The publication, for profit, of intimate details of the British Royal Family by their former servants is at least 350 years old. What may be the first example of this exploitation of “insider knowledge,” was published in 1658 by a former servant of Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort to Charles I. The book details the “Receipts” – recipes for medicinal cures and favourite foods of the Royal Family – contained in the Queen’s Closet. Some of the medicinal recipes are quackery indeed, and all the more interesting for that. We come at last to the recipes themselves. In this instalment we have cures for Dropsy as proved by the Lady Hobby, a swollen face and a sick body. The feature though, is the gruesome ***** Water for Consumption.
Page 11 A Medicine for a Dropsy approved by the Lady Hobby, who was cured herself by it.Take Carroways, Smallage, Thyme, Hysop, Watercresses, Pennyroyal, Nettle tops, Calamint, Elecampane-roots, of each one little handful; Horse radish two pounds, boil them in six quarts of running water, until half be consumes, then strain it, boil it new with a pottle of Canary Sack, Liquorice twelve ounces, sweet-Fennel seed, one ounce bruised, and a quarter of an ounce of Cumin seed bruised; boil all these above half an hour, then strain it, and keep it for your use; nine spoonfuls in the morning fasting, and as much at three or four a clock in the afternoon, use it for some time together. This the Lady Hobby proved by her self. Dr. Adrian gilberts most soveraign cordial WaterTake Spearmint, Broom-mint, Mother of Thyme, the blossom tops of Garden Thyme, red pennyroyal, Scabious, Celandine, Wood Sorel, Wood Betony, Angelica Page 12 leaves and stalkes, set Wall leaves, Peony laves, Egrimony, Tormentil, sweet Marjoram, red Sage, Rue, Rossolis, Angelica roots, Elecampany roots, set Wall roots, green Peniroyal, Comfrey blossoms and leaves, Juniper berries, of each a pound, Balm, Carduus, Benedictus Dragon, Feaverfew, Wormwood, of each two pounds; steep all these in the lees of strong pure venient Claret Wine for nine days, every day twice turning them to mingle them well in the lees, then distil them in a Limbeck with a red clear head, with two pounds of shaved harts horn, and Ivo- twelve ounces, draw as long of it as you may in several pottle glasses: the first is accounted the best an uncompounded, and the perfectest against the plague, spotted Feavers, small Pocks, ordinary Feavers, divers times experienced by myself, either to prevent, or in the time of these sicknesses. If you will compound it because the water hath an ill taste, then take the first gallon of the water and mix it with a pottle of the best Malaga sack, and put them into three pounds of Raisins solis stoned, Figs one pound and a half, flowers of Clove-gilly flowers, Page 13 Cowslips and Marigolds, blue Violets, of each two pounds, red Rose buds one pound, Ambergrese, Bezoar stone, clarified sugar, Aniseeds, Liquorish, and what else you please.These are Adrian Gilberts Receipts, having had experience of them most constantly sure. The uncompounded water is the more excellent: and if in time of infection one take two spoonfuls of it in good Beer or White Wine, he may safely walk from danger by the leave of God. If any of the former diseases attach any person, then he must take four ounces of the first water, and mix therewith either the Syrups of Violets, Clove-gilly-flowers, or Angelica as the disease is; one spoonful of the Syrup is sufficient for four ounces of the water, so take it in three times. For a Swollen FaceTake Oyl of Elder and Plantain-water, of each one ounce, beat them well together, until they are exactly incorporated, and therewith anoint the tumefied place twice or thrice in a day, until the swelling be chased away. Page 14 Cockerel Water for a ConsumptionTake a running Cockerel, pull him alive, then kill him, cut him abroad by the back, take out the entrails, and wipe him clean, then quarter him, and break his bones; then put him into a Rose water still, with a pottle of sack, Currants and Raisins solis stoned, and Figs sliced, of each one pound, Dates stoned and cut small half a pound, Rosemary flowers, Wild Thyme, Spearmint, of each one handful, Organs or Wild Marjoram, Bugloss, Pimpinel, of each two handfuls, and a bottle of new milk from a red cow. Distil these with a soft fire, put into the receiver a quarter of a pound of brown Sugarcandy beaten small, four grains of Ambergreese, forty grains of prepared Pearl, and half a book of leaf Gold cut very small; you must mingle the strong water with the small, and let the Patient take two spoonfuls of it in the morning, and as much at going to bed. A precious Cordial for a sick body.Take three spoonfuls of Mint water Page 15 and as much of Muscadine and Wormwood water, two or three spoonfuls of fine Sugar, and two or three large drops of Cinnamon spirit; beat these well together with two or three spoonfuls of Clove-gilly-flowers spirit, and give the patient now and then; especially when he or she goeth to bed. Wormwood Cakes good for a cold stomach, and to help DigestionTake pure seared Sugar two ounces, and wet it with the spirit of Wormwood, then take a little Gum Tragiganth, and steep it all night in Rose water, then take some of this and the wet sugar, and beat them together in an Alabaster Mortar, till it come to a paste like dough, if you please put a little Musk to it, then make it up in little cakes of the breadth of a groat or three pence; lay them upon plates, and dry them gently in an Oven, and keep them in a dry place for your use: and upon occasion hold one of them in your mouth to melt, and swallow the dissolved juice thereof for the infirmities aforesaid.