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Title: A Plain and Easie Method for Preserving (by God's Blessing) Those That Are Well from the Infection of the Plague, or Any Contagious Distemper, in City, Camp, Fleet, Etc., and for Curing Such as Are Infected with It.

Author: Thomas Willis

Release date: June 27, 2015 [eBook #49299]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Cindy Horton and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
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The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Libellum hunc de Peste, dignum judicamus, qui Imprimatur.

Gualt. Charleton, Præses Collegii Regalis Medicor. Londinens.

Tho. Burwel. right bracer
J. Gordon. Censores.
Wil. Dawes.
Tho. Gill.

Dat. Sepemb. 5. 1690.

In Comitiis Censoriis ex Edibus Collegii nostri.

portrait of Thomas Willis, M. D.

Thomas Willis M.D.

Plain and Easie Method
Preserving [by God's Blessing]
those that are WELL from the
Infection of the

Or any
Contagious Distemper,


For Curing such as are Infected
with it.

Written in the Year 1666.

By Tho. Willis, M. D. late Sidney Professor in Oxford, and a Member of the Royal Society and Colledge of Physicians in London.

Never before Printed.

LONDON, Printed for W. Crook, at the Green-Dragon, without Temple-Bar. 1691.


Good Reader,

Having been hitherto very averse from Publishing any of Dr. Willis's Posthumous Works, because it may be presum'd that they want his last Hand to compleat them; and for that Reason, giving no ear till now to any Entreaties of that kind, though never so powerful, or never so importunate: I think my self oblig'd to give the World some Account why I alter'd my mind as to this particular, and did at length suffer my self to be prevail'd with to Print the following Treatise, it being now Fifteen Years after his Death; and it is briefly this: A worthy Friend and an old Acquaintance of mine, desiring if I knew of, or could procure any choice and approv'd Receipts against the Plague, that I would furnish him with some for a Friend of his, for the preservation of whose Health he had a singular concern, and who was going in the late Embassie to Constantinople, where that Distemper then was, and did frequently rage: I promis'd to use my utmost endeavours to supply him; and calling to mind this short Tract, which I transcrib'd from the Doctor's Papers in the Year 1666, being then his Amanuensis; I knew it would far exceed whatsoever I could elsewhere obtain, or pretend to collect upon this Subject: Whereupon I allow'd him to take a Copy of it for his Friend's use, upon condition he would not make it publick. But not long since a suspicious Sickness having seiz'd their Majesties Army in Ireland, the same Person was very much of opinion, that the Printing of it might do great service, should that Disease prove Pestilential; and urg'd such Arguments, as made me to be also of the same perswasion; especially, he having shew'd the Copy to several of the most eminent Physicians amongst us, whose opinion it was, as he assur'd me, that the Publishing of it might be of very great use, it being a charitable instruction in cases of great danger, for such as cannot procure the attendance of Physicians: I must needs own, that I could not withstand the judgment of such Persons.

The regard I have always had, and shall still have for the Reputation and Memory of my dear Master, and best Friend, will not, I presume, be thought to lessen, by my giving way upon these terms to this Publication; since it is so earnestly desir'd, and so well esteem'd of: And the Good that is aim'd at by it can be no ill Apology for

Thy Friend and Servant,

J. Hemming.

St. Martins-Lane,
Sept. 1. 1690.


A Plain and Easie

In time of Pestilence, because a Physician cannot easily, or often, be consulted with; Therefore it behoveth all Persons, as well Poor as Rich, to be furnish'd with Remedies against that Contagious Disease; and certain Rules, or a Method how to use them: Which Method being very plain, and almost the same to all People, consists chiefly in these[2] two Parts, viz. How to preserve the Whole from taking Infection; And how to cure the Sick that are infected.

Touching the First; Though the surest way is to fly from it, yet in regard this cannot be done by all, some Means should be us'd to secure [so far as it is possible] those that are forced to stay by it. Such Means of Prevention, either concern the Publick Magistrate, which are already sufficiently known, and commonly practis'd in all places that are infected, and it would be superfluous to repeat them here; Or else such as belong to private Persons, what ways every Man that lives in, or near an infected place, may arm himself[3] against the danger of Contagion; Which should be endeavour'd, as well by purifying the Air we breathe, as also by fortifying our selves against taking the Infection at our Nostrils, Mouth, or Pores of the Body, which are the chiefest, if not the only parts the Poison creeps in at.

That the Air we breathe in may be wholesome, all Things, that may advance or add to the corruption of it, should diligently be removed; our Houses, and Streets kept clean; all Filth, and whatever may cause noisom smells, be taken away; and amongst other things, the smell of Sope Suds, and Lye, in the washing of Clothes, be avoided; this, Experience has taught to be very[4] dangerous; as 'tis observed by Diemerbroek and Vander Heyden.

