Day 191: Brown’s “The Complete Herbalist”

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 10.04.06 AM


I recently found a great old herbal book by Dr. O. Phelps Brown called “The complete herbalist : or the people their own physicians by the use of nature’s remedies : describing the great curative properties found in the herbal kingdom.” It can be found in full on the Internet Archive.

Although it’s an older book, the information presented is actually very “modern” considering the book was first published in 1897. A large portion of the book is devoted to individual plants with their medicinal properties and any warnings against the plant. The last part of the book includes a very interesting recipe section, which I will present in part below. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in herbal medicines, or just old medical books in general. Take the information with a grain of salt though, as some of the information may be out of date. Always verify herbal resources against modern publications.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 10.04.16 AM

In the following pages will be found a variety of recipes, applicable to many diseases and afflictions for which Kymptomatic treatment is all that is required. They will be found to be very valuable for domestic treatment. They are not all strictly herbal, but essentially eclectic, so as to be easily prepared and the ingredients readily procured. Nothing capable of harm is, however, admitted,— the few mineral substances that are prescribed being only inserted for therapeutic effects, in consequence of their vegetable analogues being hard to procure or difficult to prepare. Availability was studied more than scientific arrangement, though the merit of each is retained. For handy recipes, therefore, the following are sufficiently diversified for a wide range of application.

In complicated cases, or in diseases requiring systematic treatment, recipes are not to be depended upon. Such cases, of course, require treatment in accordance with the demands of the pathological conditions observed in the disease, and which should in all cases be directed by a competent physician. The remedies, for which the recipes are given in this connection, are designed merely for diseases or affections not ordinarily grave in character, or which do not require more than simple medication. Those desiring to make use of them should have them prepared by a druggist, if they do not have the necessary pharmaceutical appliances to insure correct weight, quantity, mixture, division, etc. The purity and worth of the article are also to be ascertained before being administered.

No. 1. Balsam of tolu, two oimcea; gum guaiacum, two ounces; gum hemlock, two ounces; gum myrrh, two ounces; each coarsely powdered; oil of hemlock, three ounces; oil of wintergreen, two ounces; alcohol, one gallon. Let it stand fourteen days. Shake frequently in the meantime.
Dose. — From one to two teaspoonfuls, according to severity and obstinacy of the case, in half a glass of sweetened water. This mixture has proved highly useful as an internal remedy for rheumatism, colic, pains, chills, soreness, lameness, sour stomach, languor, depressed spirits, palpitations, water brash, flatulency, and a variety of painful affections.

No. 2. Take of the roots of spikenard, elecampane, comfrey and blood-root: of the leaves and flowers of hoarhound, and of the bark of wild cherry, each one pound. These may all be ground and tinctured, by adding alcohol, water, and sugar sufficient to make three gallons of syrup, or any portion of the above compound may be tinctured in sufficient alcohol to cover them, when the herbs may be boiled until their strength is obtained, and the tincture and watery infusion may be mixed, and a sufficient amount of refined sugar added to make a thick syrup. For coughs and colds, to be taken in teaspoonful doses as required.

No. 3. Thorough-wort, two ounces; ginger, half ounce; cloves, half ounce; extract dandelion, four ounces; water, one and a half pints. Boil to one-third, and add sugar one and one-half pounds, and brandy, one pint.
Dose. — A wineglassful once or twice a day. An excellent cordial cathartic to act upon the liver. The herbs must be gathered at the proper season or they will be worthless.

No. 4. Aloes, pulverized, five ounces; fine, dry castile soap, half a drachm; gamboge, pulverized, one ounce; colocynth, one ounce; extract of gentian, one ounce; mandrake, one ounce; cayenne pepper, two ounces; oil of peppermint, half a drachm. Mix well together, and form into three-grain pills.
Dose. — Three to five pills.

No. 6. For asthma and cough, to promote expectoration, and remove tightness of the chest, the following is a valuable compound preparation. Fluid extracts of skunk cabbage, one ounce; lobelia, one ounce; blood-root, one ounce; pleurisy-root, one ounce; ginger, one ounce; water, one pint; alcohol, three pints.
Dose. — Two to four teaspoonfuls.

No. 6. The following is a useful preparation for producing sleep, in wakeful or excited conditions, viz. : fluid extract of ladies’ slipper, one ounce; fluid extract of pleurisy-root, one ounce; fluid extract of skunk cabbage, one ounce; fluid extract scull-cap, one ounce. Mix.
Dose. — Half a drachm to a drachm three times a day.

No. 7. For sick and nervous headache, dependent on an acid stomach, the following is useful: fluid extract of ladies’ slipper, half an ounce; fluid extract of catnip, half an ounce; fluid extract of scull-cap, half an ounce; water, one pint. Dose. — One to three teaspoonfuls. Mix.

No. 8. Old cider, four gallons; white oak bark, ten ounces; horse-radish root, one pound; seneca snake-root, six ounces; golden seal root, four ounces; cayenne pepper, two ounces; bruise all fine, add the cider, let stand for ten days, frequently shaking up the mixture in the meantime.
Dose. — For an adult, half to two-thirds of a wine-glassful, three times a day.

No. 9. Good sarsaparilla, two pounds; guaiacum, three ounces; rose leaves, two ounces; senna, two ounces; liquorice root, two ounces; oil of sassafras, five drops; oil of aniseed, five drops; oil of wintergreen, three drops; diluted alcohol, ten pints; sugar, eight pounds.
Dose. — A. tablespoonful two or three times a day.

No. 10. Peppermint water, one and one-half ounces: wine of colchicum root, half an ounce; sulphate of morphia, one grain; magnesia, one scruple.
Dose. — One teaspoonful three or four times a day.

No. 11. Tannin, three grains; extract of belladonna, three-fourths of a grain; extract of conium, two and a half grains; infusion of senna, three ounces; fennel water, one and a half ounces; syrup of marsh-mallow, one and a half ounces. Mix.
Dose. — A tablespoonful to be taken every two hours in chronic bronchitis.

No. 12. Dried lavender flowers, two drachms; nutmeg, 2 drachms; mace, two drachms; cloves, two ounces; cinnamon, two ounces. Pulverize all these, and add a quart of spirits. Let it then stand for a week, and then strain off the liquid.
Dose. — One or two teaspoonfuls may be taken often in a little water, with loaf sugar. Useful in nervous affections.

No. 13. Extract of scull-cap, two drachms; extract of chamomile, two drachms; extract of boneset, one drachm; pulverized cayenne, one scruple; quinine, one drachm; oil of valerian, half a drachm. Beat well together, and make ninety pills.
Dose. — For an adult, one pill every two or three hours.

No. 14. Gentian root, two ounces; dried orange peel, one ounce; cardamon seed, half an ounce (all bruised); diluted alcohol or common whiskey, one quart. Let it stand for two weeks.
Use. — Dyspepsia, loss of appetite, general weakness, etc.
Dose.— One or two tablespoonfuls in water, three times a day.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: