Cure for the common cold: dragon’s blood

According to a handwritten 17th c. manuscript of nostrums, tinctures, and remedies going up for auction today, there’s nothing like boiling a shallot, herbs, and some bruised dragon’s blood in a pint of fairy water to kill a cold.

Here’s the full recipe for the next time you have the sniffles:

Take your Sallet Oyle and a pinte of faire water.

Boyle it with an earthen pott in your wax then shred the herbs very small and the rosemary and planting water into the pott.

Let it boyle a little then bruise the Dragons blood very small and putt them in letting them boyle a little.

Then take the turpentine and wash it three times in faire water and the last time in rose water them put it into the pott.’

The 64-page book is estimated to sell for a mere £400 ($568), which is a steal if you ask me. It was found under a pile of papers by one Philippa Mulley while she was cleaning her dead aunt’s house 25 years ago.

She threw it in a drawer and forgot about it until last month, when she had it appraised and put it up for sale at Bonhams.

I don’t even know how it’s physically possible to put something like that in a drawer and forget about it for 25 years. I’d be stroking it obsessively 24/7 from the minute of discovery.

The calligraphy alone is complete awesomeness, never mind the 100 recipes of more-or-less wacky folk medicine.

Update: Sold for £816 ($1,150). Now that’s more like it.

16 thoughts on “Cure for the common cold: dragon’s blood

  1. So cool!
    Funny, just yesterday someone forwarded me an e-mail with photos of Socotra Island, new to me but apparently known for decades as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. UNESCO declared it a World Natural Heritage Site.
    The e-mail says:
    “The trees and plants of this island were preserved thru the long geological isolation, some varieties being 20 million years old..
    Dracena cinnibaris or Dragon’s Blood Tree, the source of valuable resin for varnishes, dyes, and “cure-all” medicine.”

        1. I thought it was the blood of a lizard or bird or some animal called a dragon. You know, like an eye of newt thing. :blush:

          I love the pictures! I hope they managed to save that tree.

        2. Or of a dragonfly? Come on now, you needn’t lie. Who knows? Maybe in 17th C England there still lived a dragon or two.

  2. And probably Faire water simply meant clear 😛

    Doesn’t matter, it’s still the awesomest book ever 😀

  3. Erie — I can’t help but imagine it to be some sort of spell book; and almost expect to see “mana requirements” at the foot of each recipe…

    Any idea who purchased it? And any chance they’d scan the pages and put them online for the rest of us…

    1. No idea, I’m afraid. The Bonhams site just says how much it went for, not to whom. Auction houses tend to keep buyer information private.

      :giggle: @ mana requirements

  4. That’s awesome. If folk medicine really used dragon blood then that of course would mean dragon existed. Sounds like a fairy tale. It’s as if, centuries ago was another world of different species compare to this will, the present time. They must have done dragon hunting. Sound like I’m fantasizing. I wish I can travel back in time and see it for myself what it was like centuries ago. I wonder how the dragon blood would taste like. What does the dragon blood do? Why is it part of a medicine? Would dragon be considered part of the dinosaur family? I mean they’re enormous in size?

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