Medical snippets #10: The cure of wounds by sympathy

‘First, the Medicine is made of a Zaphyrian Salt, calcined by a celestial fire, operating in Leo and Cancer, into a Lunar complexion. The heat must bee such, that it draws out all adventitious moisture, leaving it intensly dry, and in this condition it must be kept. […] Much more effectual then must the finer active volatile particles be, when they are separated from those more earthy, clogging parts; and conveighed into the remotest pores of the wounded part, by the help of the bloody Atomes returning home: upon whose score they finde a far greater and more welcome entertainment, then if they came alone, or joyned with any other Forrainers.

The manner of applying the medicine is in this fashion. The blood, or bloody matter taken from the wound on a cloath, must be lightly covered over with this powder, kept very dry; and afterwards wrapt up close from the air, and so kept in a temperate heat; neither must it finde any mutation to either excesse; the wound in the mean time must be kept clean, and clothed up with drie clean clothes. If it hath been an old sore or ulcer, that Nature hath found a convenient passage to vent the burden of her excrements that way, and there be a tumor, (as necessarily there will be) the first dressing doth most violently drein this Fountain, and you shall finde the wound to run most strangly: afterwards when the matter is lessened, and is reduced to such a proportion as nature and the medicine may conveniently buckle with it, then it turns it into laudably concocted matter, which every day lessens, and the wound closet. But if the wound be fresh, the applied medicine presently stoppeth the blood, and hinders an afflux of humours to the part. So that there is nothing to be done, but the uniting the severed parts, which this medicine doth in a wonderful short time.’

Nathaniel Highmore, The history of generation. Examining the several opinions of divers authors, especially that of Sir Kenelm Digby, in his discourse of bodies. With a general relation of the manner of generation, as well in plants as animals: with some figures delineating the first originals of some creatures, evidently demonstrating the rest. To which is joyned a discourse of the cure of wounds by sympathy, or without any real applycation of medicines to the part affected, but especially by that powder, known chiefly by the name of Sir Gilbert Talbots powder (1651)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 905 b 3 (5)