Glossary of Terms

On these pages are contained some of the unfamiliar words used in the period and contemporary descriptions of the uses to which the plants in this listing were put.

Acetabulum: n.: (a) A cup to hold condiments, esp. vinegar, for serving at the table. (b) A measure of capacity for liquids and dry granular substances, equal to one-eighth of a sextary (approx. 70 ml or 2.4 fluid ounces). (OED)

Acetum: n.: Vinegar or a preparation made with vinegar; esp. a solution or extract of any of various plant, mineral, or other substances in vinegar; a medicated vinegar. (OED)

Aduice: To be used with great care.

Ague, n.: An acute or high fever; disease, or a disease, characterized by such fever, esp. when recurring periodically, spec. malaria. Also: a malarial paroxysm, or (esp. in later use) the initial stage of such a paroxysm, marked by an intense feeling of cold and shivering. (OED)

Albugines (Albugo), n.: A whitish spot on the cornea; a corneal opacity; disease of the eye. (OED)

Alopecia, n.: Partial or total loss of hair from the head or other part of the body; baldness; an instance of this. Also (in later use freq. with distinguishing English or scientific Latin word): any of various disorders or diseases resulting in a form of leprosy. (OED)

Anchorus, n.: Possible connection-Originally: the plant sweet flag, Acorus calamus. In later use: any plant of the genus Acorus (family Acoraceae), the members of which are rushlike flowering plants with inconspicuous flowers, native chiefly to wetlands in Europe and Asia.

Anodyne, adj.: A medicine or drug which alleviates pain. Having the power of assuaging pain. (OED)

Apthae: see Apthas

Aphthas, n.: An ulcer, usually small and superficial, of a mucous membrane, esp. in the mouth. Also any disease (in humans or livestock) characterized by the presence of such ulcers; (in later use) spec. a recurrent form of stomatitis of unknown aetiology in which one or more painful ulcers, covered with a greyish exudate and surrounded by a red halo, appear in the mouth and heal spontaneously. (OED)

Argema, n.: A small white ulcer or speck on the margin of the cornea. (OED)

Arquebusade: A gun which employed a fuse to light the charge in the barrel. 16th century.

Astringent, adj.: Having the power to draw together or contract the soft tissues; binding, constrictive, styptic. (OED)

Axungia/Axunge , n.: The rich internal fat of the kidneys, etc., especially that of geese and pigs; goose-grease, lard; also gen. fat, grease.(OED)

Bulwark, n.: A substantial defensive work of earth, or other material; a rampart, a fortification. (OED)

Carbuncle, n.: A pustule or papule on the nose or face; spec. one associated with the disease rosacea. Any of various inflammatory or infective lesions of the skin or (rarely) the eye; the malignant pustule of anthrax. In later use: a group of interconnected or coalescing boils.

Cataplasme, n.: A poultice: formerly also a plaster. (OED)

Catarrh, n.: The profuse discharge from nose and eyes which generally accompanies a cold, and which was formerly supposed to run down from the brain; a 'running at the nose'. (OED)

Cerat, n.: A kind of stiff ointment composed of wax together with lard or oil and other ingredients. (OED)

Cerate: see Cerat

Choler, n.: Bile; as one of the 'four humours' of early physiology, supposed to cause irascibility of temper. (OED)

Cicatrices, n.: The scar of a healed wound, a scar-like mar or impression. (OED)

Cicatrix, , n.: The scar or seam remaining after a wound, sore, or ulcer is healed. (OED)

Cicuta, , n.: A genus of poisonous umbelliferous plants, represented in Britain by the Water Hemlock, C. virosa. Formerly a name of the Common Hemlock. (OED)

Cleaue, v.: To stick fast or adhere, as by a glutinous surface. (OED)

Clyster, n.: A medicine injected into the rectum, to empty or cleanse the bowels, to afford nutrition, etc.; an injection, enema; sometimes, a suppository. (OED)

Colitis, An inflammation of the colon. (OED)

Collyries, n.: A topical remedy for disorders of the eyes; an eye-salve or eye-wash. A solid medicine made up in a cylindrical form to be introduced into any of the openings of the body, as the anus, nostril, etc.; a suppository. (OED)

Cyathi, n.: A cup or ladle used for drawing wine out of the crater n. or mixing-bowl; also, a measure (both dry and liquid) = about 1/ 12 of a pint. Used in prescriptions for a wine-glass. (OED)

Decoction: In herbalism, decoctions are usually made to extract fluids from hard plant materials such as roots and bark. To achieve this, the plant material is usually boiled for 8-10 minutes in water. It is then strained. A decoction is also the name for the resulting fluid.

