Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How to Use Wheat, c. 1150

Tacuinum sanitatis casanatense (14th c.)
 "Wheat is hot and full of profit. Nothing is lacking in it… But, if anyone sifts out the bran from the flour (which is semolina), and then makes bread from that flour, the bread is weaker and more feeble than if it had been made from the proper flour… Whosoever cooks wheat without the entire grain, or wheat not ground in the mill, it is as if he eats another food, for this wheat furnishes neither correct blood nor healthy flesh, but more mucus. It is scarcely digested. It is not at all good for a sick person, even if a healthy person is able to survive on this food… If someone is ailing in his back or loins, cook grains of wheat in water, and place them, warm, over the place where he is ailing. The heat of the wheat will chase away the powers of that disease." 
 Hildegard of Bingen, Physica  
An advisory from the Medieval Grain Council: white bread will turn you into an ill-blooded mucus-monster. Also, have you tried porridge on your loins? 


  1. Wheat is hot and full of profit, but can a messy spill help a nobleman clean up in court? Stephen of Sponheim was afflicted with an uncomfortable malady and used this popular folk remedy to attempt a cure. Suffering severe burns to his loins, he sued the makers for a cool 500 denarii. The judge ruled for the defendants, saying that the heat of wheat will cure what ails you, even if it’s a royal pain. This is Neil Chayet looking…at the law.

  2. "an ill-blooded mucus-monster"

    That's me, alright