John Ward's Latin

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This article features two glossaries of the Latin words and abbreviations in the diaries of John Ward, Folger MS V.a.284 -299. The words are all associated with medical receipts. At the bottom of the article are links to a cribsheet for John Ward's handwriting, several sites that depict alchemical symbols, and a Greek keyboard.

The first glossary was compiled by Dr. Robert Tallaksen, a reader and transcriber at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It is regularly updated with new words. Last update was March 26, 2021.

The second glossary is the work of Callum Simms, a transcriber on Shakespeare's World (a crowd-sourced project between the Folger Shakespeare Library, Zooniverse and the OED, sponsored by EMMO). Some of John Ward's diaries have been transcribed by volunteers on Shakespeare's World. On Shakespeare's World's talk feature, Callum Simms is known as @IntelVoid.

John Ward was the vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon from 1662 to 1681. The Folger Shakespeare Library has 16 of his 17 diaries. More information on John Ward can be found in A Semi-Diplomatic Transcription of Selections from the John Ward Diaries.

John Ward's Latin medical words and abbreviations (Dr. Robert Tallaksen, compiler)

Instructions and Amounts

ā, āā, ān., ana = of each

a. c., p. c., ante/post cibum = before or after a meal

ad. grat. acid., ad gratem aciditatem = to an agreeable sourness

ante pastum = before food

ante/post prandium = before/after a meal (lunch)

applic., applico -are = apply; e.g., applica ventre = apply to the abdomen

bacill., bacillus -i = a small stick; e.g., bacill. glycirriz., a stick of licorice

balneum -i = bath; e.g., BV, balneo vaporoso, in a steam bath; BM, balneo Mariae, in a bain-marie

bib., bibo -ere = drink; bibit (she/he drinks), bibat (let her/him drink) or bibatur (let X be drunk )

bullio -ire = boil; bulliant, they should boil or let them boil

calcino -are = to calcine; reduce by roasting or burning to a powder or friable substance; una calcinentur, let them be calcined together

cap., capio -ere = cape, take; also capiat (let him/her take X) and capiatur (let X be taken)

chartula -ae = a small piece of paper; specifically, such a piece of paper twisted or folded and containing a single dose of medicinal powder

clarific., clarifico -are = clarify

coch., cochleare = spoonful(s)

colatus -a -um (also incolatus) = strained, filtered, purified (from colo -are = strain, filter) compos., compositus -a -um = adj., compound; composed, prepared

cong., congius -i = gallon

contund., contundo -ere = bruise, crush, beat

contus., contusus -a -um = adj., bruised, crushed, beaten

coq., coqu., coquo -ere = boil

crebro = adv., frequently, repeatedly

cum = with; very often abbreviated with macron: cū

cuspis -idis cultelli = point of a knife; as much medicine as will lie on a knife point; a small but uncertain amount, likely a few grains

d., da, datur detur = da, give; datur X, X is given; detur X, let X be given

d., dos., dosis -is = dose

decoq., decoquo -ere = boil down / reduce

diluculi., diluculum -i = at daybreak; alternis diluculis, every other morning at dawn

dulcorand., edulcorand., dulcorandus -a -um = sweetened; from dulcoro -are

e, ex = out of / from

ebull., ebullio -ire = boil

epotus -a -um = swallowed, quaffed, drunk up

erasus -a -um = scraped; see also rasus -a -um, below

et = and

exacin., exacinatus -a -um = with the seeds or stones removed; e.g. raisins

excorticatus -a -um = peeled, skinned, stripped of outer covering

f. (face), from facio -ere = make

fiat X = let X be done/made

foveo -ere = keep warm; foveatur, let her/him/it be kept warm

frigid., frigidus -a -um = cold; e.g., capiat frigida, let it be taken cold

gran., granum = grain (apothecary measure)*

gt, gutt, gutta -ae = drop*

h. s., hora somni, hora somnj = at bedtime

in = in, into

incid., incido -ere = cut open/into; incisus -a -um, incised, cut open

(in)fund. - (in)fundo -ere = pour (in)

insideat = let her/him sit (in a bath)

inspissat., inspissatus -a -um = adj., thickened, condensed

inung., inunguo -ere = rub on (e.g., salve, ointment)

ieiuno or jejuno ventriculo = on a fasting (empty) stomach

lambend., lambo -ere = lick/ lap up; sensim lambendus, to be licked up slowly

lb, sometimes lib, or crossed, "℔" = pound; liquid measures often in pounds rather than volume

lenitiv., lenitivus -a -um = adj., soothing, gently laxative

m., misc., misceo -ere = mix; misceantur, let them (ingredients) be mixed

m. f. = misce face/ misceat or misceant fiat, mix (the ingredients) and make X, or let (the ingredients) be mixed and X be made (e.g., pills, electuary)

magistral., magistralis -e = related to magister -tri, a master or teacher; can refer to something that is a practitioner's own formulation (as opposed to officinalis -e, see below), or a remedy that is supremely effective

mane (indecl.) = in the morning

manica -ae hyppocratis = Hippocrates' sleeve, a kind of conical strainer made of linen or flannel; e.g., clarificentur per manicam hyppocratis, let them be clarified through a Hippocrates' sleeve

mass., massa -ae = the compound out of which pills, etc., are formed

matut., matutinus -a -um, matutine = in the (early) morning

mortarium -i = mortar; tunde, or contunde in mortario, crush in a mortar

mundat., mundatus -a -um = cleaned

no. or no = numerus, for the number of things; e.g. succ. Limon. no (numero) ii, juice of two lemons (in the number of two)

nocte = at night

nodulo, nodulus -i = a little knot, from nodus -i; in nodulo ligat., tied in a little knot

officin., officinalis -e = from officina -ae, a shop; any standard medicine or ingredient kept in apothecary shops

ꝑreꝑ. or preꝑ.= preparatus -a -um (conjectured)

paratur = it is prepared; e.g., paratur vnguent., an ointment is prepared

parum = a little; e.g., ol(eum) Iasmini parum, a little oil of jasmine

pauxill., pauxillatum = little by little

permisceo -ere = mix thoroughly; permisceantur, let them (ingredients) be thoroughly mixed

pisto -are = pound, stamp, crush; pistentur, let them be pounded

pomeridiane = (adv.) in the afternoon

pulveriz., pulverizatus -a -um = powdered

purpureus -a -um = purple

q. s., quantum satis or quantum sufficit = a sufficient quantity; q. s. ad = a sufficient amount for...

q. s. m. f. = quantum satis misce face (or misceantur fiat), take a sufficient quantity of the last ingredient or ingredients named, mix, (and) make X; or let the ingredients be mixed and let X be made

rament., ramenta -orum = (plural) scrapings, shavings

ras., rasur., rasus -a -um or rasuratus -a -um = scraped or scrapings of

redig., redige, redigo -ere = reduce (into); e.g., redig. in cataplasma, reduce to a poultice

s. a., secundem artem = according to art/practice, in the usual way; connotation is that the method requires particular skill and/or experience

s. or ss., semis = one half (see note below)

saepe, sepe = often; saepius (comparative) = rather often, more often

semicoch., semicochl., semicochleare = half a spoonful

sensim = slowly, gradually, little by little

sero = late; e.g., mane et sero, in the morning and late

setaceum -i = sieve; per setaceum, through a sieve

siccus -a -um = dry, dried

singul., singulus -a -um = one at a time, individually, singly

spatha -ae, spatula -ae = a flat piece of wood, a stirrer; diminutive is spatula -ae

spong., spongiā, spongiis = with a sponge or sponges

stillat., stillatim = drop by drop

substituo -ere = substitute; X substituatur, X should/ought to be substituted; e.g., for a missing ingredient: in defectu vini graeci aliud vinum potens album substituatur, in the absence of Greek wine another strong white wine should/may be substituted

subtilissime, subtilissimus -a -um = very fine(ly), minutely; e.g., face pulverem subtilissimam, make a very fine powder; contunde in mortario subtilissime, crush very finely in a mortar

sumend., sumendus -a -um = to be or should be taken; e.g., mane et sero sumendum = to be taken early and late

summo mane = very early in the morning

superbib., superbibo -ere = drink after or upon another substance; superbibendus -a -um, it should be taken after something else

ust., ustus -a -um = burnt

vesperi = in the evening


lb or ℔ = pound; NB the unit of weight, not of money

M = handful

p = pugil, the amount that can be picked up with the thumb and two fingers

℥ = ounce (available on EMROC toolbar in Dromio)

f℥ = fluid ounce, though the "f" is generally omitted

ʒ = dram, drachm (available on EMROC toolbar in Dromio)

℈ = scruple (available on EMROC toolbar in Dromio)


  • 20 grains = 1 scruple
  • 3 scruples = 1 dram
  • 8 drams = 1 ounce

Numerical amounts are most often given in minuscule Roman numerals; e.g., iiii. The last "i" is very often written as a "long i" or "j," e.g., iiij, but should be transcribed as a minuscule: iiii.

When "s" or "ss" is used for one half, it follows the last character, thus:

  • ℈s, 1/2 scruple
  • ℥iiis = 3 1/2 ounces
  • ʒiss = 1 1/2 drams

The "s" can look like a long "i" but will lack a dot.

The abbreviations for grain, "gr," and guttae (drops), "gt," can look very similar; if so:

  • when the ingredient is a liquid, e.g., a syrup, suggest using "gt"
  • if a dry substance, e.g., saffron, use "gr."

Ingredients, descriptions, and types of receipts


abrotan., abrotanum -i = artemisia or southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum

absynth., absynthium -i = wormwood, Artemisia absinthium; sal absynthii = salt of absinth, impure potassium carbonate (K2CO3) obtained from wormwood ashes; see also vinum absinthites, below

acetos., acetosa -ae = sorrel or sour dock, Rumex acetosa; fol. acetos., folia acetosae, leaves of this plant

acet., acetum -i = vinegar; a. theriacale, treacle vinegar

acori., acorus -i = sweet flag plant, Acorus calamus

adamas or lapis -idis adamas = diamond; from α (not) + δάμαζω (conquer, break) because it cannot be broken

adiant., adianth., adiantum -i = maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris

adonis -is or -nidis = the plant pheasant's eye, Adonis annua; its red flowers are said to have grown on Adonis' grave

aes aeris = brass, copper; aes viride, verdigris; see also unguentum Egyptiacum, below

aetites -ae = eagle stone (Pliny), "a hollow nodule or pebble of hydrated iron oxide containing a loose kernel that makes a noise when rattled" (OED); said to be helpful in avoiding miscarriage, in pregnancy generally, and in childbirth

agalloc(h)um = see lignum aloes, below

agaric., agaricus -i = originally the bracket fungus, Formitopsis officinalis, later any mushroom with a cap, various species including Agaricus cantharellus, the chanterelle

agaricus -i Rudii = an unknown mushroom or fungus used by or otherwise associated with Eustachio Rudio (1551 - 1611), Italian physician, Latinized as Eustachius Rudius

ageratum -i = sweet maudlin, sweet yarrow, or English mace, Achillea ageratum; flowering plant in the sunflower family

agni cast., agni casti = Vitex agnus-castus; chaste tree, chasteberry, Abraham's balm, etc. agrimon., agrimonia -ae = common agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria

albedinem = accusative of albedo -inis, whiteness; occurs in the phrase ad albedinem calcinati, calcined to whiteness, in this case hart's horn

alb., albus -a -um = white

alb. graec., album graecum = the dry white excrement of a dog, hyena, or other bone-eating carnivore, esp. when used as an ingredient in medicinal preparations (OED)

alcanna -ae = alkanet, Alkanna tinctoria, an herb in the borage family; the root yields a red dye; used for infections

alchermes, alkermes (confectio -onis) = confection of kermes (pregnant female of the crimson insect Coccus ilicis), formerly supposed to be a berry; widely used as dye-stuff and in medicine

alchymilla -ae = genus of herbaceous perennials in the rose family, esp. lady's mantle, Alchemilla mollis; the species used for the herbal tea used in gynecology was A. xanthochlora or A. vulgaris

aleophanginae = see pilulae aleophanginae, below

alexitericus -a -um = alexipharmic, a "medicine or treatment believed to protect against, counteract the effects of, or expel from the body a noxious or toxic substance... an antidote" (OED)

alexiterium -i = an alexipharmic medicine, antidote; alexiterium D. Stephani, Stephanus's antidote, possibly from Stephanus Atheniensis (c. 550 - 630), Greek physician and commentator on Galen

alezeteris = likely a misspelling for "alexiteris," see above entry

alhandal = Arabic name for colocynth (q. v.); troches of alhandal also contained bdellium & gum tragacanth

alipta -ae = see alyptae moschata, below

alkakeng., alkekengi = winter cherry, Physalis alkekengi, a diuretic

alleluia = same as lujula, see below

allium -i = garlic, Allium sativum

alnus -i = alder, a tree of genus Alnus; cort. alni nigri = black alder bark, from A. glutinosa

aloe -es = aloe; esp. the true aloe, Aloe vera; more than 500 species; distinguish from lignum aloes, q.v.

aloe -es depurata = extract made by boiling aloe with water and then concentrating the liquid; if the water was replaced with juice of violet flowers, "aloe violata;" if with juice of rose leaves, "aloe rosata"

aloe -es lota = washed aloe; apparently dissolved in the juice of roses and then dried

alsine = bog stichwort, Stellaria alsine

alth., althe., althea/althaea -ae = mallow or marsh-mallow, Althea officinalis; also called malvaviscus

alviducum -i = "opener of the belly;" i.e., a laxative

alumin., alumina -ae, alumen -inis = alum; argil or argillaceous earth

alypta -ae moschata = a compounded lozenge containing ladanum (q. v.), styrax calamita, red sytrax, aloe, ambra, camphor, nutmeg, and rosewater; for asthma and chest constriction

amaracus -i = dittany of Crete, Dictamnus (Origanum) creticus

ambra -ae = amber, or a balsam from Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum), or ambergris

ambra -ae grisea = ambergris

amethystus -i = amethyst; the semi-precious stone, "to which the ancients attributed the property of preventing drunkenness" (Dunglison's Medical Lexicon)

ammi -ii = an umbelliferous plant, Ammi vulgare (maius), common bishop's weed

ammoniac., ammoniacum -i = gum ammoniac, gum resin of Dorema ammoniacum

amomi., amomum -i = genus of aromatic plants including black cardamom, Amomum sublatum

amylum -i = white starch anagallis -idis = common or "scarlet" pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis

anas -atis = duck, various birds of family Anatidae, genus Anas; genitive plural anatum, as in iecur anatum, liver of ducks

aneth., anethum -i = dill, Anethum graveolens

anis., anisum -i = anise, Pimpinella anisum; semina anisi, aniseed

anodin., anodyn., anodynos -us = a pain reliever, anodyne

anserin., anserinus -a -um = of, relating to, or obtained from a goose; adipes anserinus, goose fat

antepileptic., antepilepticus -a -um = anti-epileptic; e.g., aqua antepileptica

anthora -ae = anthora, yellow monkshood, or healing wolfsbane, Aconitum anthora

anthos = rosemary flowers; anthosatus -a -um, infused with rosemary flowers; e.g., mel (honey) anthosatum

antidotum -i or antidotus -i = an antidote or counterpoison

antidotum -i haemagogum = "haemagogum" indicates that it promotes menstrual or hemorrhoidal discharge of blood; numerous ingredients including lupins, pepper, licorice, long birthwort, etc.; Culpeper says that it "provokes the Terms, brings away both birth and afterbirth"

antidotus -i Matthioli = Matthiolus' Great Antidote, some recipes call for more than 300 ingredients; in the Pharmacopoiea Londinensis, William Salmon (1644 - 1713) terms it "one of the greatest Galli-maufries that ever I saw" aparine = cleavers, clivers, catchweed, sticky willy, or velcro plant, Galium aparine

apium -i = smallage or any of several kinds of celery or parsley, esp. wild celery, Apium graveolens dulce; apium caulis, the stock or stem of one of these plants

apozema -atis = an infusion or decoction; or concentration by boiling

aq., aqua -ae = water; if an infusion, distillation, or decoction, with the name of the source in the genitive, e.g., aqua hordei, barley water

aq. calc., aqua -ae calcis = lime water (whitewash)

