18 Annotations

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

While there is only one reference by Pepys to opium, over the years there has been a healthy discussion in the annotations about its uses and abuses in the 17th century.

BACKGROUND:

Epidemics of malaria periodically decimated the population of England. What to do?

Hope seemed to come from exotic and dangerous sources, as the curative powers of quinine were discovered by the Jesuits in Peru in the 17th century. It became known as "Jesuits' Powder."

The cure got off to a rocky start in England, where loyal Protestants viewed it as part of a Jesuit plot to take over the country. Oliver Cromwell died of malaria at a relatively young age rather than avail himself of dastardly Jesuitical medicine.

Charles II was more fortunate. He was the beneficiary of what the Jesuits of the time might have called a strict mental reservation -- and what Pascal might have called a lie.

"In 1672 Robert Talbor, who described himself as a feverologist, published a book that carefully avoided any mention of the ingredients of his own remedy but warned others: Beware of all palliative cures, and especially of that known as Jesuits' Powder, for I have seen most dangerous effects follow the taking of that medicine.

"That warning was duplicitous: Talbor was mixing Jesuits' Powder with opium and various wines, thus disguising it from detection.

"In 1678 a malaria epidemic broke out around London, and it was not long before Charles II contracted the disease. News of Talbor's success in curing people reached the king. Despite the fact that Talbor was considered a quack by the College of Physicians, the king demanded his services. Talbor cured the king."

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/want-jesuit

According to Hazelmary, who does not give us a citation:

Charles II rewarded Robert Talbor with an honorary knighthood and he was appointed Royal Physician.

"In 1678 Charles II sent Talbor to the French court where Louis XIV's son was suffering from malaria. He was pressed by Louis XIV to reveal his secret with an offer of 3,000 gold crowns and a substantial pension for life for the right to publish the secret upon his death.

"When Talbor died in 1681, at age 42 Louis XIV released Talbor's formula, and it was published in London the following year."

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/02/01/#c1118

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In December, 1660 Pepys observes "Luellin (who was very drowsy from a dose that he had got the last night)"

Vincent suggested:
Laudanum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum#:~:text=La….

Laudanum' is an alcoholic tincture of opium, sometimes sweetened with sugar and also called wine of opium. Laudanum was introduced into Western medicine by Paracelsus (1493-1541) as an analgesic.
Some laudanum recipes by Boyle:
https://www.bbk.ac.uk/boyle/workdiaries/WD7Clean.…
[Where in that enormous website you find recipes, I don't know. Feel free to post if you find them.]

Laudanum. St. & Mor.
{Rx} Salis petrae & tartari ana {pound} 1 detonent prunâ accenso, agitentorque Bacillo ferreo, Elixa, filtra, salemque exiccato.
Vincent's guess was that the name was derived from the Latin - Laudo, are - to praise or laus, laudis— “glory” or better “hallulia”: just a thought.
sorry! need a pharmacist to rx this.

Chris Squires added:
OED has:

‘laudanum, n. Etym: < modern Latin laudanum, used by Paracelsus as the name of a medicament for which he gives a pretended prescription, the ingredients comprising leaf-gold, pearls not perforated, etc.
It was early suspected that opium was the real agent of the cures which Paracelsus professed to have effected by this costly means; hence the name was applied to certain opiate preparations which were sold as identical with his famous remedy . . ‘

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/12/06/#c531…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On Stone Day, 1663 (March 26) there is a discussion about what the operation entailed, and Dirk contributed this:

Anesthesia

"European physicians did their best to relieve their patients' pain, most often through the judicious use of opium [from poppies] or, after 1680, laudanum, the mixture of opium in sherry introduced by Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689)."
https://www.opioids.com/pain-management/history.h…