Besides the suppressing of Vapours that may increase the infection of the Air, it is to be purg'd of that Malignity it brings with it from other infected places; and this is done by great Fires, which should be continually kept, except the Weather be too hot, and by Fumes of Sulphur, Nitre, Frankincense, Pitch, Rosin, Tarr, and the like, which every day should be burnt in the Room we most frequent, also before our Doors, and on the tops of our Houses. Of simple Medicines to be us'd for this purpose, Brimstone is commended for the best that is; 'Tis likely that Vitriol, which partakes much[5] of the like acid Spirit, may be very proper; but in regard 'tis not easily combustible, make this mixture, and strew of it on Coals in a hot Chafing-dish.

Take green Vitriol calcin'd, Saltpeter, and Sulphur, of each a pound, beat them well together, and keep it for use.

In close Rooms, and in hot Weather, Vinegar with Rue, or Wormwood, chopt small, and evaporated in a perfuming Pot; or else Pestilential Vinegar [as we shall describe] thrown on a hot Brick. Or[6] take Myrrh, Galbanum, Ammoniac, of each half an Ounce; boyl these in a Quart, or three Pints of White-Wine Vinegar, 'till they are all dissolv'd; put half a spoonful of this at a time on a hot Brick.

Some commend Slakeing of Lime, supposing the fume that ariseth from it, may purifie the Air: 'Tis possible, if this be done with Vinegar, either simple, or impregnated with Alexipharmacal Medicines, it may be more effectual.

Next to the Cure of the Air, to render that as wholesom as we can; we must arm our selves against taking in that Malignity, which [notwithstanding all means[7] of purifying it] shall still remain mixt with it. Now because the Spirits are commonly the first that receive Infection; We must fortifie them, that they may not easily admit the approaches of their Enemy, which when they are in full vigour and expansion, they will repel, and as it were keep off at a distance; Therefore Wine and Confidence are a good Preservative against the Plague: But when the Spirits, through fear, or want of supply, do recede, and are forc'd to give back, the Enemy enters, and first seizeth them, and thence gets into the Blood and Humors; Therefore much Fasting and Emptiness are bad: But every one should Eat and Drink at convenient Hours, in such[8] manner and measure, as may always keep the Spirits lively and chearful, and endeavour to compose his Mind and Affection against fear and sadness.

But besides keeping the Spirits in a good height, and more especially when that cannot be done, as in Persons that are naturally fearful, and of a tender Constitution, the Spirits should constantly, as it were, be kept arm'd with such Remedies as resist the Poyson; that is, the use of proper Antidotes against the Plague.

I shall set down some Preservatives to be taken of every Morning, and again at Night, by those that live in infected places.


Take of Conserve of Wood-Sorrel four Ounces; Confectio Liberans, and Mithridate, of each half an Ounce; Salt of Wormwood two Drams; Confection of Hyacinth one Dram; Tormentil Roots, and fine Bole, of each half a Dram; Pestilential Vinegar half an Ounce; mix all with Syrup of Citron; Take as much as a Nutmeg, Night and Morning.


For the Poorer Sort, that Medicine of the Ancients, may be proper, viz.

Take of Rue two handfuls, Figs and Walnut-Kernels, of each twenty four, common Salt half an Ounce; Which beat all together in a Mortar, till it be well mix'd; Take of it as much as a Nutmeg every Morning and Night.

This Medicine may be several ways advanc'd, by adding some Alexipharmacal Remedies to it, as by putting Salt of Wormwood,[11] instead of common Salt, and by adding an Ounce of Venice Treacle, to the whole Composition.

For those that cannot take an Electuary, these Tablets may be proper to eat, about one Dram at a time, two or three times a day.

Take of the Roots of Virginian-Snakeweed, Zedoary, Contrayerva, Species Liberans, of each two Drams; Camphire two Drams; mix all finely pouder'd, then dissolve eight Ounces of[12] fine Sugar in Pestilential Vinegar; Boyl it Candy high, and adding the Pouder to it, make all into Lozenges.

For some that are of a hotter Constitution, and a high Sanguine Temper, it may be proper to take every Morning a spoonful of Pestilential Vinegar in a little Carduus water, or plain Wallnut water; or else drink a draught of Posset-Drink, made with a Spoonful of that Vinegar.

Let the Pestilential Vinegar be made thus.


Take of the Roots of Angelica, Butter-Burr, Tormentil, Elecampane, of each half an Ounce, Virginian-Snakeweed, choice Zedoary, Contrayerva, of each three Drams; Leaves of Scordium, Rue, Goats-Rue, of each one handful; Marigold Flowers, Clove-gilloflowers, of each half a handful; Seeds of Citron and Carduus, of each two Drams; Cut and bruise these, and[14] put them in a Glass-Bottle, with three Pints of the best Vinegar, to digest for ten days.

