CULPEPER, Nicholas. (1616-1654). The English Physitian: or an Astrologo-physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of this Nation being a compleat method of physick...

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CULPEPER, Nicholas. (1616-1654). The English Physitian: or an Astrologo-physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of this Nation being a compleat method of physick, whereby a man may preserve his body in health, or cure himself, being Sick. London: Peter Cole, 165 Folio (10 ½ x 7 in.; 26.7 x 17.7 cm.).

Engraved portrait frontispiece of Culpeper by Thomas Cross, one diagram in the text; some browning throughout, edges a little frayed, outer margin of leaf 2G1 torn with loss affecting some marginal text on verso. Contemporary panelled sheep, rebacked to style.

FIRST EDITION OF CULPEPER’S MAGNUM OPUS. Immensely popular at the time, there were over one hundred subsequent editions, including fifteen before 1700, and a 1708 edition that became one of the first medical books published in North America. This book provided a comprehensive list of native medicinal plants and "such things only as grow[n] in England, they being most fit for English Bodies" along with an index of typical illnesses. Culpeper’s practiced astrological botany rather than using the Galenic approach still flourishing during the 17th century.

PROVENANCE: early pen trials on inside front cover, frontispiece captioned "Coxcombe by Authority"; "Mr. Forman Book 1798" on recto of first blank; an early 19th-century autographed letter signed from Jane Williams of Epsom, to Thomas Sewell Esq., of Bookham, Surrey, concerning the sale of (?) soot and containing dried herbs. REFERENCES: Wing C7501; Henrey 53 and pp 82-88; Norman 541; see Poynter, "Nicholas Culpeper and his books", Journal of the History of Medicine 17: 152-67. Bookseller I.D. # 72nhr164