"Only a few surgical procedures were available before the mid-1800s. Little was known about diseases or how to prevent infection. There was also no satisfactory anesthesia available to put the patient into a deep sleep and allow doctors to perform unhurried operative procedures.
Certain means of reducing surgical pain had been available since ancient times, however. These included such drugs as alcohol, hashish, and opium derivatives. Also available were rudimentary physical methods of producing analgesia (insensitivity to pain). These included packing a limb in ice or applying a tourniquet.
Another technique used, although an extreme one, was to induce unconsciousness, either by inflicting a blow to the head or by strangulation. Most often the patient was simply restrained by physical force, thus making surgery a last resort."
http://www.discoveriesinmedicine.com/Enz-Ho/Ether…

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/03/26/#c435…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On May 16 May, 1664 Pepys saw an experiment on a dog (skip reading this excerpt if you're squeemish):
"By and by we to see an experiment of killing a dogg by letting opium into his hind leg. He and Dr. Clerke did fail mightily in hitting the vein, and in effect did not do the business after many trials; but with the little they got in, the dogg did presently fall asleep, and so lay till we cut him up, and a little dogg also, which they put it down his throate; he also staggered first, and then fell asleep, and so continued."

Atropos commented:
One can understand Sam's eagerness to witness this early experiment in Anesthesia in the light of his own experience in being "cut", and the very real possibility, in light of his recent symptoms, of the return of pain and disability.
His is not a casual or morbid interest.

Pepys does not say whether this experiment was connected with the Royal Society. Earlier this month their minutes say: "May 4, 1664. It was ordered that Dr. Croune, Dr. Balle, and Mr. Hooke take care at the next meeting to cut off some skin of a dog; and that the operator provide a dog for that purpose." Several experiments at subsequent meetings are reported (Birch's "History of the Royal Society," vol. i., p. 422). -- Wheatley, 1904.

L&M note Gunther (iii. 130) states that anesthesia by intravenous injections of opium had been induced in animals since c. 1656.
Early science in Oxford by Gunther, R. T. (Robert Theodore), Published 1920
https://archive.org/details/earlyscienceinox03gunt
[again, if you find the source of L&M's note, please enlighten us]

Gerald Berg pointed out "I see the syringe was invented in 1844 so this begs the question of what was used in this case?"

Terry Foreman found a possible answer: "Perhaps like this 1666 procedure at the Royal Society

The world's first experiments with blood transfusion occurred in the mid-1660s in England. The procedure, which was first carried out between dogs, was gruesome: the dogs were tied down, the arteries and veins in their necks opened, and blood transferred from one to another through quills (most likely made from goose feathers) inserted into the blood vessels. The experimentalist started and stopped the flow of blood by loosening and tightening threads tied with running knots around the dogs blood vessels. The blood of the emittent dog flowed from its carotid artery into a vein in the recipients neck while the recipients own blood ran out its carotid artery. According to physician Richard Lower, who described the operation in an essay published in 1666 in Philosophical Transactions, the worlds oldest scientific journal, the transfusion came to an end when the emittent dog began to cry, and faint, and fall into Convulsions, and at last dye [;sic];. http://www.morbidanatomymuseum.org/event/jstor-pr…
CHECK OUT THE ILLUSTRATION!

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/05/16/#c541…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On 28 May, 1664 Pepys is suffering from flatulence, or rather, lack of it ... the stone or the cold or something makes him think he will, but nothing happens. A strange and annoying feeling.

Cumsalisgrano reminded us that John Locke teaches "... rhubarb will purge, hemlock kill, opium sleep ..." without a citation.

But I found this:
"Did we but know the mechanical affections of the particles of rhubarb, hemlock, opium, and a man... we should be able to tell beforehand that rhubarb will purge, hemlock kill and opium make a man sleepy...” -- John Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
https://europepmc.org/article/NBK/nbk507791

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/05/28/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On 29 May, 1664 there is a discussion about the East Indies trade:

Pedro shared:
THE LEOPARD

"That their hindering of the Leopard cannot amount to £3000 if true."