When the Stomach, by frequent taking of one sort of Antidote, begins to loath it: In such Cases the use of it may be changed into some other: And if the Stomach withal should be ill, and defective, in Appetite and Digestion; let the Party take every Morning, ten or twelve Drops of Elixir Proprietatis, in plain Wormwood Water, or else in Wormwood Wine.

Those that have Coughs, and ill Lungs, may take five or six Drops of Balsam of Sulphur, made thus.


Take Flower of Sulphur, two Ounces, melt it in an Earthen Dish glaz'd on the fire, then put to it two Ounces of Salt of Wormwood; stir it for a Quarter of an Hour, taking care that it does not catch fire; Then put into it of Aloes, Myrrh, Olibanum, finely pouder'd, of each one Dram, of Saffron half a Dram; Keep this stirring half a Quarter of an Hour; Take it off, and put half an Ounce of it pouder'd,[16] to digest in five or six Ounces of good Spirit of Wine; It will take in a short time a very excellent Tincture: Which keep for use.

Or else this Balsam may be made with Spiritus Theriacalis Camphoratus, and so will be more effectual against the Plague, Or which is more applicable to use,

Put an Ounce of that Pouder newly made, into a pretty large Glass, and put to it a Quart of[17] good Sack; Set it in a gentle heat, for three or four Hours, it will take a Tincture: And of this one may take half a Spoonful at a time: And I suppose two Spoonfuls in a convenient Vehicle, may be a good Sudorifick to be given one that is infected.

Though Purging in time of Pestilence is not good, as Diemerbroek by frequent Examples has observ'd, yet in Cachochymick Bodies, it may be convenient once in a fortnight, to take a Dose of Pillulæ Ruffi; Take[18] half a Dram at Night, and next Morning take the wonted Antidote, as at other times.

Also for those that live in an infected Air, that there is suspicion that they may daily take in some pestiferous Vapours, which fermenting with the Blood and Humours, may insensibly at last break out in the Plague; it may not be amiss, once or twice a week, to take pretty large Sweats in their Beds: And this to be done, especially if the Party has had any occasion whereby he may suspect himself to have been more open to infection, or that he has taken any: After such Sweat he should keep his Chamber the forepart of the day, till the Pores are reduc'd to be as they were before.


To provoke such a Sweat: Take of Venice Treacle, one Dram; dissolve it in three Ounces of Carduus Water, add a Spoonful of Syrup of Pestilential Vinegar; Or take a Draught of Posset-Drink, made with Pestilential Vinegar; In which boyl a few Petasitis Roots: To promote and continue the Sweat, take Posset-Drink with Meadow-Sweet, or else with Carduus, or Marigold-Flowers boyl'd in it.


Besides the daily and constant life of such Alexipharmacal Remedies, there are other Means, which occasionally and sometimes continually should be taken. For in regard we always draw in the Air at our Nostrils and Mouth, these parts should be well guarded with some Antidotes, that may keep out the poysonous Vapours from entring in, and especially as often as upon occasion we are more nearly expos'd to danger of Infection. To this end, some things to smell to, others to be held in the Mouth, chew'd, and swallow'd down, are frequently to be insisted on.

That which seems at once to fulfil most of these intentions, is taking of Tobacco in a Pipe; the Smoke of this secures those parts which[21] lye openest, and at once intercepts the Contagion from the Brain, Lungs, and Stomach: Nay more than this, it stirs the Blood and Spirits all the Body over, and makes them shake off any poysonous Matter that adher'd to them: Insomuch that Diemerbroek accounts it not only a Preservative, but tells us, that himself, when he was several times infected, by taking five or six Pipes of Tobacco together was presently cur'd. And amongst us in England 'tis reported, That in the last great Plague, no Tobacco-Shop was infected: If 'tis not of so great virtue still amongst us, the reason is, because most Men have been accustomed to take it so excessively; wherefore it is grown so familiar to them, that it produceth no alteration[22] when it should be us'd as an Antidote.

Besides the frequent use of Tobacco, which doubtless in time of Plague may be profitable for them that can take it; others, and also Tobacconists, at sometimes should be furnished with something to smell to when they pass through infected Places. Wormwood and Rue, Galbanum, Castor and Vinegar are good: The vulgar practice of putting Mithridate, or Treacle, or Tar in their Nostrils, may be very useful; or to have a Pomander to carry in ones hand, or put into the top of a Staff.

Take of the Roots of Contrayerva and Virginian-Snakeweed pouder'd,[23] of each Two Drams; of the best Myrrh pouder'd, half an Ounce; of Camphire half a Dram. Let it be made a Pouder.

