Coles, William


Adam in Eden, or, Natures Paradise: The History of Plants, Fruits, Herbs and Flowers: Withe Their Several Names, Whether Greek, Latin or English, the Places Where They Grow, Their Descriptions and Kinds, Their Times of Flourishing and Decreasing, as also Their Several Signatures, Anatomical Appropriations, and Particular Physical Vertues.

London: Printed by J. Streater, for Nathaniel Brooke, 1657. Running title: Adam in Eden, or The Paradise of Plants. Numerous errors in signing and pagination. References: Hunt 269; Wing C5087. ASU copy lacks title page; description from Hunt.

Coles wrote this work in order to provide his readers with practical information about "those more wholesome Herb and Plants that he hath growing at his own doore, which are more consonant and proper for his Body" and he omits "those Outlandish Plants and Ingredients, which are almost if not altogether impossible to be obtained."  Coles does refer to previous authors, such as Matthiolus and Dioscorides, but also updates his work with information discovered since their deaths.  He gives not only the plant names and their virtues, but also their properties, "their Affects and Effects, their Increase and Decrease, their Flourishing and Fading; their distinct Varieties and several qualities."

This is Coles's most complete work on the Doctrine of Signatures. For example, Coles points out that "Wall-nuts" have the appearance of the head and brain of humans, making walnuts of value in treating headaches. The book is arranged by the parts of the body and their related plants.

Subjects: Botany; Medicine.


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