Chap. 10. Of Preparations Chymical.

The chief Chymical Preparations, as they may have respect to this present Work, are these ten here enumerated, viz.

I. Essences.

  • 1. By Essences here, we do not mean those highly rectified and sublime aetherial Chymical Oils, which Perfumers and others use, and so call, but another Preparation which is taken from the whole Substance of the Plant.
  • 2. Take Angelica, Bawm, Mint, or any other like fitting Herb, beat it in a Marble Mortar with a Wooden Pestle, to a Pulp or Mass; put it into a Matrass or Bolt-head, which Seal up Hermetically, (or otherwise stop it up, with Cork dipped in Wax, then closed fast with Sealing-Wax, and after that luted over) set it to digest in a Horse Dunghil, or some other analogous Heat, as Balneo, Sand, &c. for 40 or 50 Days; so will the whole be reduced almost to an uniform Substance: Afterwards take out the Matter, which is now more liquid than it was before, or reduced into a Liquor; which press from the Faeces. Digest it again in a gentle Balneo, that the remaining grosser parts may subside: decant the clear Liquor, or filter it thro' Brown Paper, or Cotton, in a Glass Funnel. And from the former Faeces, being dried and calcin'd, extract a fixed Salt, which add to the filtrated Liquor. This is Le Febure's Essence of Plants; and may be given in any proper Vehicle, from one Spoonful to two, or three.
  • 3. Some add to this Essence, when it is for long keeping, to every Quart, a quarter of a Pint of the best Brandy, or Spirit of Wine.
  • 4. But if you would exalt this Essence to a higher degree of purity and excellency, the said Le Febure proceeds thus. Take of the former Essence, Water of decripitated common Salt, made per deliquium, of each equal parts; put them into a Matrass or Bolt-head, which Seal up Hermetically, or stop up as before: Digest in the sun, or in Balneo, or a Sand heat, for 40 or 50 Days more, so will this Saline Liquor, without any other Operation, separate all the heterogenous and slimy Matter, or Substance, which hindered its purity and exaltation: And there will swim upon the top, the pure exalted Essence of the Plant, either green and transparent as an emerald, or of a reddish color, according to the nature of the Plant; which separate and keep for use. This exalted Essence, may be taken from half a Spoonful to a Spoonful, Morning and Night, in a Glass of Canary, or other proper Wine.
  • 5. The Essences of Cold Herbs. Take the whole Plant well beaten in a Mortar, Juice and all; add to it an equal quantity of Spirit of Wine, or Brandy: put them into a very large Bolt-head, which stop close as afore said, so that nothing may breath forth: set it to digest in Horse-dung, or its equal heat in Balneo, or Sand, for 40 or 50 Days, or more; then strain out all the Liquor by hard pressing; which put into the Bolt-head again: being stopt close up as before, digest in a gentle Sand heat for 40 or 50 Days more; so will the Essence meliorate, supernate the Faeces, and grow fine; which decant and keep for use, adding to it the fixt Salt of the Pressings. Dose from one Spoonful to three, in some proper Vehicle.

II. Tinctures.

  • 1. There are several sorts of Tinctures, which are to be drawn out with such Menstruums, as are most proper to the Disease afflicting; the chief of which are these four following.
  • 2. The Spirituous Tincture. Take any Root, Bark, Wood, Herb, Flower, or Seed, being dried, and reduced into gross Pouder in a hot Iron Mortar, with an eighth part of Salt of Tartar or Pot-Ashes: affuse thereon, in a large Matrass, the best rectified Spirit of Wine, so much as may over-top the Ingredients 4 or 5 Inches, shake them well together, and stop the Vessel very close: digest 20, 30, or 40 Days, (the longer the better) in a place naturally warm, or in a gentle Sand heat, shaking the Vessel once every Day: then decant the clear Tincture, and keep it close stopt for use. Dose 1, 2 or 3 Drams, if prepared from Alteratives.
  • 3. The Acid Tincture. The Ingredients being prepared as in the former, affuse thereon the dulcified Spirit, either of Nitre or of Salt, Sulphur or Vitriol, so much as to supernate 4 or 5 Inches: digest as before, then decant the clear Tincture, and keep it in a Glass close stopt for use. Dose from 40 to 60 drops, or so much as to give the Vehicle a little acidity.
  • 4. The Oily Tincture. Take the Ingredients as before directed to be prepared, which put into a Matrass, or Bolt-head, and affuse thereon pure aetherial Oil of Turpentine, so much as may over-top it 4 or 5 Inches; stop it close up, and digest only in a warm heat for 14 or 21 Days, shaking the Vessel once every Day: strain out the Tincture by pressing; let it stand till it is fine, and then decant the clear, and keep it for use. Dose from 6 to 12, or 18 Drops; first dropt into Sugar, and then mixed with any proper Vehicle, and so taken.
  • 5. The Saline Tincture. First make the Spiritus Intimus thus. Take Spring Water, 6 Quarts; choice Pot Ashes, 2 pounds; Sal Armoniack, one Pound: mix, digest close stopt 3 Days, strain, filter, and keep it for use. Then take the Ingredients as before prepared, which put into a Matrass or Bolt-head, and affuse thereon of the former Spiritus Intimus, as much as may over-top the Ingredients 4 or 5 Inches: digest cold (being close stopt) for 1 or 3 Days, shaking the Vessel twice a Day; let it settle for one or two Days; decant the clear from the Faeces, which filter thro' Brown filtring Paper, and keep it in a Glass close stopt for use. Dose from half a Dram, to 1 or 2 Drams, Morning and Night, in a Glass of Canary, or some other proper Vehicle. Where note, that by this Menstruum; you may extract the Tincture from any Root, Bark, Herb, Flower, or Seed, as well green as dry, and that in a manner extemporance.