Part of this may be enclos'd in a fine Silk Bag, and oftentimes dip it in Pestilential Vinegar, and so smell to it. To the other part of this, add Oyl of Nutmegs by Expression, and Oyl of Cap-ivy, of each a Dram, or as much as will make it into a Mass; also add of Balsam of Peru one Scruple. Dip Cotton Wool in Elixir Proprietatis, inclose it in fine Silk, and put it in the head of a Staff, or Civet Box, to smell to.

For Medicines to hold in the Mouth, and chew on, Roots of[24] Zedoary, Contrayerva, and Snakeweed are very good; also Roots of Enulacampane, Angelica, and Masterwort; these either alone, or macerated in Vinegar, and dried again. Myrrh is very excellent: Some commend Tobacco, and chew it almost continually.

These are the chiefest Remedies which help to keep Infection out of the Body. There is yet another sort which serves to let it out, and carry it away, before it grows to a head, viz. Issues, which have been found by often experience to be good Preservatives in time of Plague: For as much as Nature having a constant vent for excrementitious matter thrown off the Blood, by the same way expels poysonous Atoms soon after they are receiv'd into the Body.


Concerning Rules of Diet I need not say much, because such Precepts are commonly known: 'Tis to be observ'd in general, that only wholsome Food should be taken: Very salt Meats, as hang'd Beef, Bacon, Pork, salt Fish, also shell-Fish, most kind of Herbage and raw Fruit should be avoided. The Meals should be moderate, and eaten in due season. Some Antidotal Things may be taken with the Meat, or mix'd in the Sauce; Clove Gilloflowers pickled, also Citron Peel and Juice, Rasberries, Currants, Pomegranate Juices, Pestilential Vinegar, and Mustard, made with the Seeds of Thlaspi, may be of some good effect.

These kind of Remedies, and manner of living, ought chiefly to be insisted on as Preservatives[26] against the Plague. Those that are timorous and of tender Constitutions require a support from the use of more means; whereas Persons that are strong, and of a bold temper, have need of the less Remedies. But 'tis not safe for any to be so confident as to dare to converse with infected People, or live in the midst of Contagion without any Antidote at all.

In the use of means, caution is to be had, that strong and hot Cordials be not too often taken, nor yet indifferently by all People; for that will inflame the Blood, and make it apt to kindle a Fever, which at such times soon turns to the Plague.

The like caution is to be had against immoderate drinking of Wine; though a moderate proportion[27] chears and fortifies the Spirits, yet too much greatly disorders them, and thereby People are more expos'd to take Infection.

Letting of Blood in time of Plague has been observ'd to be very pernicious; so also oft or strong Purging; for the Veins being emptied either way, will readily suck in whatever poysonous Atoms lurk in the outward Pores of the Body, which being admitted, become the more prevalent, because the Spirits being depauperated, are less able to subdue or repel them.

Thus much of the way of Preservation: Next we are to treat of the Cure of those that are infected.

The Cure of the Plague admits of no Delay; neither indeed[28] is there need of any deliberation what ought to be done; but as soon as any one finds himself infected, let him forthwith take to his Bed, and having pray'd to Almighty God for his Blessing, begin to use the Means.

If the Party is much oppress'd at his Stomach, and strains to vomit, or else with vomiting throws up bitter and stinking Matter; let him presently take a large draught of Carduus, or Camomile Posset-Drink, and in it either half a Dram of Salt of Vitriol, or two Ounces of Liquor of Squills, and with his finger or a Feather, fetch up what is contain'd in his Stomach; but take no Antimonial Medicine, that will work beyond the Stomach.[29] As soon as he has vomited, [or if there is no occasion for this Evacuation] let him presently be put into a Sweat, and continue for twelve hours, more or less, according as his strength will hold out, and not sleep in it, or not till the latter end of it.

If when he begins to Sweat, or endeavours it, his Vomiting still persists, then apply to the pit of the Stomach a Toast of White-Bread, spread over with Treacle or Mithridate, and dipt in Claret-Wine or Pestilential Vinegar, made Scalding hot in a Peuter Dish; Wrap this in fine Linnen, and apply it very hot.

After a plentiful Sweat for twelve, fourteen, or eighteen hours, give him some Refective,[30] as Broth, Caudle, Mace-drink, or the like; and a little while after suffer him to sleep if he can. Then give him temperate Cordials by way of Confection or Julep, or both; which repeat every third or fourth hour: Also at the time that the Party settles to sleep, lay Vesicatory Plaisters behind the Ears, and under the Arm-pits, and also in the Groin.

