The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Part 4 out of 6

the body may not slide down when the child is drawn forth; for which
sometimes great strength is required. Let the sheets and blankets cover
her thighs for decency's sake, and with respect to the assistants, and
also to prevent her catching cold; the operator herein governing himself
as well with respect to his convenience, and the facility and surety of
the operation, as to other things. Then let him anoint the entrance to
the womb with oil or fresh butter, if necessary, that with so more ease
he may introduce his hand, which must also be anointed, and having by
the signs above mentioned, received satisfaction that the child is dead,
he must do his endeavours to fetch it away as soon as he possibly can.
If the child offer the head first, he must gently put it back until he
hath liberty to introduce his hand quite into the womb; then sliding it
along, under the belly, to find the feet, let him draw it forth by
them, being very careful to keep the head from being locked into the
passage; and that it be not separated from the body; which may be
effected the more easily, because the child being very rotten and
putrefied, the operator need not be so mindful to keep the breast and
face downwards as he is in living births. But if notwithstanding all
these precautions, by reason of the child's putrefaction, the head
should be separated and left behind in the womb, it must be drawn forth
according to the directions which have been given in the third section
of this chapter. But when the head, coming first, is so far advanced
that it cannot well be put back, it is better to draw it forth so, than
to torment the woman too much by putting it back to turn it, and bring
it by the feet; but the head being a part round and slippery, it may
also happen that the operator cannot take hold of it with his fingers by
reason of its moisture, nor put them up to the side of it, because the
passage is filled with its bigness; he must, therefore, take a proper
instrument, and put it up as far as he can without violence, between the
womb and the child's head (for the child being dead before, there can be
no danger in the operation), and let him fasten it there, giving it hold
upon one of the bones of the skull, that it may not slide, and after it
is well fixed in the head, he may therewith draw it forth, keeping the
ends of the fingers of his left hand flat upon the opposite side, the
better to help to disengage it, and by wagging it a little, to conduct
it directly out of the passage, until the head be quite born; and then,
taking hold of it with his hands only, the shoulders being drawn into
the passage, and so sliding the fingers of both hands under the armpits,
the child may be quite delivered, and then the after-burden fetched, to
finish the operation, being careful not to pluck the navel-string too
hard lest it break, as often happens when it is corrupt.

If the dead child comes with the arm up to the shoulders so extremely
swelled that the woman must suffer too great violence to have it put
back, it is then (being first well assured the child is dead) best to
take it off by the shoulder joints, by twisting three or four times
about, which is very easily done by reason of the softness and
tenderness of the body. After the arm is so separated, and no longer
possesses the passage, the operator will have more room to put up his
hand into the womb, to fetch the child by the feet and bring it away.

But although the operator is sure the child is dead in the womb, yet he
must not therefore presently use instruments because they are never to
be used but when hands are not sufficient, and there is no other remedy
to prevent the woman's danger, or to bring forth the child any other
way; and the judicious operator will choose that way which is the least
hazardous, and most safe.

SECT. II.--_How a Woman must be Delivered when the Child's Feet come

There is nothing more obvious to those whose business it is to assist
labouring women, than that the several unnatural postures in which
children present themselves at the birth are the occasions of most of
the bad labours and ill accidents that happen to them in that condition.

And since midwives are often obliged, because of their unnatural
situations, to draw the children forth by the feet, I conceive it to be
most proper first to show how a child must be brought forth that
presents itself in that posture, because it will be a guide to several
of the rest.

I know indeed in this case it is the advice of several authors to change
the figure, and place the head so that it may present to the birth, and
this counsel I should be very much inclined to follow, could they but
also show how it may be done. But it will appear very difficult, if not
impossible to be performed, if we would avoid the danger that by such
violent agitations both the mother and the child must be put into, and
therefore my opinion is, that it is better to draw forth by the feet,
when it presents itself in that posture, than to venture a worse
accident by turning it.

As soon, therefore, as the waters are broken, and it is known that the
child come thus and that the womb is open enough to admit the midwife's
or operator's hand into it, or else by anointing the passage with oil or
hog's grease, to endeavour to dilate it by degrees, using her fingers to
this purpose, spreading them one from the other, after they are together
entered, and continue to do so until they be sufficiently dilated, then
taking care that her nails be well pared, no rings on her fingers and
her hands well anointed with oil or fresh butter, and the woman placed
in the manner directed in the former section, let her gently introduce
her hand into the entrance of the womb, where finding the child's feet,
let her draw it forth in the manner I shall presently direct; only let
her first see whether it presents one foot or both, and if but one foot,
she ought to consider whether it be the right foot or the left, and also
in what fashion it comes; for by that means she will soon come to know
where to find the other, which as soon as she knows and finds, let her
draw it forth with the other; but of this she must be specially careful,
viz., that the second be not the foot of another child; for if so, it
may be of the utmost consequence, for she may sooner split both mother
and child, than draw them forth. But this may be easily prevented if she
but slide the hand up by the first leg and thigh to the waist, and there
finding both thighs joined together, and descending from one and the
same body. And this is also the best means to find the other foot, when
it comes but with one.

As soon as the midwife has found both the child's feet, she may draw
them forth, and holding them together, may bring them little by little
in this manner, taking afterwards hold of the arms and thighs, as soon
as she can come at them, drawing them so till the hips come forth. While
this is doing, let her observe to wrap the parts in a single cloth, so
that her hands being always greasy slide not in the infant's body, which
is very slippery, because of the vicious humours which are all over it;
which being done, she may take hold under the hips, so as to draw it
forth to the beginning of the breast; and let her on both sides with her
hand bring down the child's hand along its body, which she may easily
find; and then let her take care that the belly and face of the child be
downwards; for if they should be upwards, there would be the same danger
of its being stopped by the chin, over the share-bone, and therefore, if
it be not so she must turn it to that posture; which may easily be done
if she takes a proper hold of the body when the breasts and arms are
forth, in the manner we have said, and draw it, turning it in proportion
on that side it most inclines to, till it be turned with the face
downwards, and so, having brought it to the shoulders, let her lose no
time, desiring the woman at the same time to bear down, that so drawing
the head at that instant may take its place, and not be stopped in the
passage, though the midwife takes all possible care to prevent it. And
when this happens, she must endeavour to draw forth the child by the
shoulders (taking care that she separate not the body from the head, as
I have known it done by the midwife), discharging it by little and
little from the bones in the passage with the fingers of each hand,
sliding them on each side opposite the other, sometimes above and
sometimes under, till the work be ended; endeavouring to dispatch it as
soon as possible, lest the child be suffocated, as it will unavoidably
be, if it remain long in that posture; and this being well and
carefully effected, she may soon after fetch away the after-birth, as I
have before directed.