III. Extracts.

  • 1. Take the Spirituous Tincture of any thing you design to have the Extract of; put it into a Bolt-head, with its Alembick and Receiver, and luting the joints well ; by a gentle heat abstract the Spirit in Balneo, the magma at bottom is the Extract.
  • 2. Extracts are either soft, fit either to be dissolved in any proper Vehicle, or to be made up with Powders, if very soft, into an Electuary; but if of a more thick body, to be made with Powders into Pills: Or they are of a solid body, so that they may be formed into Pills of themselves, without any addition.
  • 3. And therefore according to the consistence you design the Extract to be of, to such a degree you must abstract the Spirit. 4. The abstracted Spirit is something more than the simple Spirit of Wine, and may very well be called the Spirit of that Ingredient, or Matter, of which the Extract is made, and Contains some of the most volatile Spirits and Particles thereof.

IV. Waters.

  • 1. They are Distilled in common stills, putting good store of ashes underneath, to avoid an Empyreuma, or Smell and Taste of Burning; or in an Alembick, in Balneo.
  • 2. If you Distil in an Alembick, it will be good that the Roots, herbs, Flowers, be bruised, and by adding common Salt, or Leven, to be mixed with them to be digested; then putting Spring Water to them, to Distil them in an Alembick with its Worm or Refrigeratory, till the change of the Taste shows the Virtue to be drawn off, separating the Oil if any be.
  • 3. By adding the Salt or Leven, or Yeast, and digesting the Herbs therewith, till they have a kind of Winey Smell; by which means the Water is made twice or thrice as strong, and Smells much stronger of the Herbs, Flowers, &c.
  • 4. Waters from dried Herbs. Let them be cut and affused a while in hot water, and digested with Salt, Leven, or Yeast, and then distilled in Balneo; and if it be cohobated upon more dried Herbs, it will be so much the better and more noble.
  • 5. Waters from tender Herbs and Flowers, and from cold Plants, are distilled in Balneo, with Cohobation upon fresh Herbs.
  • 6. Waters from hot Seeds, Spices, &c. beat or bruise them grossly, affuse them in a little warm Water, then distil them by a Copper Vesica, Tinned within: You may also steep them in Wine, so will the Water be more excellent, with some Oil.
  • 7. If from green Roots or Barks, bruise or shave them; but if from dried Roots, Barks, rasp them, or grossly beat them in a Mortar, and affuse them in a little warm Water, &c.