aqua -ae caponis = capon water; made by boiling a capon with raisins, pine nuts, licorice, and herbs, mixed with wine and other herbs, and distilled; a pectoral

aqua -ae chrysulca = see aqua regia, below

aqua fontis, aqua fontana = spring or well water

aq. fort., aqua -ae fortis = nitric acid, HNO3; may also be called "spirit of niter"

aq. histeric., aqu -ae histerica = anti-hysteric water; receipts vary

aqua -ae imperialis = a drink made from water mixed with cream of tartar and lemon, and sweetened to taste

aq. naphae, aqua -ae naphae = orange flower water

aqua regia = a mixture of nitric (HNO3) and hydrocholoric (HCl) acids which can dissolve gold and platinum

aq. vit., aqua vitae = distilled spirit

aquilegia -ae = genus of perennial plants, including various species of columbine

arc(h)onticon = see pulvis arconticon, below

argentina -ae = genus of plants in the rose family, especially silverweed, Argentina anserina

argentum -i = the element silver (Ag); argentum vivum ("alive") = mercury (Hg), see hydrargyrus, below

argill., argilla -ae = argil, argillaceous earth, alumina

arillus -i = seed/stone; uva passa detractis arillis, dried grapes with the seeds removed

aristoloch., aristolochia -ae = many species, including birthwort, Aristolochia clematitis; JW also mentions A. rotunda, smearwort or round-leaved birthwort; see also serpentaria, below

aromat. rosat., aromaticum rosatum = aromatic medicine containing roses

artemis., artemisia -ae = mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris; also other species including southernwood, wormwood, tarragon

artanit., artanita -ae = probably sow-bread, Cyclamen purpurascens

arum -i = common arum or aron, Arum maculatum; also known as wake-robin, cuckoo-pint; a stimulant

arundo -inis = genus of grasses; Arundo donax, giant cane; A. plinii, Pliny's reed; A. vallatoria, bankside reed; A. saccharina, sugar cane, now genus Saccharum

asa dulcis = benzoe siamensis, a resin gum from Styrax tonkinensis, used for skin irritation; possibly also used as a purgative , diuretic, or antispasmodic, and identical to benzoin

asar., asarum -i = asarabacca or hazelwort, Asarum europaeum; also known as nardus celticus

asclepiadis = genitive of genus Asclepias; various species, including milkweed.; mentioned as radix asclepiadis, the root of such a plant

aspalathus -i = genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae (beans), numerous species

asphodel., asphodelus -i = genus of flowering plants mythologically connected with the underworld and said to cover the Elysian fields; the white asphodel, A. albus, is also known as King's spear ; the roots were compounded into a cataplasm and applied to scrofulous ulcers

asparag., asparagus -i = asparagus, Asparagus officinalis; the root was used as a diuretic

asperula -ae odorata = sweet woodruff; also called Gallium odoratum

asell., asellus -i = wood louse, Oniscus asellus; pulv. (onisc.) asell., powder of wood lice

ass. foetid., assafoetida -ae = asafoetida, dried gum of root of Ferula foetida or F. assa-foetida

assaireth = in pilulae Assaireth (Avicenna); pills containing hiera picra, mastich, myrobalans, etc.; a cholagogue

athanasia -ae = genus of flowering plants in the daisy family; in ancient times a kind of antidote; "athanasia magna" was thought to be useful in dysentery and hemorrhages

atriplex -icis (olida) = orache or arrach, an emmenogogue and used for disorders of the uterus generally; Culpeper defines A. olida as "stinking arrach"

aurum -i = gold; appears in V.a.298 as "fol. auri," gold leaf; though possibly leaves of Aurus brasiliensis, also known as Calamus aromaticus asiaticus, Asian sweet-scented flag see also pillulae aurae below

auriculus -i muris = mouse-ear or mouse-ear hawkweed, Pilosella officinarum

aurum -i fulminans or volatile = fulminating (explosive) gold, a mixture of compounds of gold, ammonia, and chlorine; seems primarily to have been seen as a curiosity; Glauber used fumes produced by its detonation to gold-plate objects

aurant., aurantior., aurantium -i = orange, Citrus aurantium; cortex aurantiorum, orange peel

aurant. chinens., aurantium -i chinense = Chinese (sweet) orange, Citrus sinensis

auripigment., auripigmentum -i = auripigment, arsenic trisulfide (As2S3), used by painters under the name of King's Yellow (OED); also appears as arsenicum auripigmentum

avellan., avellanus -a -um = relating to hazel-nut or filbert; nux avellana, hazel-nut; from the name of the town Avellana in Campania, known for its fruit and nut trees

aven., auenaceae, avena -ae = oats, Avena sativa; wild oats, A. fatua

avenac., avenaceus -a -um = of or relating to oats; oaten

axung., axungia -ae = lard or fat of an animal; e.g., axung. porcin., hog lard


bacc., bacca -ae = berry (any)

bacill., bacillus -i = a small stick; e.g., bacill. glycirriz., a stick of licorice

bacon., baco -onis = bacon

balaust., balaustium -i = pomegranate flower

balneum -i = bath; BV, balneum vaporosum, steam bath; BM, balneum mariae, bain-marie

balsam., balsamum -i = balsam, balm, any strongly scented resin, many types; can be solid or liquid; e.g., balsam of Tolu, of Gilead (from tree Balsamodendron gileadense or B. opobalsamum

barba -ae iovis = Jupiter's beard, Anthyllis barba-iovis; also known as silverbush

bardana -ae = burdock; see lappa, below

basilic. = see ung., vng. basilic. below

bechicus -a -um, bechinus -a -um = for treatment of a cough

bechion bechii = coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara

bdell., bdellium -i = gum resin from shrubs of Balsamodendron species, used as pectoral (for diseases of the chest) and emmenagogue

becabung., beccabunga -ae = water pimpernel, brooklime; Veronica beccabunga behen = uncertain identification because early herbalists used the name from Arabic sources, not knowing what plant it referred to; in England the name chiefly affixed to two types: white (bladder campion, Silene inflata) and red (sea lavender, Statice limonium)

bellis -is = the common or English daisy, Bellis perennis; also known as woundwort or bruisewort

bened. laxat., benedicta laxativa or benedictum laxativum = another name for rhubarb, or the laxative electuary made from it; or a compound of turbith, scammony and spurge

benedict. = carduus benedictus, q. v.

benzoes = benzoe siamensis; see asa dulcis, above

benz., benzoin., belzuinum -i = benzoin, gum benzoin; gum obtained from Styrax benzoin

berber., berberis -is = barberry tree, Berberis vulgaris, or the berry itself beta -ae = beetroot, Beta vulgaris; also appears as "rad. (radix) betae" beton., betonic., betonica -ae = betony, Stachys betonica

betonica -ae Pauli = St. Paul's betony, Veronica serpyllifolia, a small species of speedwell

bezoar (indecl.); bezoart., lapis bezoarticum -i = a stone or concretion found in animal intestines; eight types are described (including mineral, biliary, resinous, fibrous) and these may be described with an adjective, e.g., bezoart. minerale, animale; a particular type comes from the pazan (pasang), the wild or bezoar goat, Capra aegagrus

bezoard., bezoardic., bezoardicus -a -um = relating to or in description of a bezoar

bezoardicum -i ioviale = the Jovial bezoar or bezoar of Jupiter, a diaphoretic; butter of antimony (q.v.) and nitric acid, distilled; not related to "bezoar," above

bezoarticum -i solare = the "solar" or "golden" bezoar; leaf gold, nitric acid or aqua regia, and butter of antimony (q.v.); a diaphoretic and treatment for syphilis; not related to "bezoar," above

bezoarticum -i Mathioli = the bezoar of Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501 - 77), Italian physican and naturalist, Latinized as Matthiolus; precise description of this bezoar unknown

bismalv., bismalva -ae = althea, marshmallow; or related species Malva bismalva or M. moschata, musk-mallow

bocheti, bochetum -i = a liquid thus produced: after a decoction of woods, roots, and/or barks, fresh water is added to the same ingredients to make a second decoction for ordinary drinking

bol. armen., bolus -i Armeniae = Armenian bole, bole armoniac; an argillaceous earth

bombac., bombax -acem = cotton, cotton-wool, stuffing

borac., borax (-acis) = borax (sodium borate, disodium tetraborate), Sodae biboras

botryos = Jerusalem oak, Dysphania botrys; also known as sticky goosefoot or feathered geranium

brassica -ae = genus of numerous cruciferous plants, incl. cabbage, turnip, rape, etc.

bryon., bryonia -ae = briony, Bryonia dioica, may also be denoted red or white; black bryony = lady's seal

bubula -ae = beef; bubulus -a -um, derived from beef; medulla bubula, beef marrow

bugloss., buglossa -ae = bugloss (various species of Anchusa, Echium, and others)

bugul., bugula -ae = numerous herbaceous plants including common bugle, Ajuga reptans

bupthalmi., bupthalmum -i = common ox-eye, Bupthalmum salicifolium; also "bupthalmus"

butyr., butyron -i = butter; butryr. rancid., rancid butter; butyr. recens, recent. = fresh butter

butyrum -i antimonii = "butter of antimony," antimony trichloride, SbCl3, thus called because it resembles a fatty mass

buxus -i = common or European box, Buxus sempervivens, an evergreen shrub or small tree


calamint, calaminth., calamintha -ae = calamint; various species of Calamintha, e.g. officinalis, sylvatica, nepeta, montana

calc. viv., calx calcis = lime, limestone, chalk; calx vivum, unslaked lime; see also unguentum de calce, below

calendul., calendula -ae = garden or common marigold, Calendula officinalis

caltha -ae = genus of perennial flowering plants in the buttercup family, with star-shaped flowers

campan., campanula -ae = throat-wort, bell-flower; Campanula trachelium

camphir., camphor., camphora -ae = camphor, from Laurus camphora or Dryobalanops camphora; camphoratus -a -um, camphorated

cancror., cancer -eris = crab; cancrorum vivorum, (of) live crabs; see also "oculi cancri," below

canell., canella -ae = canella tree; Canella alba, wild cinnamon

cantharid., cantharis -idis = blistering fly or Spanish fly, Musca hispanica; decoction of the insects used externally and internally as powder or tincture; can be poisonous in overdose

caphura -ae = camphor

capill. vener., capillus veneris = maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris

cappar., capparis -is = caper, Capparis spinosa; ol., oleum capparibus, oil of capers

capra -ae = she-goat; pinguedo caprae, she-goat fat

caprifolium -a = Italianate woodbine or perfoliate honeysuckle, Lonicera caprifolium

caput capitis cati = a cat's head; typically, it seems, a black cat's head burned to ashes

carabe, carabes = likely a name for white amber (V.a. 298, f. 161r, receipt in Latin, "Carab. pulueriz.," followed by receipt in English, "the white amber powderd")

caranna = an aromatic resin from the West Indian flowering tree Bursera acuminata and/or the South American trees Protium carana, P. altissimum, and Pachylobus hexandrus

cardamantice = see iberis cardamantice, below

cardiac., cardiacus -a -um = cordial, for stimulating, invigorating, or restoring the heart; aqua cardiaca, cordial water

carduncellus -i = uncertain; either Carduncellus, a genus of flowering plants in the aster family; or Carthamus carduncellus, one of the distaff thistles, the best known of which is the safflower, C. tinctorius

card., carduus -i = thistle (various species)

card. ben., card. bened., card. benedict., carduus -i benedictus = holy or blessed thistle, Cnicus benedictus, widely used as an antidote

cardam., cardamomum -i = cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum

carellorum = plural genitive of the diminutive of carus -i, "little seed;" refers to the seed of hypericon, St. John's wort

carduus -i Mariae = Marian, milk, or St. Mary's thistle, Silybum marianum

caric., carica -ae = fig, Ficus carica; may be described as ficus pinguis, a fat or ripe fig

carlin., carlina -ae = carline or silver thistle, Carlina vulgaris

carminativus -a -um = serving to expel flatulence, as in "emplastrum carminativum"

caro carnis = meat, flesh (any kind), with the source as an adjective or in the genitive; e.g., haedina, kid; vitulina, veal; perdicum, of partridges

carthami., carthamus = saffron flower, Carthamus tinctorius

carui., carvi., carum -i = caraway, Carum carui

caryocost., caryostinum -i = caryocostinum, an electuary so called because it contains cloves and costus, Saussurea costus, also known as costus, kuth, and putchuk, a species of Indian thistle

caryophill., caryophillus -i = clove, Caryophyllus aromaticus

caseum -i = cheese (any kind)

cass., cassia -ae = cassia (various species; e.g, Cassia fistula, purging cassia)

cass. lign., cassia -ae lignum = cassia wood

castanea -ae = chestnut or chestnut-tree, Castana vesca

castoreum -i = castoreum; beaver musk

cataplasm., cataplasma -is = poultice or plaster

catapsoras = see unguentum catapsoras, below

cataputia = the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, also called palma Christi from the palmate shape of its leaves

catholicon, catholicum -i = a universal purging electuary; see diacatholicon, below

C.C. = cornu cervi (deer or hart's horn), a source of ammonia; not the plant (Plantago coronopus)

cattaria -ae = catnip, Nepeta cataria

cauda -ae equina = horsetail or mare's tail; various species of ancient genus Equisetum, e.g., E. arvense, common horsetail or the aquatic flowering plant Hippuris vulgaris; NB distinguish from cauda equina, the bundle of spinal nerves in the lower lumbar region that innervate the pelvic organs and lower extremities

caulis -is = cabbage, or its stalk or stem; see also apium caulis, above

centaur., centaurium -i = centaury, feverfew, or featherfew; the greater, Centaurea magnum or maius = C. erythraea; and the lesser, C. minus or C. parvum = Chironia centaurium (?); mention of centaurium utrumque, possibly directing the use of both maius and minus

centinodii, centinodium -i = common knotgrass, birdweed, pigweed, or lowgrass, Polygonum aviculare; post-classical Latin "centinodia," Anglo-Norman "centinodie"

cepa -ae = onion, Allium capa

cera -ae = wax; cera alba or citrina = beeswax

ceras. nigr., cerasum -i nigrum = black cherry, Cerasum nigrum; aq. cerasorum nigrorum, black cherry water; gummi cerasi, (black) cherry tree gum

cerat., ceratio -onis = covering or smearing over of a portion of the body with wax

ceratum -i = cerate, an unctuous material for external application, made of wax mixed with oil, lard, or similar, and other medicinal substances; consistency between ointment and plaster

ceratum -i santalinum = cerate containing two or more of the santals or saunders

ceratum -i stomachicum = a cerate for the abdomen made from roses, mastich, wormwood, spikenard, wax, and oil of roses (Mesue)

ceratum -i oesypatum = cerate containing oesypus (unrefined lanolin), oil of chamomel and iris root, yellow wax and rosin (Galen)

cerebrum -i = brain; e.g., cerebrum leporis (rabbit brain) for hair loss, cerebrum. passeris (sparrow) for "seed increasing"

cerefolium -i = chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium

cerevis., cerevisia -ae, cervis., cervisia -ae = beer or ale; cervisia tenuis, thin (i.e., weak or inferior), or small beer

ceroma -ae = in CL, a mixture of oil, wax, and earth with which wrestlers rubbed themselves; apparently now synonymous with ceroneum, below

ceroneum -i = emplastrum ceroneum; pitch, yellow wax, sagapenum, ammoniacum, turpentine, etc.; an emollient

ceronia -ae = St. John's bread; fruit of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua

ceruss., cerussa -ae = ceruse or white lead; a mixture of lead carbonate and hydrate

cervin., cervinus -a -um = of or pertaining to a deer or stag

ceterach. = spleenwort or rustyback fern, Asplenium ceterach

chalcitis -idis = copper pyrite, chalcopyrite, CuFeS2; also synonym for colcothar, see below

chalyb., chalybs chalybis = steel

chamaelea = Microstachys chamaelea,"creeping sebastiana"

chamamel., chamaemel., chamaemelum -i = chamomile, Anthemis nobilis

chameleon -ontis = chamaeleontis albi, Carlina acaulis, carline thistle; chamaeleontis nigri, Carthami corymbosi (both in the genitive)

