A Spice for the Elimination of Hardened Phlegm

Galen, De Simplicium Medicament. 12.55

Maker is an inner tree bark which comes from India, in regarding its flavor it is sufficiently sour, fragrant as well with a brief bitterness. But it also has a sweet smell similar to most Indian fragrances. The substance itself seems to come from a mixture, which is mostly of cold earth but a little bit of something warm and course—this is why it dries rather powerfully and gets sour and because of that mixes with the intestinal and dysenteric forces: it is in the third order of medicines which dry but it produces no different effect along the range of heat and cold*”

     [α′. Περὶ μάκερος.] Μάκερ φλοιός ἐστιν ἐκ τῆς ᾿Ινδικῆς κομιζόμενος, ἐν μὲν τῷ γεύεσθαι στρυφνὸς ἱκανῶς, μετά τινος βραχείας δριμύτητος ἀρωματιζούσης· ὀσμώμενος δὲ ἡδὺς ὁμοίως τοῖς πλείστοις ἀρώμασι τοῖς ᾿Ινδικοῖς. ἔοικεν οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκ μικτῆς οὐσίας συνεστάναι, τῆς πλείστης μὲν γεώδους ψυχρᾶς, ὀλίγης δέ τινος θερμῆς τε καὶ λεπτομεροῦς, ὅθεν ἰσχυρῶς ξηραίνει καὶ στύφει καὶ διὰ τοῦτο κοιλιακαῖς τε καὶ δυσεντερικαῖς μίγνυται δυνάμεσιν, ἐν μὲν τῇ τρίτῃ τάξει τῶν ξηραινόντων ὑπάρχων, ἐν δὲ τῇ κατὰ θερμότητα καὶ ψυχρότητα διαφορᾷ μηδέτερον ἐπιφανῶς ἐργαζόμενος.

*special thanks to the first comment for useful suggestions and addressing some of my very deep ignorance about Galen


Paulus 7.3.12

“Maker is a bark which comes from India, when dry in the third stage, it is in the middle of hot and cold. It is harsh and coarse. For this reason it works into the intestinal and dysenteric [regions].”

     Μάκερ φλοιόϲ ἐϲτιν ἐκ τῆϲ ᾿Ινδικῆϲ κομιζόμενοϲ, ξηραίνων μὲν κατὰ τὴν τρίτην τάξιν, μέϲοϲ δὲ κατὰ θερμότητα καὶ ψῦξιν· ἔϲτι δὲ καὶ ϲτυπτικὸϲ λεπτομερήϲ· ὅθεν κοιλιακοῖϲ τε καὶ δυϲεντερικοῖϲ ἁρμόττει.

Is this Walidda? Cf. Pliny the Elder Nat. Hist. 12.18

Aetius, 8.47.42

“These are [medicines] for the wealthy: “costos, amômos, and the one called maker, which is sufficiently hot with a sour taste. The Kurêneaic juice is useful for the elimination of hardened phlegm or something of the substances which accompany this, just like lasar is.”

ἔϲτι δὲ καὶ ταῦτα ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν πλουϲίων κόϲτοϲ καὶ ἄμωμον καὶ τὸ καλούμενον μάκερ, θερμαῖνον ἱκανῶϲ μετὰ  ϲτύψεωϲ καὶ ὁ Κυρηναικὸϲ δὲ ὀπὸϲ εἰϲ διαφόρηϲιν τῶν ϲκληρυνομένων φλεγμονῶν ἐπιτήδειοϲ ἤ τι τῶν μετ’ αὐτῶν, οἷόν ἐϲτι τὸ λάϲαρ.


2 thoughts on “A Spice for the Elimination of Hardened Phlegm

  1. first, as a fan, this blog and your project here is wonderful. thank you.

    second, a suggestion: “ἐν μὲν τῇ τρίτῃ τάξει τῶν ξηραινόντων ὑπάρχων, ἐν δὲ τῇ κατὰ θερμότητα καὶ ψυχρότητα διαφορᾷ μηδέτερον ἐπιφανῶς ἐργαζόμενος” – perhaps, ‘it belongs to the third order of (drugs which) dry, but produces no clear heating or cooling effect (more literally, ‘no clear effect along the continuum of heat and cold).” galen sets up four ‘orders and degrees’ for the four primary capacities of simple drugs: heating, cooling, moistening, drying. e.g., onions heat to the fourth degree, poppies cools to the fourth degree. here, galen (and paul of aegina when he follows him) is saying maker dries to the third degree. a summary of the terminology is at galen, simp. med. 7 pr., 12.2-4 kühn.

  2. I am going to take this translation. I am really bad at Galen and probably will never take the time to learn a lot of the technical phrases properly. But with help from generous readers like you, I can get a little better!

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