SECT. III.--_How to bring away the Head of the Child, when separated
from the Body, and left behind in the Womb._

Though the utmost care be taken in bringing away the child by the feet,
yet if it happen to be dead, it is sometimes so putrid and corrupt, that
with the least pull the head separates from the body and remains alone
in the womb, and cannot be brought away but with a manual operation and
great difficulty, it being extremely slippery, by reason of the place
where it is, and from the roundness of its figure, on which no hold can
well be taken; and so very great is the difficulty in this case that
sometimes two or three very able practitioners in midwifery have, one
after the other, left the operation unfinished, as not able to effect
it, after the utmost industry, skill and strength; so that the woman,
not being able to be delivered, perished. To prevent which fatal
accident, let the following operation be observed.

When the infant's head separates from the body, and is left alone
behind, whether owing to putrefaction or otherwise, let the operator
immediately, without any delay, while the womb is yet open, direct up
his right hand to the mouth of the head (for no other hole can there be
had), and having found it let him put one or two of his fingers into it,
and the thumb under its chin; then let him draw it little by little,
holding it by the jaws; but if that fails, as sometimes it will when
putrefied, then let him pull off the right hand and slide up his left,
with which he must support the head, and with the right hand let him
take a narrow instrument called a _crochet_, but let it be strong and
with a single branch, which he must guide along the inside of his hand,
with the point of it towards it, for fear of hurting the womb; and
having thus introduced it, let him turn it towards the head to strike
either in an eyehole, or the hole of the ear, or behind the head, or
else between the sutures, as he finds it most convenient and easy; and
then draw forth the head so fastened with the said instrument, still
helping to conduct it with his left hand; but when he hath brought it
near the passage, being strongly fastened to the instrument, let him
remember to draw forth his hand, that the passage not being filled with
it, may be larger and easier, keeping still a finger or two on the side
of the head, the better to disengage it.

There is also another method, with more ease and less hardship than the
former; let the operator take a soft fillet or linen slip, of about four
fingers' breadth, and the length of three quarters of an ell or
thereabouts, taking the two ends with the left hand, and the middle with
the right, and let him so put it up with his right, as that it may be
beyond the head, to embrace it as a sling does a stone, and afterwards
draw forth the fillet by the two ends together; it will thus be easily
drawn forth, the fillet not hindering the least passage, because it
takes up little or no space.

When the head is fetched out of the womb care must be taken that not the
least part of it be left behind, and likewise to cleanse the womb of the
after-burden, if yet remaining. If the burden be wholly separated from
the side of the womb, that ought to be first brought away, because it
may also hinder the taking hold of the head. But if it still adheres to
the womb, it must not be meddled with till the head be brought away; for
if one should endeavour to separate it from the womb, it might then
cause a flooding, which would be augmented by the violence of the
operation, the vessels to which it is joined remaining for the most part
open as long as the womb is distended, which the head causeth while it
is retained in it, and cannot be closed until this strange body be
voided, and this it doth by contracting and compressing itself
together, as has been more fully before explained. Besides, the
after-birth remaining thus cleaving to the womb during the operation,
prevents it from receiving easily either bruise or hurt.

SECT. IV.--_How to deliver a Woman when the child's head is presented to
the birth._

Though some may think it a natural labour when the child's head come
first, yet, if the child's head present not the right way, even that is
an unnatural labour; and therefore, though the head comes first, yet if
it be the side of the head instead of the crown, it is very dangerous
both to the mother and the child, for the child's neck would be broken,
if born in that manner, and by how much the mother's pains continue to
bear the child, which is impossible unless the head be rightly placed,
the more the passages are stopped. Therefore, as soon as the position of
the child is known, the woman must be laid with all speed, lest the
child should advance further than this vicious posture, and thereby
render it more difficult to thrust it back, which must be done, in order
to place the head right in the passage, as it ought to be.

To this purpose, therefore, place the woman so that her buttocks may be
a little higher than her head and shoulders, causing her to lean a
little to the opposite side to the child's ill posture; then let the
operator slide up his hand, well anointed with oil, by the side of the
child's head; to bring it right gently, with his fingers between the
head and the womb; but if the head be so engaged that it cannot be done
that way, he must then put up his hand to the shoulders, that by so
thrusting them back a little into the womb, sometimes on the one side,
and sometimes on the other, he may, little by little, give a natural
position. I confess it would be better if the operator could put back
the child by its shoulders with both hands, but the head takes up so
much room, that he will find much ado to put up one, with which he must
perform this operation, and, with the help of the finger-ends of the
other hand put forward the child's birth as in natural labour.

Some children present their face first, having their hands turned back,
in which posture it is extremely difficult for a child to be born; and
if it continues so long, the face will be swelled and become black and
blue, so that it will at first appear monstrous, which is occasioned as
well by the compression of it in that place, as by the midwife's fingers
in handling it, in order to place it in a better posture. But this
blackness will wear away in three or four days' time, by anointing it
often with oil of sweet almonds. To deliver the birth, the same
operation must be used as in the former, when the child comes first with
the side of the head; only let the midwife or operator work very gently
to avoid as much as possible the bruising the face.

SECT. V.--_How to Deliver a Woman when the Child presents one or both
Hands together with the Head._

Sometimes the infant will present some other part together with its
head; which if it does, it is usually with one or both of its hands; and
this hinders the birth, because the hands take up part of that passage
which is little enough for the head alone; besides that, when this
happens, they generally cause the head to lean on one side; and
therefore this position may be well styled unnatural. When the child
presents thus, the first thing to be done after it is perceived, must
be, to prevent it from coming down more, or engaging further in the
passage; and therefore, the operator having placed the woman on the bed,
with her head lower than her buttocks, must guide and put back the
infant's hand with his own as much as may be, or both of them, if they
both come down, to give way to the child's head; and this being done,
if the head be on one side, it must be brought into its natural posture
in the middle of the passage, that it may come in a straight line, and
then proceed as directed in the foregoing section.

SECT. VI.--_How a Woman ought to be delivered, when the Hands and Feet
of the Infant come together._

There are none but will readily grant, that when the hands and feet of
an infant present together, the labour must be unnatural, because it is
impossible a child should be born in that manner. In this case,
therefore, when the midwife guides her hand towards the orifice of the
womb she will perceive only many fingers close together, and if it be
not sufficiently dilated, it will be a good while before the hands and
feet will be exactly distinguished; for they are sometimes so shut and
pressed together, that they seem to be all of one and the same shape,
but where the womb is open enough to introduce the hand into it, she
will easily know which are the hands and which are the feet; and having
taken particular notice thereof, let her slide up her hand and presently
direct it towards the infant's breast, which she will find very near,
and then let her gently thrust back the body towards the bottom of the
womb, leaving the feet in the same place where she found them. And then,
having placed the woman in a convenient posture, that is to say, her
buttocks a little raised above her breast (and which situation ought
also to be observed when the child is to be put back into the womb), let
the midwife afterwards take hold of the child by the feet, and draw it
forth, as is directed in the second section.

