As with the previous translations, headers that are in parentheses are notes from Tony Hunt, while parentheses contained within the copy usually contain my own notes, whether it is clarification of a term or uncertainty of the translation.
I will greatly be expanding on this section later. Here Mirfield mentions many different ointments and I have been sourcing the recipes for these from various sources to be shared later. One such example is the the Agrippa ointment as described by Culpepper:
"Take of Briony roots two pounds, the roots of wild Cucumbers one pound, Squills half a pound, fresh English Orris roots, three ounces, the roots of male Fern, dwarf Elder, water Caltrops, or Aaron, of each two ounces, bruise them all, being fresh, and steep them six or seven days in four pounds of old oil, the whitest, not rank, then boil them and press them out, and in the oil melt fifteen ounces of white Wax, and make it into an ointment according to art.
It purges exceedingly, and is good to anoint the bellies of such as have dropsies, and if there be any humour or flegm in any part of the body that you know not how to remove (provided the part be not too tender) you may anoint it with this; but yet be not too busy with it, for I tell you plainly it is not very safe."
What recipes such as these really hammers home is the volume of ingredients that go into making of some of these items. The medieval apothecaries were not crafting cures for a single person, but producing (or sourcing) in bulk the items they would need to sell.
As I have been harvesting wild plants for my own kit, I have noticed the level of work just to fill one small glass jar with dried, powdered plant matter, and then I consider how much my persona would have had on hand at a time and the level of effort involved (whether from the apothecary, the herb women, or another source) was staggering.
On Ointments in General
There are some warm and some cold ointments. They are warm, such as dialtea (ointment made from marshmallow root), Agrippa, golden ointment, Arrogon ointment, marciaton (Anglo Normon dictionary lists this as an ointment for the bones/joints; another source mentions that it has wax, fats and 50 other ingredients), brown ointment (ointment for wounds), ointment for salty phlegm, and the like. But they are cold, such as popileon (ointment for wounds or burns of poplar leaves or buds, animal fat and leaves of narcotic plants such as henbane or poppy, the recipes vary, information from Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary in English, 1375–1550, Norri), unguentum citrinum (yellow ointment, possibly involving citrus), unguentum album (white ointment - there are numerous variations of this recipe throughout history, often for removing blemishes, freckles or for sores), and the like.
And note that when about powders with oil, etc. if you want to make an ointment, then to one ounce of powder put four ounces of oil, one ounce of wax in summer, an ounce of seeds in winter (“yeme” clarified in the Middle English Dictionary online).
But if the ointment receives gums which are dissolved and not worn, the gums should not be counted in the aforesaid measure of weight, since they do not add to the thickness or to the softness. But if the ointment receives the fat of pig, chicken, goose, or other such things which are dissolved into an oily substance, then the dissolved fat must be counted as oil, and you must put the aforementioned amount of powders and wax.
Now the method of making ointments from any herbs [if] you choose: first put the herbs in a pot or in a cauldron and let it be filled to the top with water. Then the mouth of the pot should be covered with a strong linen cloth and sealed with clay so that the smoke does not escape, and it should be placed on the fire until the water is consumed. And then let the pot be filled again with water and once again add the chopped herbs before boiling. Then put that herb with the whole decoction in a strong linen cloth and express the juice and use that juice in making ointments. And if you wish to reserve that decoction, make it with wax and reserve it in a box.
And note that all of them can be reduced to ointments by medicine, if they are cold, medicine with cold oils, if they are mixed hot with warm oils. And let a little wax be added, and let it bubble a little, and thus the ointment is made. This is how we work with perfumes, and especially hot ones. The ointment is placed in an egg shell and dissolved on the fire. And then, with that ointment, the patient's member should be exposed to the fire or to the sun. And then, after the anointing, some skin or something similar should be placed over the anointed member (membrum can also be member, limb organ or “section”) so that the power of the ointment is preserved.