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Beyond Home Remedy
Recipe: "An excellent balsame"

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Recipe: Gerard's Herball

An entry on tobacco (plant pictured below) from John Gerard’s The Herball (1597) discusses “witches” and “couseners” who would use the remedy for profit. That the entry addresses women specifically indicates that women would have owned or had access to Gerard's hefty volume (1).


Click the links within the transcription or at the right for more information on women's ownership, surgery, wisewomen, and witches.

Crispijn van de Passe. Hortus floridus. English. Utrecht, 1615

I do make hereof an excellent balsame to cure deepe wounds and punctures (2), made by some narrowe sharpe pointed weapon which balsame doth bring up the flesh from the bottome very speedily, and also heale simple cuts in the flesh according to the first intention, that is, to glewe or soder the lips of the wound together, not procuring matter or corruption unto it, as is commonly seene in the healing of wounds. The receipt is this, take oile of roses, oile of Saint Johns woort, of either one pint, the leaves of Tabaco stamped small in a stone mortar two pound, Boile them together to the consumption of the juice, straine it and put it to the fire againe, adding thereto of Venice Turpentine two ounces, of olibanum & masticke of either halfe an ounce, in most fine & subtill powder, the which you may at all times make into an unguent or salve (3) by putting thereto waxe and rosin to give unto it a stiffe bodie, which worketh exceeding well in maligne and virulent ulcers, as in woundes and punctures:  I sende this jewell unto you women of all sorts, especially to such as cure and helpe the poore and impotent of your countrie without rewarde (4) But unto the beggarly rabble of witches, charmers, & such like couseners (5), that regarde more to get money then to helpe for the caritie, I wish these fewe medicines far from their understanding, and from those deceivers whom I wish to bee ignoraunte herein.  But curteous gentlewomen, I may not for the malice I do beare unto such, hide any thing from you of such importaunce: and therefore take more that followeth, wherewith I have done very many and good cures, although of small cost, but regarde it not the lesse for that cause.



Continue to recipe for A Plague Water >>
  Learn More

(1) Women's Ownership

(2) Surgery: Cures for "Deep Wounds"

(3) Paracelsian Salve: Women and Science

(4) Wisewomen: Unlawful Practices

(5) Witches: A "remedy" from Macbeth

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