This labour, though somewhat troublesome, yet is much better than when
the child presents only its hands; for then the child must be quite
turned about before it can be drawn forth; but in this they are ready,
presenting themselves, and there is little to do, but to lift and thrust
back the upper part of the body, which is almost done of itself, by
drawing it by the feet alone.

I confess there are many authors that have written of labours, who would
have all wrong births reduced to a natural figure, which is, to turn it
that it may come with the head first. But those that have written thus,
are such as never understood the practical part, for if they had the
least experience therein, they would know that it is impossible; at
least, if it were to be done, that violence must necessarily be used in
doing it, that would probably be the death both of mother and child in
the operation. I would, therefore, lay down as a general rule, that
whenever a child presents itself wrong to the birth, in what posture so
ever, from the shoulders to the feet, it is the way, and soonest done,
to draw it out by the feet; and that it is better to search for them, if
they do not present themselves, than to try and put them in their
natural posture, and place the head foremost; for the great endeavours
necessary to be used in turning the child in the womb, do so much weaken
both the mother and the child, that there remains not afterwards
strength enough to commit the operation to the work of nature; for,
usually, the woman has no more throes or pains fit for labour after she
has been so wrought upon; for which reason it would be difficult and
tedious at best; and the child, by such an operation made very weak,
would be in extreme danger of perishing before it could be born. It is,
therefore, much better in these cases to bring it away immediately by
the feet, searching for them as I have already directed, when they do
not present themselves; by which the mother will be prevented a tedious
labour, and the child be often brought alive into the world, who
otherwise could hardly escape death.

SECT. VII.--_How a Woman should be delivered that has twins, which
present themselves in different postures._

We have already spoken something of the birth of twins in the chapter of
natural labour, for it is not an unnatural labour barely to have twins,
provided they come in the right position to the birth. But when they
present themselves in different postures, they come properly under the
denomination of unnatural labours; and if when one child presents itself
in a wrong figure, it makes the labour dangerous and unnatural, it must
needs make it much more so when there are several, and render it not
only more painful to the mother and children, but to the operator also;
for they often trouble each other and hinder both their births. Besides
which the womb is so filled with them, that the operator can hardly
introduce his hand without much violence, which he must do, if they are
to be turned or thrust back, to give them a better position.

When a woman is pregnant with two children, they rarely present to the
birth together, the one being generally more forward than the other; and
that is the reason that but one is felt, and that many times the midwife
knows not that there are twins until the first is born, and that she is
going to fetch away the afterbirth. In the first chapter, wherein I
treated of natural labour, I have showed how a woman should be delivered
of twins, presenting themselves both right; and before I close the
chapter of unnatural labour, it only remains that I show what ought to
be done when they either both come wrong or one of them only, as for the
most part it happens; the first generally coming right, and the second
with the feet forward, or in some worse posture. In such a case, the
birth of the first must be hastened as much as possible and to make way
for the second, which is best brought away by the feet, without
endeavouring to place it right, because it has been, as well as the
mother, already tired and weakened by the birth of the first, and there
would be greater danger to its death, than likelihood of its coming out
of the womb that way.

But if, when the first is born naturally, the second should likewise
offer its head to the birth, it would then be best to leave nature to
finish what she has so well begun, and if nature should be too slow in
her work, some of those things mentioned in the fourth chapter to
accelerate the birth, may be properly enough applied, and if, after
that, the second birth should be delayed, let a manual operation be
delayed no longer, but the woman being properly placed, as has been
before directed, let the operator direct his hand gently into the womb
to find the feet, and so draw forth the second child, which will be the
more easily effected, because there is a way made sufficiently by the
birth of the first; and if the waters of the second child be not broke,
as it often happens, yet, intending to bring it by its feet, he need not
scruple to break the membranes with his fingers; for though, when the
birth of a child is left to the operation of nature, it is necessary
that the waters should break of themselves, yet when the child is
brought out of the womb by art, there is no danger in breaking them,
nay, on the contrary it becomes necessary; for without the waters are
broken, it will be almost impossible to turn the child.

But herein principally lies the care of the operator, that he be not
deceived, when either the hands or feet of both children offer
themselves together to the birth; in this case he ought well to consider
the operation, of whether they be not joined together, or any way
monstrous, and which part belongs to one child and which to the other;
so that they may be fetched one after the other, and not both together,
as may be, if it were not duly considered, taking the right foot of one
and the left of the other, and so drawing them together, as if they
both belonged to one body, because there is a left and a right, by which
means it would be impossible to deliver them. But a skilful operator
will easily prevent this, if, after having found two or three of several
children presenting together in the passage, and taking aside two of the
forwardest, a right and a left, and sliding his arm along the legs and
thighs up to the wrist, if forward, or to the buttocks, if backwards, he
finds they both belong to one body; of which being thus assured, he may
begin to draw forth the nearest, without regarding which is the
strongest or weakest, bigger or less, living or dead, having first put
aside that part of the other child which offers to have the more way,
and so dispatch the first as soon as may be, observing the same rules as
if there were but one, that is keeping the breast and face downwards,
with every circumstance directed in that section where the child comes
with its feet first, and not fetch the burden till the second child is
born. And therefore, when the operator hath drawn forth one child, he
must separate it from the burden, having tied and cut the navel-string,
and then fetch the other by the feet in the same manner, and afterwards
bring away the after-burden with the two strings as hath been before
showed. If the children present any other part but the feet, the
operator may follow the same method as directed in the foregoing
section, where the several unnatural positions are fully treated of.

* * * * *


_Directions for Child-bearing Women in their Lying-in._

SECTION I.--_How a Woman newly Delivered ought to be ordered._

As soon as she is laid in her bed, let her be placed in it conveniently
for ease and rest, which she stands in great need of to recover herself
of the great fatigue she underwent during her travail, and that she may
lie the more easily let her hands and body be a little raised, that she
may breathe more freely, and cleanse the better, especially of that
blood which then comes away, that so it may not clot, which being
retained causeth great pain.

