Lonicer, Adam


[Frankfurt am Main]

Kreuterbüch, New Zügericht: Von Allerhand Bäumen, Stauden, Hecken, Kreutern, Früchten, unnd Gewürtzen, Eygentlicher Beschriebung der Gestalt, Unterscheyd der Geschlecht unnd Leblicher Abconterfaytung Sampt irem Natürlichen Gebrauch. . .: Auch Distillierens, Bereytschafft und Bericht. . .Item der fürnembsten Gethier, Vögel, und Fische, Mettallen, Edelgesteinen, Gebreuchlichen Gummi und Gestandenen Säfften, Beschreibung, und Nutzung. . .

Gedruckt zu Franckfort am Mayn bei Christian Egenolffs Erben, im Jahr 1557. Compiled in part from earlier sources, including the work of Eucharius Rosslin --Cf. Johnston, S. H. Cleveland coll. p. 74. Preface signed: Adamus Lonicerus, medicus ordinarius physicus Francfurt. Title vignette. Illustrations hand-colored throughout. References: Nissen, 1227. Includes indexes. Lacks leaf XVIIII (D1). Occasional ms. notations throughout.

This is not a new work in any sense but is, instead, a combination of an earlier version of Der Gart der Gesundheit and Brunschwig's Das Buch zu Distillieren. The first edition appeared in 1533, and was edited by Dr. Eucharius Rosslin. After Rosslin's death, the herbal portion was edited by Theodore Dorsten and entitled the Botanicon. Both of these publications were then brought together, re-edited, and combined with Lonicer's own contributions in 1557 to form the Kreuterbuch. Most of the illustrations were pirated from other sources, including herbals of Brunfels and Fuchs. There is no "standard" edition of this work, since through its many editions the order of entries has been rearranged repeatedly. Fact is not always distinguished from fiction because publishers learned that the mention of fictitious animals and plants appealed to the masses and bolstered book sales. For 20th century readers the text provides quaintness and medieval charm, but those who followed some of the misleading advice must have suffered greatly. However, what might seem to us to be outrageous remedies were usually harmless because no one could procure the exotic ingredients. Some of the medications mentioned were based on ancient remedies dating back to Egyptian papyrus records; for example, the healing properties advanced for Ricinus, the castor bean, were almost the same in ancient papyri as in works printed 3,000 years later. One remedy mentioned here is the Bezoar stone, made up of lime and magnesium phosphate, which was found in deer stomachs and intestinal tracts. These stones reputedly provided a miraculous antidote to poison, so they were often placed in goblets to protect against poisoned wine. They were in vogue in Europe from the 12th century on. There was a good market for them at the time of Louis XIV when such stones might sell for 50 times the price of an emerald of equal size. Patients who could not afford to purchase them outright could rent them by the day. Elizabeth I owned a large one which was set in gold and became a part of the crown jewels. The Shah of Persia presented four Bezoar stones to Napoleon I, hoping they might help cure his many ailments. This book caught the popular fancy and sold many copies. It was considered a real money-maker. Printed repeatedly, it remained a best seller for 250 years. One of the most recent editions was issued in 1783.

Subjects: Medicinal plants; Botany; Medicine.


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