'Gentle Purges corrected with hot Spices, whether they work or not, do vehemently provoke Venery': Menstrual Provocation and Procreation in Early Modern England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
713 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Throughout the early modern period, medical writers described a plethora of remedies designed to provoke menstruation. This article will address the close relationship these substances had with provokers of lust. Historians have often viewed emmenagogues as covert expressions of abortive drugs. While they acknowledge that some women utilised these treatments for their intended purpose, to restore a regular menstrual cycle, they have more frequently asserted that they were more likely to be employed to remove an unwanted pregnancy. This article asserts that this understanding is in need of reappraisal and argues that these substances can be viewed as a key component of early modern fertility and sexual health care. This article demonstrates that provokers of venery and emmenagogues shared similar humoral virtues and that many compound remedies designed to restore purgation contained potent aphrodisiacs. By promoting a healthy menstrual cycle these substances ensured that the female reproductive system was fecund.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-19
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume25
Issue number1
Early online date16 Mar 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of ''Gentle Purges corrected with hot Spices, whether they work or not, do vehemently provoke Venery': Menstrual Provocation and Procreation in Early Modern England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this