Having thus placed her in bed, let her take a draught of burnt white
wine, having a drachm of spermaceti melted therein. The best vervain is
also singularly good for a woman in this condition, boiling it in what
she either eats or drinks, fortifying the womb so exceedingly that it
will do it more good in two days, than any other thing does in double
that time, having no offensive taste. And this is no more than what she
stands in need of; for her lower parts being greatly distended until the
birth of the infant, it is good to endeavour the prevention of an
inflammation there. Let there also be outwardly applied, all over the
bottom of her belly and privities, the following anodyne and
cataplasm:--Take two ounces of oil of sweet almonds, and two or three
new laid eggs, yolks and whites, stirring them together in an earthen
pipkin over hot embers till they come to the consistence of a poultice;
which being spread upon a cloth, must be applied to those parts
indifferently warm, having first taken away the closures (which were put
to her presently after her delivery), and likewise such clots of blood
as were then left. Let this lie on for five or six hours, and then renew
it again when you see cause.

Great care ought to be taken at first, that if her body be very weak,
she be not kept too hot, for extremity of heat weakens nature and
dissolves the strength; and whether she be weak or strong, be sure that
no cold air comes near her at first; for cold is an enemy to the
spermatic parts; if it get into the womb it increases the after pains,
causes swelling in the womb and hurts the nerves. As to her diet, let it
be hot, and let her eat but little at a time. Let her avoid the light
for the first three days, and longer if she be weak, for her labour
weakens her eyes exceedingly, by a harmony between the womb and them.
Let her also avoid great noise, sadness and trouble of mind.

If the womb be foul, which may easily be perceived by the impurity of
the blood (which will then easily come away in clots or stinking, or if
you suspect any of the after-burden to be left behind, which may
sometimes happen), make her drink a feverfew, mugwort, pennyroyal and
mother of thyme, boiled in white wine and sweetened with sugar.

Panado and new laid eggs are the best meat for her at first, of which
she may eat often, but not too much at a time. And let her nurse use
cinnamon in all her meats and drinks, for it generally strengthens the

Let her stir as little as may be until after the fifth, sixth, or
seventh day after her delivery, if she be weak; and let her talk as
little as possible, for that weakens her very much.

If she goes not well to stool, give a clyster made only of the
decoction of mallows and a little brown sugar.

When she hath lain in a week or more, let her use such things as close
the womb, of which knot-grass and comfrey are very good, and to them you
may add a little polypodium, for it will do her good, both leaves and
root being bruised.

SECT. II.--_How to remedy those Accidents which a Lying-in Woman is
subject to._

I. The first common and usual accident that troubles women in their
lying-in is after-pains. They proceed from cold and wind contained in
the bowels, with which they are easily filled after labour, because then
they have more room to dilate than when the child was in the womb, by
which they were compressed; and also, because nourishment and matter,
contained as well in them as in the stomach, have been so confusedly
agitated from side to side during the pains of labour, by the throes
which always must compress the belly, that they could not be well
digested, whence the wind is afterwards generated and, by consequence,
the gripes which the woman feels running into her belly from side to
side, according as the wind moves more or less, and sometimes likewise
from the womb, because of the compression and commotion which the
bowels make. This being generally the case, let us now apply a suitable

1. Boil an egg soft, and pour out the yolk of it, with which mix a
spoonful of cinnamon water, and let her drink it; and if you mix in it
two grains of ambergris, it will be better; and yet vervain taken in
anything she drinks, will be as effectual as the other.

2. Give a lying-in woman, immediately after delivery, oil of sweet
almonds and syrup of maiden-hair mixed together. Some prefer oil of
walnuts, provided it be made of nuts that are very good; but it tastes
worse than the other at best. This will lenify the inside of the
intestines by its unctuousness, and by that means bring away that which
is contained in them more easily.

3. Take and boil onions well in water, then stamp them with oil of
cinnamon, spread them on a cloth, and apply them to the region of the

4. Let her be careful to keep her belly warm, and not to drink what is
too cold; and if the pain prove violent, hot cloths from time to time
must be laid on her belly, or a pancake fried in walnut oil may be
applied to it, without swathing her belly too strait. And for the better
evacuating the wind out of the intestines, give her a clyster, which
may be repeated as often as necessity requires.

5. Take bay-berries, beat them to a powder, put the powder upon a
chafing-dish of coals, and let her receive the smoke of them up her

6. Take tar and bear's grease, of each an equal quantity, boil them
together, and whilst it is boiling, add a little pigeon's dung to it.
Spread some of this upon a linen cloth, and apply it to the veins of the
back of her that is troubled with afterpains, and it will give her
speedy ease.

Lastly, let her take half a drachm of bay-berries beaten into a powder,
in a drachm of muscadel or teat.

II. Another accident to which women in child-bed are subject is
haemorrhoids or piles, occasioned through the great straining in
bringing the child into the world. To cure this,

1. Let her be let blood in the saphoena vein.

2. Let her use polypodium in her meat, and drink, bruised and boiled.

3. Take an onion, and having made a hole in the middle, of it, fill it
full of oil, roast it and having bruised it all together, apply it to
the fundament.

4. Take a dozen of snails without shells, if you can get them, or else
so many shell snails, and pull them out, and having bruised them with a
little oil, apply them warm as before.

5. If she go not well to stool, let her take an ounce of cassia fistula
drawn at night, going to bed; she needs no change of diet after.

III. Retention of the menses is another accident happening to women in
child-bed, and which is of so dangerous a consequence, that, if not
timely remedied, it proves mortal. When this happens,

1. Let the woman take such medicines as strongly provoke the terms, such
as dittany, betony, pennyroyal, feverfew, centaury, juniper-berries,
peony roots.

2. Let her take two or three spoonfuls of briony water each morning.

3. Gentian roots beaten into a powder, and a drachm of it taken every
morning in wine, are an extraordinary remedy.

4. The roots of birthwort, either long or round, so used and taken as
the former, are very good.

5. Take twelve peony seeds, and beat them into a very fine powder, and
let her drink them in a draught of hot cardus posset, and let her sweat
after. And if the last medicine do not bring them down the first time
she takes it, let her take as much more three hours after, and it seldom

IV. Overflowing of the menses is another accident incidental to
child-bed women. For which,

1. Take shepherd's purse, either boiled in any convenient liquor, or
dried and beaten into a powder, and it will be an admirable remedy to
stop them, this being especially appropriated to the privities.

2. The flower and leaves of brambles or either of them, being dried and
beaten into a powder, and a drachm of them taken every morning in a
spoonful of red wine, or in a decoction of leaves of the same (which,
perhaps, is much better), is an admirable remedy for the immoderate
flowing of the term in women.

