The Long-Lost Friend: A Question for the Brain Trust

I’m finishing up some last-minute editing on the Long-Lost Friend, and I came across the following ingredients.   At this time, I have no idea as to what they might be, so I thought I’d put them up in hope that someone recognizes one or more of them.

Crinis fulvae
Sancta simplex
Putandrum longum
Succus leritarium
Cuculi arambosti


Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm  Comments (12)  

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  1. I assume you’ve had a crack at them as literal Latin phrases? Crinis Fulvae, for example is something along the lines of yellow/amber tuft (maybe hair or feather?) Also, is it Quarila Serum instead?

  2. Crinis (Locative, Dative or Ablative of crinon, crinis) is also “kind of ointment/unguent” so this could be “yellow ointment”. I can imagine that it was common to name an ointment after its color for example “grey ointment” was ointment from mercury…



  3. Good catch on the Crinis Fulvae. I can find a substance known as “yellow ointment” in a British pharmacopeia. The Latin for the others doesn’t seem to work, or perhaps my understanding of the language is still lacking. “Sancta Simplex” seems to mean “simple holy.”

    I’m not going to vouch for the spelling on any of these, save that I’ve double-checked them against my photocopies. There are other sources I can check – the Skippacksville edition, from which these recipes are taken, does come from another source that was translated – but that’s a six-hour round trip for me that I’d prefer to avoid.

    • I took another look, and the term used to apply to the crinis fulvae is “geschnitten,” meaning chopped, cut, or sliced. Thus, ointment probably isn’t going to cut it, so to speak.

  4. “Simple” is an old term for a medicine made from an herb. It’s a stretch, but he might have been talking about verbena officinalis, also known as holy herb or simpler’s joy. Verbena has a history in folk-magic, which may or may not make it a more likely candidate.

    • It’s plausible. I’d want a higher threshold of possibility than that before stating it in the footnotes, but it’s a good start.

  5. Might be barking up the wrong tree, but Cuculi is the genus name for the cuckoo, and the herb commonly known as Cuckoo pint or Jack-in-the-pulpit is Arum maculatum (or Arum italicum for Italian cuckoo pint), which is suggestive of the aram part.

  6. Sancta simplex:

    Maybe a wrong cited “sancta simplicitas” = holy simplicity. Reformer Jan Hus should have said that commenting an old woman that brought wood for his stake while he was on it. But it can be found in older sources.

    • Ralf,

      it’s a good thought, but I’ve got a specific amount listed here.

  7. Quarila is a botanical, a cucurbit. Is it maybe quarila (space) serum, quarila juice? (See Google books, Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts)

    Cuculi may also be a botanical, Coronaria flos-cuculi, cuckoo flower or “rose of heaven.” Google books, English Botany.

    Succus is just a term for a botanical juicing; leritarium, not sure.

    • The lack of the plant in temperate climates, whether in the Old or New World, lowers the chances. I wouldn’t say it eliminates it by any means, as I think there’s a tropical plant or two in the book…

  8. […] Collection at the University of Rochester’s Miner Library.  I was hoping to find some of our mysterious ingredients, but neither the collection of pamphlet remedies nor the period pharmacopeia availed it.  Thus, […]

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