Hildegard von Bingen's Physica: The Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing
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One of two major medical treatises by medieval healer Hildegard von Bingen, presented in its entirety for the first time in English during the 900th anniversary of her birth.
• A seminal text in the development of Western herbal medicine
• Presents nine categories of healing systems--Plants, Elements, Trees, Stones, Fish, Birds, Animals, Reptiles, and Metals--and elaborates on their medicinal use
• Closely related to Eastern medical approaches that are gaining respect today
Saint, mystic, healer, visionary, fighter, Hildegard von Bingen stands as one of the great figures in the history of women in me.
At a time when few women could write and most were denied a formal education, Hildegard von Bingen became a legendary healer, visionary, musician, artist, poet, and saint. Her works include twenty-seven symphonic compositions; Scivias, a compilation of her visions; and her two major medical works, Causae et Curae, a medical compendium, and Physica, published here in English in its entirety for the first time.
Physica has a strong affinity with the Eastern medical approaches gaining great respect today. The modern reader interested in natural healing will recognize the enormous truth in the theories of this 12th-century physician, which remind us that our cures for illness depend on our natural world and our place in it.
twice as much sage, tempered with salt, and he will be better.] LXV. HYSSOP Hyssop (hyssopus) is of a dry nature and is moderately hot. It is of such great strength that even a stone is not able to withstand it, and it grows wherever it is sown. Eaten often, it purges the weak and stinking foam of humors, just as heat, boiling in a pot [throws off foam]. It is useful in all foods. It is more beneficial pulverized and cooked than raw. When it is eaten the liver becomes lively, and it cleanses
the rind is removed, one can eat what is inside. It is better cooked than raw and does not supply bad humors. If at some time a humor rises up into ulcers, one should eat turnip and the ulcer will be checked. But if someone who is congested in the lungs eats turnip, cooked or raw, it will torment his lungs a bit [since it does not have powers to resist serious illnesses]. LXXXIX. RADISH Radish (retich) is more hot than cold. After it is dug up, it should be placed underground in a damp place
(sichterwurtz nigra) which is called “black” is hot and cold, and its heat is hard and harsh. If one’s head is tormented by any disease or weakness and he has lost his senses and intelligence, so that he is out of his mind, crush together black dock and a little less wild thyme. Heat them in a small dish with old lard and place this, warm, over his entire head and around his neck, tied with a cloth. Do this for five days, once in the morning and once at night, heating it each day. After the fifth
fall in autumn. The sun is very hot, the air is cold, and the sun’s redness warms the sard. Therefore, it is purely from air and water, and it is well balanced in a good moderation of heat. It averts adverse pestilences with its power. If a person ails in his head from many diseases and illnesses, so that he is almost out of his mind from it, he should tie sard on top of his head, in either a hat, some cloth, or a leather sack. He should say, “Just as God threw the first angel into the abyss, so
this often, and the leprosy will be healed. The feathers of the hawk are not good for beds or cushions. If anyone were to lie on them, he would sleep deeply only with difficulty. XX. SPARROW HAWK The sparrow hawk (sperwere) is hot, and happy, and quick in flight. It flies high into the sky and in the middle of the air. A man or woman who burns with lust should take a sparrow hawk and, when it is dead, remove the feathers and throw away the head and viscera. He should place the rest of its body,