also take lilywater, four ounces; mandragore water, one ounce; saffron, half a scruple; beat the saffron to a powder, and mix it with waters, drink them warm in the morning; use these eight days together.


Some apparent Remedy against Barrenness and to cause Fruitfulness.

Take broom flowers, smallage, parsley seed, cummin, mugwort, feverfew, of each half a scruple; aloes, half an ounce; Indian salt, saffron, of each half a drachm; beat and mix them together, and put it to five ounces of feverfew water warm; stop it up, and let it stand and dry in a warm place, and this do, two or three times, one after the other; then make each drachm into six pills, and take one of them every night before supper.

For a purging medicine against barrenness, take conserve of benedicta lax, a quarter of an ounce; depsillo three drachms, electuary de rosarum, one drachm; mix them together with feverfew water, and drink it in the morning betimes. About three days after the patient hath taken this purge, let her be bled, taking four or five ounces from the median, or common black vein in the foot; and then give for five successive days, filed ivory, a drachm and a half, in feverfew water; and during the time let her sit in the following bath an hour together, morning and night. Take mild yellow sapes, daucas, balsam wood and fruit, ash-keys, of each two handfuls, red and white behen, broom flowers, of each a handful; musk, three grains; amber, saffron, of each a scruple; boiled in water sufficiently; but the musk, saffron, amber and broom flowers must be put into the decoction, after it is boiled and strained.


A Confection very good against Barrenness.

Take pistachia, eringoes, of each half an ounce; saffron, one drachm; lignum aloes, galengal, mace, coriophilla, balm flowers, red and white behen, of each four scruples; syrup of confected ginger, twelve ounces; white sugar, six ounces, decoct all these in twelve ounces of balm water, and stir them well together; then put in it musk and amber, of each a scruple; take thereof the quantity of a nutmeg three times a day; in the morning, an hour before noon and an hour after supper.

But if the cause of barrenness, either in man or woman, be through scarcity or diminution of the natural seed, then such things are to be taken as do increase the seed, and incite to stir up to venery, and further conception; which I shall here set down, and then conclude the chapter concerning barrenness.

For this, yellow rape seed baked in bread is very good; also young, fat flesh, not too much salted; also saffron, the tails of stincus, and long pepper prepared in wine. But let such persons eschew all sour, sharp, doughy and slimy meats, long sleep after meat, surfeiting and drunkenness, and so much as they can, keep themselves from sorrow, grief, vexation and anxious care.

These things following increase the natural seed, stir up the venery and recover the seed again when it is lost, viz., eggs, milk, rice, boiled in milk, sparrows' brains, flesh, bones and all; the stones and pizzles of bulls, bucks, rams and bears, also cocks' stones, lambs' stones, partridges', quails' and pheasants' eggs. And this is an undeniable aphorism, that whatever any creature is addicted unto, they move or incite the man or the woman that eats them, to the like, and therefore partridges, quails, sparrows, etc., being extremely addicted to venery, they work the same effect on those men and women that eat them. Also, take notice, that in what part of the body the faculty that you would strengthen, lies, take that same part of the body of another creature, in whom the faculty is strong, as a medicine. As for instance, the procreative faculty lies in the testicles; therefore, cocks' stones, lambs' stones, etc., are proper to stir up venery. I will also give you another general rule; all creatures that are fruitful being eaten, make them fruitful that eat them, as crabs, lobsters, prawns, pigeons, etc. The stones of a fox, dried and beaten to a powder, and a drachm taken in the morning in sheep's milk, and the stones of a boar taken in like manner, are very good. The heart of a male quail carried about a man, and the heart of a female quail carried about a woman, causes natural love and fruitfulness. Let them, also, that would increase their seed, eat and drink of the best, as much as they can; for _sine Cerere el Libero, friget Venus_, is an old proverb, which is, "without good meat and drink, Venus will be frozen to death."

Pottages are good to increase the seed; such as are made of beans, peas, and lupins, mixed with sugar. French beans, wheat sodden in broth, aniseed, also onions, stewed garlic, leeks, yellow rapes, fresh mugwort roots, eringo roots confected, ginger connected, etc. Of fruits, hazel nuts, cyprus nuts, pistachio, almonds and marchpanes thereof. Spices good to increase seed are cinnamon, galengal, long pepper, cloves, ginger, saffron and asafoetida, a drachm and a half taken in good wine, is very good for this purpose.

The weakness and debility of a man's yard, being a great hindrance to procreation let him use the following ointment to strengthen it: Take wax, oil of beaver-cod, marjoram, gentle and oil of costus, of each a like quantity, mix them into an ointment, and put it to a little musk, and with it anoint the yard, cods, etc. Take of house emmets, three drachms, oil of white safannum, oil of lilies, of each an ounce; pound and bruise the ants, and put them to the oil and let them stand in the sun six days; then strain out the oil and add to it euphorbium one scruple, pepper and rue, of each one drachm, mustard seed half a drachm, set this altogether in the sun two or three days, then anoint the instrument of generation therewith.



The Diseases of the Womb.

I have already said, that the womb is the field of generation; and if this field be corrupted, it is vain to expect any fruit, although it be ever so well sown. It is, therefore, not without reason that I intend in this chapter to set down the several distempers to which the womb is obnoxious, with proper and safe remedies against them.


SECTION I.--Of the Hot Distemper of the Womb.

The distemper consists in excess of heat; for as heat of the womb is necessary for conception, so if it be too much, it nourisheth not the seed, but it disperseth its heat, and hinders the conception. This preternatural heat is sometimes from the birth, and causeth barrenness, but if it be accidental, it is from hot causes, that bring the heat and the blood to the womb; it arises also from internal and external medicines, and from too much hot meat, drink and exercise. Those that are troubled with this distemper have but few courses, and those are yellow, black, burnt or sharp, have hair betimes on their privities, are very prone to lust, subject to headache, and abound with choler, and when the distemper is strong upon them, they have but few terms, which are out of order, being bad and hard to flow, and in time they become hypochondriacal, and for the most part barren, having sometimes a phrenzy of the womb.

Cure. The remedy is to use coolers, so that they offend not the vessels that most open for the flux of the terms. Therefore, take the following inwardly; succory, endive, violets, water lilies, sorrel, lettuce, saunders and syrups and conserve made thereof. Also take a conserve of succory, violets, water-lilies, burrage, each an ounce; conserve of roses, half an ounce, diamargation frigid, diatriascantal, each half a drachm; and with syrup of violets, or juice of citrons, make an electuary. For outward applications, make use of ointment of roses, violets, water-lilies, gourd, Venus navel, applied to the back and loins.

Let the air be cool, her garments thin, and her food endive, lettuce, succory and barley. Give her no hot meats, nor strong wine, unless mixed with water. Rest is good for her, but she must abstain from copulation, though she may sleep as long as she pleases.


SECT. II.--Of the Cold Distempers of the Womb.

This distemper is the reverse of the foregoing, and equally an enemy to generation, being caused by a cold quality abounding to excess, and proceeds from a too cold air, rest, idleness and cooling medicines. It may be known by an aversion to venery, and taking no pleasure in the act of copulation when the seed is spent; the terms are phlegmatic, thick and slimy, and do not flow as they should; the womb is windy and the seed crude and waterish. It is the cause of obstructions and barrenness, and is hard to be cured.

Cure.. Take galengal, cinnamon, nutmeg mace, cloves, ginger, cububs, cardamom, grains of paradise, each an ounce and a half, galengal, six drachms, long pepper, half an ounce, Zedoary five drachms; bruise them and add six quarts of wine, put them into a cellar nine days, daily stirring them; then add of mint two handfuls, and let them stand fourteen days, pour off the wine and bruise them, and then pour on the wine again, and distil them. Also anoint with oil of lilies, rue, angelica, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg. Let her diet and air be warm, her meat of easy concoction, seasoned with ant-seed, fennel and thyme; and let her avoid raw fruits and milk diets.


