An example of this methodology out of Culpepper's writing is as follows: On the herb Lovage: "It is an herb of the Sun, under the sign of Taurus. If Saturn offend the throat, (as he always doth if he be occasioner of the malady, and in Taurus in the Genesis), this is your cure."
Keep in mind that in this application of astrology the Sun is hot and dry and Saturn is cold and moist. They naturally oppose each other. This does not mean that Saturn literally rules over the throat. It means that the condition present (cool) produces a condensation of "substance" to take place in the area of the throat that warmth will dissolve and break up. Warmth on a sore throat almost always works to clear it.
You see at the first view, that this aphorism divides itself into three branches, which deserve severally to be treated of, viz.
1. Syrups made by infusion.
2. Syrups made by decoction.
3. Syrups made by juice.
Of each of these, (for your instruction-sake, kind countrymen and women) I speak a word or two apart.
First, Syrups made by infusion, are usually made of flowers, and of such flowers as soon lose their colour and strength by boiling, as roses, violets, peach flowers, &c. They are thus made: Having picked your flowers clean, to every pound of them add three pounds or three pints, which you will (for it is all one) of spring water, made boiling hot; first put your flowers into a pewter-pot, with a cover, and pour the water on them; then shutting the pot, let it stand by the fire, to keep hot twelve hours, and strain it out: (in such syrups as purge) as damask roses, peach flowers, &c. the usual, and indeed the best way, is to repeat this infusion adding fresh flowers to the same liquor divers times, that so it may be the stronger) having strained it out, put the infusion into a pewter bason, or an earthen one well glazed, and to every pint of it add two pounds of sugar, which being only melted over the fire, without boiling, and scummed, will produce you the syrup you desire.
Secondly, Syrups made by decoction are usually made of compounds, yet may any simple herb be thus converted into syrup: Take the herb, root, or flowers you would make into a syrup, and bruise it a little; then boil it in a convenient quantity of spring water; the more water you boil it in, the weaker it will be; a handful of the herb or root is a convenient quantity for a pint of water, boil it till half the water be consumed, then let it stand till it be almost cold, and strain it through a woollen cloth, letting it run out at leisure: without pressing. To every pint of this decoction add one pound of sugar, and boil it over the fire till it come to a syrup, which you may know, if you now and then cool a little of it with a spoon. Scum it all the while it boils, and when it is sufficiently boiled, whilst it is hot, strain it again through a woollen cloth, but press it not. Thus you have the syrup perfected.
Thirdly, Syrups made of juice, are usually made of such herbs as are full of juice, and indeed they are better made into a syrup this way than any other; the operation is thus: Having beaten the herb in a stone mortar, with a wooden pestle, press out the juice, and clarify it, as you are taught before in the juices; then let the juice boil away till about a quarter of it be consumed; to a pint of this add a pound of sugar, and when it is boiled, strain it through a woollen cloth, as we taught you before, and keep it for your use.
If you make a syrup of roots that are any thing hard, as parsley, fennel, and grass roots, &c. when you have bruised them, lay them in steep some time in that water which you intend to boil them in hot, so will the virtue the better come out.
Keep your syrups either in glasses or stone pots, and stop them not with cork nor bladder, unless you would have the glass break, and the syrup lost, only bind paper about the mouth.
All syrups, if well made, continue a year with some advantage; yet such as are made by infusion, keep shortest.