Diuretic, adj.: Having the capacity of exciting excessive excretion or discharge of urine. (OED)

Drachm (Dram) n.: A weight, orig. the ancient Greek drachma n.; hence, in Apothecaries' weight, a weight of 60 grains = 1/8 of an ounce; in Avoirdupois weight, of 27-1/3 grains = 1/ 16 of an ounce.

Dropsical: See Dropsy

Dropsy, n. and adj.: A morbid condition characterized by the accumulation of watery fluid in the serous cavities or the connective tissue of the body.

Drow, v.: To dry up

Dysentericall (dysenteric), adj.: Belonging to or of the nature of dysentery. Used for curing dysentery, rare. Affected with or suffering from dysentery. (OED)

Dyspepsia, Derangement or difficulty in digestion; indigestion. Used to describe various disorders of the digestive organs, esp. the stomach. Usually involves weakness, loss of appetite, and depression. (OED)

Dysponea, v: Difficulty of breathing; laborious breathing.

Dysury, n: Difficulty in passing urine; a disorder characterized by difficult or painful urination. (OED)

Electuary, n: A medicinal conserve or paste, consisting of a powder or other ingredient mixed with honey, preserve, or syrup of some kind. (OED)

Elixir, n.: A clear, sweet-flavored liquid (usually containing alcohol) used in compounding medicines to be taken orally in order to mask an unpleasant taste and intended to cure one's ills.

Emmenagogue, adj. and n.: Having power to excite the menstrual discharge, agents which increase or renew the menstrual discharge.

Ephemerum (ephemeral), adj.: Of a fever: lasting only for a day; 'ephemeral'. (OED)

Erysipelas, n.: A local febrile disease accompanied by diffused inflammation of the skin, producing a deep red color; often called St. Anthony's Fire, or 'the Rose'.

Excreantes sanguinem : May be translated as bloody discharge through the emunctory organs.

Fistula, n.: A long, narrow, suppurating canal of morbid origin in some part of the body; a long, sinuous pipe-like ulcer with a narrow orifice.

Flatulence, To be charged with or pass gas, tendency of foods to create this condition in the stomach or alimentary canal, windiness.

Floure de Luce ,(fleur-de-lis), n: The heraldic lily; a device supposed by some to have originally represented an iris, by others the top of a sceptre, of a battle-axe or other weapon. It is best known from having been borne upon the royal arms of France under the old monarchy. The flower of a plant of the genus Iris (esp. I. pseudacorus); the plant itself. (OED)

Furfures: Dandruff, scurf; pl. particles of epidermis or scurf; also, a bran-like sediment in the urine. (OED)

Gad, (gadding): To go about or wander aimlessly, sometime in search of carnal pleasure.

Gargarisme: A gargle (OED)

Glister, n.: A bright light, brilliance, lustre.

Graecian, (Grecian), n.: A person of Greece or having Greek characteristics. Gypsum, n.: Hydrous calcium sulphate, the mineral from which plaster of Paris is made. Greek ????? chalk, gypsum. (OED)

Hicket: An early form of hiccup, another being hickock. (OED)

Haemorrhous/haemorrhoid, n: A disease characterized by tumours of the veins about the anus, piles. (OED)

Hecate, n: (A)In ancient Greek mythology, a goddess, said to be of Thracian origin, daughter of Perses and Asteria; in later times more or less identified with several others, esp. with Artemis. (B) Thus identified with the moon; also, with Persephone the goddess of the infernal regions. (C) Hence regarded as presiding over witchcraft and magical rites. (OED)

Heracles (Hercules), n: A celebrated hero of Greek and Roman mythology, who after death was ranked among the gods and received divine honours. He is represented as possessed of prodigious strength, whereby he was enabled to perform twelve extraordinary tasks or 'labours' imposed upon him by Hera, to which, and to his club, there are many allusions in literature. In Greek and Latin his name is used in exclamations and asseverations. (OED)

Hicket: An early form of hiccup, another being hickock. (OED)

Humors (Humours): In ancient and medieval physiology, one of the four chief fluids (cardinal humours) of the body (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black choler), by the relative proportions of which a person's physical and mental qualities and disposition were held to be determined. (OED)

Hydropsicall, adj: With or as with dropsy; dropsically. (OED)

Icterus, n: The disease jaundice.(OED)

Imposthumes (Impostume) n.: A purulent swelling or cyst in any part of the body; an abscess. (OED)

Indicum, n.: Indigo, a plant from which a blue dye is extracted.

Infusion: An infusion is very similar to a decoction but is used with herbs that are more volatile or dissolve readily in water, or release their active ingredients easily in oil. Boiling water (or water of the appropriate temperature) is poured over the herb and allow to steep for a time.

