Excerpt 1 from Pseudo-Albertus Magnus [Heckel]

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


De Secretis Mulierum: Promoting Conception

Note that if the womb and intestine of a hare are dried and pulverized they become very hot, and similarly a pig's liver is hot in itself, and these will generate heat sufficient for conception. This should be administered in the end of the menstrual period, because the womb is dry in this time, and somewhat hotter than usual because of the retreat of menstrual cold.

There are also other experiments. Let a woman take the herb camphor in a pulverized form and drink it with wine and she will conceive. If the urine of a man is drunk, it will impede conception. If she takes powder made from the vulva of a hare mixed with liquid honey, and adds a bull's heart, slowly bringing this to a boil, and consumes this during one week at a particular time of day, then she will conceive. The woman ought to eat good, hot foods, and she should become a little inebriated and should be well massaged, and she should take care that her elevated legs do not cause the semen to spill out, so that she immediately exerts effort to retain it, and sleeps right afterward; in this case without doubt she will conceive.  (Pseudo-Albertus, 140.)


Pseudo-Albertus Magnus. De Secretis Mulierum (On the Secrets of Women). Trans. Helen Rodnite Lemay. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1992.

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