V. Excoriations, bruises, and rents in the lower part of the womb are
often occasioned by the violent distention and separation of the
caruncles in a woman's labour. For the healing whereof,

As soon as the woman is laid, if there be only simple contusions and
excoriations, then let the anodyne cataplasm, formerly directed, be
applied to the lower parts to ease the pain, made of the yolks and
whites of new laid eggs, and oil of roses, boiled a little over warm
embers, continually stirring it until it be mixed, and then spread on a
fine cloth; it must be applied very warm to the bearing place for five
or six hours, and when it is taken away, lay some fine rags, dipped in
oil of St. John's wort twice or thrice a day; also foment the parts with
barley water and honey of roses, to cleanse them from the excrements
which pass. When the woman makes water, let them be defended with fine
rags, and thereby hinder the urine from causing smart or pain.

VI. The curding and clotting of the milk is another accident that
happens to women in child-bed, for in the beginning of child-bed, the
woman's milk is not purified because of the great commotions her body
suffered during her labour, which affected all the parts, and it is then
affected with many humours. Now this clotting of the milk does, for the
most part, proceed from the breasts not being fully drawn, and that,
either because she has too much milk, and that the infant is too small
and weak to suck it all, or because she doth not desire to be a nurse,
for the milk in those cases remaining in the breasts after concoction,
without being drawn, loses its sweetness and the balsamic qualities it
had, and by reason of the heat it requires, and the too long stay it
makes there, is sours, curds and clots, in like manner as we see rennet
put into ordinary milk to turn it into curds. The curding of the milk
may also be caused by having taken a great cold, and not keeping the
breasts well covered.

But from what cause so ever this curding of the milk proceeds, the most
certain remedy is, to draw the breasts until it is emitted and dried.
But in regard that the infant by reason of weakness, cannot draw
strength enough, the woman being hard marked when her milk is curded, it
will be most proper to get another woman to draw her breasts until the
milk comes freely, and then she may give her child suck. And that she
may not afterwards be troubled with a surplus of milk, she must eat such
diet as give but little nourishment, and keep her body open.

But if the case be such that the woman neither can nor will be a nurse,
it is necessary to apply other remedies for the curing of this
distemper; for then it will be best not to draw the breasts, for that
will be the way to bring more milk into them. For which purpose it will
be necessary to empty the body by bleeding the arms, besides which, let
the humours be drawn down by strong clysters and bleeding at the foot;
nor will it be amiss to purge gently, and to digest, dissolve and
dissipate the curded milk, four brans dissolved in a decoction of sage,
milk, smallage and fennel, mixing with it oil of camomile, with which
oil let the breasts be well anointed. The following liniment is also
good to scatter and dissipate the milk.

_A Liniment to Scatter and Dissipate the Milk._

That the milk flowing back to the breast may without offence be
dissipated, you must use this ointment:--"Take pure wax, two ounces,
linseed, half a pound; when the wax is melted, let the liniment be made,
wherein linen cloths must be clipped, and, according to their largeness,
be laid upon the breasts; and when it shall be dispersed, and pains no
more, let other linen cloths be laid in the distilled water of acorns,
and put upon them.

_Note._--That the cloths dipped into distilled water of acorns must be
used only by those who cannot nurse their own children; but if a
swelling in the breast of her who gives such do arise, from abundance of
milk, threatens an inflammation, let her use the former ointment, but
abstain from using the distilled water of acorns.

* * * * *


_Directions for the Nurses, in ordering Newly-born Children._

When the child's navel-string hath been cut according to the rules
prescribed, let the midwife presently cleanse it from the excrements and
filth it brings into the world with it; of which some are within the
body, as the urine in the bladder, and the excrements found in the guts;
and the others without, which are thick, whitish and clammy, proceeding
from the sliminess of the waters. There are sometimes children covered
all over with this, that one would think they were rubbed over with soft
cheese, and some women are of so easy a belief, that they really think
it so, because they have eaten some while they were with child. From
these excrements let the child be cleansed with wine and water a little
warmed, washing every part therewith, but chiefly the head because of
the hair, also the folds of the groin, and the cods or privities; which
parts must be gently cleansed with a linen rag, or a soft sponge dipped
in lukewarm wine. If this clammy or viscous excrement stick so close
that it will not easily be washed off from those places, it may be
fetched off with oil of sweet almond, or a little fresh butter melted
with wine, and afterwards well dried off; also make tents of fine rags,
and wetting them in this liquor, clear the ears and nostrils; but for
the eyes, wipe them only with a dry, soft rag, not dipping it in the
wine, lest it should make them smart.

The child being washed, and cleansed from the native blood and
impurities which attend it into the world, it must in the next place be
searched to see whether all things be right about it, and that there is
no fault nor dislocation; whether its nose be straight, or its tongue
tied, or whether there be any bruise or tumour of the head; or whether
the mold be not over shot; also whether the scrotum (if it be a male) be
not blown up and swelled, and, in short, whether it has suffered any
violence by its birth, in any part of its body, and whether all the
parts be well and duly shaped; that suitable remedies may be applied if
anything be found not right. Nor is it enough to see that all be right
without, and that the outside of the body be cleansed, but she must also
observe whether it dischargeth the excrements contained within, and
whether the passage be open; for some have been born without having been
perforated. Therefore, let her examine whether the conduits of the urine
and stool be clear, for want of which some have died, not being able to
void their excrements, because timely care was not taken at first. As to
the urine all children, as well males as females, do make water as soon
as they are born, if they can, especially if they feel the heat of the
fire, and also sometimes void the excrements, but not so soon as the
urine. If the infant does not ordure the first day, then put into its
fundament a small suppository, to stir it up to be discharged, that it
may not cause painful gripes, by remaining so long in the belly. A sugar
almond may be proper for this purpose, anointed all over with a little
boiled honey; or else a small piece of castile-soap rubbed over with
fresh butter; also give the child for this purpose a little syrup of
roses or violets at the mouth, mixed with some oil of sweet almonds,
drawn without a fire, anointing the belly also, with the same oil or
fresh butter.

The midwife having thus washed and cleansed the child, according to the
before mentioned directions, let her begin to swaddle it in swathing
clothes, and when she dresses the head, let her put small rags behind
the ears, to dry up the filth which usually engenders there, and so let
her do also in the folds of the armpits and groins, and so swathe it;
then wrap it up warm in a bed with blankets, which there is scarcely any
woman so ignorant but knows well enough how to do; only let me give
them this caution, that they swathe not the child too tightly in its
blankets, especially about the breast and stomach, that it may breathe
the more freely, and not be forced to vomit up the milk it sucks,
because the stomach cannot be sufficiently distended to contain it;
therefore let its arms and legs be wrapped in its bed, stretched and
straight and swathed to keep them so, viz., the arms along its sides,
and its legs equally both together with a little of the bed between
them, that they may not be galled by rubbing each other; then let the
head be kept steady and straight, with a stay fastened each side of the
blanket, and then wrap the child up in a mantle and blankets to keep it
warm. Let none think this swathing of the infant is needless to set
down, for it is necessary it should be thus swaddled, to give its little
body a straight figure, which is most proper and decent for a man, and
to accustom him to keep upon his feet, who otherwise would go upon all
fours, as most animals do.

