Of Distilled Waters


The way of making and keeping all necessary Compounds


Hitherto we have spoken of medicines which consist in their own nature, which authors vulgarly call Simples, though sometimes improperly; for in truth, nothing is simple but pure elements; all things else are compounded of them. We come now to treat of the artificial medicines, in the form of which (because we must begin somewhere) we shall place distilled waters; in which consider:

1. Waters are distilled of herbs, flowers, fruits, and roots.

2. We treat not of strong waters, but of cold, as being to act Galen's part, and not Paracelsus's.

3. The herbs ought to be distilled when they are in the greatest vigour, and so ought the flowers also.

4. The vulgar way of distillations which people use, because they know no better, is in a pewter still; and although distilled waters are the weakest of artificial medicines, and good for little but mixtures of other medicines, yet they are weaker by many degrees, than they would be were they distilled in sand. If I thought it not impossible, to teach you the way of distilling in sand, I would attempt it.

5. When you have distilled your water, put it into a glass, covered over with a paper pricked full of holes, so that the excrementitious and fiery vapours may exhale, which cause that settling in distilled waters called the Mother, which corrupt them, then cover it close, and keep it for your use.

6. Stopping distilled waters with a cork, makes them musty, and so does paper, if it but touch the water: it is best to stop them with a bladder, being first put in water, and bound over the top of the glass.

Such cold waters as are distilled in a pewter still (if well kept) will endure a year; such as are distilled in sand, as they are twice as strong, so they endure twice as long.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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