chamaepit., chamaepitys, chaemeptytys -yos = common ground pine, Teucrium chamaepitys

chamedr., chaemedr., chamaedrys = germander speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys, or wall germander, Teucrium chamaedrys

chebula -ae = JW describes it as a type of myrobalan (q. v.) though it is a different genus

chel. 69., chelae -arum cancri = crab's claws; for explanation of "69," see oculi cancri, below

chelidon., chelidonium -i = common or greater celandine, Chelidonium magnus

cheraefolium -i = chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium

chio, chia., terebinth. chia = turpentine from the tree Pistacia terebinthus, also called Cyprus, Chio, or Chian turpentine

chin., china -ae = china root, Smilax china, similar to sarsaparilla

cholagog., cholagogum -i = cholagogue, a medication that promotes discharge of bile

cicer -i = chickpea, Cicer aristinum; several varieties, including white (album), red (rubrum), and black (nigrum)

cich., cichor., cichorium -i = wild chicory or succory, Cichorium intybus; C. endivia, endive

cicuta -ae = various species of hemlock; e.g., water hemlock, Cicuta virosa or palustris; common greater hemlock, C. vulgaris major

cinamomi., cinnamomum -i = true cinnamon, bark of Cinnamonum zeylanicum; wild cinnamon, Canella alba

cinabrii., cinabrium -i = cinnabar or vermilion; mercuric sulfide, HgS

ciner., cinis -eris = ashes (of anything)

citrin., citrinula -ae = a small citron or lemon

citrium -i = the citron tree, genus Citrium; species include C. vulgare, C. dulci medulla, and C. magno fructu

citrullus - i = a genus of desert vines, including C. lanatus, watermelon, and colocynth

clematis -idis daphnoides = periwinkle, Vinca minor

clyster -eris = enema

cnidium = spurge flax or mezereum, Daphne cnidium

coccinel., cocinella -ae = cochineal; the red dye from the insect Coccus cacti, or the insect itself

cochlear., cochlearia -ae = lemon scurvy-grass, Cochlearia hortensis or C. officinalis, or horseradish, C. armoracia; see also sal cochleariae, below; NB don't confuse with coch., cochleare -is, = spoonful

coculus -i indi = India berries; from the tree Anamirta cocculus; source of picrotoxin

colatura -ae = a substance which has been strained; adjective is colaturus -a -um

colcothar = iron peroxide, jeweller's rouge, from ML calcatar; also called crocus martis

collutio -onis = eye-wash

colocynth., colocynthis -idis = bitter-apple (a purgative), Citrullus colocynthis

colophon., colophonia -ae = resin obtained by distillation of turpentine with water

columba -ae = dove, pigeon; a bird of the Columbidae family, containing 50 genera and over 300 species

combustus- a -um (comburo -ere) = burnt up, reduced to ashes

commun., communis -e = common; also expressed as vulgaris -e

concha -ae = mussel, pearl-oyster

cond., conditus -a -um = preserved; e.g., nuces juglandis conditae, preserved walnuts

conf., confect., confectio -onis = compound of vegetable, fruit, etc., with sugar; same as conserva

confectio -onis Hamech = named after an Arabian physician; contains myrobalan, violets, rhubarb, absinthe, etc., made up with honey

confectio -onis Humain = to preserve sight; containing eyebright, fennel seeds, cinnamon, etc.

confectio -onis hyacinthi = not from the flower, but an astringent containing many ingredients including zircon (called hyacinth from its color), red coral, bole armoniac, myrrh, alkermes, etc. confectio -onis liberans = name derives from its property of delivering the patient from the plague; as many as thirty ingredients including Armenian bole, terra sigillata, pearls, coral, &c.

cons., conserv., conserva -ae = compound of vegetable, fruit, etc., with sugar; same as confectio

consolid., rad. consolid., radix -icis consolidae = larkspur (root), Delphinium consolida

consolida -ae saracenica = goldenrod, Virga aurea or Solidago virga-aurea, same as solidago saracenica, below; a vulnerary

contrayerv., contrayerva -ae = contrayerva; the root stock and rhizome of Dorstenia contrayerva, D. brazilensis, or D. virginiana (= Aristolochia serpentaria); used as an antidote to snakebite

convall., convallaria -ae = lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis; or Solomon's seal, C. polygonatum or Polygonatum solomonis

cor., corium -i = leather

coral., corallium -i = general name for coral; most commonly red (rubr.), also black and white

coran. = currants or Corinthian raisins (uvae corinthiacae)

cord., cordial -is = cordial; see also flores cordiales, below

coriand., coriandrum -i = coriander, Coriandrum sativum

cornus -us = the cornel cherry tree, Cornus mascula

coronopus -i = either swinecress or wartcress, Lepidium coronopus, or buckshorn plaintain, Plantago coronopus

cort., cortic., cortex -icis = bark of any tree; occasionally described as cortex medius or cortex interior, middle or inner bark, esp. of the ash tree, Fraxinus excelsior

cort. winteran. = cortex -icis Winterani, Drimys winteri, antiscorbutic; named after a Captain Winter (or Wynter), who accompanied Sir Francis Drake in part of his voyage of 1577 - 80; Winter discovered the tree after rounding Cape Horn and before turning back

coton. = cotton

cotonaria -ae = cottonweed or cudweed, species of genus Gnaphalium

cotul., cotula -ae = mayweed, stinking chamomile; Anthemis cotula

crassula -ae = a genus of succulent plants, e.g., Crassula ovata, the jade plant, and C. aquatica, pigmyweed

crem., cremor -oris tartari = cream of tartar, potassium bitartrate, KC4H5O6; Ward occasionally uses the alchemical symbol for tartar, a square or rectangle with a cross below it ( ); see Alchemical Symbols, below

cret., creta -ae = chalk

creticus -a -um = chalky

cribratus -a -um = strained, sieved, sifted

crithmus -i = probably samphire, otherwise sea or shoreline purslane, Crithmus indicus, C. maritimum, or Sesuvium portulacastrum

croc., crocus -i = saffron, from the crocus flower, Crocus sativus; may be designated austriacus, i.e., from Austria

croc. is = crocus Martis, "saffron of Mars," iron peroxide, colcothar, or jeweler's rouge

croc. metall., crocus -i metallus -i = any of several preparations of metals; e.g., crocus antimonii (antimony), crocus veneris (copper), crocus martis (iron)

crocatus -a -um = of a saffron-yellow color

crocomagma -atis = dregs of the oil of saffron, or an ointment made with it; mentioned by Pliny as being useful for cataracts and stangury

crud., crudus -a -um = raw, unrefined

cubeba -ae = Java pepper, Piper cubeba; an antiseptic; useful in gonorrhea

cucum., cucumer. agrest., cucumis -eris agrestis or c. asinius = wild cucumber, Momordica elaterium, a purgative

cucurbita -ae = any of various gourds of genus Cucurbita; approximately 95 species, including pumpkins and various other squashes

cumin., cuminum -i = cumin, Cumin cyminum

cupressi., cupressus -i = cypress-tree; nux (pl. nuces) cupressi, the fruit or cone of the cypress

cupul. gland., cupula -ae glandis = the cupule, or cap, of the acorn

curcubitula -ae = small cupping glass

cuscuta -ae = dodder, a parasitic twining plant; genus Cuscuta has more than 200 species

cyanus -i = cornflower or bachelor's button, Centaurea cyanus

cyclamen -inis = many species of genus Cyclamen; e.g., C. purpurascens (see artanita, above) and C. hederifolium, ivy-leaved cyclamen, also called sowbread

cydon., cydonium -i = quince; Cydonium oblonga or C. malum; or Pyrus cydonia

cydoniac., cydoniacus -a -um = of or relating to quince; consistentia cydonaci, the consistency of a quince

cynoglossum -i = common hound's tongue, Cynoglossum officinale

cynorrhod., cynorrhodon -i = cynorrhodon, the dog rose, Rosa canina; fructes cynorrh., rose hips

cynosbat., cynosbati fructus = rose hips from Rosa canina

cyperus -i = genus of endogenous plants with around 700 species; Cyperus longus, or sweet cyperus, also called galingale


dactyl., dactylus -i = date; fruit of the date palm, Phoenix dactylifera

dauci, daucus -i = garden carrot, Daucus carota; D. sylvestris or D. vulgaris, wild carrot

decoct., decoctio -onis = decoction; boiling in liquid to extract the soluble parts of a substance

deliquium -i = a melting or flowing down; per deliquium is spontaneous liquification (deliquescence) of a solid by its dissolving in moisture absorbed from the air; e.g., ol. tart. per deliquium, oleum tartaris per deliquium, potassium carbonate (K2CO3) in aqueous solution from water so absorbed

dens dentis leonis = "lion's tooth," dandelion; Taraxacum dens-leonis

dessicativum -i rubrum = see unguentum dessicativum rubrum, below

detract., detractus -a -um = removed; e.g., uva detractis arillis, grapes with the seeds removed; similar to enucleatus -a -um

dia- = a preparation consisting of a main ingredient, usually alluded to in the name and tending to mean made, containing, or consisting of that ingredient, though receipts vary; the New Sydenham's Society's Lexicon names about eighty (OED); the ones mentioned by JW are included below

diambra -ae = powder containing cinnamon, angelica, cloves, nutmeg, galangal, etc. used for nervous afflictions and aphrodisiac

diabotanum = plaster of multiple herbs (Galen); resolvent (tissue softener) and suppurative

diacalciteos = chalcitis (an iron oxide), with plantain and nightshade juice; for cancer

diacarcinon = from crabs; antidote for rabies

diacarthamum = containing safflower (bastard-saffron), hermodactyl, ginger, etc.; a purgative

diachylon cum gummi or d. simplex = ointment containing juices of herbs

diacass., diacassia = a purgative electuary with senna; or the confection of senna; may be designated "cum manna," q. v.

diacatholicon or catholicon = purgative electuary containing senna, cassia, tamarinds, etc., named for its general usefulness

diacorallium = trochisci diacorallium (Galen), containing bole-armoniac, red coral, terra lemnia, etc.; to stop blood, including the bloody flux and menstrual flow

diacinamomum -i = a compound of cinnamon; an antidote

diaclysma, plural diaclysmata = mouthwash; for toothache, cleaning the gums; diaclysma ad scorbutum, an antiscorbutic

diacod., diacodium -i = electuary containing of poppy seeds or heads, used as an opiate

diacorum = electuarium diacorum, electuary of calamus; likely Acorus calamus, sweet flag

diacrocu = a dry collyrium in which saffron is an ingredient (New Sydenham Lexicon)

diacrocuma = an electuary for the stomach, abnormalities of the kidneys and bladder; many ingredients including saffron, asarabacca, parsley, carrot, anise, and smallage seeds, etc.

diacurcuma = numerous ingredients, including saffron (crocus), asarum, rhubarb, phu, etc.; used as an antidote and for cachexia, dropsy, and diseases of the liver and spleen

diacydon. simpl., diacydonium -i simplex = conserve or marmalade of quinces (Cydonium oblonga)

diagalanga -ae = confection of galanga with "hot spices," useful for the wind cholic

diagrid., diagryd, diagrydium -i = electuary containing scammony, a purgative; also "diacrydium"

diair., diaireos = an electuary that contained orris (iris) root; an antidote

dialacca = electuary containing lacca, q. v.; an antidote

dialthaea (cum gummis) = ointment containing marsh-mallow root and seeds boiled with olive oil, beeswax, gums, and resins; for gout and as a suppurative

diamargarit. fr., diamargariton frigida = cooling powder of pearls, compound diamoron or d. abbatis = honey and mulberries, used as a gargle for throat diseases

diamoschu(s) = musk, saffron, galangal, zedoary, lignum aloes; for conditions affecting the head and brain, e.g., vertigo, epilepsy, palsy, also for the stomach, lungs, liver, and spleen

dianisum -i = a compound powder containing aniseed, licorice, mastick, caraway, fennel, mace, cinnamon, pepper, etc.; or an electuary made of the powder and honey

diapalma = desiccating plaster containing palm oil or animal fat, litharge, and zinc sulfate

diapampholigos = see unguentum diapampholigos, below

diaphoenicon = electuary made from cooked and strained dates; a purgative

diaprunum = electuary containing the pulp of damask prunes; a purgative

diarrhod. = either diarrhodomeli (juice of roses, scammony, agaric, pepper, and honey) or diarrhodon (several powders which contain roses); the latter may be designated as being The Abbot's, diarrhodon abbatis, attributed to Abbas Curiae, chaplain to Roger, Duke of Apulia

diascord., diascordium -i = an electuary made with scordium (Teucrium scordium) or germander leaves, roses, storax, cinnamon, etc.; named for Dioscorides, 1st c. Greek physician

diaspoliticum -i = diaspoliticon; electuary containing rue, cumin, pepper, honey, and saltpeter

diatrion., diatrium -i santalorum or santalon = an antidote made from three kinds of sandal-wood with other ingredients

diaturbith = contained turpeth, root of East Indian jalap, Ipomoea turpethum; a purgative

dictamn., dyctamn., dictamnus -i = dittany of Crete, Dictamnus (Origanum) creticus

doronicum -i = a genus of flowering plants in the sunflower family; leopard's bane

dracontium -i = named thus because its roots were said to resemble a dragon's tail; a genus of flowering plants; also known as serpentaria and arum polyphyllum; a stimulant

dypsacus -i = genus of plants including teasel; especially fuller's teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, and wild teasel, D. sylvestris; also spelled dipsacus


ebeni, ebenum -i = ebony (wood)

ebul., ebulus -i = danewort, dwarf elder, Sambucus ebulus

ebori., ebur -oris = ivory; ras. ebori, ivory shavings

echium -i = a genus of plants in the borage family, e.g. Echium plantagineum, purple viper's-bugloss or Paterson's curse

eclegma, ecligma -atis = medicine to be taken by letting it melt in the mouth

elaeosaccharum -i flavedinis citri = "oil sugar" (German Ölzucker), made by grinding an essential oil with eight or ten times the weight of sugar and used for making distilled waters; this particular one would likely have been made with the zest (yellow, flavedo -inis) of a lemon

elaterium -i = purgative made from seeds of the squirting or exploding cucumber, Ecballium elaterium

elect., electuarium -i = electuary; a "medicinal conserve or paste, consisting of a powder or other ingredient mixed with honey, preserve, or syrup of some kind" (OED)

elephang., pill. de elephang = see "pillulae elephanginae," below

elescoph., elescophus -us = elescophus solidum, an electuary containing cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, said to be effective against colic and pains of gout; also known as the Bishop's Electuary, electuarium episcopi

elix., elixir (indecl.) = many different preparations, mostly compound tinctures

elix. proprietat., elixir proprietatis = elixir of special character; contained aloe, saffron, and myrrh

emblicum -i = a type of myrobalan, apparently the same as the one called belliricum; mel emblicorum, honey from this plant

embroc., embrocatio -onis = an embrocation; similar to a liniment but of a thinner consistency, many types; used for bathing or moistening any part, applied by rubbing

emmenagogum -i = emmenagogue, to stimulate blood flow to the pelvis and uterus, esp. to promote menstruation

empetron = from empetros -i, apparently a form of saxifrage (Pliny)

empl., emplastrum -i = plaster; emplastrum Paracelsi (of Paracelsus) is one of many

emplastrum -i Caesaris = red roses, roots of bistort, sanders, and mint, coriander seeds, etc.; for strengthening the back and relief of back pain

emplastrum -i ceroneum = see ceroneum, above

emplastrum -i e crusta panis = plaster of crust of bread; crust of bread toasted and steeped in red rose vinegar, with mastich, mints, spodium, red coral, all the sanders, etc.; to stopp vomiting and strengthen the brain (when applied to the head)

emplastrum -i Cymino = cumin seeds, bay berries, yellow wax, pine resin; to "expel wind"

emplastrum -i gratia dei = herbs boiled in wine, the liquid strained and mixed with olive oil, beeswax, litharge, ceruse, and verdigris; also called emplastrum divinum or manus dei

emplastrum -i de janua = betony, plantain, smallage, with wax, pitch, rosin, and turpentine; for green wounds and ulcers

emplastrum -i nostratibus = "plaster for our people;" described by Culpeper as being called flos unguentorum, the flower of ointments; containing rosin, perrosin, yellow wax, sheep suet, olibanum, turpentine, etc.

