Much of Osborn’s regimens above are focused on the water or phlegm. Most of these steps serve to eliminate water from the body. Relating this to the last sentence in this section, note that Jaundice is sometimes associated with the Dropsy along with Consumption. The disease progression implied here is from water to yellow bile, and from one organ or organ system to another. An old adage in medicine often talked about is the wandering uterus theory for feminine complaints like missed or irregular periods, and in the modern sense, diseasese like hysteria (today’s PMS) linked to the uncontrolled wandering of the uterus about the body.
This led me to conceptualize Osborn’s philosophy as something very much akn to the wandering uterus theory, whcih I termed the “wandering humours” or “wandering pathogenesis” theory–the notion that a disease first manifests in one part of the body and then proceeds along the proper pathways influencing other parts of the body. This may be something metaphysically envisioned by Osborn, or something he sees as blood- or humours-born, still metaphysical and”ens” based (in the philosophical and alchemical sense, related to one’s “entia” or ‘being’, a Paracelsian-Van Helmontian metaphysical vital force-like concept; for more, see also my notes on alchemist Starkey and Osborn’s ens veneris formula).
When consumption sets in as painful (thus the need for anodynes), it is again in one of its worst states. Such is the result of continuously coughing up of black bile and blood during a relapse of the disease.
In terms of the materia medica. “Duratiks” start this therapeutic process–diuretics recommended by Osborn in order to remove excess water or phlegm from the body. Expectorants, poultices and foments (something like hot towel applications) are designed to accomplish much the same, but in different ways. The extremely drying red lead Plaster Emplastrum De Minio is applied to draw out the humours of water very aggressively. As Osborn states, blisters on the legs are also used to draw out vast amounts of water; we would expect these to be tried by Osborn for treating congestive heart failure and the onset of edema in the legs.
He also states, “if you must come to tapping, should refer you to Sharpe, Turner or Shaw.” In the first attempt to udnerstand this, I interpreted this term to refer to blood letting. The problem with this interpretation is that Osborn could have referred to any medical book were he referring to simple bleeding the patient. Due to its relation to these 3 authors, I have since decided that Osborn must be referring to the need to draw water out from the body. Such would be the case for a goal of removing the ascites fluid in the abomen, or removing the fluids accumulated between the pleural sac around the lung and the inner chest wall (probably much less commonly related to Osborn’s phrase).