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)

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)

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

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.

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

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

Axunge, n.: The rich internal fat of the kidneys, etc., especially that geese and pigs. (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)

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

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

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

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

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)

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.

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'.

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.

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

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

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)

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

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)

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)

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

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

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

Lupines, n. : Any plant of the genus Lupinus (family Leguminosę); 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)

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)

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).

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.

Nephiriticall (Nephritic): A person suffering from kidney disease; affecting the kidneys; suitable for curing kidney disease. (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)

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)

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

Pessum, 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.

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

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)

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

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)

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

Pyelitis: Inflammation of the renal pelvis.(OED)

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

Reines, n.: The kidneys. (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)

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)

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)

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)

Unguents, n.: An ointment or salve.

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)

Whites: See Leucorrhea

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.