This article is a study of household medicine production and consumption through an examination of the papers of Elizabeth Freke (1641-1714) and a wider survey of around nine thousand medical recipes in printed and manuscript collections from seventeenth-century England. It investigates the sorts of medicines that may have been produced in early modern households and the production methods, ingredients, and equipment used. Focusing on three inventories of medicines compiled by Freke between 1710 and 1712 as well as her manuscript recipe collection and medical reading notes, I contend that she kept on hand a number of cure-alls and medicines for general weaknesses, while holding onto recipes for more-specific ailments; the recipes, in these cases, would be the "just-in-case" medicine cabinet. I also argue for a close relationship between commercial and domestic medicine, and present the idea that household practitioners purchased not only ingredients (both processed and unprocessed) and equipment, but also medical knowledge.


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pp. 145-168
Launched on MUSE
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