Excerpt from The Book of Women's Love [Heckel]

[From Sex, Society and Medieval Women by N. M. Heckel]


The Book of Women's Love on abortion:

To induce an abortion: Take half a drachm of aspaltum lzry; peony, leek, white hellebore and madder, half a drachm of each; and half an ounce of opoponax. Take [also] honey or leek juice and bull's gall; make a pessary in an acorn shape and insert it in the womb. Another remedy: Give her to drink aspaltum l'zr', madder and wild rue with white wine. Another remedy, also [helpful] to expel the dead foetus: Take the herb from Tunisia, pepper, wild rue, bull's gall, and the above-mentioned aspaltum; if she drinks it with wine she will abort immediately. . . . Aristotle wrote: If she receives the smoke of citron leaves boiled well in water, she will abort. And al-Razi wrote: If she prepares a poultice of lupin flour with honey and vinegar, this will abort the feotus. (Caballero-Navas, 170.)


The Book of Women's Love and Jewish Medieval Medical Literature on Women. Ed. and trans. Carmen Caballero-Navas. London: Kegan Paul, 2004.

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