V. Spirits.

  • 1. Take the Herbs, Flowers, &c. beat them in a Mortar, and Pickle them with Salt, in an Earthen Vessel, by mixing the Salt therewith; put all into a well glazed Earthen Jar, pressing them well down: stop the Vessel very close, and put it into a cellar for 3 or 4 Months, till they have a sharp or Wine-like Smell; then distil in a Vesica, in Balneo, or Sand, or Ashes, to dryness; cohobate the Spirit and distil again, after which rectify it in a glass matrass, in a gentle Balneo, or Sand-heat.
  • 2. Spirits from Juices. Beat the Roots, herbs, Flowers, Fruits, if Juicy, and press forth their Juice: But if they be not juicy, sprinkle hot Water on them, and then express the Juice. Steep in this Juice fresh Herbs, and press out again, which work repeat till you have Juice enough; this Juice ferment with Sugar, Leven , or Yeast, dissolved in a little Water, and then distil it as before. Where note, that the Fermentation of the Juice, 'is be ft done in Wooden Vessels.
  • 3. Spirits from Fruits which have a Pulp, as Black Cherries, Elderberries, Gooseberries, Mulberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, &c. Either make a Wine of them, which let grow a little Acid; and distil it as before directed, or as you distil Brandy, or Spirit of Wine from Wine: Or else take their Pulp, freed from their Stones or Kernels, to which put, warm Water to make it thin; then with Leven, Yeast, or Sugar, dissolved also in warm Water, cause them to ferment; after which distil.
  • 4. Spirits from hot Seeds, Spices, &c. Bruise them well, and macerate the mass with Wine, cause them to ferment with Leven, &c. and then distil; so will you have a Spirit mixed with a great deal of Water: cohobate and distil again, so will the Spirit be much better; which after separate from the Water by Distillation: reserve the Spirit by itself, and the Water by itself, as Water of the same Seeds, Spices, &c.

VI. OILS Distilled.

  • 1. Oils from green or dry Roots, Herbs, Flowers. Bruise them well in a Stone of Iron Mortar, digest them 14 Days or more in Water, and let them putrify; then distil by a Vesica with a great Fire; so will you have Water and Oil come over, which you are to separate.
  • 2. If you distil Oils from Angelica, Anile Bawm, Caraway, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Origanum, Pennyroyal, Rosemary; Sage, Savory, Southernwood, Thyme, Wormwood, and the like hot Herbs : It is to be done when in Flower, and you are only to take the upper Branches with the Flowers, for then they yield the greatest plenty of Oil, and those parts of the Plants the most; the Leaves, Stalks, &c. little or none at all.
  • 3. Oils from hot Seeds, as Annise, Cardamoms, Cubebs, Caraways, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Mustard, Parity, Rocket, &c. Bruise them grossly affuse on them hot Water; add some Salt, or Crude Tartar in Powder, digest 10 or 20 Days, then distil with a Copper Vesica, with its Head and Receiver well luted; so will you have Water and Oil together, which you are to separate, keeping the Oil by it self; and the Water of Aniseed Water, Cardamom, Caraway Water, &c.
  • 4. Oils from Roots being dried. Bruise them well or beat them into gross Powder, digest them with Water and Salt, then distil: cohobate the distilled Water digest and distil again; separate the Oil from the Water: and in that Water, digest more fresh Roots, and so on continually.
  • 5. Oils from Citron, Limon and Orange Peels. Let them putrifv or rot; add Water to them; then distil them as the former Roots, so will you have Oil and Water, which separate. The Water may be used in like manner to more prepared Peels.
  • 6. Oils from Spices. Bruise them grossly, (for Powders yield less Oil;) digest them 8 or 10 Days in the Menstruum you intend, adding Nitre, Salt, or Tartar: then distil in a Vesica; so will you have Water and Oil, which separate: cohobate the Water upon the Faeces several times, so will all the volatile Oil ascend: The Water reserve to make more Oil with, upon fresh Spices. The weighty Oils (as of Cinnamon) will separate from the Water, in 14 or 16 Days, by sinking to the bottom.
  • 7. Oils from Aromatick Woods, as Cassia Lignea, Cedar, Cypress, Juniper, Rhodium, Sanders Yellow, Saffafrafs, Xyloaloes, &c. Take their raspings, or let their Chips be exceedingly well bruised in an Iron Mortar, which digest a good while in Water, then distil by a Vesica: cohobate, and continue distilling for some Days; at length the noble odoriferous Oil will come forth very subtle and volatil.
  • 8. Oils from Rosins, Turpentines, &c. Add to them a good Quantity of Water, and distil by a Vesica; so will you have Water, and an Oil swimming upon it, (which Oil is called Spirit;) continue the distillation, and by degrees it will be Yellow; then change the Receiver: Separate this yellow Oil, and keep it by itself, distilling till no more appears. This is called Oil. The Matter remaining is called Colophony.
  • 9. The Rectification of Chymical Oils. They are rectified by distilling them by a Cucurbit, or Vesica, with much Water; so will the pure aetherial Oil ascend, with some Water, which separate. They are also rectified in a Bolt-head, with its Receiver, in which the pure aetherial Oil will ascend, the thicker Substance remaining at bottom.