After he has slept, or endeavour'd it, and his Spirits are pretty well refresh'd, at a moderate distance from the first sweating, viz. Eighteen, or Four and Twenty hours, sooner or later, according as Symptoms are more or less urgent, and his strength is able, repeat the Sweating again; and so proceed through the whole Cure; one while Sweating, and[31] another while refreshing his Spirits by temperate Cordials and Sleep; betwixt whiles administring fit Nourishment, until such time as the Symptoms are abated wholly, and either the Disease terminated, or else the Malignity is driven all out in Boyls or Carbuncles; which how they must be order'd, shall be set down.

Though the same kind of Sudorificks may be given indifferently to most People, yet because there is variety of such Medicines, in respect both of the Matter and Form of them, therefore some choice may be had in the administration of them, that so we may comply with the Patient's taking them best in this or that kind of Form; and also[32] that those that are hotter be given to Persons of a cold Temper, and those Medicines which are more temperate to such whose Constitutions are hot: I shall set down several Forms of Sweating Medicines, which are given either in Potion, Bolus, or Pouder.


Take of Small Plague Water, Two Ounces; Pestilential Vinegar, half an Ounce; of Venice Treacle, one Dram; mingle them.


Take of Compound Scordium Water two Ounces; Treacle-Water half an Ounce, Venice Treacle one Dram, Salt of Wormwood one Scruple, Spirit of Vitriol Six Drops: Mingle them.

Take of Butter Burr-Water three Ounces, Venice Treacle, Diascordium, of each one Dram, Pestilential Vinegar one Spoonful: Mix them.


Take of Carduus Water Four Ounces, Pestilential Vinegar One Ounce, Pestilential Extract One Scruple: Mix them.

Or make some Posset-Drink with Pestilential Vinegar; in a Draught of it dissolve one Dram, or a Dram and a half, of any of these Confections, adding one Scruple of Salt of Wormwood.

In a Spoonful or two of[35] Treacle-Water, or Vinegar, or both mix'd; give fifteen or twenty Drops of Spirit of Harts-horn, or of the simple Mixture from half a Dram to a Dram; or of Balsam of Sulphur, from ten to twenty Drops, or fifteen Drops of Elixir Proprietatis.

For the Poorer sort, make Posset-Drink with Pestilential Vinegar, and boyl in it some Butter-Roots, and give a Draught hot.

Or make this Potion which Henricus a Bra magnifies above all other Remedies, from[36] the Experience of it in a great Plague once raging in his Country.

Take Celandine and Rue, of each one handful, Marigold Flowers half a handful; boyl these in a Quart of White-Wine Vinegar; strain it out, and keep it in a Glass Bottle; give two or three Spoonfuls; in which dissolve of Venice Treacle, or Mithridate, one Dram. This will provoke Sweat very powerfully.


Some others commend a Decoction of Guaiacum, to provoke Sweat with it, as in the cure of the French Pox.

A plain Decoction of Rue in White Wine, with a little Vinegar added to it, is highly commended by others.

Seeds of Rue pouder'd, and one Dram of it mix'd with half a Dram of Treacle, dissolv'd with White-Wine, is accounted an excellent Sudorifick.

Sudorifick Medicines may be given in Pouder thus.

Take of Virginian Snakeweed, Contrayerva,[38] and Gascoigne Pouder, or Lady Kent's Pouder, of each one Scruple; give it in two Spoonfuls of Posset Drink, or of a Cordial Julep, or in Syrup of Gilloflowers.

Take Pouder of prepar'd Toad one Dram, Pouder of Hyacinth half a Dram: Mingle them.

Take of Bezoartica Mineralis half an Ounce, of Species Liberans two Scruples, Camphire[39] eight Grains: Mingle them.

Take of the Flower of Sal Armoniac half a Scruple, of Cerusse of Antimony one Scruple, of Bole Armenick one Scruple: Mingle them.

Give any of these in a Spoonful or two of any Liquor, or in a Spoonful of Sack, with as much Pestilential Vinegar; half an hour after, drink a draught of Posset-Drink with Medesweet, or Woodsorrel boyl'd in it.


Take of the Pouder of Ivy Berries one Dram; give it in a draught of warm White-Wine, with a Spoonful of Pestilential Vinegar.

Take Pouder of the Roots of Carline Thistle; Give it in the same manner.

Likewise Pouder of Butter Burr Root, given in the same manner, provoketh Sweat powerfully, and[41] expelleth the Poyson of the Plague.

Take of Zedoary Root that is gummy and sound, one Ounce, Sugar Candy one Ounce and an half, Camphire half an Ounce; mix all in a fine Pouder: The Dose is one Dram in some distill'd Water.

If the Patient can best take his Medicine in a Bolus.

Take of Venice Treacle one Dram, Tormentile Roots, Bole prepar'd,[42] of each one Scruple, Syrup of Gilloflowers as much as sufficeth.

