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Observations placeholder

Bingen, Hildegard of - Galingale



Type of Spiritual Experience


According to Hildegard Galangal helps with the following

  • Fever
  • Humors
  • Heart
  • Bad breath
  • Hoarse voice
  • Stomach
  • Spleen
  • Phlegm
  • Chest
  • Muzzy head
  • Palsy- paralysis, especially that which is accompanied by involuntary tremors

A description of the experience

Hildegard von Bingen’s Physica – translated by Priscilla Throop from the Latin

Galingale (galgan) is totally hot. It contains no coldness and is powerful. A person with a burning fever should drink pulverized galingale in spring water, and it will extinguish the fever.

One who is ailing from bad humors in his back or side should boil galingale in wine and frequently drink it warm, and the pain will cease.

One with pain in his heart, or with a weak heart, will soon be better if he eats enough galingale.

Also, a person who suffers from stinking breath-which passes to the lungs, so that he sometimes even has a hoarse voice-should take galingale and fennel in equal weights, with twice the amount of both nutmeg and feverfew. He should pulverize these, and mix them together. He should eat two pennyweights of this powder with a small mouthful of bread every day on an empty stomach. He should soon drink a bit of warm wine, and frequently eat other high-quality herbs, which have good odor both with food and on an empty stomach. Their good odor checks the stinking breath.

One whose lungs ail in any way should avoid fat foods and abstain from uncooked food as well as food infused with much blood. These create putrefaction around the lungs. Let him also avoid peas, lentils, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, and oil. These bring mucus to the lungs. If one wishes to eat meat, it should be lean meat. If he wants to eat cheese, it should be neither cooked nor fresh, but dried, since bad mucuses are situated in it. If he wishes to eat oil, he should do it in moderation, lest it attract mucus to the lungs. Indeed, he should not drink water, since it produces mucus around the lungs. He should also not drink new wine. This has not yet thrown off scum by fermenting and thus been purified. Beer does not harm him much, because it has been boiled. He should drink aged wine, since it delights the lungs with its good heat. He should also guard himself against damp and misty air, which harms the lungs with its humidity.

If bad humors have very much overflowed in a person's intestines and spleen, and have brought great sufferings to the heart through melancholy, one should take galingale and feverfew in equal amounts, and a quarter of that amount of white pepper (if he does not have white pepper, he should use four times as much savory as white pepper), and reduce this to a powder. Then, he should take flour of the broad bean, add this to the powder, and mix this with fenugreek juice, without water, wine, or any other liquid. From this, he should prepare little cakes and dry them in the heat of the sun. This should be done in the summer, when the sun is powerful, so he may have them in the winter. Then he should eat these cakes, whether he has eaten or been fasting. Afterward, he should take licorice, five times as much fennel, sugar (of the same weight as the licorice), and a bit of honey. He should make a drink from these things, and drink it for heart pain, with or without food.

If phlegm has made a person's head foggy and his hearing confused he should take galingale, a third part of aloe, twice as much oregano as galingale, and peach leaves of the same weight as the oregano. He should make a powder of these and use it daily, whether he has eaten or been fasting.

One who ails in his chest, heart, or spleen, and one who has a stomach cooled from phlegm, should take galingale, and twice as much oregano, and celery seed of the same weight as the oregano, and a little white pepper. He should reduce this to a powder, and add a little cooked honey to make an electuary. Let him cook it gently, away from sudden boiling, and let him eat this electuary often. Also, he should frequently use good, pure, mild wine.

One who is tormented by palsy should take galingale, with half as much nutmeg, and half as much spike lavender as nutmeg, and equal weights of githerut and lovage-but of each one, more than the spike lavender. To these he should add equal weights of female fern and saxifrage. (These two together should be equal to the five previous ingredients.) Pulverize this. If one is well, he should eat this powder on bread; if ill, he should eat an electuary made from it.


The source of the experience

Bingen, Hildegard of

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Science Items

Activities and commonsteps