SECT. III.--Of the Inflation of the Womb.

The inflation of the womb is a stretching of it by wind, called by some a windy mole; the wind proceeds from a cold matter, whether thick or thin, contained in the veins of the womb, by which the heat thereof is overcome, and which either flows thither from other parts, or is gathered there by cold meats and drinks. Cold air may be a producing cause of it also, as women that lie in are exposed to it. The wind is contained either in the cavity of the vessels of the womb, or between the tumicle, and may be known by a swelling in the region of the womb, which sometimes reaches to the navel, loins and diaphragm, and rises and abates as the wind increaseth or decreaseth. It differs from the dropsy, in that it never swells so high. That neither physician nor midwife may take it for dropsy, let them observe the signs of the woman with the child laid down in a former part of this work; and if any sign be wanting, they may suspect it to be an inflation; of which it is a further sign, that in conception the swelling is invariable; also if you strike upon the belly, in an inflation, there will be noise, but not so in case there be a conception. It also differs from a mole, because in that there is a weight and hardness of the belly, and when the patient moves from one side to the other she feels a great weight which moveth, but not so in this. If the inflation continue without the cavity of the womb, the pain is greater and more extensive, nor is there any noise, because the wind is more pent up.

Cure. This distemper is neither of a long continuance nor dangerous, if looked after in time; and if it be in the cavity of the womb it is more easily expelled. To which purpose give her diaphnicon, with a little castor and sharp clysters that expel the wind. If this distemper happen to a woman in travail let her not purge after delivery, nor bleed, because it is from a cold matter; but if it come after child-bearing, and her terms come down sufficiently, and she has fullness of blood, let the saphoena vein be opened, after which, let her take the following electuary: take conserve of betony and rosemary, of each an ounce and a half; candied eringoes, citron peel candied, each half an ounce; diacimium, diagenel, each a drachm; oil of aniseed, six drops, and with syrup of citrons make an electuary. For outward application make a cataplasm of rue, mugwort, camomile, dill, calamint, new pennyroyal, thyme, with oil of rue, keir and camomile. And let the following clyster to expel the wind be put into the womb: Take agnus castus, cinnamon, each two drachms, boil them in wine to half a pint. She may likewise use sulphur, Bath and Spa waters, both inward and outward, because they expel the wind.


SECT. IV.--Of the Straitness of the Womb and its Vessels.

This is another effect of the womb, which is a very great obstruction to the bearing of children, hindering both the flow of the menses and conception, and is seated in the vessel of the womb, and the neck thereof. The causes of this straitness are thick and rough humours, that stop the mouths of the veins and arteries. These humours are bred either by gross or too much nourishment, when the heat of the womb is so weak that it cannot attenuate the humours, which by reason thereof, either flow from the whole body, or are gathered into the womb. Now the vessels are made straiter or closer several ways; sometimes by inflammation, scirrhous or other tumours; sometimes by compressions, scars, or by flesh or membranes that grow after a wound. The signs by which this is known are, the stoppage of the terms, not conceiving, and condities abounding in the body which are all shown by particular signs, for if there is a wound, or the secundine be pulled out by force phlegm comes from the wound; if stoppage of the terms be from an old obstruction of humours, it is hard to be cured; if it be only from the disorderly use of astringents, it is more curable; if it be from a scirrhous, or other tumours that compress or close the vessel, the disease is incurable.

