To preserve from the Infection of Plague

These snippets come from a useful little book of advice on dealing with, and surviving, the plague. Published in 1665, it is entitled FOR EVERY Housholder, & his Family, During the Time of the PLAGUE. 

Those that fear the Plague, and are not Infected, let them take of this Drink hereafter following, which is twice in every Week, half a spoonful at a time: It hath been observed, that never any one dyed of the Sickness, that did take it in time. Take three Pints of Malmsey, a handful of Rue, as much of Sage; boyl these to a Quart, then strain out the Herbs, and then take an Ounce of Long-Pepper, Vinegar and Nutmegs, all beaten small in a Morter, and put into the Wine, and boyl it a little; then take it off, and put into it one Ounce of Mithridate, two Ounces of the best Treacle, and a quarter of a Pint of Aqua-Vitae, and put all into the Wine, and so keep it.

The Use of it: If any be Infected, take one spoonful of it, as soon as the Party doth presume himself Infected, lukewarm; and so goe to Bed, and sweat two or three hours; and then dry the Body well, and keep warm, and drink no cold Drink, but warm Drink and Caudles, and Posset-Drink, with Marigold Leaves and Flowers: When the Party hath sweat, and is well dryed with warm Clothes; and so long as the Party is ill, take a spoonful Morning and Evening.

To Preserve from the Infection of the Plague: Take Garlick, and peel it, and mince it small, put it into new Milk, and eat it fasting.

Another special Preservative: Take an Egge, make a hole in the top of it, take out the white, and the yolk, and fill the shell only with Saffron; roast the shell and Saffron together, in Embers of Charcole, untill the shell wax yellow; then beat shell and all together in a Morter, with half a spoonful of Mustard-Seed: Now so soon as any suspition is had of Infection, dissolve the weight of a French Crown, in ten spoonfulls of Posset-Ale, drink it luke-warm, and sweat upon it in your naked Bed.


IF you fear you are Infected, or feel any Kernel rising, or any Apostumation burning or pricking, abstain from Sleep, for Sleep leadeth the Venome to the Heart. That Day that you are Infected, eat but little, or no Food; for evil Humours so fill you, that they take away your Stomack: Or if you do eat, then do you covet to sleep, and feel a great burning, with a kind of shuddering, as it were, through Cold: You have also a great Pain in the fore part of the Head: You cannot endure to ride, or to walk, or any motion of the Body; but are dull, lumpish, and given wholly over to-sadness and drowsiness.

Drink for ordinary Dyet: So near as you can, let the Patients ordinary Drink, be good small Ale, of eight dayes old

For Sores: Take a hot Loaf, new taken forth of the Oven, apply it to the Sore, and it will doubtless break the same: but afterward bury the same Loaf deep enough in the Ground, for fear of any Infection; for if either Dogg, or any other thing, do feed thereon, it will infect a great many.

These Things ought duly to be looked unto· viz.

IT is very convenient, that you keep your Houses, Streets, Yards, back-sides, Sinks and Kennells sweet and clean, from all standing Puddles, Dunghills, and corrupt Moystures, which ingender stinking Savours, that may be noysome, or breed Infection.  Nor suffer no Doggs to come running into your Houses; neither keep any, except it be backward, in some Place of open Air; for they are very dangerous, and not sufferable in time of Sickness, by reason they run from Place to Place, and from one House to another, feeding upon the uncleanest things, that are cast forth in the Streets; and are a most apt Cattel to take Infection of any Sickness, and then to bring it into the House.

For Ayring your Rooms: Ayr your several Rooms with Charcole-fires, made in Stone Panns or Chaffing dishes, and not in Chimneys; set your Panns in the middle of the Rooms; ayr every Room once a Week (at the least) and put into your Fire a little quantity of Frankincense, Juniper, dryed Rosemary, or of Bay-Leaves.

For Ayring Appare: Let the Apparel of the Diseased Persons be well and often washed, be it Linnen or Woollen: or let it be ayred in the Sun, or over Panns of Fire, or over a Chaffing dish of Coals; and fume the same with Frankincense, Juniper, or dryed Rosemary.

To take the Infection from a House Infected: Take large Onions, peel them, and lay three or four of them upon the Ground; let them lye ten Dayes, and those peeled Onions will gather all the Infection into them, that is in one of those Rooms: But bury those Onions afterward deep in the Ground.

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  • February 2, 2010 - 12:07 am | Permalink

    Although I still daydream about inheriting a parrot, this is the most practical thing I’ve found here.

    One never knows. Thank you.

  • February 1, 2010 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    The titles of these things are usually quite short, but the subtitle can be anything up to half a page long. I usually provide both for anyone who wishes to look further at the texts. The longest subtitle I ever came across was over a page in length…..

  • January 31, 2010 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    At what point did this start doing snappy titles?

    The title of this one looks more like and abstract!

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