The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce
The Complete Herbalist
by Dr. O. Phelps Brown (1878)
    In presenting this work on Crude Organic Remedies -- the Constituents of Plants, and their Officinal Preparations -- I do not propose to "run a tilt" against any of the systems of Medical practice, however much some of them may be opposed to common sense and reason, and to the Divine ordinances of Nature; nor shall I treat with contempt the teachings and practices of great and wonderful names, or oppose the pride, interest, expectation, and conscientious convictions of a learned, honorable, and influential profession; my object is simply to present many new and curious, if not startling facts, not only wewll worthy of the earnest consideration of the more intelligent portion of the community, who demand reasons the most profound to lead them to conviction of a TRUTH, but of the great mass of humbler people, who desire, amid all the great Reforms in human society, above all things to secure a "sound mind in a sound body," and to feel something of that exalted state of happiness which alone can arise from the possession of the most robust and rubicund physical and moral HEALTH.
 It must be palpable to every thinking mind that Therapeutical and Pharmaceutical science is the very foundation of the "HEALING ART DIVINE."  In the language of Holy Writ, "The Lord has created medicines out of the earth, and he that is wise will not abhor them."  (Ecclesiastes, xxxviii, 4)

    "Yea, happy he that can the knowledge gain,
    To know the Eternal God made naught in vain."

    The use of medicine is no doubt coincident with the History of the Human Race; but writers generally agree that medicine first became a profession among the Egyptians.  The priests of the earlier nations were the practitioners of the Healing Art, but it does not seem that women were excluded from the right of administering medicine for the purpose of healing the sick, since mention is made of a certain Queen Isis, who became greatly celebrated among them, and was worshipped as a "GODDESS OF HEALTH."  Although the practitioners among the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Jews were in the habit of employing incantations, which, of course, produced their good and bad impressions through the medium of the imagination, yet their efficiency in curing diseases was mainly due to their knowledge of the medicinal virtues of many of the vegetable products of Nature.  They seemed to look up as high as the stars to know the reason of the operation of the Herbs in the various affections of the human race.

    Among the Greeks, HIPPOCRATES first caused medicine to be regarded as a science,while AESCULAPIUS was the first who made medicine an exclusive study and practice.  His sons, MACHAON and PODALIRIUS, are celebrated in Homer's "Iliad" for their medical skill as surgeons in the Greek armies or during the Trojan war.  Two daughters also of Aesculapius, PANAKEIA and HYGEIA, were no less distinguished than their renowned brothers; the latter being the inventor of many valuable herbal preparations, whose success in curing diseases won for her, as in the case of Queen Isis of Egypt, the proud honor and deification of the Greeks as an especial "GODDESS OF HEALTH."  We have no knowledge that Aesculapius or his immediate followers, the Asclepiadae, ever conceived the idea of curing disease by drug or mineral preparations.  Ablutions, bandages, fomentations, ointments, etc., were administered externally, and preparations of aromatic herbs, roots, flowers, balms, gums, etc., constituted their whole materia medica for all internal ailments.  Next the Pythagorean school became famous, and these were the first to visit the sick at their homes.
    The next most prominent medical practitioner after these was HIPPOCRAES, the "Coan Sage," who, being one of the most sagacious, observing, and industrious men that ever lived, was entitled the "Father of Medicine."  He traveled much in foreign countries, devoting himself with untiring energy to the study and practice of medicine.  His writings were numerous, and even to this day his doctrines are extensively recognized.  His practice was consistently founded on the phenomena of Nature as exhibited in human beings during health and disease. His materia medica was derived almost wholly from the vegetable kingdom. His internal remedies were purgatives, sudorifics, diuretics, and injections, while his external were ointments, plasters,
liniments, etc. The great principle which directed all his operations was the supposed operations of Nature in superintending and regulating all the actions of the system. This mode of practice had the good effect of enabling the practitioner to make himself well acquainted with all the phenomena of disease, and thus to diagnosticate correctly, and to meet the varied indications by the administration of some herbal remedy, which would induce the crisis requisite to the removal of disease and restoration to sound or vigorous health.