emplastrum -i metroproptoticon = mastic, galbanum dissolved in red wine, cypress turpentine, nutmeg, musk, etc.; for looseness, vomiting, and fits of the mother (Culpeper)

emplastrum -i stomachicum magistrale = mint, wormwood, stoechas, bay, marjoram, etc., mixed with resin, wax, and labdanum

emplastrum -i triapharmacum = a plaster made of flour, water, and oil; may be designated triapharmacum Galeni

emuls., emulsio -onis = emulsion

ens ensis or ensis -is veneris = "essence" or "sword" of Venus; sal ammoniac with copper sulfate or "flores veneris," a copper oxide, used in cases of worms, rickets, and "vapors;" or flowers of steel, iron chloride, FeCl2, prepared by heating steel filings with sal ammoniac

enucl., enucleatus -a -um = with the nut or kernel removed; similar to detractus -a -um

enul., enul. campan., enula -ae = elecampane, Inula helenium or Enula campana

emplastrum -i epispasticum = a blistering plaster; several receipts, all containing cantharides with other ingredients, such as melilot plaster, burgundy pitch, Venice turpentine, vinegar, etc.

ephioglossum -i = misspelling for ophioglossum, q. v.

epithema -ae = "Any kind of moist, or soft, external application" (OED)

epithymi., epithymum -i = dodder of thyme or thyme dodder, Cuscuta epithymum

equiset., equisetum -i = mare's tail, Hippurus vulgaris; see also cauda equina, above

ering., eryngium -i = sea holly, Eryngium maritimum

erisimi, erisimum -i, erysimum -i = "irio grain" (Pliny), or Erysimum cheiri, wallflower

errhin., errhinum -i = errhine; medication to be applied into the nose to produce sneezing; sternutatory

eruca -ae = colewort, Brassica oleracea; genus Brassica comprises many common vegetables, incl. cabbage, broccoli, &c.

esula -ae = green or leafy spurge, Euphorbia esula

eupator., eupatorium -i = agrimony or hemp agrimony, Eupatorium cannabinum

euphorb., euphorbia -ae = spurge; a large genus of flowering plants, many of which have an acrid milky juice, used as a purge

euphorbium -i = gum resin from Euphorbia antiquorum

euphrasia -ae = eyebright, Euphrasia officinalis

exicc., exiccatus -a -um = dried

extract., extractum -i = extract

extractum Rudii = see pilulae Rudii, below


fab., faba -ae = bean

faeces, faecul., faecula -ae = sediment or dregs in general, e.g., wine dregs, or material that falls to the bottom of the vessel after grinding plant material in water, or from the infusion of vegetable substances; e.g., faecula A(a)ron, sediment of Arum plants

faenic., faeniculum -i = fennel, Faeniculum vulgare

faenugraec., faenugraecum -i = fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum

farin., farina -ae = flour, meal; farina tritici, wheat flour

farfarus -i = colt's-foot, Tussilago farfara

febrif., febrifugia -ae = feverfew, featherfew; common centaury, Centaurium erythraea

feculae bryoniae = powdered dried bryony root, a purgative

fel fellis = gall, bile; vesica -ae fellis, gallbladder

ferment. acrioris, fermentum -i acrius -oris = a sharper or more bitter fermentation (of ...?)

fic., ficus -i = fig, Ficus carica

filex -icis = fern or bracken, likely Pteris aquilina

filipendula -ae = meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria

fim., fimi, fimus -i = dung, excrement

flammula -ae Iovis = "little flames of Jupiter;" Clematis flammula, C. recta; in CL, periwinkle (Vinca species)

flavedins, flavedius = likely misspellings for flavedinis; see elaeosaccharum flavedinis citri, above

flor., flos floris = flower, with the plant name following in the genitive; e.g., flores nymphaeae, water lily flowers

fl. cordial., flores -um cordiales = the four "cordial flowers:" borage, bugloss, roses, and violets

fl., flos floris sulphuris = flowers of sulfur, sublimed sulfur; may appear in conjunction with alchemical symbol for sulfur, , as fl. is

flores florum antimonii = flowers of antimony; antimony (III) oxide, Sb2O3, emetic and expectorant

flores Schoenanthi = flowers presumably from the so-called herba Schoenanthi, Cymbopogon schoenanthus, camel-, fever-, or West Indian lemongrass

fluviatilis -e = of a river or river-; e.g. cancri fluviatiles, river-crabs or freshwater crayfish, Astacus fluviatilis

foeniculum -i = faeniculum, see above

foetid., foetidus -a -um = stinking

fol., folium -i = leaf or leaves (folia) of any plant

fol. acetos., folia acetosae = leaves of common sorrel or sour dock

follicul., follicula -ae = a pericarp or seed pod

fomentum -i, fomentatio -onis = dressing, compress; usually with warm liquids (fomentation) and applied as a poultice or with a pad of material

fontan., fontana (aqua) = spring (-water)

formicar. volant., formica -ae volans -antis = flying ant; there is a receipt that includes oleum formicarum volantium, oil of flying ants (V.a.298, f. 129v)

fotus -us = same as fomentum, above

frag., fragar., fragaria -ae = strawberry, Fragaria vesca; roots (rad.), leaves (fol.) and fruit were used

fraxin., fraxinus -i = ash-tree, Fraxinus excelsior

fumar., fumaria -ae = fumitory, Fumaria officinalis


gagat., gagates -ae = jet, the hard black semi-precious stone

galang., galing., galangala -ae = galangal, aromatic rhizome of plants of genera Alpinia and Kaempferia, of the ginger family; e.g. Alpinia galanga, greater galangal, A. officinarum, lesser galangal, and Kaempferia galanga; also spelled galingale

galban., galbanum -i = gum resin from Ferula gummosa or F. rubrucaulis

galega -ae = galega or goat's-rue, Galega officinalis

galion -i, galium -i = large genus of herbaceous plants, over 600 species, known as bedstraw

galla -ae = galls produced on the Chinese sumac or nutgall tree, Rhus chinensis, by sumac aphids, Melaphis chinensis

gallia moschata = see trochisci gallia moschata, below

gallinaceus -a -um = from or relating to poultry; adipes gallinaceus, chicken fat

gallus -i = relating to a cock or rooster; testicula galli, rooster testes

gargarisma -ae = a gargle, throat-wash

genist., genista -ae = broom, genus Genista, many species

gent., gentiana -ae = gentian, Gentiana lutea, officinal gentian; G. centaurium, lesser centaury

geranium -i columbinum = long-stalked crane's-bill; may also be listed as G. dissectum

gilla Theophrasti = sal vitrioli, i.e. zinc sulphate, ZnSO4; an emetic; origin of "gilla" unknown, but of itself signifies a solution of vitriol

gland., glans glandis = acorn

glicirriz., glycheriz., glycheryz., glychyrriza -ae = licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra

gram., gramin., gramen -inis = grass, or any kind of grass-like herb

gramen -inis caninum = dog grass, also known as Triticium caninum, reputed to be eaten by dogs to produce vomiting (OED)

gramen purpureum, purple grass or purplewort, Trifolium purpureum

granatus -a -um = containing many seeds; see pomum granatum, below

gratia dei = see emplastrum gratia dei, above

guaiac., guaiacum -i = guaiac gum, guaiacum officinale; lignum guaiacum, guaiac wood

gumm., gummi = [tree] gum

gum. ammoniac., gummi ammoniacum = "gum of Ammon," from the herb Dorema ammoniacum

gumm. anim., gummi anime = gum anime, resin of various tropical trees, e.g., Hymenaea courbaril

gumm. arabic. = gum arabic or gum acacia, hardened sap of Acacia senegal or Vachellia seyal

gumm. ceras. = gummi cerasi, gum of cherry tree (Prunus cerasus) or black cherry tree (Cerasum nigrum)

gum., gummi elemi = a resin from the tree Amyris rumieri or gum elemi tree

gummi gutta -ae, gummi de Gamandra, gummi gamba = gamboge or camboge, a gum resin from various trees of genus Garcinia; a purgative

gumm. tragacanth., gummi tragacantha -ae = gum tragacanth, obtained from shrubs of genus Astragulus, esp. A. tragacantha


haeder., heder., hedera -ae = ivy; Hedera terrestris, ground ivy; H. arborea, tree-climbing ivy

haedinus -a -um = of, relating to, or obtained from a kid

haemagogum -i = antidotum haemagogum, a concoction of Nicholaus's, with numerous ingredients, including black pepper, licorice, birthwort, mugwort, cassia, pellitory of Spain, etc.; a purgative, emmenagogue, and abortifacient

haematit., hematit., lap. hematit. = lapis haematites, hematite; iron oxide, Fe2O3

hallelujah = same as lujula, see below

hamech. = confectio hamech, purgative containing myrobalans, violets, colocynth, etc.

haust., haustu., haustus -us = draught

hedycroi = hedychroi, i.e., "pleasant colored;" see trochisci hedychroi, below

heracleinus - a -um, heraclinus -a -um = relating to hazel-wood; oleum heracleinum, oil of hazelwood, from distillation of small pieces of the wood cut in spring or fall hedysarum -i = genus of annual or perennial herbaceous plants; H. alpinum is an antiscorbutic

helenii., helenium -i, hinula -ae = elecampane, Inula helenium or Enula campana

hellebor., helleborus -i = hellebore, genus Helleborus, around 20 species; may be white, albus; black, niger; stinking, foetidus

helxine = Helxine soleirolii (Soleirolia soleirolii), a plant in the nettle family; many common names, including baby's tears, angel's tears, peace in home, Corsican creeper

hepar -atis = the liver; with the animal source in the genitive; e.g. hepar anatis, duck liver

hepatic., hepatica herba = liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha

herb., herba -ae = herb; used to specify a plant when another substance has a similar name

herba -ae inguinalis = or argemo, mentioned by Pliny; identified by Culpeper as garden star-wort, which, "the ancient writers commended against buboes and swellings in the groin;" in The General Practise of Physicke, C. Wirsung identifies four types

herba -ae trinitatis = heartsease or wild pansy, Viola tricolor; so called because each flower has three colors

herba -ae paris = Paris quadrifolia; named for the regularity (par paris) of its leaves and petals, not for the city in France nor the son of Priam

herba -ae venti = rough-leaved phlomis, Phlomis herba venti

hermodact., hermodactyl., hermodactylus -i = the bulbous root of an unknown plant, possibly Colchicum, used as an antiarthritic; the drug colchicine is derived from Colchicum spp. and is still used to treat gout

herniar., herniaria -ae = rupturewort, Herniaria glabra

hier. picr., hiera picra, or hiera/hierae = aloe powder made with honey into an electuary

hiera diacolocynthidos = an electuary containing colocynth, agaric, germander, white horehound, stoechas, opopanax, etc.

hiera Logaddi = an electuary containing numerous ingredients including colocynth, polypodium, euphorbium; among its virtues it "takes away by the roots daily evils coming of melancholly" (Culpeper)

hippoglossum, hyppoglossum -i = spineless butcher's broom or mouse thor, Ruscus hypoglossum

hircinus -a -um = relating to a goat; esp. hircin, a "peculiar substance existing in the fat of the goat (and in a less degreee, in that of the sheep) on which its strong odour depends" (OED); thus possibly describing goat suet

hirundo -inis, gen. pl. hirundinum = passerine bird of genus Hirundo, especially H. rustica, the barn swallow, but many other species

hollandic., hollandicus -a -um = Dutch; pulvis hollandicus, Dutch powder, apparently a purgative hord., hordeum -i = barley, Hordeum vulgare; French barley, H. spelticum; aq. hordei, barley water

hormini., horminum -i = sage or clary sage, Salvia sclarea (Pliny); there is also a flowering plant, Horminum pyrenalcum, dragonmouth or Pyrenean dead-nettle, apparently not used in medicine

hortensis -e = (adj.) relating to, from a garden, or grown in a garden; e.g., nasturtium hortense, garden nasturtium

hipposelinum, hypposelinum -i = alexanders or allisanders (black lovage), Smyrnium olusatrum

hydrarg., hydrargyrus -i = the element Mercury, Hg, in its liquid state

hydropiper -eris = water pepper, marshpepper knotweed, or tade, Polygonum hydropiper; or arsesmart, Persicaria hydropiper

hyoscyamus -i = henbane, Hyoscamus niger, or an extract or tincture of it

hyperi = misspelling for hyperici, see next entry

hyperici, hypericon, hypericum -i = St. John's wort, especially Hypericum perforatum; see also carellorum, above

hypocistis = solidified juice of Cytinus hypocistis, a parasitic plant used to treat dysentery; JW describes it as "a very great binder"

hyssop., hyssopus -i = hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis, for which H. montanus is a subspecies or an accepted synonym; also H. capitatus, wild thyme

I - J

ialap., jalap., jalapa -ae, jalapium -i = jalap, Ipomoea jalapa; a purgative; NB distinguish from iulap., see next entry

iulapium -i = a mixture, often sweet, used as a vehicle for other medicines

janua = see emplastrum de janua, above

iberis -idis cardamantice = sciatica cress; one of several plants of the family Brassicaceae, the roots of which were supposed to be useful in sciatica when made into a plaster

jejunus -a -um = fasting, abstinent, hungry; e.g., jejuno ventriculo, on a fasting (empty) stomach

imperatoria -ae = master-wort, Peucedanum ostruthium; same as ostruthium

inauratus -a -um = gilded; some pills were gilded, denoted pillulae inauratae

incis., incisus -a -um = incised, cut into, cut open

indica -ae = Tylophora indica, the "purging Indian plum" (Parkinson)

infus., infusio -onis = infusion; steeping or dissolving of a substance in water or other liquid; cf. decoction

inula -ae = elecampane, Inula helenium or Enula campana

ireas., ireos., iridas = iris; probably from iris -idis = iris flower, Iris species; radix ireas, iris root or rhizome, also known as orris or orrice root

isatis -is or -idis = genus of flowering plants including woad, Isatis tinctoria

iugland., jugland., iuglans -andis = walnut; iuglandes virides, green walnuts

jujuba -ae = jujube; or red or Chinese date, Ziziphus jujuba

iuiubinus -a -um = of, from, or related to jujubes, e.g., syrupus jujubinus, jujube syrup; see Ziziphus below

iuniper., juniper., iuniperus -i = juniper; granum juniperi, juniper berry (its seed cone)

iusculum, jusculum -i = broth

iuvenis -is -e = young, youthful


labdan., ladan(um -i)., labdanum = labdanum or ladanum, gum resin from plants of genus Cistus or Cystix, used in perfumes and for fumigation; NB distinguish from laudanum (q. v.)

