The Perfumed Garden, by Richard Burton

Chapter xix

Of things that take away the bad Smell from the Armpits and Sexual Parts of Women and Contract the Latter

Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!), that bad exhalations from the vulva and of the armpits are, as also a wide vagina, the greatest of evils.

If a woman wants this bad odour to disappear she must pound red myrrh, then sift it, and knead this powder with myrtle-water,202 and rub her sexual parts with this wash. All disagreeable emanation will disappear from her vulva.

Another remedy is obtained by pounding lavender, and kneading it afterwards with musk-rose-water. Saturate a piece of wollen-stuff with it, and rub the vulva with the same until it is hot. The bad smell will be removed by this.

If a woman intends to contract her vagina, she has only to dissolve alum in water, and wash her sexual parts with the solution, which may be made still more efficacious by the addition of a little bark of the walnut-tree, the latter substance being very astringent.

Another remedy to be mentioned is the following, which is well known for its efficacy: Boil well in water carobs (locusts),203 freed from their kernels, and bark of the pomegrante tree. The woman takes a sitz bath in the decoction thus obtained, and which must be as hot as she can bear it; when the bath gets cold, it must be warmed and used again, and this immersion is to be repeated several times. The same result may be obtained by fumigating the vulva with cow-dung.

To do away with the bad smell of the armpits, one takes antimony204 and mastic, which are to be pounded together, and to be put with water into an earthen vase. The mixture is then rubbed against the sides of the vase until it turns red; when it is ready for use rub it into the armpits, and the bad smell will be removed. It must be used repeatedly until a radical cure is effected.

The same result may be arrived at by pounding together antimony (hadida) and mastic, setting the mixture afterwards into a stove over a low fire, until it is of the consistency of bread, and rubbing the residue with a stone until the pellicle, which will have formed, is removed. Then rub it into the armpits, and you may be sure that the bad smell will soon be gone.

202 The author designates here, under the name of ass, the myrtus communis of Linuaeus; the more usual name is reund, which serves also to designate the laurel tree.

203 The çarob is the fruit of the locust-tree, a well-known tree, the flowers of which emit a penetrating odour like that of the virile sperm. The fruit is considered to have aperient and pectoral properties, and the leaves are astringent.

204 Note in the autograph edition. — The texts, which were consulted, name the substance in question hadida, by which name goes the oxide of copper of commeric, which, exposed to the action of fire, pulverised, and mixed with gall-nut, is used for dyeing the hair black.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52