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#115352 11/06/03 01:55 PM
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wwh Offline OP
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Today's Word "Simple Simon" remided me of word seldom heard these days: "simples" meaning home remedies. Some few of the were very useful, but you can't get them now. For instance, "lunar caustic", a form of silver nitrate for cauterizing canker sores in mouth. Fortunately I haven't had one in years, but when I did, I was glad to have the lunar caustic, which was a sure cure. Here's a long list of simples:

A LIST of SIMPLES, and of such MEDIClNAL PREPARATIONS, as ought to be kept in readiness for private Practice.



Antimony, crude-
Antimony, cinnabar of
Antimony, sulphur of

Balsam of Capivi
Balsam of Peru
Balsam of Tolu

Bark, cascarilla
Bark, cinnamon
Bark, Mezerion,
Bark, Peruvian
Bark, Winter's, or canella alba


Calamine stone, levigated

Castor, Russian

Caustic, common

Caustic, Lunar

Earth, Fuller's
Earth, Japan
Earth, Armenian bole

Earth, French bole

Extracts of gentian
Extracts of guaiacum
Extracts of hellebore, black
Extracts of hemlock.
Extracts of jalap
Extracts of liquorice
Extracts Of Peruvian bark
Extracts of poppies
Extracts of wormwood

Flowers of camomile
Flowers of colt's foot
Flowers of elder
Flowers of rosemary
Flowers of damask roses
Flowers of red roses

Fruits, almonds
Fruits, bitter apple
Fruits, cassia fistularis
Fruits, Curassao oranges of cinnamon
Fruits, figs, dried
Fruits, French prunes
Fruits, Jamaica -pepper
Fruits, Juniper berries
Fruits, nutmegs
Fruits, tamarinds

Gums, aloes
Gums, ammoniac, in tears
Gums, arabic
Gums, asafoetida
Gums, camphor
Gums, galbanum
Gums, gamboge
Gums, guaiacum.
Gums, kino
Gums, myrrh
Gums, opium

Hartshorn, calcined
Hartshorn, shavings of

Herbs, lesser centaury.
Herbs, peppermint
Herbs, spearmint
Herbs, penny- royal
Herbs, savin
Herbs, trefoil
Herbs, uva ursi
Herbs, wormwood

Lead, Litharge
Lead, white
Lead, sugar of



Magnesia alba


Mercury, crude
Mercury, AEthiop's mineral
Mercury, calomel
Mercury, corrosive sublimate
Mercury, red precipitate
Mercury, white precipitate


Oil, essential, of amber
Oil, essential, of anlse
Oil, essential, of cinnamon
Oil, essential, of juniper
Oil, essential, of lermon-peel
Oil, essential, of peppermint

Oil, expressed, of almonds
Oil, expressed, of linseed

Oil of olives, or Florence Oil

Oil of palms

Oil of turpentine,


Oyster shells prepared


Resins, benzoin
Resins, flowers of
Resins, Burgundy pitch
Resins, dragon's blood
Resins, frankincense
Resins, liquid storax
Resins, white, or rosin:
Resins, scammony

Roots, birthwort
Roots, calamus aromaticus
Roots, contrayerva
Roots, garlic
Roots, gentian
Roots, ginger
Roots, hellebore, black, white
Roots, jalap
Roots, ipecacuanha
Roots, lily, white Sulphur vivum
Roots, liquorice
Roots, marshmallow
Roots, mezerion
Roots, rhubarb
Roots, sarsaparilla
Roots, seneka
Roots, squills
Roots, tormentil
Roots, turmeric
Roots, Virginian snake
Roots, wild valerian
Roots, zedoary


Sal ammoniac, crude
Sal ammoniac, Volatile

Salt, Epsom
Salt, of Glauber
Salt, of hartshorn
Salt, nitre, purified, or prunel
Salt, Polychrest
Salt, Rochel
Salt, of tartar

Seeds, anise
Seeds, carraway
Seeds, cardamom
Seeds, coriander
Seeds, cummin
Seeds, mustard
Seeds, sweet fennel
Seeds, wild carrot