Insession v.: Onward motion; progression, locomotion. Pace, gait or going. (OED)

Inspissated adj.: Brought to a thick consistence; thickened. (OED)

Ireos n.: a. The Florentine Iris (Iris florentina), a species with large white flowers. b. The root of this, used in pharmacy; orris-root. (OED)

Jakes n.: A toilet, especially an outdoor one. (OED)

Jaundice, n.: A morbid condition caused by obstruction of the bile, and characterized by yellowness of the conjunctiva, skin, fluids, and tissues, and by constipation, loss of appetite, and weakness. (OED)

King's Evil, n.: Scrofula, which in England and France was formerly supposed to be curable by the king's (or queen's) touch. The practice of touching for the king's evil continued from the time of Edward the Confessor to the death of Queen Anne in 1714. The Office for the ceremony has not been printed in the Prayer-book since 1719. (OED)

Kobold, n.: In German folklore: (a) a familar spirit, haunting houses and rendering services to the inmates, but often of a tricky disposition; a brownie; (b) an underground spirit haunting mines or caves; a goblin or gnome. (OED)

Laske/lask, n.: A looseness in the bowels, diarrhea. A laxative, aperient. (OED)

Laepra, n.: Leprosy, classical Latin lepra psoriasis or other skin disease. (OED)

Leprous, adj.: Of a person or part of the body: affected with leprosy. (OED)

Letigenes, n.: An affection of the skin, in modern use a small brown hyperpigmented patch of skin occurring on the face and hands. (OED)

Leucorrnea (leucorrhoa), n. : A mucous or mucopurulent discharge from the lining membrane of the female genital organs; the whites. (OED)

Looch (Linctus), n. : A medicine to be licked up with the tongue. (OED)

Lupines, n. : Any plant of the genus Lupinus (family Leguminosć); chiefly L. albus, cultivated in the warmer districts of Europe for the seed and for fodder. The species now common in flower-gardens are of American origin. The flowers, blue, rosy-purple, white and sometimes yellow grow in clusters of long tapering spikes.

Matrix, n.: The uterus. (OED)

Meconium, n.: The thickened juice of the opium poppy, used as a sedative or analgesic. (OED)

Melicrate, n.: A drink made with honey and water; hydromel. (OED)

Meniere's Syndrome or Disease, n.: A disorder characterized by episodic vertigo, tinnitus, and fluctuating but usually progressive hearing loss, associated with distention of the endolymphatic system of the labyrinth. (OED)

Menorrnea (Menorrhoea/menorrhea) n.: Menstrual bleeding, especially when abnormally prolonged (menorrhagia) or frequent (metrorrhagia). (OED)

Menses: Menstruation; the menstrual discharge. (OED)

Methegline (Metheglin) n.: A spiced or medicated variety of mead, originally esp. popular in Wales. (OED)

Mollifying, n: A medicine or ointment for softening a part of the body, an emollient. (OED)

Morphew, n.: Any of various skin diseases characterized by localized or generalized discoloration of the skin; (also) a discolored lesion of the skin. Black morphew n. morphew characterized by hyperpigmented lesions (attributed to the humor black bile). White morphew n. morphew characterized by hypopigmented lesions (attributed to the humor phlegm).

Moueth: , mouth

Mucilage, n.: A viscid preparation made from the seeds, roots, or other parts of certain plants by soaking or heating them in water, used medicinally in soothing poultices, tisanes, etc. Later also: a viscid aqueous solution of any of certain gums or starches. (OED)

Murreine, n.: Some type of disease or plague. The meaning is unclear however the word is found in various written works as well as the Psalm 78:50, marginal notes, 1611 King James Version.

Mygale, n: A shrew; a ferret. (OED) Nephiriticall (Nephritic): A person suffering from kidney disease; affecting the kidneys; suitable for curing kidney disease. (OED)

Nitre, n.: Originally: natron, native sodium carbonate (obs.). In later use: sodium or potassium nitrate; spec. potassium nitrate (saltpetre). (OED)

Oedema (Edema), n.: A fluid-filled tumor or swelling; localized or generalized accumulation of excessive fluid in tissues or body cavities. (OED)

Orthopnea, n.: Dyspnoea that is most severe in recumbency and that is alleviated by assuming the upright position. (OED)

Oxymel, n.: A medical drink or syrup made of vinegar and honey, sometimes with other ingredients. (OED)

Papularum n.: A small, solid, rounded or somewhat pointed swelling on the skin (or, less commonly, a mucous membrane), often forming part of a rash. (OED)

