Materia Medica

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MMM/23/1/26
  • Dates of Creation
      [17--?]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      1 volume, 232 folios New binding (1932)

Scope and Content

There is little information on the manuscript relating to its creator or provenance with the inscription on the spine of the new binding simply reading 'Manuscript on Materia Medica 1543'. The manuscript does not date from 1543, which is known because there are references to Joseph Black (1728-1799) and Andrew Didier (d.1756) and much of the content bears strong similarities to late 18th century writings on the materia medica. It is likely that this mention of 1543 on the spine is either an error or part of an older library reference number assigned to the volume.

There is an alphabetical index on ff.2-3 listing the different substances or medicines described in the manuscript. This is followed on f.4 by Black's table of affinities displaying 17 separate groupings. There is also an index morborum, or index of diseases, on ff.228-231 allowing the reader to search for particular remedies by the disease which they wish to treat. Each substance described in the manuscript is headed by its Latin name followed by a thorough description which includes details of its physical properties, origins, the medical problems it is recommended to treat, and directions for use.

The contents page outlines the substances described as follows: acacia succus, acetum [vinegar], agaricus, alumen [alum], amygdalus amari & dulcis [bitter & sweet almonds], antimonium [antimony], aqua Bristol [Bristol water], aqua fontana [spring water], aqua marinis [sea water], aqua metallic, aqua purgandum [purging water], aqua sulphur, argentum [silver], argentum vivum [quicksilver], arsenicum [arsenic], aurantiorum fructus, aurum, baccae juniper [silver juniper], baccae kermes [kermes berries], baccae lauri [bay berries], baccae spinae cervinae [buckthorn], balneum frigidum [cold bath], balsam anodyne, balsam copaivi [balsam of capivi], balsam peruvianum [balsam of Peru], balsam tolu, balsam traumaticum [traumatic balsam], bolus armenius [Armenian bole], borax, calx viva [quicklime], cantharides [powdered 'spanish fly'], carica, caryophilla aromata [cloves], casia fistularis ['golden shower tree'], castoreum russicum [Russian castor], cera alba & flava [white and yellow wax], coccinella, colocynthis [bitter cucumber], corallium [coral], cornu cervi [hartshorn], cortex canella alba [white cinnamon bark], cortex cinnamoni [cinnamon bark], cortex eleutheriae [cascarilla bark], cortex peruviani [Peruvian bark], creta [chalk], cubeba, cuprum [copper], cydonia mala [quince], ferrum [iron], folia abrotani [artemisia leaves], folia absinthii [wormwood leaves], folia asari [asarabacca leaves, or European wild ginger], folia beccabungae [brooklime leaves], folia chamaepitys [ground-pine leaves], folia elatinis [elaterium leaves], folia hederae terrestris [ground ivy], folia hysopi [hyssop], folia lichen cinnereus terrestris [ground liverwort leaves], folia lujulae [wood sorrel], folia majoranae [sweet marjoram], folia marubii [white horehound], folia melissae [balm], folia menthae piperitae [peppermint], folia menthae vulgaris [garden or spearmint], folia nicotianae [tobacco leaves], folia origani [wild marjoram], folia parietariae [pellitory of the wall], folia pulegii [pennyroyal], folia rutae [rue], folia sabinae [savin], folia senae [senna], folia tricomanis [maidenhair spleenwort], folia trifolium palustrae [buckbean], flores balaustiae [pomegranate flowers], flores centaurii [centaury], flores chamaemelum [chamomile], flores croci [crocus], flores hyperici [St John's wort], flores lavendulae [lavender], flores rosae damascena [Damask rose], flores rosmarini [rosemary], flores violae [violet], gallae [galls], gum aloe, gum ammoniacum, gum arabica, gum assafoetida [asafoetida gum], gum benzoin [benzoine], gum camphora, gum elaterii, gum galbani [galbanum], gum gambogiae [gambogia], gum labdani [labdanum], gum mastiche [mastic], gum myrrha [myrrh], gum olibani [olibanum], gum opii [opium gum], gum opobalsamum [balm of Gilead], gum opopanax, gum sagapenum, gum sanguis draconis [dragon's blood, resin from the fruits of calamus draco], gum scammonii [scammony], gum styrax calamita [storax], gum tragacanth, hirudo [leeches], hordeum distichum [barley], lapis bezoar [bezoar stone], lapis calaminaris [calamine stone], lignum buxi [box tree], lignum campechensis [logwood], lignum guaiaci [guaiacum], lignum rhodii [rhodium oil], lignum santali [sandalwood], limones [lemons], liniment saponaceum [saponaceous liniment], manna, margarittae, mel, millepedes, moschus, nux moschata, aerugo aeris, olea sativa, papaver album, plumbum [lead], piperes [pepper], prunae gallicae [French prunes], petroleum barbadense [Barbadoes tar], radix allii [garlic], radix althaeae [marsh mallow root], radix angellicae [angelica root], radix ari [arum root], radix callomi aromat, radix cassamuniar [cassumunar ginger root], radix contrayerva [contrajerva], radix curcumae [zedoary root], radix enulae [elecampane root], radix eryngium [eryngium or sea holly root], radix gentian, radix glycyrrhizae [liquorice root], radix hellebori albi [white hellebore root], radix hellebori nigri [black hellebore root], radix jalapii [jalap root], radix ipecacuanha [root of the carapichea ipecacuanha], radix pyrethri [pellitory], radix raphani [radish] rusticani, rhubarb, radix sarsaparillae, radix sassafras, radix scillae [squills], radix serpentiana [snakeroot], radix tormentillae [tormentil or septfoil root], radix valeriani sylvestris [wild valerian root], radix zedoriae [zedoary], radix zinziberis [ginger root], rubi idaei fructus [raspberry], sal absinthii [wormwood salt], sal ammoniacus [ammonium salt], sal gemmae [common salt], sal glauberi [Glauber's salts], sal marinus [sea salt], sal nitri [salpetre], sapo [soap], semicupium [hip bath, half bath], seminibus anethi [fennel seeds], seminibus anisi [aniseed], seminibus cardamomi [cardamom seeds], seminibus cymini [cumin seeds], seminibus faini graeci [fenugreek], seminibus lini [linseed], seminibus sinapi, spongia, spermaceti, sulphur, succinum, tamarindus [tamarind], tartarum, tartar solubil, tartar emetic, terra japonica [Japanese earth], terebinthiae, uvae passae, vinum, vipera, vitriola.