October 1662 Dutch ships were besieging Cochin one of the best pepper ports on the Malabar coast.
Forty miles south at Porakad, the English had lately set up a factory by invitation of the local Rajah, who the English contended was vassal not to Cochin but to Zamorin of Calicut.
The Presidency Governor at Surat in the same month dispatched the Company's ship Hopewell to discharge gold and opium at Porakad and to embark the pepper collected by the factors; but she was stopped by the Dutch and turned back, under the grounds that the whole coast was under blockade.
The Leopard was held up at Cochin, the captain being told that, since Cochin had surrendered (taken from Portuguese) all its dependents, including Porakad, were under Dutch dominion, and that Cochin had contracted to deliver the whole pepper crop to them.

(Summary from British Foreign Policy 1660-1672 by Feiling)

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/05/29/#c130…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

By July 17, 1664 Pepys was desperate to deal with his pains:
" Walked home again, and there fell to read, and by and by comes my uncle Wight, Dr. Burnett, and another gentleman, and talked and drank, and the Doctor showed me the manner of eating, turpentine, which pleases me well, for it is with great ease."

Australian Susan recalled that as a young person, she also "ran through the gamut of other usual remedies/preventives in the '50s: cod liver oil, syrup of figs and liquid paraffin. Also warm olive oil poured in the ears for earache. And one that was palatable: NHS dispensed orange juice in medicine bottles with a cork. And there was also Gripe Water for babies with colic which used to contain opium and still had alcohol in [it] until recent times: sad nannies used to drink it by the bottle."

Then she enquired, "What was the turpentine supposed to do for Sam's bowels?"

I was wondering that myself. Isn't it poisonous?

Patricia didn't think so: "Am I the only one here who has taken turpentine? Twenty-odd years ago I had pneumonia, my own doctor was away, and the sadistic old relic on call prescribed a cough syrup which did actually contain turps. I had to take it every 4 hours. I would start crying when I saw my husband coming with the bottle & spoon."

There's more on the medicinal use of turps. if you are interested.

Buy for the opium quote, see
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/07/17/#c163…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On 19 January, 1665 Pepys was still looking for help with his pain:
"This day and yesterday, I think it is the change of the weather, I have a great deal of pain, but nothing like what I use to have. I can hardly keep myself loose, but on the contrary am forced to drive away my pain. Here I am so sleepy I cannot hold open my eyes, ..."

JWB points out, "He writes that he's forced to drive away pain. How else but by opiate? And one of the consequences is constipation. That Symrna ship captured before Christmas may have been so valuable because of the opium it carried. I know later Symrna was a major exporter. Figs & raisins, tobacco & opium -- they had you coming and going."
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/01/19/#c202…

Mary agreed: "Laudanum.
"The first apothecary to formulate and sell laudanum was Thomas Sydenham, who introduced this remedy to the English market in 1680. It was a compound of opium, sherry and herbs.
Sam's apparent symptoms (possible constipation and attested sleepiness) could be ascribed to the use of opium, but if this is the case I'm surprised that he hasn't mentioned the substance."

Ruben sort of agreed: "Thomas Sydenham was the best Doctor in Medicine of his century! To his credit he preferred 'Primum non nocere' to any other non demonstrated treatment." ["First do no harm"]

cgs pointed out, "The Fen country produced a weak opiate from its lush growth of Poppies."

dirk added historical perspective: "Opium and the crusades
"So far as I have been able to find out, the crusaders -- and more in particular the Hospital Knights (later known as the Knights of Malta) -- were familiar with the use of opium as a sedative. The drug was used for that purpose by the Arabs, and the Knights were open to new knowledge. It seems that most of this new knowledge was lost after the crusades. Opium was then reintroduced in the 16th century.
Some interesting reading: http://www.discern-malta.org/pdf_files/drug.pdf
The text is written from a (modern) Maltese perspective, but contains a lot of historical info."
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/01/19/#c202…

petasuspilleusgaleruscaput shared, "a story of Poppie.
Culpepper also tells us:
'it is more cooling than any of the other Poppies, and therefore cannot but be as effectual in hot agues, frenzies, and other inflammations either inward or outward. Galen saith, The seed is dangerous to be used inwardly.' http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/popwhi6…

"Codeine was once an over the counter
Laudanum Tincture of opium.

