1. Gary Spiller

    Not sure about the abortion mixture. Who on earth would have been able to afford pepper and ginger in those quantities? They came from the other side of the world and would have cost quite literally a King’s ransom in the ninth century. Even by the 17th century spices like pepper, nutmeg and cassia were worth more than their weight in gold.

    • One would assume that only those who had money behind them could afford the whole recipe for the abortive mixture. Those who didn’t would have taken their chances with what was available to them. Jessica has listed her sources for the article. 🙂

    • Hans van Felius

      I assume people who could not afford the expensive stuff would be resorting to other means. Most societies had what we call ‘a wise woman’ when we want to be positive, or ‘a witch’ when negative. When we moved from a big city to a village in 1962, I was introduced to the concept of the village wise woman, who scared the hell out of me at the age of nine! LOL
      Her name was Anna, her nickname ‘pik’ (pitch), which may have referred to a Dutch alias for the devil, Heintje Pik. People could visit her for all kinds of things, and I understand she had a very good knowledge of all common herbs and what they could be used for. English society had these women as well, and people would have consulted them. In some cases their remedies must have had more common sense than those of doctors with a university degree…

  2. Hans van Felius

    Interesting read! Juniper was used still in the 18th century. I wrote about that myself in an article concerning children born out of wedlock in the southwest of the Netherlands. It was used to try and get an abortion then…

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