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Tudor remedies: Chestnuts

On the properties of chestnuts

In the 16th century chestnuts were eaten much like today, roasted. They were considered to have hot and dry qualities according to the theory of humors and, like all other foods, it was thought they had properties which would alleviate certain symptoms. Chestnuts which were roasted, powdered and mixed with honey were recommended as a remedy for the cough and "spitting of blood".

Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal published in 1652 writes :

"The tree is abundantly under the dominion of Jupiter, and therefore the fruit must needs breed good blood, and yield commendable nourishment to the body; yet if eaten over-much, they make the blood thick, procure head-ach, and bind the body; the inner skin, that covereth the nut, is of so binding a quality, that a scruple of it taken by a man, or ten grains by a child, coon stops any flux whatsoever. The whole nut being dried and beaten into powder, and a dram taken at a time, is a good remedy to stop the terms in women. If you dry chesnuts, (only the kernels I mean) both the barks being taken away, beat them into powder, and make the powder into an electuary with honey, so have you an admirable remedy for the cough and spitting of blood."

WilliamTurner in his Herbal from 1551:

Chestnuts "... are hote & drye in the first degree and nourishe the bodye much They are longe in goynge doune and in digestinge: and ingender grosse humors and are full of winde and stoppe the bellye but if they be perched or dryed they put away a great deale of the hurte that they wold haue done rawe"

In The castell of health by Sir Thomas Elyot:

"They being rosted vnder the embers, or hot ashes, doe nourish the body strongly, and eaten with honie fasting, do helpe a man of the cough"

Andrewe Boorde in his A compendyous regyment or dyetary of healthe:

"Chesteynes dothe nurysshe the body strongly & dothe make a man fat yf they be thorowe rosted and the huskes abiected yet they doth replete a man vetosyte or wynde."

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