* * * * *


SECTION I.--_Of Gripes and Pains in the, Bellies of Young Children._

This I mention first, as it is often the first and most common distemper
which happens to little infants, after their birth; many children being
so troubled therewith, that it causes them to cry day and night and at
last die of it. The cause of it for the most part comes from the sudden
change of nourishment, for having always received it from the umbilical
vessel whilst in the mother's womb, they come on a sudden not only to
change the manner of receiving it, but the nature and quality of what
they received, as soon as they are born; for instead of purified blood
only, which was conveyed to them by means of the umbilical vein, they
are now obliged to be nourished by their mother's milk, which they suck
with their mouths, and from which are engendered many excrements,
causing gripes and pains; and not only because it is not so pure as the
blood with which it was nourished in the womb, but because the stomach
and the intestines cannot make a good digestion, being unaccustomed to
it. It is sometimes caused also by a rough phlegm, and sometimes by
worms; for physicians affirm that worms have been bred in children even
in their mother's belly.

_Cure_. The remedy must be suited to the cause. If it proceed from the
too sudden change of nourishment, the remedy must be to forbear giving
the child suck for some days, lest the milk be mixed with phlegm, which
is then in the stomach corrupt; and at first it must suck but little,
until it is accustomed to digest it. If it be the excrements in the
intestines, which by their long stay increase their pains, give them at
the month a little oil of sweet almonds and syrup of roses; if it be
worms, lay a cloth dipped in oil of wormwood mixed with ox-gall, upon
the belly, or a small cataplasm, mixed with the powder of rue, wormwood,
coloquintida, aloes, and the seeds of citron incorporated with ox-gall
and the powder of lupines. Or give it oil of sweet almonds and syrup of
roses; if it be worms, lay a cloth, dipped in oil of wormwood mixed with
ox-gall, upon the belly, or a small cataplasm mixed with the powder of
rue, wormwood, coloquintida, aloes, and the seeds of citron incorporated
with ox-gall and the powder of lupines. Or give it oil of sweet almonds
with sugar-candy, and a scruple of aniseed; it purgeth new-born babes
from green cholera and stinking phlegm, and, if it be given with
sugar-pap, it allays the griping pains of the belly. Also anoint the
belly with oil of dill, or lay pelitory stamped with oil of camomile to
the belly.

SECT. II.--_Of Weakness In Newly-born Infants._

Weakness is an accident that many children bring into the world along
with them, and is often occasioned by the labour of the mother; by the
violence and length whereof they suffer so much, that they are born with
great weakness, and many times it is difficult to know whether they are
alive or dead, their body appearing so senseless, and their face so blue
and livid, that they seem to be quite choked; and even after some hours,
then-showing any signs of life is attended with weakness, that it looks
like a return from death, and that they are still in a dying condition.

_Cure_. Lay the infant speedily in a warm blanket, and carry it to the
fire, and then let the midwife take a little wine in her mouth and spout
it into its mouth, repeating it often, if there be occasion. Let her
apply linen dipped in urine to the breast and belly, and let the face be
uncovered, that it may breathe the more freely; also, let the midwife
keep its mouth a little open, cleanse the nostrils with small linen
tents[11] dipt in white wine, that so it may receive the smell of it;
and let her chafe every part of its body well with warm cloths, to bring
back its blood and spirits, which being retired inwards through
weakness, often puts him in danger of being choked. By the application
of these means, the infant will gradually recover strength, and begin to
stir its limbs by degrees, and at length to cry; and though it be but
weakly at first, yet afterwards, as it breathes more freely, its cry
will become more strong.

SECT. III.--_Of the Fundament being closed up in a newly-born Infant._

Another defect that new-born infants are liable to is, to have their
fundaments closed up, by which they can neither evacuate the new
excrements engendered by the milk they suck, nor that which was amassed
in their intestines before birth, which is certainly mortal without a
speedy remedy. There have been some female children who have their
fundaments quite closed, and yet have voided the excrements of the guts
by an orifice which nature, to supply the defect, had made within the
neck of the womb.

_Cure_. Here we must take notice, that the fundament is closed two ways;
either by a single skin, through which one may discover some black and
blue marks, proceeding from the excrements retained, which, if one touch
with the finger, there is a softness felt within, and thereabout it
ought to be pierced; or else it is quite stopped by a thick, fleshy
substance, in such sort that there appears nothing without, by which its
true situation may be known. When there is nothing but the single skin
which makes the closure, the operation is very easy, and the children
may do very well; for then an aperture or opening may be made with a
small incision-knife, cross-ways, that it may the better receive a round
form, and that the place may not afterwards grow together, taking care
not to prejudice the sphincter or muscle of the rectum. The incision
being thus made, the excrements will certainly have issue. But if, by
reason of their long stay in the belly, they become so dry that the
infant cannot void them, then let a clyster be given to moisten and
bring them away; afterwards put a linen tent into the new-made
fundament, which at first had best be anointed with honey of roses, and
towards the end, with a drying, cicatrizing ointment, such as unguentum
album or ponphilex, observing to cleanse the infant of its excrement,
and dry it again as soon and as often as it evacuates them, that so the
aperture may be prevented from turning into a malignant ulcer.

But if the fundament be stopped up in such a manner, that neither mark
nor appearance of it can be seen or felt, then the operation is much
more difficult, and, even when it is done, the danger is much greater
that the infant will not survive it. Then, if it be a female, and it
sends forth its excrements by the way I mentioned before, it is better
not to meddle than, by endeavouring to remedy an inconvenience, run an
extreme hazard of the infant's death. But when there is no vent for the
excrements, without which death is unavoidable, then the operation is

_Operation_. Let the operator, with a small incision-knife that hath but
one edge, enter into the void place, and turning the back of it upwards,
within half a finger's breadth of the child's rump, which is the place
where he will certainly find the intestines, let him thrust it forward,
that it may be open enough to give free vent to matter there contained,
being especially careful of the sphincter; after which, let the wound
be dressed according to the method directed.