Cure. For the cure of that which is curable, obstructions must be taken away, phlegm must be purged, and she must be let blood, as will be hereafter directed in the stoppage of the terms. Then use the following medicines: Take of aniseed and fennel seed, each a drachm; rosemary, pennyroyal, calamint, betony flowers, each an ounce; castus, cinnamon, galengal, each half an ounce; saffron half a drachm, with wine. Or take asparagus roots, parsley roots, each an ounce; pennyroyal, calamint, each a handful; wallflowers, gilly-flowers, each two handfuls; boil, strain and add syrup of mugwort, an ounce and a half. For a fomentation, take pennyroyal, mercury, calamint, marjoram, mugwort, each two handfuls, sage, rosemary bays, camomile-flowers, each a handful, boil them in water and foment the groin and the bottom of the belly; or let her sit up to the navel in a bath, and then anoint about the groin with oil of rue, lilies, dill, etc.


SECT. V.--Of the falling of the Womb.

This is another evil effect of the womb which is both very troublesome, and also a hindrance to conception. Sometimes the womb falleth to the middle of the thighs, nay, almost to the knees, and may be known then by its hanging out. Now, that which causeth the womb to change its place is, that the ligaments by which it is bound to the other parts, are not in order; for there are four ligaments, two above, broad and membranous, round and hollow; it is also bound to the great vessels by veins and arteries, and to the back by nerves; but the place is changed when it is drawn another way, or when the ligaments are loose, and it falls down by its own weight. It is drawn on one side when the menses are hindered from flowing, and the veins and arteries are full, namely, those that go to the womb. If it be a mole on one side, the liver and spleen cause it; by the liver vein on the right side, and the spleen on the left, as they are more or less filled. Others are of opinion, it comes from the solution of the connexion of the fibrous neck and the parts adjacent; and that it is from the weight of the womb descending; this we deny not, but the ligaments must be loose or broken. But women with a dropsy could not be said to have the womb fallen down, if it came only from looseness; but in them it is caused by the saltness of the water, which dries more than it moistens. Now, if there be a little tumour, within or without the privities, it is nothing else but a descent of the womb, but if there be a tumour like a goose's egg and a hole at the bottom and there is at first a great pain in the parts to which the womb is fastened, as the loins, the bottom of the belly, and the os sacrum, it proceeds from the breaking or stretching of the ligaments; and a little after the pain is abated, and there is an impediment in walking, and sometimes blood comes from the breach of the vessels, and the excrements and urine are stopped, and then a fever and convulsion ensueth, oftentimes proving mortal, especially if it happen to women with child.

Cure. For the cure of this distemper, first put up the womb before the air alter it, or it be swollen or inflamed; and for this purpose give a clyster to remove the excrements, and lay her upon her back, with her legs abroad, and her thighs lifted up and her head down; then take the tumour in your hand and thrust it in without violence; if it be swelled by alteration and cold, foment it with the decoction of mallows, althoea, lime, fenugreek, camomile flowers, bay-berries, and anoint it with oil of lilies, and hen's grease. If there be an inflammation, do not put it up, but fright it in, by putting a red-hot iron before it and making a show as if you intended to burn it; but first sprinkle upon it the powder of mastich, frankincense and the like; thus, take frankincense, mastich, each two drachms; sarcocol steeped in milk, drachm; mummy, pomegranate flowers, sanguisdraconis, each half a drachm. When it is put up, let her lie with her legs stretched, and one upon the other, for eight or ten days, and make a pessary in the form of a pear, with cork or sponge, and put it into the womb, dipped in sharp wine, or juice of acacia, with powder of sanguis, with galbanum and bdellium. Apply also a cupping-glass, with a great flame, under the navel or paps, or both kidneys, and lay this plaster to the back; take opopanax, two ounces, storax liquid, half an ounce; mastich, frankincense, pitch, bole, each two drachms; then with wax make a plaster; or take laudanum, a drachm and a half; mastich, and frankincense, each half a drachm, wood aloes, cloves, spike, each a drachm; ash-coloured ambergris, four grains: musk, half a scruple; make two round plasters to be laid on each side of the navel; make a fume of snails' skins salted, or of garlic, and let it be taken in by the funnel. Use also astringent fomentations of bramble leaves, plantain, horse-tails, myrtles, each two handfuls; wormseed, two handfuls; pomegranate flowers, half an ounce; boil them in wine and water. For an injection take comfrey root, an ounce; rupturewort, two drachms; yarrow, mugwort, each half an ounce; boil them in red wine, and inject with a syringe. To strengthen the womb, take hartshorn, bays, of each half a drachm; myrrh half a drachm; make a powder of two doses, and give it with sharp wine. Or you may take Zedoary, parsnip seed, crabs' eyes prepared, each a drachm, nutmeg, half a drachm; and give a drachm, in powder; but astringents must be used with great caution, lest by stopping the courses a worse mischief follow. To keep in its place, make rollers and ligatures as for a rupture; and put pessaries into the bottom of the womb, that may force it to remain. Let the diet be such as has drying, astringent and glueing qualities, as rice, starch, quinces, pears and green cheese; but let the summer fruits be avoided; and let her wine be astringent and red.



