In Osborn’s philosophy, the questions to ask are:
- Why is she passing the ‘terms’ (menstrual flow) so much?
- Is this a problem of a sanguine nature?
- Is she too weak and unable to hold her terms?
- Is there too much fire or heat?
- What about the state of her passions?
- Is it due to too much ens (energy)?
- Is this due to her temperament?
- His first recipe has Tormentil (a Potentilla species) and Sanguis Draconis (Dragon’s Blood)–both are astringents; the deep red resin of Dragon’s Blood is suggestive of doctrine of signatures.
- The second consists of juice of Plantain and Bole Armenia–a mucilaginous plant and a very prized, fine clayey earth.
- The third of bleeding from the arm, followed by astringents.
- The fourth of Quin quina in wine and a small amount of bole (a very fine clayey earth).
Dragon’s blood (Daemonorops draca)
The first recipe with dragon’s blood and tormentil, both of which are astringents.
Two common local species Potentilla arenaria and P. recta.
Tormentil (Potentilla tormentilla)
The second recipe has Plantain and Bole Armenia.
For Plantain (usually Plantago major), the leaves are a poorly astringent, with some febrifuge, diuretic and deobstruent effects when taken internally. Overall the plant is fairly weak, but very symbolic due to its long history of use. This plant was probably introduced to the New World very early in exploration history. The earliest period I have been able to trace it back to with links to North America’s exploration is ca. 1250, when a Christian Swedish Viking recipe included this plant in one of its medical formulas, in which it was called by its Anglo-Saxon name “Waybroed” (broad-leaf). There is also a possible link to its introduction to the New World via Vinland during the late 1200s or very early 1300s (Greenland-Newfoundland area). This was due to Russian settlements formed there and that remained active until about 1375-1390. Finally, there is also a clue for its non-Native origins and habits in the New World by way of Micmac folklore (A Newfoundland-Nova Scotia tribe); the Micmacs (Mikmaqs) refer to it as ‘White Man’s Foot’, suggesting this plant was more linked to the missions well underway by the 1500s that to the local natural ecology.
Bole Armenia or bole armonic comes from Armenia, and is a red (doctrine of signatures) earthy clay rich in iron oxides.
In terms of philosophy, the most revealing recipe is the third. The suggestion is there is too much blood, therefore requiring a bleed, followed by the need for astringents to tighten down the blood vessels, lessening their storage capacity and hold.
Quin quina in wine with a small amount of bole or earth.
Quin Quina (from the Peruvian ghina, or quina-quina) is best known as a fever remedy. Osborn’s use of this for Overflowing of terms suggest he has drawn a relationship between Fire and the Overflowing of Terms. He does not mention inducing a sweat at all in any of his recipes. He does recommend that blood be controlled, either by withdrawing it from the body (bleeding)and/or by having the vessels closed down. This could mean that Osborn distinguished between the sweat process and the impacts of fire on the body. He could treat the fire by not necessarily having to induce a sweat. This would perhaps be what he considers the value of quin quina. Since Fire is in turn associated with some overactive menses, he recommends the cooler quin quina.
The bole of earth is probably linked to the Bole Armonic already mentioned on this page of the vade mecum. It is considered astringent, and closes the vessels, preventing further overflow.