"Usually a liquid, but the alcoholic extract can be subsequently dried as well. Preparation instructions from Culpepper's Complete Herbal, 1653":
http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~treevecwll/family/…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On 5 May, 1665 Pepys reports his aunt (probably) had breast cancer:
"My wife tells me that she hears that my poor aunt James hath had her breast cut off here in town, her breast having long been out of order."

Australian Susan sympathized: "Mastectomy without benefit of anesthesia
"The author Fanny Burney (aka Madame d'Arblay) had a breast removed in 1811 with nothing except a drink of wine and a cambric handkerchief to help her. She wrote an account of it. Try and read this without wincing."
http://wesclark.com/jw/mastectomy.html

jeannine responded: "might Aunt James have had breast cancer?"
"I believe that she did. A slight spoiler here, but Anne Hyde will die of what is believed to have been breast cancer, so there may have been some indication among the doctors of the time, that something along the line of cancer did exist, although perhaps not by that name. For Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_cancer
the history of breast cancer section says:
“Breast cancer may be one of the oldest known forms of cancer tumors in humans. The oldest description of cancer was discovered in Egypt and dates back to approximately 1600 BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were treated by cauterization. The writing says about the disease, "There is no treatment."
"For centuries, physicians described similar cases in their practises, with the same sad conclusion.
"It wasn't until doctors achieved greater understanding of the circulatory system in the 17th century that they could establish a link between breast cancer and the lymph nodes in the armpit.
"The French surgeon Jean Louis Petit (1674-1750) and later the Scottish surgeon Benjamin Bell (1749-1806) were the first to remove the lymph nodes, breast tissue, and underlying chest muscle. Their successful work was carried on by William Stewart Halsted who started performing mastectomies in 1882. He became known for his Halsted radical mastectomy, a surgical procedure that remained popular up to the 1970s.”
"My guess is that Aunt James had it, and much like the heart wrenching description in the article that Aussie Susan gave us, she had it removed. Part of me would have thought that Sam would have shed a little more sympathy having been cut of his stone, as he must know first hand how excruciating and frightening it must have been for the poor woman."
"Also, Susan thanks for the post. How horrible to read about, but just one more thing to add to my gratitude to be in the here and now. Also, I was struck by Fanny’s description of the surgeon. As horrible as the surgery was for her, it clearly was an incredibly difficult thing for him. May God bless them all -– the women who suffered and those with the incredible sense of self to be able to rise to the occasion and try to save them with dignity."
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/05/05/#c213…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The breast cancer operation without anesthetic conversation continued:

I chimed in: "Breast cancer was a problem:
“Dr. William Harvey’s practice was not very great towards his later end; he declined it, unless to a special friend, — e.g. my Lady Howland, who had a cancer in her breast, which he did cut-off and seared, but at last she died of it.”
http://www.she-philosopher.com/ib/bios/harvey.html
"Dr. Harvey, of circulation fame, died in 1657. I have yet to discover who Lady Howland was."