labrum -i veneris = Venus' lip; the wild or fuller's teasel, Dipsacus silvestris or D. fullonum

lac., lact., lac lactis = milk; lac. rec. or recens (-entis), fresh milk, lac veterum, old milk

lacca = ingredient in trocischi de lacca, which contain the dark red resinous substance produced as a protective coating by the lac insect, Kerria lacca, used to make shellac

lact., lactuca -ae = lettuce, Lactuca sativa

ladanum -i = labdanum, see above

laevigatus -a -um = made smooth, pulverized

lambatiuum, lambativum, lambitivum -i = same as linctus/lohoch, below

lapat., lappath., lapathum -i = dock or sorrel; genus Lapathum now included in genus Rumex

lapis -idis adamas = diamond; see adamas, above

lap. bezoard., lapis -idis bezoardicus = bezoar stone; see bezoar, above

lapis -idis bufonis = toadstone; a stone-like object found in the head of, or produced by, a toad (CL bufo); supposed to have antidotal or therapeutic virtues and worn as a jewel or amulet

lapis -idis caelestis = artificial, Roman, or blue vitriol; copper sulfate, CuSo4

lapis -idis calaminaris = calamine, a zinc ore; zinc carbonate or silicate; used as a component of a lotion to treat itchiness

lapis -idis hirundinis = either a supposed stone from the stomach of a swallow, presumably something like a bezoar; or lapis icterias, the "jaundice stone" (Pliny) used for treating the same

lapis -idis iaspis or jaspis = jasper, a semiprecious stone, red, green, or brown; a variety of silica

lapis -idis nephriticus = nephrite, jade; semiprecious stone of various colors

lapis -idis piperis = "pepper stone;" apparently the same as peppercorn; in V.a.286 44v JW states that it can cause sneezing (sufficit ad sternutationem)

lapp., lappa -ae = burdock, Arctium lappa; also called lapp. maj., lappa major, greater burdock; also known as Bardana

lard., lardum -i = lard, fat

larid., laridum -i = bacon; larid. veter., laridum veterum, old bacon

latericium -i philosophorum = see oleum philosophi, below

lateritium -i = brick cap, cinnamon cap, or chestnut mushroom, Hypholoma lateritium

laudan., laudanum -i = laudanum; alcoholic tincture of opium, also known as tinctura thebiaca; NB distinguish from ladanum, see "labdanum," above

laudan. paracels., Paracelsi = Paracelsus' laudanum; opium and alcohol plus various other ingredients, incl. gold, amber, pearl, musk

lauendul., lavendula -ae =lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (or Spica foemina, spike)

lauri., laurus -i = genus of evergreen trees including the bay tree, Laurus nobilis; L. alexandrina, laurel of Alexandria, uncertain but Culpeper thought it might be the same as the hippoglossum described by Dioscorides

lentiscus -i = the mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus; mastic is the resin from this tree

leon., leonurus -i = lion's tail; motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca

leporinus -a -um = of or relating to a hare; pilus leporinus, hair of a hare, hare hair

lepidium -i = plants of genus Lepidium, of the Brassicaceae family, including L. densi

lepus -oris = hare; lepus combustus, hare ashes (in a receipt for treatment of urinary stone)

leucoium -i, leucojum -i = genus of plants in the amaryllis family, including Leucojum aestivum and L. vernum; snowbell, dewdrop, St. Agnes' flower

leuisticum, levisticum -i = lovage, Levisticum officinale

lichen -enis arborum = tree lungwort, Sticta pulmonaria, known as lungs of oak; also a similar North American plant, Mertensia virginica

lign., lignum -i = wood, with the name of the source in the genitive; e.g., lignum fraxini

lignum -i aloes = a fragrant dark resinous wood, agarwood or aloeswood, from the heartwood of the aquilaria tree; genus Aquilaria, many species, esp. A. malaccensis, used in incense production; also known as xyloaloes or agaloc(h)um; distinguish from the succulent aloes plant, Aloe vera

lign., lignum -i nephriticum = traditional diuretic derived from wood from narra (Pterocarpus indicus) and Mexican kidneywood (Eysenhardtia polystachya) trees

lign. rhod., lignum -i rhodii = rosewood; rose-scented wood from Convolvulus floridus or C. scoparius

lign. sanct., lignum -i sanctum = guiacaum, holy wood; Guiacum officinale

lill., lillior., lilliorum., lilium -a = lily; flores/folia/radix liliorum, flowers/leaves/root of lilies

limac., limacum, limax -acis = snail, slug; aqua. limacum, snail water

limonium -i = genus of flowering plants known as sea-lavender, statice, caspia, or marsh-rosemary; over 100 species; also, any plant of genus Pyrola, esp. P. rotundifolia, wintergreen

lin., linum -i = flax, Linum usitatissimum; semen or semina lini, flaxseed, linseed

linaria -ae = toad-flax or wild flax, Linaria vulgaris

linctus -a -um = medicine taken by licking (same as lohoch); past participle of lingo -ere

liniment., linamentum -i = liniment; l. arcei, liniment of Arceus; l. elemi, see below under gummi

linteus -a -um = relating to or made from linen

liquirit., liquiritia -ae = licorice, Glychyrrhiza glabra

liquor -oris = liquid, liquor (any)

liquor possetic., posseticus -a -um = posset drink; milk curdled with treacle, wine, or any acid substance

litharg., lytharg., lithargium -i, lithargyrum -i = litharge, lead oxide, PbO; may be white, a byproduct of separation of lead from silver ("litharge of silver") or colored with red lead ("litharge of gold")

lithontribon -i (Lugdunensis) = urinary stone-breaking powder (of Lyon); spikenard, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, saxifrage, etc.

lithontriptic., lythontriptic., lithontripticus -a -um = lithontriptic; having the property of breaking up bladder stones

lixivium -i = water containing alkaline salts leached from wood ashes (OED), used to make soap

lohoch = medicine taken by licking or by letting it melt in the mouth

lohoch sanum = "the healing lohoch;" hyssop, calamint, jujubes, sebestens, raisins, dates etc.; succors the breast, lungs, throat, and trachea (Culpeper); may be titled lochoch sanum et expertum

lot., lotus -a -um = washed

lotus -i = various species of genus Lotus, e.g., L. urbana and L. sylvestris

lucis majores = see pilulae lucis maiores, below

lujul., lujula -ae = wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella; also called alleluia or hallelujah because it flowers between Easter and Pentecost

lumbricus -i = worm; either the common earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, or intestinal, e.g., Ascaris lumbricoides

lupinus -i = lupin, flowering plants of genus Lupinus; numerous species, including the bluebonnet

lupul., lupulus -i = the hop plant, Humulus lupulus


mac., macis -idis = mace, the covering of the seed in the fruit of Myristica fragrans, the nutmeg tree

macer -eris = the inner bark of the nutmeg tree, M. fragrans (Culpeper)

macri = see pilulae macri, below

magdaleones -um = masses of plaster, or of other composition, in cylindrical form

majoran., majorana -ae = marjoram; see Origanum, below

magistrantia -ae = masterwort, Astrantia maxima

malabathrum or malobathrum -i = aromatic leaf of one of several oriental trees, e.g. Cinnamomum tamala, or the ointment prepared from it

malicorii, malicorium -i = pomegranate rind

malvatic., malvaticum (vinum) = Malmsey (wine of the Malvasia grape); Madeira/sack

malva -ae = common, field, or wild mallow, Malva silvestris; also other species of genus Malva

malv., malvavisc., malvaviscus -i = marshmallow, Althaea officinalis

malus -i persica = peach tree, Malus persica

man., manna -ae = condensed juice of the manna ash tree, Fraxinus ornus; a purgative

margarit., margarita -ae = pearl; prepared pearl is a common ingredient

marina ambra -ae grisea = ambergris

marrub., marrubium -i = common horehound, Marrubium vulgare; other species also; may be designated nigrum (black) or foetidum (stinking)

martiat., martiatus -a -um = pertaining to soldiers; unguentum martiatum, soldiers's ointment

mastich., masticha = mastic, resin of Pistacia lentiscus

matricar., matricaria -ae = feverfew, Matricaria or Tanacetum parthenium

matrisilv., matrisylv., matrisylva -ae = woodruff, Asperula matrisylva or A. odorata

Matt(h)iolus -i = relating to or invented by Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501 - c. 1577), Italian physician and naturalist; e.g.unguentum Matthioli, leontopodium (edelweiss) Matthioli

mechoach., mechoacan = root of a variety of morning glory, Ipomoea macrorhiza or I. jalapa, from Michoacán (Mexico); may be identified as black (nigr.)

mecon., meconium -i = opium

medull., medulla -ae = the pith or pulp of any vegetable; also bone marrow: medulla spinalis, spinal cord

mel., mel mellis = honey; (e)dulcorandus melle, sweetened with honey; the name of the source plant may be mentioned in the genitive, e.g., mel emblicorum, or a descriptive adjective may be added, e.g. mel rosatum, "rosated" honey with addition of oil of roses

melilot., melilotos -i = melilot, Trifolium melilotus officinalis

meliss., melissa -ae = balm, esp. lemon balm, Melissa officinalis; several other species, also including common, field, & mountain calamint

melissophyllum -i = bastard balm, Melittis melissophyllum

merc. dulc., mercurius dulcis = mercurous chloride, Hg2Cl2; calomel; a purgative

mercur., mercury = annual or French mercury, Mercurialis annua; used in clysters; NB don't confuse with the element Mercury (Hg) , usually referred to as hydrargyrus

mespil., mespilus -i = medlar, fruit of medlar tree, Mespilus germanica; resembles a small apple

metrenchyta -ae = an injection ("clyster") for the uterus

metroproptoticon = see emplastrum metroproptoticon, above

meum -i = spignel, Aethusa meum or Meum athamanticum

mica -ae = crumb, morsel, grain; micae panis, crumbs of bread

micleta -ae = an electuary for treatment of diarrhea or bloody flux; containing mirobalan bark, watercress, cumin, anise, fennel, ammi, etc.

millefolium -i = common yarrow, Achillea millefolium, a flowering plant in the aster family

milii., milium -i = millet seed, Panicum mileaceum; also P. italicum, Indian millet seed

mill., milliped., millipes -pedis = pill-millipede or wood-louse; pulv. milliped., powdered millipede; also prepared by soaking in wine with or without crushing in a mortar; JW mentions a spiritus millipedum in V.a.288, presumably from distilling them

minium -i = native vermilion, read lead; emplastrum de minio, plaster of red lead and olive oil

mithridat., mithridatium -i = mithridate; complex and variable recipe, up to 60 ingredients, including opium

miva -ae = listed (by JW and by Lovell) as miva vel gelatina, quince jelly

mixae -arum, myxae -arum = sebesten plum (tree), Cordia myxa; see sebesten, below

monach., rhab. monach., rhabarbarum -i monachorum = monk's rhubarb, Rumex patientia

morum -i = mulberry; many species, including Mora nigra, black or common mulberry; also as "Celsus's," as in succus mororum Celsi, from Aulus Cornelius Celsus (C. 25 BCE - 50 CE)

mosch., moschat., (nux) moschata = nutmeg; seed of Myristica fragrans

moschelaeum -i = see oleum moschaelum, below

mucilag., mucilago -inis = aqueous solution of gum; e.g., Mucilago arabaci gummi

muscus -i = sphagnum;

musc. pyxidat., muscus -i pyxidatus = a type of lichen (Lichen pyxidatus), used in a decoction for whooping cough

must., mustum -i = must; pressed grapes before fermentation into wine; also mustum cervisiae, beer wort

myristic., nux myristica, myristica -ae = nutmeg, Myristica moschata

myrobalan., myrabalan., myrabalanum -i = myrobalan = Indian gooseberry, Phyllantus emblica; may be designated myrobalan omnium; chebulae refers to the so-called "black myrobalan," Terminalia chebula; indicae (q. v.) refers to a different plant

myrtill., myrtillus -i = myrtle berry, black whortle berry, or bilberry; Vaccinium myrtillus

myrtin., myrtinus -a -um = of or made from myrtle, myrtle-; e.g., syrupus myrtinus, myrtle-syrup


narcissus -i = any of numerous spring-flowering bulbous plant of genus Narcissus; esp. N. poeticus and N. tazetta; many uses, including emetic, emollient, and treatment for cough, baldness, dysentery, etc.

nard, nardin., nardus -i , adj. nardinus -a -um = nard; or the ointment so named; or the plant from which the ointment was prepared, Nardostachys grandiflora, same as Indian spikenard, N. jatamansi; nardus celticus, same as asarabacca, Asarum europaeum

nasturtium -i = genus of watercresses; JW mentions nasturtium aquaticum, probably common watercress, Nasturtium officinale, also known as Sisymbrium nasturtium, and nasturtium hortense, or gardencress, N. hortense

nepetha -ae = genus of flowering plants; esp. catmint/catnip, N. cataria

nervin., nervinus -a -um = pertaining to nerves; e.g., unguentum nervinum, nerve ointment

nicotiana -ae = tobacco, genus Nicotiana; many uses, including unguentum nicotianae, see below

nig., nigr., niger -gra -grum = black

nubiae = granum nubiae; the seed of an unknown plant from Ethiopia, apparently a powerful poison

nuc., nucl., nucleus -i = nut

nucleus -i pinei = pine nuts (pignoli), edible seeds of pine, various species of genus Pinus

nummularia -ae = creeping jenny, moneywort, or herb twopence; Lysimachia nummularia

nux nucis = nut; e.g., nux moschata, nutmeg; nux pinea, pine nut; nux avellana, hazelnut

nymph., nymphaea -ae = water lily; Nymphaea alba, white; other species may have blue, red, or yellow flowers


oculus -i = eye

ocul., oculi cancri = crab's eyes; "A round concretion found in the stomach of crayfish and some other crustacea, consisting mainly of carbonate of lime; it has been used, finely powdered, as an absorbent and antacid" (OED), or possibly Abrus precatorius, the (poisonous) rosary pea. More likely the former, conclusion based on receipt in V.a. 298, f. 160r, calling for "ocul. 69" probably the same as "ocul. Cancri" on the same page, with "69" the astrological symbol for Cancer ( ) rotated 90° ( ); see illustration on last page

ocymi., ocymum -i = basil, Ocimum basilicum

ol., oleum -i = oil; many varieties, with the source in the genitive

ol. dulc., oleum -i dulcis = sweet oil; usually olive or rapeseed

oleum excestrense = oil of Exeter; contains wormwood, lesser centaury, eupatorium, fennel, hyssop, etc., infused in oil

oleum -i lapivum = from Lapivum persicum or Cyclamen persicum, persian cyclamen

ol. lumbric., oleum -i lumbricorum = oil of earthworms; from worms boiled in wine and oil and strained

oleum -i moschaeleum = oil of musk, from secretions of a gland of various animals, esp. the male musk deer, Moscus moschiferus; plus nutmeg, mace, costus, styrax, other herbs, and oil; the animal source of the musk may be named in the genitive, e.g., moschelaeum vulpinum, oil of fox musk; for deafness, cold diseases of the heart, strangury, etc.

ol., oleum -i Nicodemi = leaves of St. John's wort (species of Hypericum), turpentine, litharge, aloes, tutty, saffron, white wine, etc.

ol. philosoph., oleum -i philosophi = philosopher's oil, made from distilling pieces of brick soaked in oil; same as latericium philosophorum

ol. sulph., oleum -i sulphuris = oil of sulfur, various receipts; possibly sulfuric acid, H2SO4

ol. vulpin., oleum -i vulpinum = fox oil; made from a skinned and gutted fox boiled with oil and herbs and pressed

olilban., olibanum -i = aromatic resin from trees of genus Boswellia, esp. B. sacra; frankincense

onon., ononis -idis (spinosa) = restharrow, Ononis repens

ophalmicum = see unguentum ophalmicum, below; distinguish from ophthalmicum

ophioglossum -i = adder's tongue fern; genus of about 50 species; used as an ointment on wounds and burns

opiat., opiatus -a -um = opiated; any preparation containing opium; or other medicines that produce sleep but which may or may not contain opium

opobalsamum -i = Mecca balsam, balm of Gilead; resin produced by the tree Commiphora opobalsamum

opopanax -acis = the "fetid" (OED) gum resin from Opopanax chironium

opt., optim., optimus -a -um = best

origan., origanum -i = oregano; several species, incl. Origanum vulgare, common Mediterranean oregano or wild marjoram; O. creticum, (Spanish) oregano; O. marjorana, sweet marjoram; O. dictamnus, dittany of Crete

os ossis = bone; oss. sep., ossa separata, separated bones, but precise definition uncertain

ostrea -ae = oyster, mussel, sea-snail

ostrutii., ostruthium -i = master-wort, Peucedanum ostruthium

ovin., ovinus -a -um = relating to or belonging to sheep; e.g., sebum ovinum, sheep suet or tallow

oxycrat., oxycratum -i = oxycrate (mixture of vinegar and water with a little honey)

oxycroceum = as emplastrum oxycroceum, plaster made with saffron and vinegar

oxylapathum -i = sharp-pointed dock; Lapathum acutum, or Rumex acutus

oxymel = honey and vinegar boiled to a syrup

oxymel Julianiz., oxymel Iulianizans = a syrup containing the above, with addition of caper root bark, iris root, fennel, rock parsley, endive, etc.