Take Diascordium, Confectio Liberans, of each half a Dram, or two Scruples, Salt of Wormwood one Scruple, Conserve of Roses vitriolated half a Dram, Syrup of Gilloflowers as much as is sufficient.

Take of Conserve of Roses half a Dram, Balsam of Sulphur,[43] fifteen Drops; mix them. Take Posset Drink half an hour, or an hour after any of these.

When many People are sick, and there is not leisure to compound every Dose of these Medicines severally, there should be a large mixture of each kind made up together, which may immediately, and without trouble be distributed into Doses.

For Sweating Potions thus.

Take a Quart of Small Plague Water, of Compound Water of Scordium[44] and Pestilential Vinegar, of each a Quarter of a Pint, of Syrup of Gilloflowers two Ounces, Venice Treacle one Ounce, of Diascordium and Confectio Liberans, of each half an Ounce, Pestilential Extract, Salt of Wormwood, of each two Drams; put all together in a large Glass, shake them well together, and after it has stood Four and Twenty Hours,[45] make use of it: Pour out three Ounces of the clear, and two Ounces of it turbid or shaken just before: This may serve for fourteen or sixteen days.

Mix a Pouder thus.

Take of the Pouder of Confectio Liberans, one Ounce, Roots of Contrayerva, Virginian-Snakeweed, Tormentile, Bole prepar'd, of each two Drams, of the Claws of Crabs[46] pouder'd, half an Ounce, mix all very well. The Dose is from one Dram to one Dram and a half, or two Drams.

Or take of the Pouders of Prepar'd Toad one Ounce, and of Confectio Liberans half an Ounce, mix them. The Dose is from one Dram to one Dram and a half.

For an Electuary to be distributed into several Doses, that of Hermannus Vander Heyden is a very good one, and as he asserts,[47] approved by frequent Experience.

Take of Diascordium one Ounce and a half, of Venice Treacle two Drams, of Confectio Hyacinthi one Dram, Pouder of Nutmegs, Rue Seeds, Root of Angelica, Enulacampane, of each one Dram and a half, Wine Vinegar (or rather Pestilential Vinegar) one Ounce, Oyl of Sulphur fifteen drops, Syrup of Juice of Citron as[48] much as sufficeth: make up all together. The Dose is from one Dram and a half to two Drams.

Or take of Conserve of Wood Sorrel, half a Pound, of Mithridate four Ounces. The Dose is two Drams.

In time of Sweating, give the Patient Posset Drink made with Pestilential Vinegar; boyl in the Milk Scordium or Marigold Flowers; if he is very dry, boyl Medesweet, or Wood Sorrel; if he is ill at Stomach, and apt to vomit or faint, give Claret Wine burnt with Cinnamon[49] and Zedoary Root, and Mint Water mix'd with it: Or else give him Beer boyl'd with a Crust of Bread and Mace, and sweetn'd with Sugar. Besides, to the richer sort give now and then a draught of a Cordial Julep, and sometimes a Dose of a Cordial Electuary; which kind of Medicines should be given likewise after Sweating is over, once in three or four hours, of one or other, to refresh the Spirits, and to keep the Malignity from the Heart. Give him no cold Beer in two or three days. After Sweating wash the Mouth with White-wine Vinegar and Rose Water: Also dip a Spunge in the same warm, and gently stroke the Temples of the Head, and Nostrils with the same.[50] Between whiles give of the Medicines following.

Take Woodsorrel Water, and Dragon-Water, of each Four Ounces; Scordium Water, two Ounces; Treacle Water (or Plague Water) one Ounce and a half; Syrup of Gilloflowers (or of Juice of Citrons) two Ounces; Pearle finely pouder'd one Scruple; Spirit of Vitriol twelve Drops: Mix them.


Or make a Decoction thus.

Take of Harts-Horn rasp'd, and Ivory, of each three Drams; a Pear main sliced, Woodsorrel half an handful: Boyl these in three Pints of Water, till a third part is wasted; Strain it on two Ounces of Conserve of Gilloflowers, or Woodsorrel, or Red Roses: Let it infuse an hour: then stir it, and strain it out: Give a Quarter of a Pint warm.

Whereas we give Emulsions[52] made with such a Decoction and Almonds, and cold Seeds in Fevers, Diemerbroek affirms, upon his frequent Observation, Emulsions never do well in the Plague.

Take of the Conserve of Woodsorrel four ounces, of the Rob of Goosberries or Rasberries two Ounces, Species Diarrhodon Abbatis two Drams, Confectionis Liberantis one Dram and a half, of Prepar'd Pearl half a Dram, Red Coral prepar'd one Dram, with a sufficient quantity[53] of Syrup of Juice of Citron: Let it be made an Opiate: The Dose is one or two Drams often in a day.

