Third mate ill

Surgeon’s journal

On the 18th of this month Adriaan de Puit, the third watch from Goes, came to me. He complained about pain in his side and in his stomach. I gave him a sudorific mixture (prescription 2) and a bloodletting. He was young and healthy, but it was to no advantage and the pain remained. I noticed then that he was badly infected with worms. I gave him a purgative: three drachmae of pulverized mirabilis jalapa roots, as well as a emetic: three drachmae of pulverized vomit root. He lost a worm of considerable length: around three or four 1 fathom = 6 feet (170 cm)fathoms. It had been broken off. He was relieved of pain to some extent. But it came back, so I gave him a purgative like the one mentioned before, after which he lost another worm. Then I gave him an infusion (prescription 11) of which he had to take a small glass in the morning and in the evening. He also used the wormwood elixir and lost another worm. I gave him another purgative as earlier prescribed after which he took a laxative as an infusion.


Prescription 2

R/ Misce fac mixtura sudorificans [mix and make a sudorific mixture] , every two hours a spoonful against fever

  • Cornu cervi usti [burnt cornu-cervi]: ℥ ß
  • 69
  • Sal tartari vitriolati [potassium carbonate; against fever]: ana
  • Sijrupus [de] limonibus [lemon juice]: ℥ ß
  • Aqua cinamoni [cinnamon tea]: ʒ II
  • [Aqua] cardui benedicti [tea with an extract of a blessed thisle]: ℥ III
  • [Aqua] melissethee [melissa tea]: ℥II

Prescription 11

R/ Vinum album [white wine] 3 pints of which to drink half a romer [type of wine glass, approximately 45 g]

  • Absinthium vulgare [regular absynthe]: manupulum unam
  • Dulcamare [bittersweet; blood-cleansing]: ℥ II
  • Flores centaureae minoris [avens flowers]: ℥ I
  • Radix gentian [gentian root]
  • [Radix] rhei [rhubarb root]: ana ℥ I
  • [Radix] angelica [angelica; used to treat tapeworms]: ℥ ß
  • Semen anisi [anise seeds]
  • [Semen] cumini [cumin seeds]: ℥ ß


  • ℈ scruple = 20 grain, so approximately 1,3 g
  • ʒ drachma = 3 scruple, so approximately 4 g
  • ℥ uncia = ounce = 8 drachmae, so approximately 31 g
  • ß = ½ of the given amount
  • romer = 1½ ounce, so approximately 45 g