Two people ill

Surgeon’s journal

On the 1st of this month Pieter Geerolf, from Middelburg in Zeeland, came to me. He had been under carpenter but due to the death of the master carpenter he had been promoted. This person had been on the shore of ShamaGhanaFort St. Sebastian to repair the sloop with his mate. Even though it was forbidden by the captain, he had drunk a lot of palm wine. Because of that he came aboard with malaria with a severe headache and a bad edema in his legs. The edema set itself in the stomach, and it seemed like a bad dropsy would follow it. Some voyages I prescribe pulverized mirabilis jalapa, therefore now also two scruples of pulverized mirabilis jalapa and one scruple of ginger. This made his stomach a lot thinner. Some voyages I had also made the patient vomit using a pulverized emetic, and also now this made it better. I prescribed other things (prescription 18) against the fever, which limited it. He had also a blister in the neck, as well as behind the ears. I gave him some of the elixir (prescription 19), of which he drank a small glass in the morning and in the evening.

The first of this month Jacobus Duinkerken, a sailor from Middelburg, complained to me about diarrhea. I found that he had dysentery. I attempted to purge the body through three scruples of pulverized emetic, and then a soft laxative (prescription 20). To stop the diarrhea I prescribed medicine (prescription 21) of which one or two scruples was given to him in the mornings and evenings.


Prescription 18

R/ Misce fac pulvis [mix and make a powder].

  • Sal cardui benedicti [salt with an extract of a blessed thisle]
  • [Sal] absinthii [salt from absinthe]: ana ℈ I
  • [Sal] nitri [saltpetre]: ℈ II


  • ℈ scruple = 20 grain, so approximately 1,3 g
  • āā en ān: and ānn = ana (Gr.) take an equal amount of all

Prescription 19

R/ Fac infusion [make an infusion].

  • Radix: gentiana [gentian root]: unciam unam
  • Centaurea minor [avens]
  • Absinthii vulgaris [absinthe]: ana manupulum unam
  • Salvia [sage]
  • Folium cochleariae hortensi [definitie beschrijving="scurvy grass" titel=""]Cochlearia[/definitie]: manupulos duos


  • ℥ uncia = ounce = 8 drachmae, so approximately 31 g
  • āā en ān: and ānn = ana (Gr.) take an equal amount of all
  • man: = manupulus = a handful

Prescription 20

R/ Misce fac pulvis [mix and make a powder].

  • Radix rhei tosti [root of roasted rhubarb]: ℈ II
  • Nuces moscatae [nutmeg; in cases of dysentery]: ℈ ß


  • ℈ scruple = 20 grain, so approximately 1,3 g
  • ß = ½ of the given amount

Prescription 21

R/ Misce fac conditum [mix and make a viscous potion: doses ʒ I tot ʒ II.

  • Conserva rosarum rubrarum [rose hip conserve; against scurvy]: ℥ ß
  • Diascordium Fracastorii [diascord, is a kind of electuary, or opiate, first described by Fracastorius, and denominated from the dried leaves of scordium, which is an ingredient therein]
  • Balzamum copaivae [balsam from Copaiba, a certain Surinam type of wood; used in case of syphilis]: ana ʒ III
  • Pulvis cornu cervi [powder from cornu-cervi]
  • Sanguis draconis [dragon’s blood; a bright red resin that is obtained from the probably the Dracaena draco is meant by this daemonorops propinquus]: ana ℥ ß
  • Laudanum opiatum [opium drops, analgetic] gr: III
  • Oleum menthae [mint oil]: Gutta, plural guttaedrop guttae V


  • ʒ drachma = 3 scruple, so approximately 4 g
  • ℥ uncia = ounce = 8 drachmae, so approximately 31 g
  • ß = ½ of the given amount
  • āā en ān: and ānn = ana (Gr.) take an equal amount of all