Sometimes the Plague is accompanied with dangerous Symptoms, to which if Remedies are not suddenly applied, all we do besides is to little purpose. Such Accidents, which call for respective ways of Cure, are chiefly Fluxes of Blood, and Loosness of the Belly, and Vomiting.

The first use to happen several ways, viz. at the Nose and Mouth, by Stool or Urine, by the Hæmorrhoids, and in Women by Menstrual Purgations: Some[54] of which, as by Urine always, and ofttimes by Stool, are mortal; none of them ever tend to good. Therefore in all such cases, Remedies must be administred which may stop Bleeding: And though Sweating and Refection of the Spirits be still the principal intention of Cure; yet the other must come in as collateral with both of them; and Medicines that restrain Fluxes of Blood be mixed both with Sudorificks and other Cordials, and also be administred with Diet too.

In all Hæmorrhages Sudorificks must be compounded of Medicines that are temperate, and not astringent.


For Potions they be made thus.

Take Pimpernel Water, or Tormentil Water two Ounces, of Scordium Water six Drams, of Vinegar that has Tormentil Roots infus'd in it, two Drams, Confection of Hyacinth one Dram, of prepar'd Bole half a Dram, Extract of Tormentil one Scruple, of Syrup of Coral three Drams.


Or make Posset Drink with Tormentil Vinegar, boyl in it a Root of Tormentil and Bistort; in one draught of it dissolve of Venice Treacle two Scruples, Confection of Hyacinth, prepar'd Bole, of each one Scruple.

Make this Apozeme, and give two or three Ounces three or four times in a day.

Take of Tormentil Roots half an Ounce, Bistort three Drams, Red Sanders[57] one Dram, of Pomegranate Peel one Dram, St. Johns Wort, Plantane and Burnet, of each half a handful; Flowers of Roses, and Pomegranates, of each one Dram and a half; of Plantane Seeds one Dram: Boyl these in three Pints of Water till a Pint is wasted; strain it, and add to it of Syrup of Coral two Ounces, Confection of Hyacinth two Drams: Mingle them.


Pouders may be compounded thus.

Take of Confectio Liberans, or Confection of Hyacinth half a Dram; Tormentil Roots, Fine Bole, of each one Scruple; Pearl and Coral prepar'd, of each half a Scruple: Give it in a Spoonful of Syrup of Coral, with a Spoonful of Tormentil Vinegar.


Make a Bolus thus.

Take Confection of Hyacinth and Venice Treacle, of each half a Dram; Tormentil Roots and prepar'd Bole, of each one Scruple; of Extract of Tormentil half a Scruple, of prepar'd Pearl six Grains, of Syrup of Coral as much as is sufficient.

For Juleps and Confections, to give in, and betwixt[60] Sweating, they be compounded thus.

Take of Medesweet Water eight Ounces, small Plague Water, Scordium Compound Water, of each three Ounces; of Syrup of Coral two Ounces, Confection of Hyacinth two Drams, of Tormentil Vinegar half an Ounce; Mix them: Give four or five Spoonfuls every third hour.

Or take of Conserve of[61] Red Roses four Ounces, of prepar'd Coral two Drams, of prepar'd Pearl half a Dram, Confection of Hyacinth and Alkermes, of each one Dram, of Tormentil Vinegar half an Ounce; or as much as is sufficient: Make it up into an Electuary: Give once in three or four hours as much as a Nutmeg.

These kinds of Remedies, which are proper in Hæmorrhages, are also to be used in Fluxes of the Belly; likewise by Women with[62] Child, because other more hot Medicines may provoke an Abortion.

Make Tormentil Vinegar thus.

Take Roots of Tormentil, Bistort dried and sliced, of each an Ounce, Cinnamon half an Ounce, Red Sanders one Dram: Bruise all very well, and put to it a Quart of White-Wine Vinegar; digest it in a common Furnace for four days: At the same time take Red and White Coral finely[63] pouder'd, of each half an Ounce; Dragons Blood, Blood-Stone, of each one Dram; Fine Bole, two Drams: Digest these in the same manner with a Quart of Vinegar: Then strain out both the Liquors, and mix them.

Let Extract of Tormentil Roots be made thus.

Take Tormentil and Bistort-Roots, of each one Ounce; of Cinnamon half an Ounce, of Red[64] Sanders two Drams, Salt of Wormwood half an Ounce; bruise all together, adding of Tormentil Vinegar two Ounces; put it in a Vessel to digest with three Pints of Medesweet Water: Strain it, and evaporate it with a gentle heat in Balneo Mariæ to the Consistency of Honey.