Paralyticke adj. (and adv.) and n.: Affected by or suffering from paralysis or of a form of a disease characterized by paralysis. Anglo-Norman paralitik, paralatike and Middle French paralytique, adjective and noun (c1256 in Old French asparalitike; French paralytique) < classical Latin paralyticus (noun) a person affected by paralysis, in post-classical Latin also (adjective) afflicted with paralysis (from 7th or 8th cent. in British sources), characterized by paralysis (12th cent. in a British source). (OED)

Passum n.: Wine made with raisins. (OED)

Patrimonie (Patrimony) n.: The estate or property belonging by ancient right to an institution, corporation, class, etc.; esp. the ancient estate or endowment of a church or religious body. (OED)

Peripneumonicall:, adj.: Of, relating to, or of the nature of peripneumonia; affected with peripneumonia. (OED)

Peripneumonia:, n.: Inflammation of the lung; pneumonia or pneumonitis; an instance or case of this. (OED)

Pessary:, n.: Anglo-Norman pessarie, peissare, pesaire, passere, pessaire, pessare, and Middle French, French pessaire a suppository applied in gynaecology (13th cent.), a device used to support a displaced uterus (1743) and its etymon post-classical Latin pessarium medicated plug, especially one inserted into the vagina (c400) < classical Latin pessum , pessus medicated plug. (OED)

Pessum: see Passum

Passum, v.: From the Latin: To cast down, ruin, destroy. (OED)

Pestilential: Carrying, producing, or tending to produce pestilence or epidemic disease, esp. bubonic plague; unhealthy; (of a disease) infectious, epidemic. (OED)

Pettimorell: Possibly some variety of Deadly Nighshade. Anglo-Norman and Old French morel, morele, morelle.(OED)

Phalanx: phalanx spider. A venomous spider; phalangium n. (OED)

Phrenticke (Frantic), adj. and n.: Affected with mental disease; 'lunatic', insane; (in later use) violently or ragingly mad. A person who is frantic or frenzied; a 'lunatic'; a delirious patient. 14th century. (OED)

Phreneticall, adj.: Supplying the diaphragm; of, relating to, or affecting the diaphragm; diaphragmatic. (OED)

Piles, n.: A hemorrhoid or having hemorroids.

Pleurisy, n.: In early use: an abscess of the ribs or inner surface of the chest; pain in the chest or the side, esp. when stabbing in nature and exacerbated by inspiration or coughing; an instance of this; any disease resulting in such pain. In later use: spec. inflammation of the pleura; pleuritis; an instance of this. (OED)

Pleuriticall, adj.: Affected with or suffering from pleurisy. (OED)

Prurigo, n.: Any of a group of skin disorders characterized by intensely itchy papules or nodules. (OED)

Psorae, n.: Any of various skin diseases characterized by the presence of scabs or scales, usually with itching; esp. scabies, mange, or (in later use) psoriasis.(OED)

Ptisana (Ptisan) v.: To give (someone) tisane to drink. (OED)

Pultesses - see Pultise

Pultise (Poultice) n.: A moist, usually heated mass of a substance with a soft, pasty consistency, applied to the skin, usually by means of a bandage or dressing, in order to promote healing, reduce swelling, relieve pain, etc.; a fomentation, a cataplasm. Also called cataplasm. , The word "poultice" comes from the Latin puls, pultes, meaning "porridge." Historically, poultices were made from bread or other cereals

Pupilla, n: Pupil, now rare. (OED)

Pustules: A small, raised lesion of the skin or other body surface that contains pus. Also: a blister, vesicle, and papule. (OED)

Putrefaction: The state of being putrid; rottenness; the process or action of putrefying or rotting; spec. the decomposition by bacteria of dead animal or plant tissue, which becomes foul-smelling as a result. (OED)

Pyelitis: Inflammation of the renal pelvis.(OED)

Reines, n.: The kidneys. (OED)

Rosaceum: No specific definition however, the word may indicate a plant in the Rosaceae family.