But I wasn’t done:
"The author Fanny Burney (aka Madame d'Arblay) had a breast removed in 1811 with nothing except a drink of wine and a cambric handkerchief to help her."
"The problem seems to have been the inability of doctors and "scientists" to share information, and/or information getting lost. For instance, opium was brought back by the Crusaders ... but they forgot about it (possibly the addiction outweighed the benefits, making it too dangerous?).
"In Pepys' time some doctors must have known about laudanum, because in 1676, physician Thomas Sydenham made a huge impact on society by publishing his recipe for laudanum, sharing his discovery worldwide.
"But he wasn't the 'inventor.' Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a Swiss physician who reintroduced opium for medical use in Western Europe. He was so enthusiastic about the drug that would always carry it with him calling it the "immortality stone." He thought "Among medicines offered by Almighty God to relieve human suffering none is so universal and effective as opium."
"The term 'laudanum' is used in the medical literature of the 17th century to define a drug of proven efficacy, and so many laudanum recipes were named after famous physicians. There are questions as to whether or not Paracelsus' laudanum contained opium.
"Sydenham's laudanum, on the other hand, was the major opium-containing formulation used in England in the 17th century, and in the Americas until the early 20th century. It contained opium, wine, beer, saffron, clove and cinnamon.
"In the 18th century other preparations appeared. One famous one invented between 1702 and 1718 was Dover's Powder consisted of a blend of opium, salt, tartar, licorice and feveroot, and Paregoric (from Le Mort, professor at the University of Leyden).
"A modified formulation, called Paregoric Elixir with opium, honey, camphor, anis and wine was published in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721.
"About the same time, another preparation known as Rousseau's laudanum was fashionable in Continental Europe.
"However, opium's adverse effects were recognized, worrying Sydenham himself, who was a notorious enthusiast of the drug.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"In 1700, Londoner physician John Jones published "The Mysteries of Opium Reveal'd" which called attention to the risks of excessive use of this drug, admitting that adverse effects could be a consequence of residues not eliminated during preparation.
"Two other books were written later in the 18th century about opium: George Young's "Treatise on Opium" in 1750, and Samuel Crumpe's "Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of Opium" in 1793. Both mentioned addiction and, more superficially, withdrawal symptoms. None of them suggested any restriction on opium either as drug or as a source of pleasure."
"For more information, see http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0034-7094200…
"So now that the information was widely known, why did operations continue to be done without pain killers?"
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/05/05/#c545…

No answer.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I tried again on 25 May, 1666, during a conversation about hemp:

Kate: "I don't think any kind of drug was criminalized before the 20th century. You could buy laudanum (containing opium) over the counter in Victorian times." [That was disputed.]

cgs: "laudanum
[a. mod.L. laudanum, used by Paracelsus as the name of a medicament for which he gives a pretended prescription, the ingredients comprising leaf-gold, pearls not perforated, etc. (Opera 1658 I. 492/2).
It was early suspected that opium was the real agent of the cures which Paracelsus professed to have effected by this costly means; hence the name was applied to certain opiate preparations which were sold as identical with his famous remedy.
It is doubtful whether the word as used by Paracelsus was a fanciful application of laudanum a med.L. variant of LADANUM, or was suggested by laud{amac}re to praise or by some other word, or was formed quite arbitrarily.]
1. In early use, a name for various preparations in which opium was the main ingredient. Now only: The simple alcoholic tincture of opium.
1602-3 MANNINGHAM Diary (Camden) 46 There is a certaine kinde of compound called Laudanum..the virtue of it is very soueraigne to mitigate anie payne.
1643 SIR T. BROWNE Relig. Med. II. §12, I need no other Laudanum than this to make me sleep.