Of Diseases Relating to Women's Monthly Courses.

SECTION I.--Of Women's Monthly Courses in General.

That divine Providence, which, with a wisdom peculiar to itself, has appointed woman to conceive by coition with man, and to bear and bring forth children, has provided for nourishment of children during their recess in the womb of their mother, by that redundancy of the blood which is natural to all women; and which, flowing out at certain periods of time (when they are not pregnant) are from thence called _terms_ and _menses_, from their monthly flux of excrementitious and unprofitable blood. Now, that the matter flowing forth is excrementitious, is to be understood only with respect to the redundancy and overplus thereof, being an excrement only with respect to its quantity; for as to its quality, it is as pure and incorrupt as any blood in the veins; and this appears from the final cause of it, which is the propagation and conservation of mankind, and also from the generation of it, being superfluity of the last aliment of the fleshy parts. If any ask, if the menses be not of hurtful quality, how can they cause such venomous effects; if they fall upon trees and herbs, they make the one barren and mortify the other: I answer, this malignity is contracted in the womb, for the woman, wanting native heat to digest the superfluity, sends it to the matrix, where seating itself till the mouth of the womb be dilated, it becomes corrupt and mortified; which may easily be, considering the heat and moistness of the place; and so this blood being out of its proper vessels, offends in quality.


SECT. II.--_Of the Terms coming out of order, either before or after the usual Time.

Having, in the former part of this work, treated, of the suppression and overflowing of the monthly terms, I shall content myself with referring the reader thereto, and proceed to speak of their coming out of order, either before or after the usual time.

Both these proceed from an ill constitution of body. Everything is beautiful in its order, in nature as well as in morality; and if the order of nature be broken, it shows the body to be out of order. Of each of these effects briefly.

When the monthly courses come before their time, showing a depraved excretion, and flowing sometimes twice a month, the cause is in the blood, which stirs up the expulsive faculty of the womb, or else in the whole body, and is frequently occasioned by the person's diet, which increases the blood too much, making it too sharp or too hot. If the retentive faculty of the womb be weak, and the expulsive faculty strong, and of a quick sense, it brings them forth the sooner. Sometimes they flow sooner by reason of a fall, stroke or some violent passion, which the parties themselves can best relate. If it be from heat, thin and sharp humours, it is known by the distemper of the whole body. The looseness of the vessels and the weakness of the retentive faculty, is known from a moist and loose habit of the body. It is more troublesome than dangerous, but hinders conception, and therefore the cure is necessary for all, but especially such as desire children. If it proceeds from a sharp blood, let her temper it by a good diet and medicines. To which purpose, let her use baths of iron water, that correct the distemper of the bowels, and then evacuate. If it proceeds from the retentive faculty, and looseness of the vessels, it is to be corrected with gentle astringents.