SECT. IV.--_Of the Thrush, or Ulcers In the Mouth of the Infant._

The thrush is a distemper that children are very subject to, and it
arises from bad milk, or from foul humour in the stomach; for sometimes,
though there be no ill humour in the milk itself, yet it may corrupt the
child's stomach because of its weakness or some other indisposition; in
which, acquiring an acrimony, instead of being well digested, there
arise from it thrice biting vapours, which forming a thick viscosity, do
thereby produce this distemper.

_Cure_. It is often difficult, as physicians tell us, because it is
seated in hot and moist places, where the putrefaction is easily
augmented; and because the remedies applied cannot lodge there, being
soon washed with spittle. But if it arises from too hot quality in the
nurse's milk, care must be taken to temper and cool, prescribing her
cool diet, bleeding and purging her also, if there be occasion.

Take lentils, husked, powder them, and lay a little of them upon the
child's gums. Or take bdellium flowers, half an ounce, and with oil of
roses make a liniment. Also wash the child's mouth with barley and
plantain-water, and honey of roses, mixing with them a little verjuice
of lemons, as well to loosen and cleanse the vicious humours which
cleave to the inside of the infant's mouth, as to cool those parts which
are already over-heated. It may be done by means of a small fine rag,
fastened to the end of a little stick, and dipped therein, wherewith the
ulcers may be gently rubbed, being careful not to put the child in too
much pain, lest an inflammation make the distemper worse. The child's
body must also be kept open, that the humours being carried to the lower
parts, the vapours may not ascend, as is usual for them to do when the
body is costive, and the excrements too long retained.

If the ulcers appear malignant, let such remedies be used as do their
work speedily, that the evil qualities that cause them, being thereby
instantly corrected, their malignity may be prevented; and in this case,
touch the ulcers with plantain water, sharpened with spirits of vitriol;
for the remedy must be made sharp, according to the malignity of the
distemper. It will be necessary to purge these ill humours out of the
whole habit of the child, by giving half an ounce of succory and

SECT. V.--_Of Pains in the Ears, Inflammation, Moisture, etc._

The brain in infants is very moist, and hath many excrements which
nature cannot send out at the proper passages; they get often to the
ears, and there cause pains, flux of blood, with inflammation and matter
with pain; this in children is hard to be known as they have no other
way to make it known but by constant crying; you will perceive them
ready to feel their ears themselves, but will not let others touch them,
if they can prevent; and sometimes you may discern the parts about the
ears to be very red.

These pains, if let alone, are of dangerous consequences, because they
may bring forth watchings and epilepsy; for the moisture breeds worms
there, and fouls the spongy bones, and by degrees causes incurable

_Cure_. Allay the pain with all convenient speed, but have a care of
using strong remedies. Therefore, only use warm milk about the ears,
with the decoction of poppy tops, or oil of violets; to take away the
moisture, use honey of roses, and let aqua mollis be dropped into the
ears; or take virgin honey, half an ounce; red wines two ounces; alum,
saffron, saltpetre, each a drachm, mix them at the fire; or drop in
hemp seed oil with a little wine.

SECT. VI.--_Of Redness and Inflammation of the Buttocks, Groin and the
Thighs of a Young Child._

If there be no great care taken to change and wash the child's bed as
soon as it is fouled with the excrements, and to keep the child very
clean, the acrimony will be sure to cause redness, and beget a smarting
in the buttocks, groin and thighs of the child, which, by reason of the
pain, will afterwards be subject to inflammations, which follow the
sooner, through the delicacy and tenderness of their skin, from which
the outward skin of the body is in a short time separated and worn away.

_Cure_. First, keep the child cleanly, and secondly, take off the
sharpness of its urine. As to keeping it cleanly, she must be a sorry
nurse who needs to be taught how to do it; for if she lets it but have
dry, warm and clean beds and cloths, as often and as soon as it has
fouled and wet them, either by its urine or its excrements, it will be
sufficient. And as to taking off the sharpness of the child's urine,
that must be done by the nurse's taking a cool diet, that her milk may
have the same quality; and, therefore, she ought to abstain from all
things that may tend to heat it.

But besides these, cooling and drying remedies are requisite to be
applied to the inflamed parts; therefore let the parts be bathed in
plantain-water, with a fourth of lime water added to it, each time the
child's excrements are wiped off; and if the pain be very great, let it
only be fomented with lukewarm milk. The powder of a post to dry it, or
a little mill-dust strewed upon the parts affected, may be proper
enough, and is used by many women. Also, unguentum album, or
diapompholigos, spread upon a small piece of leather in form of a
plaster, will not be amiss.

But the chief thing must be, the nurse's taking great care to wrap the
inflamed parts with fine rags when she opens the child, that these parts
may not gather and be pained by rubbing together.

SECT. VII.--_Of Vomiting in Young Children._

Vomiting in young children proceeds sometimes from too much milk, and
sometimes from bad milk, and as often from a moist, loose stomach; for
as dryness retains so looseness lets go. This is, for the most part,
without danger in children; for they that vomit from their birth are
the lustiest; for the stomach not being used to meat, and milk being
taken too much, crudities are easily bred, or the milk is corrupted; and
it is better to vomit these up than to keep them in; but if vomiting
last long, it will cause an atrophy or consumption, for want of

_Cure_. If this be from too much milk, that which is emitted is yellow
and green, or otherwise ill-coloured and stinking; in this case, mend
the milk, as has been shown before; cleanse the child with honey of
roses, and strengthen its stomach with syrup of milk and quinces, made
into an electuary. If the humours be hot and sharp, give the syrup of
pomegranates, currants and coral, and apply to the belly the plaster of
bread, the stomach cerate, or bread dipped in hot wine; or take oil of
mastich, quinces, mint, wormwood, each half an ounce; of nutmegs by
expression, half a drachm; chemical oil of mint, three drops. Coral hath
an occult property to prevent vomiting, and is therefore hung about the

SECT. VIII--_Of Breeding Teeth in Young Children._

This is a very great and yet necessary evil in all children, having
variety of symptoms joined with it. They begin to come forth, not all
at once, but one after the other, about the sixth or seventh month; the
fore-teeth coming first, then the eye-teeth, and last of all the
grinders. The eye-teeth cause more pain to the child than any of the
rest, because they have a deep root, and a small nerve which has
communication with that which makes the eye move.


In the breeding of the teeth, first they feel an itching in their gums,
then they are pierced as with a needle, and pricked by the sharp bones,
whence proceed great pains, watching, inflammation of the gums, fever,
looseness and convulsions, especially when they breed their eye-teeth.