VII. Balsams.

  • 1. The true difference between Chymical Oils and Chymical Balsams lies chiefly in two things, viz. first the Oil contains the principal or chief of the sublime and volatile parts. Secondly, That it is of a thicker Consistence or Substance, than the Balsam; which as this latter is less subtle and thicker, so it is more fit for old Sores and Ulcers.
  • 2. Hence it appears that as Oils are the more thin, pure, and aetherial parts, so they rise first in Distillation, from the Matter they are separated from; but the Balsam is that other thicker Oily Matter, which by the force of a stronger Fire, ascends next after the former pure, aetherial, volatile Oil is drawn off; which as it is of a thicker body, so it is also of a deeper color.
  • 3. Balsams Chymical, are oftentimes also made in Rectification of Chymical Oils; when drawing off the thin, subtle, volatile Parts, or Oil the thick Balsam is left at bottom.
  • 4. But they are properly Balsams which (the thin Oil being drawn off in a Vesica) are afterwards drawn from the Colophony by a Retort.
  • 5. Take the Colophony remaining after the Oil is drawn from Rosins and Turpentine; put it into a Retort, and distil with a gradual Fire, first soft and gentle, then greater, and so increasing the Heat, till the Colophony has given up all its Oily or Balsamick parts, which will be of a body thick and red. And this is that which is properly called Balsam; which if it be rectified again in a Glass Retort, in a Sand-heat, will be much more fine and pure.

VIII. Potestates, or Powers.

  • 1. Take the rectified Spirit of the Plant, suppose of Mint, or Pennyroyal, a Pint; Chymical Oil of the same Plant, an Ounce, or so much as the Spirit will absorb, or swallow up: mix them together, and keep them for use.
  • 2. But if you take the fixt Salt of the same Plant, and grind it with an equal Quantity of the volatile Sal Armoniack; subliming and re-subliming so long till the fixt Salt ascends with the Volatile; and add 2 Drams thereof to the former mixture, it will be so much the more powerful to all the Intentions for which the said Potestates are used.
  • 3. And many times for want of the particular Spirit of the Plant, whose Powers you would make, the best rectified Spirit of Wine is used as a Succedaneum; to which may also be added, if you please, the volatilized Salt of the same Plant, or a volatile Salt of Tartar.

IX. Elixirs.

  • 1. An Elixir is the sulphureous Tincture of any Vegetable, drawn out of the dried Vegetable, (ground grossly with Salt of Tartar in a hot Mortar) with the rectified Spirit of the same Vegetable.
  • 2. Or thus. Take any dried Herb or Plant, beat it into gross Powder, which put into a Matrass or Bolt-head: Take the Powers of the same Plant, six Pints; rectified Spirit of Nitre, 12 Ounces: mix, and digest for 10 Days; affuse so much of this Mixture upon the former Powder, as may supernate 4 or 5 Inches: digest cold for 20 Days, shaking the glass every day; then decant the clear Liquor, and keep it for use.
  • 3. But you are not always necessitated to use Spirit of Nitre; but may in place thereof, as the nature of the Disease may require, take Oils of Salt, of Sulphur, or of Vitriol, and digest with the Powers as above directed.
  • 4. Again, by Infusion of any Vegetable (suppose Rosemary) in Powers of the same, acuated with Oil of Salt, and Salt of the same, you shall have the Elixir thereof.

X. Salts.

  • 1. Salts Chymical are either Volatile or Fixed: And tho’ all Plants have indeed a volatile Salt, yet the most of them having but little, and that little very difficult to be gotten, Authors have taken little or no notice thereof: Those which really abound with it are but few, of which Beans, Pease, and Tartar, are chief. The way of making their Volatile Salts, we shall not declare here, having taught it fully and at large in their proper places, in the following Book.
  • 2. Fixed Salt of Vegetables it thus made. First burn or calcine the Herb you would make a Salt of, into white Ashes; yet avoiding a too fierce or hasty burning, lest it should vitrify. Boil these Ashes in fair Water, to make a Lixivium of them; which filter thro' filtering brown paper, by help of a glass funnel. This filtered Liquor boil in a glass vessel, with a gentle fire, to the consumption of all the Water; so will the fixt Salt of the Plant be left at bottom.
  • 3. If the Salt be not purely White and Fine, you must dissolve it again in more fair Water; filter and coagulate by an absumption of the Water; which work you are so often to repeat, till it is freed from all Impurity, and is very White.
  • 4. These alcalious Fixed Salts, are very apt to melt in the Air; but if they be first calcined with Sulphur, it much preserves them from that accident , and makes them withall somewhat more grateful to the Palate.

Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Nick Jones.