Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Herbalists Gone By: Mr. Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654)

Mr. Nicholas Culpeper was a herbalist born is 1616 in Isfield, Sussex. His father and maternal grand-father were ministers. Upon the death of his father he was taken into the care of his maternal grandparents, His grand-father ensured he was educated in Latin, Greek and English. His love for herbs was sparked by his grand-mother’s used of them during his childhood. He was of a puritanical mind, in this he was a devout christian, and had little respect for the crown nor the church. And translated many works from the aristocratic Latin to the common-man’s English.

When he came of age his grandfather enrolled him in Cambridge University to study theology as he was to become a minister like his father and grand-father. But between him dotting his time as university with anatomy and medical lectures and his growing love for a Miss Judith Rivers, his time at university came to an end when they decided to elope, sadly on the way to the meeting point from which they would set out to elope Miss Judith’s carriage was struck by lightening and she was killed, because of his leaving university to elope, he was disinherited by his mothers family. The shock from the tragedy contributed to the death of his mother. Leaving him shunned and heart broken for some time afterwards.

He found employment working as an apprentice for a apothecary in exchange for teaching the him Latin. This task took only a year and upon the apothecary’s death Culpeper was able to keep up the practice himself.

He was always thoughtful of the poor and thus would often charge little or nothing to his impoverished patients. Resulting in him seeing up to 40 patients a day. A fact probably contributing to his popularity. 

Earlier in his life he fought in a war first as a field surgeon and then as a captain. He was wounded in the shoulder and taken back to him home by carriage.

Years later he found love again in a young Miss Alice Field and they married conceiving of 7 children though only one, his daughter Mary outlived him.

He translated and wrote a total of 79 books some of which are still in print today. He was also an avid astrologer and often wrote his books with a foundation in astrology as a system for diagnosis and treatment.

He died at the age of 38 of Tuberculosis, which he suposedly contracted from the bullet injury during the battle in which he was a field surgeon.

I hope you enjoyed this abridged article on Nicholas Culpeper. Below are a few links to some of his books as well as an in-depth biography. Thanks for reading!

P.S. Here are some places where you can view his material FREE online! 

Thought you might wanna poke around the book a bit before you think about buying a hard copy. Enjoy!

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