Elaine Leong
University College London

First published in 1640, The Marrow of Physick is an all-in-one general medical guide with explanations of basic Galenic medical theories and hundreds of medical recipes. Like many contemporary didactic texts, The Marrow of Physick is a digest drawing on Brugis’ extensive reading of ancient and contemporary medical sources from Galen and Hippocrates to Jean Riolan and Jacob Wecker.[1] Brugis also claims to have consulted ‘divers old Manuscripts, both Greeke, Latin and English, of sundry approved Authours, for Iudgement and Practice’.[2] The work presents readers with nearly 90 pages of theoretical exposition, beginning with the creation of the world and progressing explanations of naturals, non-naturals and counter-naturals. The section ends with a list of the different weights and measures, a ‘Catalogue of such instruments as are requisite in private houses’ and a glossary of ‘hard words’.[3] The second section of the book begins by outlining the various forms of medicines and ends with nearly 170 pages filled with practical recipes.

The Marrow of Physick was printed in 1640, 1648 and 1669.


[1] Glaiyser and Pennell, p. 9.

[2] Thomas Brugis, The Marrow of Physick (London, 1640), sig. b3r-v.

[3] Ibid., pp. 85-8.