paeon., paeonia -ae = peony, P. officinalis; used by Galen for treatment of epilepsy

palma Christi = see "cataputia," above

pampholix -icis = crude zinc oxide, ZnO

paludapium -i = another term for smallage or water-parlsey

panacea -ae = an herb healing all diseases; specificially, an extract of opopanax (q.v.), allheal, woundwort, or various other herbs; e.g., betony, yarrow, mistletoe

papav., papaver -eris = poppy; many species, including P. somniferum, opium poppy; P. rhoeas or P. erraticum, red corn poppy

paralyseus -a -um = relating to the cowslip, Primula species; e.g., (take/use) flores paralyseos

paralys., paralysis -is = cowslip, e.g., Paralysis fatua (Gerard); also in the usual sense of loss of function

parietar., parietaria -ae = pellitory of the wall, Parietaria officinalis; may be designated "herb. parietar."

part., pars partis = part, side

passer -eris = sparrow, esp. the house sparrow Passer domesticus

pastillus -i = a small flat tablet, may be coated with sugar; similar to a pill, troche, or lozenge

passul., passula -ae = a small raisin; passulae enucleatae/exacinatae, stoned raisins; passulae solis, raisins of the sun; passula Corinthiaca, Corinthian raisin, alias uvae Corinthiacae, Corinthian grapes

pastinac., pastinaca -ae = parsnip, Pastinaca sativa or P. sylvestris

pectoral., pectoralis -is -e = a pectoral; for diseases of the chest

penid., penidium -i = appears as in sacch(arum) penid(ium), a stick of boiled sugar used as a cold remedy

pentaphyll., pentaphyllon, pentaphyllum -i = cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans; Pentaphyllum purpureum, purple cinquefoil, P. rubrum palustre, marsh cinquefoil, etc. (Gerard)

peplium -i = peplion, a species of spurge, probably Euphorbia esula; a purge for bile and phlegm

pepo -onis = pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo

periclymenum -i = common honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum

perlarum mater -tris = mother of pearl peru., peruvianus -a -um = Peruvian; e.g, Cortex peruviana (Cinchona), source of quinine

persicaria -ae = spotted persicaria, a common weed; Persicaria maculosa

pes pedis columbinus = dove's foot, Geranium molle; also some other species of cranesbill

petasititid., petasites -idis = butterbur, Petasites fragrans

peto, petum = the tobacco plant, see nicotiana, above

petroselin., petroselinum -i = parsley, Apium petroselinum

petroselin. macedonic., petroselinum -i macedonicum = Macedonian parsley, Bubon macedonicum

peucedani, peucedanum -i = peucedanin, a "colourless crystalline compound... occur[ring] in the root of hog's fennel, Peucedanum officinale" (OED)

philonium persicum = a compound medicine including opium, saffron, white pepper, pearls, and amber; named after Philo of Tarsus, 1st c. BCE Greek physician

phu (indecl.) = "any of several species of valerian having rhizomes used medicinally" (OED); possibilities include Valeriana officinalis, V. dioscoridis, V. phu; mentioned by Pliny

phyllit., phyllitis -is = hart's tongue fern, Scolopendrium vulgare

pic., pix picis = pitch; pix Burgundia, Burgundy pitch, from Norway fir, Picea abies

pilosella -ae = genus of flowering plants, numerous species, esp. Pilosella officinarum, mouse-ear hawkweed; same as auriculus muris

pil., pill., pillul., pil[l]ula -ae = pill pilulae agregativae = aggregative pills, so called because they aggregated many effects; ingredients included aloes, turbith, scammony, rhubarb, myrabalans, agaric, etc.

pilulae aleophanginae = aromatic pills of Mesue; contain aloes, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, etc.; similar to if not identical to pilulae elephanginae, below

pilulae aurae = "golden pills," so called from their color; contained aloes, scammony, roses, smallage seed, etc., but no gold

pilulae Barbaros(s)ae = an anti-syphilitic, containing mercury; apparently named after an Algerian king and not the Holy Roman Emperor

pilulae cochiae = cochiae pills; may be denoted "majores," the greater cochiae pill (hiera picra, alhandal troches, diagrydium, turpentine), or "minores," the lesser cochiae pill (aloes, scammony, colocynth, syrup of buckthorn, oil of cloves)

pill. elephang., pilulae elephanginae = an Arabic term; purging pills containing cinnamon, nutmeg, and other aromatics; also, according to JW (Va293, 71r), "of Diacrydium... a considerable quantitie"

pilulae foetidae = "stinking pills;" containing asafoetida, galbanum, myrrh, confection of roses

pilulae lucis majores = "pills of greater light;" roses, violets, wormwood, colocynth, turbith, cubebs, etc.; for poor vision (hence the name, presumably)

pilulae Macri = Macer's (Aemilius Macer, 1st c. CE) pills, aloes, mastich, marjoram, salt of wormwood, etc.; the poem De viribus herbarum is probably a medieval invention attributed to him

pill. palmarii = Palmarius' pills, or pilulae Cretae Palmarii; aloes, gentian, amber, aristolochia, myrrh, etc.; named after Pierre le Paulmier or Palmier (1568-1610)

pilulae Rudii = black hellebore, colocynth, aloes, scammony, oil of cloves, sulfate of potash

pilulae Scribonii = Scribonius Largus's pills; sagapenum, myrrh, opium, cardamom, castoreum, etc.; good for fluxes, dysentery, hemoptysis, gonorrhea, consumption, and many more afflictions

pilulae sine quibus (esse nolo) = "pills without which (I do not wish to be);" a purgative containing aloe, myrobolans, rhubarb, senna, agaric, etc.

pilulae e tribus = "pills of three things;" RCP Dispensatory lists seven ingredients including mastich, aloes, agaric, hiera picra, rhubarb, cinnamon, and syrup of chicory

pimpinella -ae = burnet saxifrage, Pimpinella saxifraga, or great burnet, Sanguisorba officinalis

pinear., pineus -a -um = of, from, or related to the pine; nuces pinearum, pine nuts

pingued., pinguedin., pinguedo -inis = fat (noun); e.g. pinguedo vulpis, fox fat, pinguedo taxi, badger fat

pingu., pinguis -is = fat (adjective); e.g. ficus pinguis, a fat (ripe) fig

piper -eris = pepper; various species of genus Piper, e.g. Piper nigrum, black pepper, P. longum, long pepper, etc.

plantag., plantago -inis = plantain; broad-leaved plantain, Plantago major

pleres-archonticon = pulvis pleres-archonticon, called by Bates "The great Restorative Pouder;" containing cinnamon, cloves, galangal, nutmeg, ginger, red roses, Indian spikenard, etc.; also known as the Restorative of Nicholas

plumbeus -a -um = made of or derived from lead

plumbum -i = the element lead, Pb

polii., polium -i = felty germander, Teucrium polium

polyidae = see trochisci polyidae Andromachi, below

polypod., polypodium -i = polypody, a genus of fern; e.g., polypody of the oak, Polypodium quercinum or P. vulgare, or polypody of the wall (P. murinum)

polytrich., polytrichum -i = golden maidenhair, Polytrichum commune or Adiantum aureum

polyurus -i = Christ's thorn or Jerusalem thorn, Paliurus spina-christi; JW reports it as being in the Physic Garden

pompholix, pompholyx -ygis = zinc oxide, same as tutia (tutty)

pom., pomum -i = apple, many species of genus Malum

pomat., pomatus -a -um = of, containing, or relating to apples; see unguentum pomatum, below

pomum -i alterans = see syrupus de pomis alterans, below

pomum -i granatum = pomegranate, fruit of Punica granatum

pomum -i purgans = a "purging apple," intended to purge phlegm; an apple stuffed with polypodium and agaric wrapped in a crust and baked; also known as pomum laxativum purgans

pontic., ponticum = Roman wormwood, Artemisia ponticum

popul., populus -i = poplar tree

populeon, populneum = see unguentum populeon, below

porcin., porcinus -a -um = of or relating to a hog or pig

porrum -i = leek, Allium porrum

portulaca -ae = garden purslane, Portulaca oleracea

posset., possetum -i = posset, milk curdled with treacle, wind, or any acid substance; may also appear as liquor posseticus

potio -onis = drink

potus -us = drink

praecipit., praecipitat., praecipitatum -i = precipitate; p. rubrum = red mercuric oxide (HgO); p. album = ammoniated mercury or mercuric amidochloride (HgH2ClN); p. opt., optimum, "the best;" unknown and possibly a description and not an ingredient per se

prasius -i = prase, a green quartz

prassium, -i = white horehound, Marubium vulgare or M. album; a syrup called syrupus de prassio is a pectoral (for chest ailments or as an expectorant) and vulnerary (for wound healing)

priapus, pryapus -i cervi = a stag's penis

primula -ae veris = cowslip (common cowslip, cowslip primrose)

prunell., prunella -ae = self-heal or bugle, Prunella vulgaris

prunum -i = plum; prunum coctum, cooked plum, possibly used as a sweetener

prunus -i = genus of trees and shrubs, including plum, cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, and almond

prunus -i silvestris = blackthorn (Pliny)

ptarmaca, ptarmica = leaves (folia) of sneezewort, Achillea ptarmaca

ptisan., ptisana -ae = decoction of vegetable matters, e.g., barley, licorice, or raisins; a tisane

puleg., pulegium -i = pennyroyal, also fleabane or fleawort, Mentha pulegium; or wild thyme, Thymus serpyllum; also known as puliol

pulicaria -ae = fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica

pulm., pulmon. vulp., pulmones vulpis = fox lungs

pulmonaria -ae = lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis; distinguish from tree lungwort, Sticta pulmonaria

pulpa -ae = pulp (of anything)

pulv., pulvis -eris = powder

pulvis -eris ad casum = a powder against inward bruises by falls (Bate); contained terra sigillata, sanguis draconis, mummy, spermaceti, rhubarb; casum from casus -us, a fall, falling down, accident

pulvis -eris digestivus = a digestive powder of variable compsition

pulvis -eris Haly = Haly's powder, named after 'Ali ibn al-'Abbas al-Majusi, or al-Masoudi (930 - 994), Latinized as Haly Abbas; white poppy seeds, gum arabic, starch, tragacanth, etc.

pulvis -eris Iohannis de Vigo = Vigo's powder, mercuric oxide, HgO

pulvis -eris laetificans Galeni = Galen's gladdening powder, apparently actually invented by Niccolò da Reggio (1280 - ?), a translator of Galen; multiple ingredients, including basil, cloves, saffron, zedoary, nutmeg, styrax, ivory shavings, etc.

pulvis -eris odoratus = sweet, perfumed, or fragrant powder; iris root, rosewood, cloves, lemon peels, etc. (Bate); used as a moth deterrent

pulvis -eris pleres-arc(h)onticon = "the great restorative powder" (Bate); numerous ingredients including cinnamon, cloves, xyloaloes, galangal, nutmeg, ginger, and many others

pulv. sanct., pulvis -eris sanctus = holy powder; recipes vary but usually include senna and cream of tartar, with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, etc.

pulvis -eris saxonicus = the Saxon powder, from its use as an antidote by Christian I, Elector of Saxony (1560 - 1591); angelica, swallow-wort, valerian, polipodium of the oak, marsh-mallow, etc., all steeped in vinegar, dried, and pulverized

purg., purgatio -onis = a purge or laxative

purpureus -a -um = purple

pyra = probably pear, various trees of genus Pyrus; CL pirum -i, pl. pira

pyrethr., pyrethrum -i (salivaris) = root of pellitory (of Spain), also known as Spanish chamomile, Anacyclus pyrethrum; or possibly masterwort, Peucedanum ostriuthum, or sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica

pyrola -ae = round-leaved wintergreen, Pyrola rotundifolia


quercin., quercinus -a -um = made/ derived from oak; e.g., folia quercina, oak leaves; viscus quercini = mistletoe; uvae quercinae, aggregation of galls on oak roots or at the junction of the roots and trunk produced by the oak gall wasp Cynips quercus radicis

quercitanus -i = not an ingredient but a person's name; French physician Joseph du Chesne (c. 1544 - 1609), Latinized as Quercitanus

quercus -us = oak, oak tree, various species of genus Quercus, including Q. suber, the cork oak quinquefolium -i = (creeping) cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans; tormentil (P. erecta) is a relative


rad., radic., radix -icis = root (of any plant)

radices quinque = see syrupus de quinque radicibus, below

ran., rana -ae = frog; ranarum, of frogs, e.g., sperma ranarum, frog spawn

ranunculus -i = about 600 species including the buttercup or crowfoot; JW mentions Ranunculus arvorum, corn-buttercup or fallow-field crowfoot, same as R. arvensis or R.sylvestris

rap., rapum -i = turnip or rape, Brassica rapa; plural genitive raporum, of turnips, e.g. raporum no 4, four (of) turnips

raphan., raphanus -i = radish, Raphanus sativus

ras., rasur., rasus -a -um or rasuratus -a -um = scraped or scrapings of; often found with licorice (glychyrriza or liquiritia), but also of other hard substances, e.g., ivory, hartshorn, boar's tooth, and even human skull (cran., cranium -i humani)

rasp., raspatus -a -um = rasped, essentially the same as above

recent., recens -entis = recent, fresh; e.g., lactis recentis, of fresh milk; cf. ueter., veterus -a -um

reginae coloniens = electuarium reginae coloniens; saxifrage, gromwell, licorice juice, caraway, anise, etc., with sugar and dissolved in white wine; for the stone and wind colic; the name refers to a Queen of Colen, the supposed consort of one of the three kings in attendance at the Nativity and whose relics are said to be in Cologne (Colen) Cathedral

requies -etis Nicholai = a strong sedative of uncertain composition, "Nicholas's relief;" mentioned by Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy

resin., resina -ae = resin (from any plant)

rhab., rhabarbarum -i = rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum

rhamnus -i catharticus = buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, also known as Spina cervina; a purgative but quite toxic

rhaphon., rhapontic., rhaponticum -i = rhapontic rhubarb root, Rheum rhaponticum

rhei., rheo, rheum -i = rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum

rhead., rhoed., rhoead., rheados., rhoeas -adis = Papaver rhoeas, red corn or wild poppy; see tinctura rubra, below

rhodia, rhodium -i = either rhodium wood (rhodium lignum), from rootstock of bindweed species Convolvulus floridus and C. scoparius; or oil of rhodium, made by distilling it; NB not the metal, which was discovered in 1803

rob (indeclinable?) = inspissated fruit juice, sometimes with sugar added; said (in OED) to be a borrowing from Latin but not yet definitely identified

rorismar., rorismarinus -i = rosemary, Rorismarinus officinalis

ros., rosa -ae = rose, various species of genus Rosa

ros. sol., rosa solis = rose of the sun, not a flower; altered from Latin ros solis, dew of the sun, a cordial originally made from the juice of the sundew plant (genus Drosera), later from spiced and flavored spirits; receipt in V.a.21, p. 183 (not JW)

rosac., rosaceus -a -um = made of or from roses; oleum rosaceum, rose oil

rosata -ae novella = an electuary of roses, containing rose leaves, sugar, licorice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, honey, etc.

rosatus -a -um = treated with oil of roses; e.g., aloe rosata, mel rosatum

rosmarin., rosmarinus -i = rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis

rubellum = vinum rubellum, reddish wine; "vomiting claret" (New London Dispensatory), an emetic; contained antimony in powder, cloves, claret wine

ruber -bra -brum = red

rubus -i viticosus = sarsaparilla (q.v.)

rumex -icis = dock, various species of genus Rumex; see folia acetosae, above

ruta -ae = rue, Ruta graveolens and other species; see also vepris, below

rutaceus -a -um = from or relating to rue

rutaceum = acetum rutaceum, vinegar of rue


sabin., sabina -ae = savin or savin juniper, Juniperus sabina (a juniper species); an abortifacient

sacchar., saccharum -i = sugar, any type, esp. cane sugar; also sacchar. cand., saccharum candidum, sugar candy; can be flavored, e.g., saccharum rosatum, sugar of roses made by melting sugar in rose water and adding juice of roses, or saccharum perlatum, sugar of roses

sagapenum -i, sagapenon -eni = gum resin from Ferula persica; antispasmodic & emmenogogue

sal X = salt (of) X, with X in the genitive; numerous examples, including table salt and other acid and alkali salts; may be prepared from various plants by boiling, straining, concentration, and crystallization, otherwise by calcination of the material, dissolving it in liquid, filtration, and coagulation

sal absynthii = see under "absynthium," above

sal -is chalybeatus = salt of steel, usually iron chloride, FeCl2, but also other salts of iron

sal -s cochleariae = salt of scurvy-grass

sal -is marini = sea salt

sal. prunell., sal -is prunella = fused potassium nitrate (saltpeter) in balls, cakes, or sticks

salicis, salix -icis = willow

salv., salvia -ae = common sage, Salvia officinalis

sambuc., sambucus -i = elder tree, Sambucus nigra

sanal = a salve containing litharge of silver, red bole, balsam of Peru, etc.; but may be a misspelling for "santal," q.v.

