Savin trees

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According to Londa Schiebinger in her book Plants and Empire, “savin (Juniperus sabina) was European women’s abortifacient of choice. “ “Dioscorides knew it as an abortifacient, as did Galen, Avicenna, and Constantinus Africanus. Native to the south of Europe and … Read More


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The Parisian Oath of 1587 was typical in forbidding midwives from “ordering or administering any potion, or other kind of medicine to a woman, whether married or unmarried, in order to procure the abortion of their child, on pain of … Read More

Receptaria : Savin pessary

This remedy, also given to abort a dead fetus and to promote afterbirth and menstruation, contained a number of likely effective abortifacients: Take half a pound of iris roots (Iris foetidissima / pseudacorus / germanica) and half an ounce of … Read More

The Diuretic Syrup

Take the Bark of the Roots of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and that of Parsley (Petroselinum crispum/sativum), each 8 ounces; Spring Water 3 quarts. Digest in a moderate Heat for a Night; then boil them together till a Quart be evaporated. … Read More

Hysteric Troches

Take of Asa Foetida (Ferula – dried latex/gum) and Galbanum (Ferula gummosa – aromatic gum resin) each 2 drams and half; Myrrh (Commiphora myrrh – resin), 2 drams; Castor (ricinus communis), a dram and half; Birthwort Root (Aristolochia clematitis), 2 … Read More

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