opium ...
1. a. A reddish-brown strongly scented addictive drug prepared from the thickened dried latex of the unripe capsules of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, used illicitly as a narcotic, and occasionally medicinally as a sedative and analgesic.
a1398 ....
1577 J. FRAMPTON tr. N. Monardes Ioyfull Newes f. 40v, Thei dooe sell the Opio in their Shoppes,..and thei call it there emongst them selues Aphion.
1625 S. PURCHAS Pilgrimes II. ix. 1530 (side note) Anfion is a kind of herbe that makes drunke.
1662 J. DAVIES in J. A. de Mandelslo Trav. (1669) I. 29 He took Offion, or Opium.
1699 London Spy Apr. 7 Offer violence to your most pretious Lives, by taking..Opium.
1711 C. LOCKYER Acct. Trade India 43 Ophium is always deliver'd three chests to a Bahar.
...
2. Extended uses.
a. Something which soothes or dulls the senses; a stupefying agent.
1608 BP. T. MORTON Preamble Incounter 33 Stupified with that Opium of implicit faith and blinde deuotion.
1658 SIR T. BROWNE Hydriotaphia v. 74 There is no antidote against the Opium of time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I tried again: "Opium, laudanum ... since doctors and "scientists" knew about these pain killers, why not use them? Did they have trouble sharing the information, and/or information getting lost. For instance, opium was brought back by the Crusaders ... but the information was forgotten (possibly the addiction outweighed the benefits, making it too dangerous?).
"The East India Company was delivering opium by now. Who was using it?
"In Pepys' time some doctors knew about laudanum, because in ten years from now the physician Thomas Sydenham made a huge impact on society by publishing his recipe for laudanum, sharing his discovery worldwide.
"As mentioned above, Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a Swiss physician who reintroduced opium and laudanum for medical use in Western Europe. He was so enthusiastic about the drug that he would always carry it with him calling it the "immortality stone." He thought "Among medicines offered by Almighty God to relieve human suffering none is so universal and effective as opium."
"The term laudanum is used in the medical literature of the 17th century to define a drug of proven efficacy, and so many laudanum recipes were named after famous physicians. Some question whether or not Paracelsus' laudanum contained opium.
"Sydenham's laudanum, on the other hand, was the major opium-containing formulation used in England in the 17th century, and in the Americas until the early 20th century. It contained opium, wine, beer, saffron, clove and cinnamon.
"In the 18th century other preparations appeared. One famous one invented between 1702 and 1718 was Dover's Powder consisted of a blend of opium, salt, tartar, licorice and feveroot, and Paregoric (from Le Mort, professor at the University of Leyden).
"A modified formulation, called Paregoric Elixir with opium, honey, camphor, anis and wine was published in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721.
"About the same time, another preparation known as Rousseau's laudanum was fashionable in Continental Europe.
"However, opium's adverse effects were recognized, worrying even Sydenham.
"In 1700, Londoner physician John Jones published "The Mysteries of Opium Reveal'd" which called attention to the risks of excessive use of this drug, admitting that adverse effects could be a consequence of residues not eliminated during preparation.
"Two other books were written later in the 18th century about opium: George Young's "Treatise on Opium" in 1750, and Samuel Crumpe's "Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of Opium" in 1793. Both mentioned addiction and, more superficially, withdrawal symptoms. None of them suggested any restriction on opium either as drug or as a source of pleasure.
"For more information, see http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0034-70942
"Since the information was widely known, why did operations continue to be done without pain killers?"

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This time Mary K had an answer:

"non-use of opium in the operating theatre
"Perhaps the danger of laudanum etc. having a depressing effect on the respiratory system was recognized earlier than we might think. You do need to keep the patient breathing and a heavy, one-off dose of an opiate might be risky."

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/05/25/#c545…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On 4 November 1666 Robert Gertz was philosophizing about what constituted a classy person in Pepys' day.

"It should of course be noted that the said "breeding" didn't bar careers of piracy and general criminality, savage brutality, adultery, corruption, rape, enslavement, murder... But done with a certain "style" (i.e., officially condoned-often via connections and relations in government or business or both) and veneer of manner and education.
"Brutal exploitation, the slave, opium, and other drug trades could go hand in hand with very fine manners at Court and an interest in natural philosophy, languages, literature, art, and music.
"One of the shining examples as late as 19th century America might be Warren Delano, grandfather of FDR who twice returned to China to make fortunes from the drug trade there while leading a highly respectable life as a country gentleman of considerable means.
"I suppose later distinguished generations of Escobars will pause in showing their art museums, factories, hospitals, and estates to make a quiet joke or two about their embarrassing roguish ancestor."