    About three hundred years before the Christian era, the Ptolemies founded a medical school in Alexandria, Egypt. The most famou of the professors were ERASISTRATUS and HEROPHILUS, who dissected the bodies of criminals obtained from government. They opposed bleeding and violent remedies, trusting more to nature than to art.  Herophilus paid particular attention to the action of the, heart, and was the first to give anything like an accurate description of the various kinds of pulse, though Praxagoras of Cos, the last of the Asclepiadae, had before observed the relation which exists between the pulse and the general condition of the system. From that time to the present the pulse has been, as it were, the guide for determining the character, extent, and probable cause of the disease afflicting the patient and the description of treatment required to produce a change for the better.  I, however, derive great assistance from the temperament, age, sex, etc.

    We pass over the days of the Dogmatics and Empirics, the Pneumatics, and other sects of medical practitioners (who, though they employed herbal remedies as a general rule, were strangely given to the promulgations of theories and doctrines utterly at variance with the most ordinary ratiocinations of Philosophy and Reason, until we come to the period when GALEN first made his appearance, at the request of the Emperor AURELIUS.  Galen was a native of Pergamos, born A.D. 130, having traveled much, and written largely, on subjects directly or indirectly connected with medicine before settling himself at Rome. He was entirely independent in his opinions, paid very little respect to authority, and so great was his learning and wisdom, and rare skill in medicine, that he came to be regarded by many as an "Oracle." Thoroughly educated in all the schools of philosophy, he selected from them all except the Epicurean, which he totally rejected. His treatment of disease was principally by Herbal remedies.  From Galen have sprung the sect that is now generally known as eclectics, who do not confine remedies exclusively to the herbal practice, but employ many of the mineral substances upon which the Allopathic and Homeopathic systems of medicine of the present day are based.

    About the middle of the seventeenth century, on the death of PAULLUS, the Greek school of medicine terminated, the Arabians having conquered a large portion of the semi-civilized world, and destroyed an immense Alexandrian library.  The Arabian physicians soon adopted the opinions of Galen, but, owing to the invention of chemistry, it was speedily made subservient to medicine.  They produced medical works, some of which have enjoyed great celebrity, without having really added anything substantial to medical science as previously understood.  With AVERROES terminated the Arabic or Sarcacenic School of medicine, the great reputation of which is mainly owing to the circumstance, that from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, when all Europe was sunk in deep barbarism, the principal remains of a taste for literature and science existed among the Moors and Arabs.  Their physicians added many vegetable products and a few metallic oxides in the catalogue of remedies.  From the employment of chemical and mineral remedies by the Arabian physicians may be dated the disastrous consequences of medical science that were subsequently inaugurated by that Prince of Quacks -- PARACELSUS.

    After the Arabians, from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, the practice of medicine was chiefly confined to the hands of the priests, who, being men of great learning and followers of Aesculapius, Hippocrates, and Galen, became the principal physicians, and a little medicine was taught in the monasteries; for a long time the Benedictine monks of Monte Casino enjoyed in this respect great reputation.  The Jews also became celebrated physicians; and though not allowed to administer medicines to Christians, yet obtained access to the courts, and even to the palace of the Roman pontiffs.

    The European feudal system was at length greatly shaken by the Crusades.  MAHOMET the second, about the middle of the fifteenth century, captured Constantinople, and soon after the ruin of the Byzantine empire, the Reformation occurred, and about the same time the art of printing was invented.  These events gave a powerful impulse to the world of mind, and reawakened investigation into all the departments of science, literature, and the arts; but, although many works were written, very few facts were gleaned concerning the physiological, anatomical, and pathological phenomena incident to the Structure, Health, and Disease of the human being.