In the Cure of the Plague, if a course of Sweating, timely administred, do plentifully succeed, and withal other private Excretions be either prevented or presently[65] supprest, the Patient may be judg'd to be in a hopeful condition; and sometimes the Venom is quite expell'd, without any other accident: But for the most part, because the Poyson, by fermenting the Blood and Humours, is soon greatly encreas'd; so that all of it, especially the grosser Particles, cannot easily evaporate, it settles in the outward Parts, and there causeth the swelling and breaking out of divers kinds: Those that require any application of Remedies, are Boils and Carbuncles.

The first of these commonly happen in Parts that are very Glandulous; as behind the Ears, under the Armpits, and in the[66] Groin: They arise with a hard Swelling, which ought to suppurate and break, and the Corruption to be drawn all out, by the running of the Sore for some time: These Tumors call'd Bubo's, should be ordered thus.

If a Blister is not rais'd on, or near the place already, 'tis good to apply a Vesicatory Plaister just below it, but on the Tumor it self to apply some drawing Medicine, to attract the Venom outward; as at first, the Fundament of some living Fowl, or else a Colewort-Leaf dipt in scalding Water, and dried again, and smear'd over with Oyl of Lillies or Scorpions. To ripen the Sore, lay on Pultises or Plaisters; or rather first Pultises, and[67] then Plaisters, when it tends to suppuration; which should be renew'd every twelve hours at least.

For Pultises.

Take an Onion and White Lilly Roots, boyl them, or else wrap them in a wet Paper, and roast them in the Embers, afterward stamp both together, adding a little Treacle, and Oyl of Lillies as much as is sufficient: Or else roast a Fig with either or both these above-nam'd,[68] and make a Pultis in the same manner: Or else with either, or all above-named Remedies, add an handful of Scabious or Sorrel wash'd; and after beat all into a Pultis.

Take Pimpernel roasted on the Embers, mollifie it with Oyl of Scorpions, adding a little Pouder of Myrrh and Venice Treacle, and lay it to the Sore[69].

Some do commend live Frogs to be applyed, and renew'd as oft as they die.

For a Plaister to break the Sore when it is open'd, Diachylon with Gums; or else those two Emplaisters, viz. Emplastrum Paracelsi, and de Fuligine, mention'd by Diemerbroek, pag. 213. Paracelsus his Plaister is there thus order'd to be made.


Take of Gum Oppopanax two Ounces, Seraphin or Sagapen four Ounces, Bdellium three Ounces, Galbanum one Ounce, Olibanum two Drams; let them be dissolved in Vinegar, and strain'd, and adding the Pouder of a dried Toad and Frog, of Natural Brimstone one Ounce, of Camphire one Dram: Let it be made a Plaister to[71] be put upon the Tumor, and renewed every six hours.

Emplastrum de Fuligine, or Plaister of Soot, is thus made.

Take of Chimney Soot ten Drams, Leaven, Turpentine, Butter, of each one Ounce, Venice Sope one Ounce and a half, of Honey of Roses six Drams, Common Salt half an Ounce, the Whites of two Eggs, Treacle[72] and Mithridate, of each two Drams: Let them be mixed. For the Poorer sort, Shoemakers Wax is as good as any.

If when the Tumor is ripen'd, it do not soon break of it self, it is best to open it by Incision; and when it is broken, put in a Pledget dipp'd in Turpentine mix'd with the Yolk of an Egg; or dress it with Basilicon alone, or the Liniment of Arceus.

A Carbuncle, which is the other kind of Plague-Sore, which requires the operation of the hand, happens but seldom in any of the Emunctories [and[73] when it does it portends ill] but useth to be in most places else; It ariseth with angry Pustules, sometimes one, sometimes many; which soon grow discolour'd, and tend to Mortification, and the substance mortified must be cast out, and then the hollow Ulcer which remains must be healed.

When a Carbuncle first appears, Diemerbroek commends to be applied to it for the first and second day, a Red Colewort Leaf, smear'd over with Rape Oyl: The same Author mentions a Pultis which he us'd for the most part, renewing it three or four times in four and twenty hours, till the Core was taken out; and then Digestive Medicines, and others[74] succeedingly are to be us'd, as in other Ulcers.

Take Scabious and Devils Bit, of each two or three handfuls, stamp them, and then beat them with the Yolks of two Eggs, and a little Salt; lay it to the Carbuncle warm, renewing it three times in a day at least.


Transcribers Notes

Original variations in hyphenation have been retained. Original spellings were also retained except in the cases of these apparent typographical errors:

Page 2, “takeing” changed to “taking.” (How to preserve the Whole from taking Infection)

Page 14, “Balsum” changed to “Balsam.” (five or six Drops of Balsam of Sulphur)

Page 31, “Medicins” changed to “Medicines.” (there is variety of such Medicines)