Spanish flies

Sperma ceti

Spirits, aethereal, or aether
Spirits, of hartshorn
Spirits, of lavender, compound
Spirits, of nitre
Spirits, of nitre dulcified
Spirits, of sal ammoniac
Spirits, of sea salt
Spirits, of vinegar
Spirits, of vitriol
Spirits, of wine rectified
Spirits, volatile aromatic

Steel, filings of
Steel, rust of, prepared
Steel, soluble salt of

Sulphur vivum
Sulphur vivum, balsam of
Sulphur vivum, flowers of

Tar, Barbadoes

Tartar, cream of
Tartar, emetic
Tartar, soluble
Tartar, vitriolated

Tin prepared

Tutty, levigated

Turpentine, Venice


Vitriol, green
Vitriol, blue
Vitriol, White

Wax, white
Wax, yellow

Woods, guaiacum
Woods, logwood
Woods, sassafras
Woods, saunders, red

Zinc, flowers of

#115353 11/06/03 02:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
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Posts: 13,803
Proactively answering the unasked question:


It's there in the first paragraph.

#115354 11/06/03 02:47 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
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i didn't see oil of clove on the list, for tooth ache, and what i miss is mercuric oxide, a pale yellow cream for treating styes in the eye. (a small portion of a small tube was all you needed, but now its considered to 'unsafe'.)

i grow mint (and mint tea is great for an upset stomache), and have many of the spice (whole) to grind fresh when needed. (nutmeg, mace, allspice, cinnamin, peppers, (sea salt) and i have an assortment of oils, (linseed, grape, walnut, almond, ) but non of the cautics!

i remember reading a story about a scorned woman who threw blue Vitriol in her rivals face.. and i had to look it up. part of me wondered just where she would get something like that... certainly there were no stores that sold such caustic things around in my childhood. (though i do remember hardware stores that had barrels of turps, and you could get your can refilled for less than buying a new can).

#115355 11/06/03 03:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 555
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 555
Seems like a nice link Faldage;

Two factoids that they seem to have got wrong: Ibn Sina (Avicenna) was a Persian physiscian, not an Arab. And the Arabs got their knowledge of medicine from India. Ayurveda, numerology and astronomy were some of the Indian sciences that were imported by the Arabs in and around the eight century CE. More than fifteen texts of medicine including one dedicated to veterinary science alone, were translated with the help of the Brahmins, shortly after the Arabic invasion of Sind.

Have only skimmed through the details in the link; shall read later tonight. And if they have clarified what to me seem like glaring errors, I do apologise for jumping the gun, as it were.

#115356 11/06/03 03:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
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I din't read the whole thang. Just posted it for the answer to the question (as yet unasked) "why do they call them simples?"

#115357 11/06/03 03:44 PM
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wwh Offline OP
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Dear maahey: Your post told me something I didn't know before. It makes it easier to understand why the Arabs' contributions to science came to such an abrupt end. I had assumed it was due to stifling effect of their clergy, just as Italian science was strangled by the Church.

#115358 11/06/03 03:50 PM
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wwh Offline OP
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One thing that must not be forgotten. All herbal remedies are very much limited in their usefulness for lack of any practicable way of measuring the amount of active ingredient thereof.
You'd be very much surprised to learn how hard it was to standardize the effective yet safe dose of digitalis, which is far and away the most effective originally herbal remedy.

#115359 11/06/03 11:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
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Would that be Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" (or whichever short story it was that had that despicable fellow in it)?

#115360 11/07/03 03:03 AM
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wwh Offline OP
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Dear wofahulicodoc: search for "Sherlock Holmes vitriol face" brought up The Case of the Illustrious Client, in which super villain Adelbert Gruner gets vitrol in the face thrown by Kitty Winter, whom he had seduced, ruined, and discarded. Only thing blue in the story a rare Chinese ceramic treasure used as bait to get Dr. Watson into the villains house, so Holmes could break in and steal the villain's record of his having a hobby of previous infamies.

In case anybody is still interested, here's the URL:

#115361 11/07/03 03:07 AM
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wwh Offline OP
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It just came to me that the rationale for name "simples" is that they were typically single substances, whereas, a hundred years ago, a typical prescription might have a dozen ingredients.

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