The signs when children breed their eye-teeth are these:

1. It is known by the time, which is usually about the seventh month.

2. Their gums are swelled, and they feel a great heat there with an
itching, which makes them put their fingers into their mouths to rub
them; a moisture also distils from the gums into the mouth, because of
the pain they feel there.

3. They hold the nipple faster than before.

4. The gums are white when the teeth begin to come, and the nurse, in
giving them suck, finds the mouth hotter, and that they are much
changed, crying every moment, and cannot sleep, or but very little at a

The fever that follows breeding of teeth comes from choleric humours,
inflamed by watching, pain and heat. And the longer teeth are breeding,
the more dangerous it is; so that many in the breeding of them, die of
fevers and convulsions.

_Cure_. Two things are to be regarded:--one is, to preserve the child
from the evil accidents that may happen to it by reason of the great
pain; the other, to assist as much as may be, the cutting of the teeth,
when they can hardly cut the gums themselves.

For the first of these, viz., the preventing of those accidents to the
child, the nurse ought to take great care to keep a good diet, and to
use all things that may cool and temper her milk, that so a fever may
not follow the pain of the teeth. And to prevent the humour falling too
much upon the inflamed gums, let the child's belly be always kept loose
by gentle clysters, if he be bound; though oftentimes there is no need
of them, because they are at those times usually troubled with a
looseness; and yet, for all that, clysters may not be improper.

As to the other, which is to assist it cutting the teeth, that the nurse
must do from time to time by mollifying and loosening them, and by
rubbing them with her finger dipped in butter or honey; or let the child
have a virgin-wax candle to chew upon; or anoint the gums with the
mucilage of quince made with mallow-water, or with the brains of a hare;
also foment the cheeks with the decoction of althoea, and camomile
flowers and dill, or with the juice of mallows and fresh butter. If the
gums are inflamed, add juice of nightshade and lettuce. I have already
said, the nurse ought to take a temperate diet; I shall now only add,
that barley-broth, water-gruel, raw eggs, prunes, lettuce and endive,
are good for her; but let her avoid salt, sharp, biting and peppered
meats, and wine.

SECT. IX.--_Of the Flux of the Betty, or Looseness in Infants._

It is very common for infants to have the flux of the belly, or
looseness, especially upon the least indisposition; nor is it to be
wondered at, seeing their natural moistness contributes so much thereto;
and even if it be extraordinarily violent, such are in a better state of
health than those that are bound. The flux, if violent, proceeds from
divers causes, as 1. From breeding of the teeth, and is then commonly
attended with a fever in which the concoction is hindered, and the
nourishment corrupted. 2. From watching. 3. From pain. 4. From stirring
up of the humours by a fever. 5. When they suck or drink too much in a
fever. Sometimes they have a flux without breeding of teeth, from inward
cold in the guts or stomach that obstructs concoction. If it be from the
teeth, it is easily known; for the signs of breeding in teeth will
discover it. If it be from external cold, there are signs of other
causes. If from a humour flowing from the head there are signs of a
catarrh, and the excrements are frothy. If crude and raw humours are
voided, and there be wind, belching, and phlegmatic excrements, or if
they be yellow, green and stink, the flux is from a hot and sharp
humour. It is best in breeding of teeth when the belly is loose, as I
have said before; but if it be too violent, and you are afraid it may
end in a consumption, it must be stopped; and if the excrements that are
voided be black, and attended with a fever, it is very bad.

_Cure_. The remedy in this case, is principally in respect to the nurse,
and the condition of the milk must be chiefly observed; the nurse must
be cautioned that she eat no green fruit, nor things of hard concoction.
If the child suck not, remove the flux with such purges as leave a
cooling quality behind them, as syrup of honey or roses, or a clyster.
Take the decoction of millium, myrobolans, of each two or three ounces,
with an ounce or two of syrup of roses, and make a clyster. After
cleansing, if it proceed from a hot cause, give syrup of dried roses,
quinces, myrtles and a little sanguis draconis. Also anoint with oil of
roses, myrtles, mastich, each two drachms; with oil of myrtles and wax
make an ointment. Or take red roses and moulin, of each a handful;
cypress roots two drachms; make a bag, boil it in red wine and apply it
to the belly. Or use the plaster bread or stomach ointment. If the cause
be cold, and the excrements white give syrup of mastich and quinces,
with mint-water. Use outwardly, mint, mastich, cummin; or take rose
seeds, an ounce, cummin, aniseed, each two drachms; with oil of mastich,
wormwood and wax, make an ointment.

SECT. X.--_Of the Epilepsy and Convulsions in Children._

This is a distemper that is often fatal to young children, and
frequently proceeds from the brain, originating either from the parents,
or from vapours, or bad humours that twitch the membranes of the brain;
it is also sometimes caused by other distempers and by bad diet;
likewise, the toothache, when the brain consents, causes it, and so does
a sudden fright. As to the distemper itself, it is manifest and well
enough known where it is; and as to the cause whence it comes, you may
know by the signs of the disease, whether it comes from bad milk, or
worms, or teeth; if these are all absent, it is certain that the brain
is first affected; if it come with the small-pox or measles, it ceaseth
when they come forth, if nature be strong enough.

_Cure_. For the remedy of this grievous, and often mortal distemper,
give the following powder to prevent it, to a child as soon as it is
born:--Take male peony roots, gathered in the decrease of the moon, a
scruple; with leaf gold make a powder; or take peony roots, a drachm;
peony seeds, mistletoe of the oak, elk's hoof, man's skull, amber, each
a scruple; musk, two grains; make a powder. The best part of the cure is
taking care of the nurse's diet, which must be regular, by all means. If
it be from corrupt milk, provoke a vomit; to do which, hold down the
tongue, and put a quill dipped in sweet almonds, down the throat. If it
come from the worms, give such things as will kill the worms. If there
be a fever, with respect to that also, give coral smaragad and elk's
hoof. In the fit, give epileptic water, as lavender water, and rub with
oil of amber, or hang a peony root, and elk's hoof smaragad, about the
child's neck.

As to a convulsion, it is when the brain labours to cast out that which
troubles it; the mariner is in the marrow of the back, and fountain of
the nerves; it is a stubborn disease, and often kills.

Wash the body, when in the fit, with decoction of althoea, lily roots,
peony and camomile flowerets, and anoint it with man's and goose's
grease, oils of worms, orris, lilies, foxes, turpentine, mastich, storax
and calamint. The sun flower is also very good, boiled in water, to wash
the child.


[11] Tent (_surgical_). A bunch of some fibre such as sponge or
horsehair introduced into an opening, natural or artificial, to keep it
open, or increase its calibre.

* * * * *








* * * * *


* * * * *

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

* * * * *


_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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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