Culpeper, Nicholas


[Complete herbal].

Culpeper's Complete Herbal: To Which is Now Added, Upwards of One Hundred Additional Herbs, With a Display of Their Medicinal and Occult Qualities: Physically Applied to the Cure of All Disorders Incident to Mankind: To Which are Now First Annexed His English Physician Enlarged, and Key to Physic, With Rules for Compounding Medicine According to the True System of Nature: Forming a Complete Family Dispensatory, and Natural System of Physic, to Which is also Added Upwards of Fifty Choice Receipts, Selected from the Author's Last Legacy to his Wife.

6 v. London: Published by Richard Evans, J. Haddon, printer, 1814. An edition of the author's The English Physician Enlarged, first issued in 1653--Cf. Osler, Sir William. Bibliotheca Oslerians, item 2401. "A key to Galen's method of physic:" p. [376]-395. References: Johnston, S. H. Cleveland coll. 773. Includes index. Hand-colored plates. Plates 13 and 39 damaged; plate 40 wanting.

This edition contains three works by Culpeper, ie., the Complete Herbal, English Physician Enlarged, and Key to Physic.

Culpeper begins his epistle to the reader with a note of warning about copies of his work which had been falsely printed, and which contained "twenty or thirty gross mistakes in every sheet, many of them such as are exceedingly dangerous to such as shall venture to use them." These false editions were printed "of that Letter the small Bibles are printed with" and also have variant titles. The author then mentions that other authors have written about herbs, but have not given the reasons why a particular herb is appropriate for a particular part of the body or why it cures a given disease. Culpeper notes that he himself has been sickly and so understands the blessings of health and healing. Culpeper belonged to the astrological school of medical botany which continued into the seventeenth century. He begins his work with an alphabetical listing of herbs, giving a description of the herb, where it is found, when it flowers, and what its virtues are. This section is then followed by a discussion on the various ways to make "Syrups, Conserves, Oils, Ointments, &c, of herbs, roots, flowers, &c. Whereby you may have them ready for your uses at such times when they cannot be had otherwise." This is then followed by a "Catalogue of Simples in the New Dispensatory." The work concludes with a "Key to Galen's Method of Physic" and a general index. The colored plates are located at the end.

Subjects: Botany; Medicine; Medicinal plants.


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