As to the courses flowing after the usual time, the causes are, thickness of the blood, and the smallness of its quantity, with the stoutness of the passage, and weakness of the expulsive faculties. Either of these singly may stop the courses, but if they all concur, they render the distemper worse. If the blood abounds not in such a quantity as may stir up nature to expel it, its purging must necessarily be deferred, till there be enough. And if the blood be thick, the passage stopped, and the expulsive faculty weak, the menses must needs be out of order and the purging of them retarded.

For the cure of this, if the quantity of blood be small, let her use a larger diet, and a very little exercise. If the blood be thick and foul, let it be made thin, and the humours mixed therewith, evacuated. It is good to purge, after the courses have done flowing, and to use calamint, and, indeed, the oftener she purges, the better. She may also use fumes and pessaries, apply cupping glasses without scarification to the inside of the thighs, and rub the legs and scarify the ankles, and hold the feet in warm water four or five days before the courses come down. Let her also anoint the bottom of her belly with things proper to provoke the terms.


Remedies for Diseases in Women's Paps.

Make a cataplasm of bean meal and salad oil, and lay it to the place afflicted. Or anoint with the juice of papilaris. This must be done when the papa are very sore.

If the paps be hard and swollen, take a handful of rue, colewort roots, horehound and mint; if you cannot get all these conveniently, any two will do; pound the handful in honey, and apply it once every day till healed.

If the nipples be stiff and sore, anoint twice a day with Florence oil, till healed. If the paps be flabby and hanging, bruise a little hemlock, and apply it to the breast for three days; but let it not stand above seven hours. Or, which is safer, rusae juice, well boiled, with a little sinapios added thereto, and anoint.

If the paps be hard and dead, make a plate of lead pretty thin, to answer the breasts; let this stand nine hours each day, for three days. Or sassafras bruised, and used in like manner.


Receipt for Procuring Milk.

Drink arpleui, drawn as tea, for twenty-one days. Or eat of aniseeds. Also the juice of arbor vitae, a glassful once a day for eleven days, is very good, for it quickens the memory, strengthens the body, and causeth milk to flow in abundance.


Directions for Drawing of Blood.

Drawing of blood was first invented for good and salutary purposes, although often abused and misapplied. To bleed in the left arm removes long continued pains and headaches. It is also good for those who have got falls and bruises.

Bleeding is good for many disorders, and generally proves a cure, except in some extraordinary cases, and in those cases bleeding is hurtful. If a woman be pregnant, to draw a little blood will give her ease, good health, and a lusty child.

Bleeding is a most certain cure for no less than twenty-one disorders, without any outward or inward applications; and for many more with application of drugs, herbs and flowers.

When the moon is on the increase, you may let blood at any time day or night; but when she is on the decline, you must bleed only in the morning.

Bleeding may be performed from the month of March to November. No bleeding in December, January or February, unless an occasion require it. The months of March, April and November, are the three chief months of the year for bleeding in; but it may be performed with safety from the ninth of March to the nineteenth of November.

To prevent the dangers that may arise from she unskilful drawing of blood, let none open a but a person of experience and practice.

There are three sorts of people you must not let draw blood; first ignorant and inexperienced persons. Secondly, those who have bad sight and trembling hands, whether skilful or unskilled. For when the hand trembles, the lance is apt to start from the vein, and the flesh be thereby damaged, which may hurt, canker, and very much torment the patient. Thirdly, let no woman bleed, but such as have gone through a course of midwifery at college, for those who are unskilful may cut an artery, to the great damage of the patient. Besides, what is still worse, those pretended bleeders, who take it up at their own hand, generally keep unedged and rusty lancets, which prove hurtful, even in a skilful hand. Accordingly you ought to be cautious in choosing your physician; a man of learning knows what vein to open for each disorder; he knows how much blood to take as soon as he sees the patient, and he can give you suitable advice concerning your disorder.

[The end]
Aristotle's Book: Proper And Safe Remedies