The Perfumed Garden, by Richard Burton

Chapter xvi

Concerning the Causes of Impotence in Men

Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!) that there are men whose sperm is vitiated by the inborn coldness of their nature, by diseases of their organs,187 by purulent discharges, and by fevers. There are also men with the urinary canal in their verge deviating owing to a downward curve; the result of such conformation is that the seminal liquid cannot be ejected in a straight direction, but falls downward.188

Other men have the member too short and too small to reach the neck of the matrix, or their bladder is ulcerated or they are affected by other infirmities, which prevent them from coition.

Finally, there are men who arrive quicker at the crisis than the women, in consequence of which the two emissions are not simultaneous; there is in such cases no conception.

All these circumstances serve to explain the absence of conception in women; but the principal cause of all is the shortness of the virile member.

As another cause of impotence may be regarded the sudden transmission from hot to cold, and vice versa, and a great number of analogous reasons.

Men whose impotence is due either to the corruption of their sperm owing to their cold nature, or to maladies of the organs, or to discharges or fevers and similar ills, or to their excessive promptness in ejaculation, can be cured. They should eat stimulant pastry containing honey, ginger, pyrether, syrup of vinegar, hellebore, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamoms,189 sparrows’ tongues,190 Chinese cinnamon, long pepper, and other spices. He will be cured by using them.

As to the other afflictions which we have indicated — the curvature of the urethra, the small dimensions of the virile member, ulcers on the bladder, and the other infirmities which are adverse to coition — God only can cure them.

187 Note in the autograph edition. — The wordseulss signifies more particularly the emission of the urine or diabetes; but in the present case it seems to be applied to genital-urinary maladies in general.

188 This abnormality is called hypospadias. Where, on the contrary, the opening of the urethra is turned upwards it bears the name of epispadias.

189 Cardamom, already mentioned, is a very aromatic medicinal seed which comes form Italy, and is used in the preparation of theriac. It is the fruit of several kinds of the amomum tree, and especially of the amomum caradamomum.

190 Sparrow’s tongue, stallena panerina, sparrow-wort. Observation in the autograph edition. — We are not of that opinion. The sparrow’s tongue, as above, seems to be nothing else than the seed of the ash tree. (See the dictionaries of Kazimirski and Beaussier, and the book on medicines of Abd er Rezeug.)

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31