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/11/04/#c288…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

By 13 May, 1667 Chancellor Clarendon was very ill. Pepys said,
"I find Sir Philip Warwicke, who I perceive do give over my Lord Treasurer for a man of this world, his pain being grown great again upon him, and all the rest he hath is by narcotiques, and now Sir Philip Warwicke do please himself, like a good man, to tell some of the good ejaculations of my Lord Treasurer concerning the little worth of this world, to buy it with so much pain, and other things fit for a dying man."

John in Newcastle asked, "What narcotics would have been available to a wealthy man in great pain? Opium? Coca leaves? Alcohol?"

A. De Araujo replied, "Methinks opium no doubt."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

December 20, 1667 it was Elizabeth's turn to be sick:
"At noon home to dinner, where my poor wife in bed in mighty pain, her left cheek so swelled as that we feared it would break, and so were fain to send for Mr. Hollier, who come, and seems doubtful of the defluxions of humours that may spoil her face, if not timely cured. He laid a poultice to it and other directions, and so away, ..." and later
"So home to my poor wife, who is in mighty pain, and her face miserably swelled: so as I was frighted to see it, and I was forced to lie below in the great chamber, where I have not lain many a day, and having sat up with her, talking and reading and pitying her, I to bed."

Mary had some information: "Pain relief
"Thomas Sydenham, who began practicing medicine in King Street in 1655, is reputed by some to be the first Western physician to introduce the use of laudanum for the relief of pain (the use of quinine for malaria is also accredited to him).
"However, some of his ideas were viewed as distinctly new-fangled, so Pepys/Hollier may either not have known of these specifics or perhaps did not trust them.
"Sam does not seem to have been given any effective pain relief for his operation for the stone.
"Laudanum did not come fully into fashion until the next century."

Mary later added, "Opium
"According to various histories, opium was known in early mediaeval times in western Europe, but it was banned by the Church circa 1300 because, coming from the non-Christian east, it was viewed as evil.
"For the next 200 years it's use disappears from the west European record, only resurfacing in Portugal circa 1500."

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/12/20/#c314…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Another narcotic mentioned once by Pepys is MITHRYDATE:

On April 9, 1664 Pepys had a painful day, and it sounds as if he was running a fever. "and so home and to bed, and by the help of Mithrydate —[An opiate?? D.W.]— slept very well."

L&M Select Glossary: Drug used as an opiate.

JWB quoted from Benjamin Wooley's "Heal Thyself, Nicholas Culpeper and the 17th C. ...."p140:

"Theriac (treacle) of Mithridates had been the sovereign remedy of the physician's pharmacopoeia since the Middle Ages ... its fifty ingredients coming form the four corners of the known earth.
"It contained myrrh, saffron, agrick, ginger, cinnamon, spikenard, frankincense, oil of nutmeg, turpentine, juice of hypocistis styrax calanitis, cassia ligneam, Macedonian Parsley seed, seeds of Cretan carrot, valerian, the bellies of skinks, the tops of St. John's wort, & Malaga wine."

Yuck.

But I found a story about the death of Andrew Marvell which suggests opium was also an ingredient in many versions:

According to the article below, mithridate was the aspirin of the 17th century. It was prescribed for everything, and was on every apothecaries' shelf.
In 1678 the 57-year-old Andrew Marvell MP had the ague (what we now call malaria, and a mild form of which was rampant in London and southeast England).
People knew about the life-saving effects of quinine, but being a good Protestant, Marvell didn't want to take anything which had gone through Jesuit hands in South America. So it is now being proposed that he took his father's recipe for mithridate, which contained opium.
Andrew Marvell had written a poem during Cromwell's reign warning people about the dangers of opium, but that was 35 years ago, and presumably he had forgotten his own caution.
He died "mysteriously", and his friends cried "MURDER!" But now historians think it was an accidental O.D.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/16/and…

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1664