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Chap. 03. Of the First Qualities of Medicines.

I. The Qualities of Medicaments are five-fold, according,

all which Qualities we come now to explicate in order.

II. The Temperaments of Medicaments are fivefold, considered,

  • 1. As they are perfectly Temperate, viz. neither Hot nor Cold, Dry nor Moist.
  • 2. As they are Hot.
  • 3. As they are Cold.
  • 4. As they are Dry.
  • 5. As they are Moist.
In the four last of which, there are said to be 4 Degrees, receding from their principal, ver. gr. An Herb which is Hot, may be hot in the first, second, third, or fourth Degree of heat. Again, from the four prime Qualities, these also proceed, viz. that a Medicament,
  • 1. as it is Hot may be hot and dry, or hot and moist.
  • 2. As it is Cold, also cold and dry, or cold and moist;
and these likewise in all the four Degrees of Temperature.

III. Temperate Medicaments are such which work no change at all, in respect of heat, coldness, dryness, or moisture.

And these may be Temperate in some respect.

  • 1. As being neither hot nor cold, and yet may be moist or dry.
  • 2. As being neither moist nor dry, and yet may be hot or cold.
Their Use is, where there are no apparent Excesses of the four other Qualities; to preserve the Body Temperate, conserve Strength, and restore decayed Nature.

IV. Hot Medicaments (and so also Cold) are considered in respect of our Bodies, and not of themselves: For those Simples are called Hot, which heat our Bodies.
Their Uses are,

  • 1. to make the offending Humour thin, to be expell'd by Sweat or thro' the Pores.
  • 2. To help Concoction.
  • 3. To warm and comfort the Viscera.
  • 4. And by outward application, to discuss Tumors.
  • 5. Or raise Blisters, make Cauteries, &c. according to the degrees of Heat.

V. Cold Medicaments are such, as cool our Bodies being over-heat, by any adventitious or accidental Causes.
Their Uses are,

  • 1. To cool the Parts or Bowels.
  • 2. To condense Vapours.
  • 3. To thicken Humours.
  • 4. To abate the heat of Fevers.
  • 5. To refresh the Spirits almost suffocated.
  • 6. Allay Inflammations.
  • 7. Repress Sweating.
  • 8. Ease violent Pains.

VI. Drying Medicaments, are such as make dry the Parts overflowing with moisture.
They are used

  • 1. To stop Fluxes.
  • 2. To comfort and Strengthen Nature.
  • 3. To consume a superfluity of Humours.
  • 4. To fortify the Bowels.
  • 5. To restore in Consumptions, where great fluxes of the Bowels have been.

VII. Moist Medicaments, are such as are opposed to drying, which moisten, loosen, are lenitive, and make slippery.
They are used,

  • 1. To moisten an over dry and constipated Habit of Body.
  • 2. To ease Coughing.
  • 3. To help the roughness of the Wind-pipe.
  • 4. To loosen the Belly.
  • 5. To relax Parts contracted or hardened.

VIII. Things hot in the first Degree, gently warm the Body being over cooled, and outwardly open the Pores.
Hot in the second Degree as much exceed the first, as the first exceed Temperature, and these cut tough Humours, open Obstructions, and the Pores also outwardly.
Hot in the third Degree, more powerfully heat, and are able (if much used) to inflame the Body, and cause Fevers, provoke Sweat exceedingly, and resist the malignity of the Plague or Pestilence, and more powerfully also cut tough Humours.
Hot in the fourth Degree, burn the Body if outwardly applyed, raise Blisters, corrode the Skin.

IX. Things cold in the first Degree, qualify the heat of the Stomach, and refresh the Spirit.
Cold in the second Degree, are chiefly of use to abate Inflammations.
Cold in the third Degree, are Repercussive, and drive back the Matter, repress Sweat, and keep the Spirits from Fainting.
Cold in the fourth Degree, stupify the Senses, ease violent Pains, and are used in extream Watchings.

X. Things dry in the first Degree, Strengthen.
In the second Degree, Bind.
In the third Degree, stop Fluxes, and restore in Consumptions.
In the fourth Degree, stop Catarrhs, and all Fluxes of Blood and Humours, are highly Stiptick, and dry up a super-abundancy of moisture.

XI. Things moist in the first Degree, are opposed to drying in the same Degree: They moisten the Body, and Parts dryed.
In the second degree they Lenify, loosen the Belly, and make slippery.
In the third degree, they smooth the roughness of the Wind-pipe.
In the fourth degree, they cure a constipation of the Bowels.

XII. Thus Medicines alter according to their Temperature: Whose active Qualities are Heat and Cold; and by them Diseases are said to be eradicated. The Passive are dryness and moisture, and they are subservient to Nature.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This page was proofread by peppercat.



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