    The alchemic art, however, was at length transferred from Arabia into European countries, and medical chairs were established in various Universities on the continent during the thirteenth century, and finally LINACRE, who had been educated at Oxford, and having traveled in Italy, and spent some time at the court of Florence, returned to England, and succeeded in founding medical professorships at Oxford and Cambridge, from which circumstance was laid the foundation of the London College of Physicians.  Thus chemistry, after having been employed in various pharmaceutical processes, was applied to physiology, pathology, and therapeutics.  The chemical doctors were very wild and extravagant in advancing unnatural theories; but they had an ever-present champion in the name of Galen, who was well entitled to be called the "Prince of Medical Philosophers."  He was a philosopher -- a natural philosopher; for he studied Nature closely, deeply, profoundly, and deduced his indications of cure from an accurate observation of her laws.  His system, however, was destined to be utterly overthrown by an adventurous vagrant, whose quackery never had its equal on earth.  This impudent and unprincipled charlatan was none other than Paracelsus, to whom the medical world is more indebted for the mineral drugging system than to all other physicians who have ever lived.  He introduced the mercurial and antimonial practice, which still constitutes the great strength of the popular materia medica of the day, and which also continues to exhibit its terribly devastating power on all human constitutions that come under its sway or influence.  In the fulness of his pride, pomp, and arrogance, Paracelsus burned, with great solemnity, the works of Galen and Avicenna, declaring that he had found the philosopher's stone, and that mankind had no further use for the medical works of others.  He lived a disappointed vagabond, and died prematurely at the age of forty-eight, his famous elixir vitae having failed to save him from a most horrible fate.  Still his abominable doctrines prevailed, and his infatuated followers have added several hundred other chemical or mineral preparations to the materia medica of the great Quicksilver Quack.  At the prsent day, among a certain class of physicians, there is hardly a disease in the catalogue of human ailments in which the employment of mercury, antimony, arsenic, and other deadly drugs is not employed.

    During the seventeenth century the doctrines of Hippocrates again rose to some consideration in medical philosophy.  Anatomy made progress.  HARVEY discovered the circulation of the blood; others traced out the absorbent system, and explained the functions and structure of the lungs; while BOYLE disengaged chemistry from the mystery by which it was surrounded, and explained its true province to be, "not the manufacture of solid gold, nor liquid nostrums, nor gaseous theories, but an investigation into the change of properties which bodies experience in their action upon each other.

    From this time to the beginning of the eighteenth century, notwithstanding many facts had accumulated in chemistry, anatomy, and physiology, physicians, as a body, held no more natural views of the true nature of disease than were advanced by Hippocrates three thousand years before.  Indeed, it is positively certain that none of the most eminent new schools or sects of the present day had been more successful in curing diseases than were Hippocrates, Galen, and Sydenham.  Meantime, however, there have arisen physicians who, while they readily received all new facts in respect to the structure of the human organism, still adhered to the instinctive inductions of Nature, and treated diseases with most abundant success by means of Herbal preparations alone.  We have at this day as bright a galaxy of names -- scholars, philosophers, philanthropists, and humanitarians -- as ever adorned any age of the world, devoting themselves with a zeal and industry worthy of all praise to the study and practice of medicine, but, failing to perceive the grand results anticipated in their laborious researches after truth, do not hesitate to admit that our actual information does not increase in any degree in proportion to our experience.  All their array of learning, and their multitudinous writings, have only served to make confusion worse confounded, and all from the very simple fact that they have neglected to follow the requirements of Nature and common sense, in maintaining the Herbal Practice as the only true and philosophical foundation of the Healing Art.  Admidst all the jarrings, conflicts, and dogmas of the medical world, is it any wonder that the great masses are rapidly losing all confidence in Medical Science, and crying for a more natural system of medication -- even one founded in the principles of irrefragable Nature?  With this view I have devoted many years of my life, and having traveled in numerous lands, I feel that I am now qualified, from a long medical experience and deep research into the physiology of Plants, to present to the world of suffering humanity all those curative elements best calculated to ensure perfect health, and the utmost length of life, to all who may feel disposed to be guided by the doctrines and system of medication which it is the object of this volume to make known.

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