Scabies: A general term of skin diseases characterized by scaley eruptions; A contagious skin disease due to a parasite; the itch. (OED)

Succade: n: : Fruit preserved in sugar, either candied or in syrup; pl. sweetmeats of candied fruit or vegetable products. (OED)

Saint Anthony's Fire,, n.: Also known as ergotoxicosis, ergot poisoning and Saint Anthony's Fire. Ergot poisoning is a proposed explanation of bewitchment. Ergotism is the effect of long term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus that infects rye and other cereals. (Wikipedia)

Schirrous, n.: Various spellings. Scyrous, Scirrhous, Schirrhouse. Of the nature of a scirrhus; abnormally hard; characterized by or producing fibrosis; (of a carcinoma) having a dense fibrous stroma. (OED)

Sciaticall, n.: The hip joint. Also designating the short saphenous vein in the region of the ankle. Affected with or suffering from sciatica. (OED)

Scrofula, n.: A constitutional disease characterized mainly by chronic enlargement and degeneration of the lymphatic glands. Also called King's Evil (n.) and Struma (n.). (OED)

Scurf: A morbid condition of the skin, esp. of the head, characterized by a separation of branny scales, without inflammation. (OED)

Sextary, n.: In ancient Rome: a measure of capacity for liquids, equal to one-sixth of a congius (approx.. 1.2 pints or 0.5 liters). In the Middle Ages: a large measure for liquid, varying locally between 4 and 6 imperial gallons. In Middle Ages; can also be used for a description of dry weight equal to approx. 2 pounds or 1 KG. (OED)

Sod, adj.: Of food, liquor, etc.: Boiled; prepared by boiling. (OED)

Spleneticall, adj.: Having to do with the spleen. Of or relating to, or connected with, the spleen; splenic. Affected with, or suffering from, disease or disorder of the spleen; in later use, affected with melancholia or hypochondria. (OED)

Spurges: To cleanse, purify (a person, the body, etc.); to free from or rid of impurity. With away or out. To remove by some cleansing or purifying process. (OED)

Sputum, n: Saliva or spittle mixed with mucus or purulent matter, and expectorated in certain diseased states of the lungs, chest, or throat; a mass or quantity of this. (OED)

Squinanie: Possibly Squinancy, n.: Quinsy; suppurative tonsillitis. (OED)

Stranguary: A disease of the urinary organs characterized by slow and painful emission of urine; also the condition of slow and painful urination. (OED)

Strumae, n.: A scrofulous swelling of tumour. Also, a goiter or bronchocele. (OED)

Sudorific, adj. and n.:
A. adj. Promoting or causing perspiration; diaphoretic.
B. n. medicine or remedy which promotes perspiration; a diaphoretic. (OED)

Sugillation, n.: a livid or black-and-blue mark; a bruise; ecchymosis. (OED)

Surfeiting, n.: Excessive indulgence, esp. in food or drink; an instance of this. Also: the result of such behaviour; satiety, repletion; nausea or illness arising from excess. (OED)

Tenasmus n.: A continual inclination to void the contents of the bowels or bladder, accompanied by straining, but with little or no discharge.

Tetters (Tetter) n.: A general term for any pustular herpetiform eruption of the skin, as eczema, herpes, impetigo, ringworm, etc. 8th century. (OED)

Tincture, n.: Hue, color: esp. as communicated (naturally or artificially) by a colouring matter or dye, or by something that stains; a tinge, tint. A coloring matter, dye, pigment; spec. a dye used as a cosmetic. (OED)

Tisane, n.: A wholesome or medicinal drink: (originally) an infusion made with barley, barley water; (subsequently) a medicinal tea or infusion made from herbs. (OED)

Tonsillae,, n.: Each of two oval lymphoid glands situated one on each side of the fauces between the anterior and posterior arches. Latin tonsillae (plural); compare French tonsilles (Paré, 16th cent., les tonsilles ou amygdales). (OED)

Toxicum, n.: Latin toxicum 'poison', originally 'poison for arrows. (OED)

Unguents, n.: An ointment or salve.

Uvulae, n.: The conical fleshy prolongation hanging from the middle of the pendent margin of the soft palate in man and some other primates. Medieval Latin uvula (whence Spanish uvula , Portuguese uvula , Italian uvola , ugola, Old French uvule , uvele ,huvele UVULE n.), diminutive of Latin uva UVA n. (OED)

Viscera, n.: The soft contents of the principal cavities of the body; esp. the internal organs of the trunk; the entrails or bowels together with the heart, liver, lungs, etc. (OED)

Vulnerary, adj.: Having curative properties in respect to external wounds; Useful in healing wounds. (OED)

Wens, n.: A lump or protuberance on the body, a knot, bunch, wart. A sebaceous cystic tumour under the skin, occurring chiefly on the head. (OED)

Wrens: See Wens

Whites: See Leucorrhea

Whitlow, n: A suppurative inflammatory sore or swelling in a finger or thumb, usually in the terminal joint. (OED)

Yeox (also: yex / yesk): An acy of yexing; a sob; hiccup or the hiccups. (OED)

Hard at work researching plants for the medieval garden web site
Hard at work researching plants for the medieval garden web site.

Preparing the garden during Medieval times
Preparing the garden. Workers appear to be turning the turf to get ready for seed or plant.