sandarach., sandaraca -ae = gum sandarac, from Iuniperus communis; may also refer to arsenic sulfide or realgar (red arsenic, red orpiment)

satureia (satureja) -ae = genus of aromatic plants including Satureja hortensis, summer savory, and S. montana, winter savory; related to thyme and rosemary

sangu. dracon., sanguis -is draconis = dragon's blood, a red resin made from various trees

sanic., sanicula -ae = wood sanicle, Sanicula europaea; can be a synonym for saxifraga (q. v.)

santal., santalum -i = sandalwood, saunders, various species of genus Santalum; red, white, and yellow varieties; may appear as lignum santalum

santon., santonic., sem. santonic., semina santonica/ santonici = southernwood (Artemisia santonica) seeds or wormseeds (Absinthium santonicum)

sanum = see lohoch sanum, above

saphirus -i = sapphire; CL sapphirus -i

sap., sapo -onis = soap; black soap, sapo niger, appears in some receipts

sarcocolla -ae = gum resin or balsam from shrub Astragalus sarcocolla

sars., sarsaparilla -ae = root of Smilax sarsaparilla, S. aspera, or Rubus viticosus

satureia -ae = Satureia montana, winter savory or mountain savory

sassaf., sassaphr., sassafras = bark of the sassafras tree, Sassafras officinale or Laurus sassafras

satyrion satyrii maris = tuber or rhizome of the early purple orchid, Orchis mascula; may also refer to other orchids, the cuckoo-pint, Arum maculatum, or dragon arum, Dracunculus vulgaris

saxifrag., saxifraga -ae = saxifrage, breakstone, Saxifraga species, esp. S. granulata; for treatment of urinary stones and as an antiseptic; related plants may be termed golden, burnet (rough), great, or meadow saxifrage; S. anglica, pepper saxifrage

scabios., scabiosa -ae = common scabious, Scabiosa arvensis

scariola -ae, seriola -ae = defined by JW as endive, but actually a genus of Asian plants in the daisy family

schoenanthus -i = camel-, fever-, or West Indian lemongrass, Cymbopogon schoenanthus scill., scilla -ae = see squill, below

scilliticus -a -um = derived from or containing squill

scob., scobis -is = powder or dust produced by sawing, rasping, filing, etc.; e.g. scob. dent. apri, scobis dentis apri, powdered wild boar's tooth

scolopend., scolopendria -ae = spleenwort, Asplenium ceterach

scolopend., scolopendr., scolopendrium -i = hart's tongue fern, Scolopendrium vulgare; phyllitis

scord., scordium -i = water germander, Teucrium scordium

scoria -ae ferri = iron dross, impurities which float on the surface of or are dispersed in the molten metal; also found in other low-melting-point metals, e.g., tin, lead, zinc

scorpion., scorpio -onis = the stinging arachnid, order Scorpiones; ol. scorpion., oleum scorpionum, oil of scorpions, appears to have been made by steeping scorpions in olive or other oil

scorzon., scorzoner., scorzonera -ae = viper's grass, Scorzonera humilis, for treatment of any venomous bite

scrophularia -ae = genus of herbaceous flowering plants, the figworts; named for their purported usefulness in scrofula (King's Evil, tuberculous cervical adenitis)

seb., sebum -i = tallow, suet, grease

sebest., sebesten = sebesten (or Assyrian) plum, from the tree Cordia myxa; used in a purging electuary and for "ruggedness of the throat" (Gerard)

secalini., secale -is = a genus of grasses; e.g., rye

sed., sedum -i = wall-pepper, stone-crop; Sedum majus = sempervivum, see below

seif = see sief, below

selinum -i = selinum, a genus of plants in the parsley family Apiaceae; see petroselinum, above

sem., semen -inis, (plural) semina = seed(s) of any plant

sem. frigid. maj., semina frigida majora = the four greater cold seeds: cucumber, melon, watermelon, and gourd or pumpkin

sem. frigid. min., semina frigida minora = the four lesser cold seeds: endive, lettuce, purslane, and succory

semperviv., sempervivum -i = houseleek, S. tectorum ("live forever," because it is always green)

sen., sena, senna -ae = senna

senecion., senecio -onis = groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, or S. iacobaea, Jacobaea (St. James' wort) or ragwort

senella -ae = same as spina alba, see below; may refer to the haw, fruit of the common hawthorn

serpentar., serpentaria -ae = snake-root; includes Aristolochia serpentaria and Serpentaria virginiana; rad. serpentar. = radix serpentariae

ser., serum -i lactis = milk whey

sericum -i crudum = raw silk in the form of cocoons

serpillum, serpyllum -i = wild thyme, Thymus serpillum

seselios, seseli -is = various umbelliferous plants of several genera including Tordylium, Laserpitum, Seseli, and Levisticum among others, >100 species; collectively called hartwort

sief = a medication for disorders of the eye; may be described with an adjective, e.g. sief album, or with an indication of an ingredient, e.g., sief de plumbo

sigill. Solom., sigillum -i Solomonis = Solomon's seal, Polygonatum multiflorum

silic., silicea -ae = shell or carapace of sea animals, e.g., bivalves and crustaceans

simpl., simplex -icis = a simple; a preparation with a single active ingredient, unblended, same as species

sinap., sinapis -is = mustard; sem. sinap., semina sinapis, mustard seeds

sine quibus = see pilulae sine quibus, above

sisarum -i = skirret, Sium sisarum; a perennial umbelliferous plant, a species of water parsnip

sisymbr., sisymbrium -i = watercress, Sisymbrium nasturtium

smaragdus -i = emerald; can also refer to beryl or jasper

smilax -acis = common smilax, rough bindweed, sarsaparilla; Smilax aspera

smyrnium -i = species of flowering plants, family Apiaceae (carrots, anise, fennel, and many others); S. olusatrum, alexanders

solea -ae = sole of a shoe, a sandal, or possibly the violet (the flowering plant); appears as "soleae veterementeriae ustae" in V.a.286, 58v

solan., solanum -i = nightshade, Solanum nigrum; several other species, e.g., bitter-sweet, S. dulcamara, and the common tomato, S. lycopersicum

soldanella -ae = species of bindweed, Convolvulus soldanella, or a primulaceous plant of genus Soldanella

solidago -inis saracenica = goldenrod, same as Virga aurea or Solidago virga-aurea, as in consolida saracenica, above; a vulnerary

sonchus -i = genus of flowering plants, including the common sowthistle, Sonchus oleraceus; JW mentions levis (S. levis, broad-leaved sowthistle) and asper (S. asper, spiny or prickly sowthistle)

sophia -ae chirurgorum = "the wisdom of the surgeons," Descurainia sophia; also known as flixweed, herb-sophia, and tansy mustard; used for treatment of dysentery

spatula -ae foetida = stinking iris, Iris foetidissima; also known as Gladwin iris or gladdon

sp., spec., species = a simple, or single ingredient or element; i.e., uncompounded or unmixed

species laetificans = see pulvis laetificans, above

sp. ceti., spermaceti = from sperma + ceti (genitive of cetus -i); a fatty substance found in the head of the sperm whale, Physteter macrocephalus and used in various preparations

spic., spica -ae = a spike or common stalk bearing numerous flowers; Spica foemina = lavender

spica -ae nardi = spikenard; aromatic substance from Nardostachys jatamansi (India), or the plant itself; or sometimes lavender

spin. alb., spina -ae alba = "white thorn;" precise identification uncertain, with several possibilities, incl. common hawthorn, Crategeus monogyna or C. oxyacantha, Our Lady's thistle, Carduus lacteus or C. mariae, various species of acacia, etc.

sp. sal., spiritus -us salis = spirit of salt, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid, HCl

sp. sulph., spiritus -us sulphuris = sulfurous acid, H2SO3

sp. vin., sp. vini, spiritus -us vini = alcohol, rectified spirit; used as solvent for tinctures, &c.

spod., spodium -i = a fine powder obtained from various substances by calcination (OED)

spuma -ae maris = literally, sea-foam; likely powdered pumice, or the mineral meerschaum

squill., squilla -ae = squill; the bulb or root of the sea-onion, Scilla (or Drima) maritima, used as diuretic and expectorant

squillitic., squilliticus -a -um = of, treated with or derived from squill; e.g., acetum squilliticum

staphid. agr., staphis -idis agria, staphisagria -ae = stavesacre, Delphinium staphisagria

stoechad., stoechas -adis = French lavender, Lavandula stoechas

stercor., stercus -oris = dung, excrement, feces, with the animal of origin in the genitive; e.g., of dog, canis; horse, equi; peacock, pavonis; also others

stipul., stipula -ae = stalk, stem

stomachicum magistrale = see emplastrum stomachicum magistrale, above

stramen -inis = straw; e.g., stramen fabarum, bean straw

sturionis, sturio -onis = European sea sturgeon, Acipenser sturio; ova sturionis, caviar

styrac. calamit., styrax -acis calamita = storax, gum-resin from Styrax officinalis

suber -is = the cork oak, Quercus suberis

suc[c]in., suc[c]inum -i = amber

succisa -ae = a genus of flowering plants, family Caprifoliaceae, including devil's bit scabious, Succisa pratensis

succ., succus -i = juice of anything

suillus -a -um = of, from, or related to pigs; adipes suillus, pig fat or lard

summit., summitat., summitas -tatis = top or tops, with the name of the plant in the genitive; e.g., summitates absynthii, absinthe tops; summitates hyssopi, hyssop tops

symphit., symphyt., symphitum -i = comfrey; Symphytum maius, greater comfrey

syr., syrup., syrrup., sirup., sirupus, syrrupus -i = syrup

sirrupus -i bizantinus, byzantinus = juices of endive, smallage, hops, and bugloss, with sugar, boiled to a syrup (Mesue); aniseed, roses, licorice, and other ingredients may be added

syrrupus -i cardiacus = a cordial syrup; receipt in Pharmacopoiea Londinensis includes Rhenish wine, rose water, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar boiled together, with the addition of ambergris and musk

syrupus -i de pomis alterans = apple juice and bugloss juice, violet leaves, rose water and sugar, boiled to a syrup

syrupus de quinque radicibus = syrup of the five roots; celery (Apium graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum officinale), parsley (Petroselinum sativum), butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus) and asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) with sugar and water; a cholagogue and diuretic


tachamah., tacamahaca -ae = aromatic resin from Bursera (or Elaphrium) tomentosa

tamarind., tamarindus -i = tamarind tree, Tamarindus indica; source of tamarind fruit, a purgative

tamarisc., tamarix -icis or tamariscus -i = tamarisk tree, various species of genus Tamarix

tanacetum -i = genus of flowering plants in the aster family; about 160 species, including Tanacetum vulgare (common tansy), T. balsamita (costmary), and T. parthenium (feverfew)

tapsus -i barbatus = black mullein, Verbascum nigrum

taraxicum -i = Taraxicum officinalis, dandelion; also as "herba taraxici" or "dens leonis," q.v.

tartar., tartarus -i = tartar, potassium bitartrate, KC4H5O6; when purified forms white crytals and is referred to as cream of tartar; see cremor tartaris, above

tax., taxus -i = yew tree (Taxus baccata); or badger, Taxidea taxus; pinguedo taxi, badger fat

terebinth., terebinthina -ae = turpentine; terebinth. uenet. (Veneta), Venice turpentine; many others including terebinthina communis, Cypria, vulgaris; for Chio terebinth., see Chio, above terr., terra -ae = earth

terr. Lemni., terra -ae Lemnia = Lemnian earth or clay, a medicinal clay originally obtained from the island of Lemnos

terr. sigillat., terra sigillata = "sealed earth;" Lemnian clay shaped into tablets or cakes into which decorative seals were pressed; same as terra Lemnia

test., testa -ae = shell of a molllusc, or the skin or coating of a seed

testud., testudo -inis = tortoise, various species of genus Testudo

thapsia -ae = genus of umbilliferous perennials; Thapsia garganica or T. villosa, deadly carrot

thebaic., thebaica -ae = opium; thebaic tincture or extract = laudanum

theriac., theriacal., theriaca -ae = antidote; treacle; e.g., Theriaca andromachi or T. veneta (of Venice), mithridatium (q. v.), T. coelestis, laudanum

thur., thus thuris = frankincense or olibanum, aromatic resin from trees of genus Boswellia, esp. B. sacra

thym., thymi., thymum -i = thyme, various species of genus Thymus, esp. T. vulgaris

thymelaea = sparrow-wort, a genus of about 30 species of evergreen shrubs and herbs

til., tilia -ae = lime-tree, linden, Tilia europaea; T. alba, white lime-tree

tinct., tinctura -ae = a solution of anything in spirit of wine; very many types

tinct. rub., tinctura -ae rubra = tincture of red corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas), similar to laudanum

tinctura -ae thebiaca = laudanum, tincture of opium

tithymalus -i = any of a number of plants of genus Euphorbia, q. v.

tormentill. tormentilla -ae = upright septfoil, tormentil; Tormentilla (or Potentilla) erecta

torrefact., torrefactus -a -um = dried of moisture by heat, scorched, roasted, toasted

tostus -a -um = roasted, parched; past participle of torreo -ere, parch, roast, baked

tragacanth., dragacanth., tragacanthum -i = gum tragacanth (q.v.) derived from shrubs of genus Astragalus or from trees of genus Sterculia

tragea -ae = likely a powder of some kind

triapharmacum = see emplastrum triapharmacum, above

tripolium -i = sea or seashore aster, Tripolium pannonicum

triphera, tryphera -ae major = triphera the greater, a mixture of various myrobalans, emblic, nutmeg, watercress seeds, asarabacca roots, etc.; for excessive menstruation in women and hemorrhoids in men, also weakness of the stomach; there is also a triphera solutiva, an electuary

tritus -a -um = rubbed to pieces; ground up

troch., trochisc., trochiscus -i = a pill, troche, tablet, or lozenge

trochisci albi Rhasis = ceruse, sarcocolla, starch, gum arabic, tragacanth, and camphor; sometimes with added opium

trochisci gallia moschata = aloes, amber, musk, gum tragacanth, rose-water

trochisci hedychroi = "pleasantly colored lozenges;" marum leaves, marjoram leaves, yellow saunders, asarum roots, calamus aromaticus, etc.

trochisci hysterici = lozenges made of castor, amber, powder of millipedes, etc.; used for treatment of palsy; also known as trochisci de mirrha

trochisci polyidae andromachi = pomegranate flowers, white roach, frankincense, myrrh, bull's gall, aloes, etc.; for green wounds and ulcers; Culpeper says "I fancy them not"

trochisci Ramich = perfumed troches of Rhasis; juice of sorrel, red roses, unripe grapes, myrtle berries, etc.; for diarrhea, including the bloody flux

trochisci de vipera = trochisci de vipera ad theriacam, troches of vipers for treacle (Culpeper); viper flesh boiled with dill, made into lozenges with bread and oil of nutmeg or opobalsamum turbasis -is = starch made of wheat bran or cuckoo-pint (Arum maculatum) roots; for purging phlegm

turbith., turbithum -i, turpethum -i = turbith or turpeth, from Convulvulus turpethum; a purgative

tussilago -inis = a genus of plants in the aster family; T. farfara, colt's-foot, is the only recognized species

tutia -ae = tutty; zinc oxide

U - V

valerian., valeriana -ae = wild valerian, Valeriana officinalis

verbascum -i = genus of flowering plants, especially Verbascum thapsus, mullein

vepris -is = genus of plants in the Rutaceae (rue) family; approximately 80 species

verbena -ae = common vervain, Verbena officinalis, or other plants in genus Verbena

verdigris = green substance from treatment of Copper with dilute acetic acid, or occurring naturally on copper or brass; may be an acetate, carbonate, or chloride

veronic., veronica -ae = speedwell, Veronica officinalis

ueter., veter., veterus -a -um = old; cf. recens, recent., recentis, new or fresh

viciar., vicia -ae = vetch; JW mentions species "vulgaris," same as fava bean/ broad bean

Vigo = Giovanni de Vigo (1460 - 1519); emplastrum Vigonis, Vigo's plaster (lead, wax, mercury, turpentine, various herbs)

vincetoxicum -i = white swallow-wort, Vincetoxicum hirundinaria or officinale; a poison antidote

vin., vinum -i = wine; vinum album, white wine; vinum rubrum/rubellum/roseum, red wine

vinum -i Martiale = globuli martiales or Mars balls, consisting of potassium-iron tartrate (tartrate of potash and iron, C8H8FeK2O12), dissolved in wine

vinum -i absinthites = vermouth; made from white wine and absinth; also as vinum florum absinthites, of absinth flowers

viola -ae = violet, various species of genus Viola, esp. V. odorata; violarum, of violets

viridis -e = green; e.g., ficus virides, green figs

visc. querc., viscus -i quercinus = mistletoe, Viscum album

vitell., vitellus -i = egg yolk; vitelli ovorum, yolks of eggs;

vitis -is = vine; folia vitis, grape leaves

vitriol., vitriolum -i = vitriol; various metallic sulfates, esp. iron sulfate ("green copperas," vitriolum martis) and vitr. album (zinc sulfate); oil of vitriol = sulfuric acid, H2SO4; the famous acronym "visite interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem" is likely a spurious back formation; for "Roman vitriol," see lapis caelestis, above

vitriolum -i camphoratum = camphorated vitriol or Captain Green's powder; for sores and sore eyes

vitis -is vinifera = the common grape vine; the leaves "strongly bind," stop the bloody and other fluxes, stop vomiting, help heart-burning, etc. (Pharmacopoiea Londinensis)

vitulinus -a -um = from or related to a calf (i.e., veal)

ulmor., ulmorum, ulmus -i = elm tree

umbilicus -i veneris = (Venus's) navelwort, Omphalodes linifolia

ung., unguentum -i = any ointment or unguent, either with the origin or association in the genitive, or with a descriptive adjective

unguentum Agrippae = an ointment containing briony roots, squill, iris root, dwarf elder, oil, and wax; so called because of a supposed association with Herod Agrippa

ung., unguentum -i album = a drying ointment containing olive oil, white wax, and white lead

unguentum Arragon = rosemary, marjoram, thyme, aron and cucumber roots, bay, sage and juniper leaves, etc.; also spelled "Aragon" and "Arregon"

ung., vng. apostol., unguentum apostolorum = containing 12 ingredients (hence the name), incl. turpentine, resin, yellow wax, aristolochia, frankincense, etc.

ung., vng. basilic., or just basilic., unguentum -i basilicum or basilicon = basilicum ointment; yellow, black, or green, each containing beeswax and rosin and other ingredients but not basil unguentum -i de calce = ointment of lime; contained slaked lime and rose oil

ung., unguentum -i catapsoras = ointment containing cerussa, calamine, etc., with hog's grease, sublimated mercury, etc.

ung., unguentum -i Comitissae = complex ointment containing many types of bark, berries, and roots boiled in plantaine water, then mixed with yellow wax and several powders; Culpeper terms it "a gallant binding Oyntment, composed neatly by a judicious brain"

unguentum -i dessicativum rubrum = red drying ointment; contains litharge of gold, white lead, calamine, yellow wax, oil of roses, camphor, terra sigillata

ung., unguentum -i diapampholigos = cited by Aristotle, who recommended it for what sounds like diaper rash; contains rose oil, white wax, monkshood juice, white lead, frankincense, etc.

unguentum -i diapompholigos nihili = oil of roses, juice of nightshade, wax, ceruse, lead, pompholix, frankincense; significance of the word nihili, "of nothing" or "worthless," unknown

unguentum Egyptiac., Egyptiacum, Ægyptiacum = ointment containing verdigris, honey, and vinegar

unguentum -i nervinum = southernwood, marjoram, mint, pennyroyal, etc., with oils and suet

unguentum -i e nicotiana or nicotianae = tobacco leaves from various species of genus Nicotiana (e.g. N. tabacum and N. rustica), steeped in wine then boiled in hog's grease, with addition of tobacco juice, aristolochia, rosin, new wax; Culpeper thought very highly of it: "It would ask a whole Summers day to write the particular vertues of this ointment, and my poor Genius is too weak to give it the hundredth part of its due praise..."

unguentum -i nutritum = see unguentum triapharmacum, below

unguentum -i ophalmicum = ointment of red mercury; cinnabar, HgS, or calomel, Hg2Cl2; NB distinguish from unguentum ophthalmicum, eye ointment

ung., vng. pomat., unguentum pomatum = ointment containing pork fat, rose water, and apple pulp

unguentum populeon or populneum = ointment containing poplar buds, pork fat, and leaves of black poppy, mandrake, madder, henbane, nightshade, etc.

unguentum -i splanchnicum or splenicum = oil of capers and of white lilies, calomel, butter, juice of bryony and sowbread, etc.

unguentum -i triapharmacum = litharge of gold, vinegar, and oil of roses; also called unguentum nutritum

unicornu -us = when termed "at large," described by JW as "either ebonie, hartshorne, or bone of a stagg's heart"

unicornu -us solare = solar unicorn, a compound and not an animal; Mynsicht (1662) terms it "efficacissimum & inaccessum remedium;" his ingredients include gold and hazelnuts

unicornu -us fossile = defined by JW as "Lapis Ceratites," which is a fossilized ammonite, properly "cornu fossile;" if "unicornu," refers to fossil or excavated unicorn; one such having been calcined by order of King Christian IV of Denmark was thought by Thomas Bartholin to be a narwhal horn

urtic., vrtic., urtica -ae = nettle, esp. the common nettle Urtica dioica; urtic. urent., Urtica urens (burning), dwarf/ annual/ dog nettle

ung., ungula -ae = hoof, claw, talon; ung. caballin. (caballinus -a -um), horse's hoof

usquebach = whisky

ustus -a -um = burnt

uter- utra- utrumque, (genitive) utriusque = either, each one, both, the one and the other; e.g., bryoniae utriusque, of both types of bryony, i.e., white and red

vulgar., vulgaris -e = common, usual

vulp., vulpes -is = wolf

uva -ae = grape; uvae quercinae or oak grapes, see above under quercinus -a -um

uva -ae crispa rubra = gooseberry, Ribes uva-crispa; rubra, red

uva -ae lupina = monkshood, wolfsbane; Aconitum species, especially A. napellus

uvae quercinae = see under quercinus -a -um, above


Winterani = occurs only in (Captain) Winter's bark; see under cortex winterani, above


xyloaloes = see lignum aloes, above


zalap., zalapium, -i = same as ialap/jalap, q.v.

zedoar., zedoaria -ae = zedoary, Curcuma zedoaria

zibet., zibetha -ae = civet, civet musk; from several species, best known being the African civet, Civettictis civetta

ziziphus -i = jujube; from Ziziphus species, e.g., Z. jujuba, the tree that produces the edible jujube fruit, resembling a small date

zyth., zythum -i = zythos, unfermented Egyptian beer

zythogala -ae = posset drink; see liquor posseticus, above

zz or ZZ = zinziber = ginger, Zinziber officinale; sometimes indicates myrrh

Alchemical Symbols and Other Abbreviations

Ward very occasionally used these, e.g.,

♀️ symbol for tartar (symbol unicode 🜿); crem.♀️is = cremor tartaris, cream of tartar

♂️symbol for Mars; croc.♂️is = crocus Martis = "saffron of Mars," iron peroxide, colcothar, or jeweler's rouge) (symbol unicode ♂)

[add symbol] , symbol for sulfur (symbol unicode 🜍); flores is = "flowers of sulfur," powdered sulfur produced by sublimation as opposed to natural crystalline sulfur (i.e., brimstone)

[add symbol], symbol for vitriol (symbol unicode 🜖)

69: see above, "oculi cancri;" image from Zwinger, Theatri Praxeos Medicae (1710), p. 150

[add thumbnail here] : Oculi cancri praecipitatum ana ʒss

9 (superscript 9) = "-us;" a common medieval contraction, as in "corp9 "= corpus

See various additional abbreviations in "John Ward's Alphabet."

Glossary of Latin terms by Callum Simms


• absynth. - absynthium = 'wormwood'
• acetos. - acetosa = 'sorrel'
• acet. - acetum = 'vinegar'
• agaric. - agaricum = 'tinder fungus'
• alchermes (confectio) = confection of 'Kermes' (crimson 'berry' bug - like cochineal)
• aloe optim. = 'agarwood'
• alth. - althea = 'mallow'
• ammoniac. - 'ammoniacum' = 'gum ammoniac'
• argill. - argilla = '(white) potter's clay, argil'
• aristoloch. - aristolochia = 'birthwort'
• artemis. - artemisia = 'mugwort'
• aven. - avena = 'oats'
• bacon. - baco = 'bacon'
• bezoardic. - bezoardicum = 'bezoar' (antimony salt)
• borac. - borax = 'borax'
• bryon. - bryonia = 'briony'
• bugloss. - buglossa = 'bugloss'
• calaminth. - calamintha = 'calamint'
• camphor. - camphora = 'camphor'
• cappar. - capparis = 'caper'
• cardiac. - (aqua) cardiaca = 'toddy' (a beverage - palm wine?)
• card. - carduus = 'thistle'
• carlin. - carlina = 'carline/silver thistle'
• carn. - caro = 'meat, flesh'
• caryophill. - caryophillus = 'clove'
• caseum = 'cheese'
• cass. - cassia = 'cassia' (a type of cinnamon)
• castoreum = 'castoreum' (beaver musk)
• centaur. - centaurium = 'centaury'
• cervis. - cervisa = 'beer'
• chalyb. - chalybs = 'steel'
• chamamel. - chamamelon = 'chamomile'
• cichor. - cichoria = 'chicory, endive'
• colcothar = 'colcothar, jeweller's rouge' (Ferric Oxide)
• cor. - corium = 'leather'
• coton. - cotone = 'cotton'
• cret. - creta = 'chalk'
• croc. - crocus = 'saffron, crocus flower'; (alchemical) 'liver' - crocus metallorum = liver of antimony
• cumin. - cuminum = 'cumin'
• dia-x = medicine containing x. Usually no other name than the Latin one.
• dictamn. - dictamnus = 'dittany'
• ebul. - ebulum = 'danewort'
• eupator. - eupatoria = 'agrimony'
• fab. - faba = 'broad bean' (= horse, fava)
• faecul. - faecula = 'salt of tartar' (potassium carbonate)
• farin. - farina = 'flour, meal'
• fim. - fimus = 'dung'
• fontan. - fontana (aqua) = 'spring' (-water)
• fumar. - fumaria = 'fumitory'
• gagat. - gagates = 'jet' (stone)
• guaiac. - guaiacum (lignum) = 'guaiac' (wood)
• gumm. - gummi = [tree] 'gum'
• hermodactyl. - hermodactylus = 'hermodactyl' (meadow crocus / autumn saffron roots, not black iris)
• herniar. - herniaria = 'rupturewort'
• iuniper. - iuniperus = 'juniper'; granum juniperi = juniper berry (actually a seed cone)
• jalap. - jalapa = 'jalap'
• jugland. - juglans = 'walnut'
• labdan. - labdanum = 'labdanum' (sticky brown resin from rock roses)
• lappath. - lap(p)athum = 'dock, sorrel'; L. acutum = broad-leafed dock
• laudan. - laudanum = 'laudanum'
• lin. - linum = 'flax'
• lujul. - lujula = 'wood sorrel'
• mac. - macis = 'mace'
• malvatic. - malvaticum (vinum) = 'Malmsey' (wine of the Malvasia grape) - Madeira/Sack
• mastich. - masticha = 'mastic'
• mecon. - meconium = poppy juice (opium)
• meliss. - melissa = 'lemon balm'
• mithridat. - mithridatum = 'Mithridate'
• moschat. - moschata (nux) = 'nutmeg'
• ovin. - ovinus (from ovis) = 'sheep'
• oxycrat. - oxycratum = 'oxycrate' (mixture of vinegar and water)
• papav. - papaver (erraticum) = '(common) poppy'
• paralys. - paralysis = 'cowslip'
• pastinac. - pastinaca = 'parsnip, carrot'
• pentaphyll. - pentaphyllum = 'cinquefoil'
• pinguedin. - pinguedo = 'fat'
• polypod. - polypodium = 'polypody', rockcap fern
• puleg. - pule(g)ium = 'pennyroyal' (/fleabane /fleawort)
• resin. - resina = 'resin, rosin'
• rhab. - rhabarbarum = 'rhubarb'
• rosac. - rosaceum = 'rose oil'
• rosmarin. - rosmarinus = 'rosemary'
• sabin. - sabina = 'savin' (a juniper species)
• sacchar. - saccharum = 'cane sugar'
• santal. - santalum = 'sandalwood'; S. citrinum = citrine/yellow sandalwood
• saxifrag. - saxifraga = 'saxifrage, rockfoil' ('breakstone' in Ward)
• scord. - scordium = 'water germander'
• seb./sev. - se(b/v)um = 'tallow, suet, grease'
• sed. - sedum = 'houseleek'
• semperviv. - sempervivum = 'houseleek' ('liveforever')
• sen. - sena = 'senna'
• ser. - serum = 'whey'
• spic. - spica = 'lavender'
• sucin. - sucinum = 'amber'
• symphit. - symphitum (maius) = (greater) 'comfrey'
• tax. - taxus = 'yew'; 'badger'
• terebinth. - terebinthina = 'turpentine'
• test. - testa = 'shell'
• theriac. - theriaca = 'antidote', 'antivenom', 'treacle'
• thur. - thus = 'frankincense'
• zyth. - zythum = 'zythos' (Egyptian beer)
The symbol (℞) is short for 'recipe' and means 'take' in Latin. This is still used for prescriptions today as Rx.


• ā - for originally Greek 'ana' = 'of each'
• bib. - bibo = 'drink' - 'bibat' or 'bibatur' ('let him drink', 'let X be drunk')
• cap. - capio = 'take'
• cum = 'with' - often Ward marks non-abbreviated words with an apostrophe
• decoq. - decoquo = 'boil down / reduce'
• e, ex = 'out of / from'
• ebull. - ebullio = 'boil'
• et = 'and'
• f. - facio = 'make'
• (in)fund. - (in)fundo = 'pour (in)'
• in = 'in, into'
• inung. - inunguo = 'salve, rub ointment on'
• m. - misceo = 'mix'
• mane = 'in the morning'
• nocte = 'at night'
in alphabetical order:
• alb. - albus = 'white'
• aq. - aqua = 'water'. 'Water of X' is a common ingredient that means water infused with X (c.f. rosewater).
• bacc. - bacca = 'berry'
• commun. - communis = 'common'
• cortic. - cortex = 'bark'
• decoct. - decoctio = 'decoction'
• fol. - folium = 'leaf'
• gran. - granum = 'kernel'
• gutt. - gutta = 'drop'
• haust. - haustus = 'draught'
• lign. - lignum = 'wood'
• liquor = 'liquid, liquor'
• nigr. - niger = 'black'
• nuc. - nux = 'nut'
• nucl. - nucleus = 'nut'
• officin. - officinalis = 'medicinal'
• ol. - oleum = 'oil'
• optim. - optimus = 'best'
• part. - pars = 'part, side'
• pulveriz. - pulverizatus = 'powdered'
• radic. - radix = 'root'
• semin. - semen = 'seed'
• spec. - species = 'simple' - a 'simple' is a single-ingredient powder
• sal = 'salt' - 'Salt of X' is the name of a number of alchemical products which nowadays have chemical formulae.
• trochisc. - trochiscus - 'troche' (a lozenge)
• ust. - ustus = 'burnt'
• vulgar. - vulgaris = 'common'


Alchemical symbols, from Getty

Alchemical symbols, from the Text Creation Partnership

Alchemical symbols character code table, from the Unicode Standard, version 13.0

Alchemical symbols, from Wiktionary

Ancient Greek keyboard, from Lexilogos

John Ward alphabet