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The Healing Practices of the Knights Templar and Hospitaller

Plants, Charms, and Amulets of the Healers of the Crusades

Published by Destiny Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

• Presents a traditional “cure-all” or leechbook of the ailments the Crusaders would have encountered and the remedies their mediciners would have employed, including recipes for many cures and instructions

• Includes a comprehensive herbal, listing all the medicinal plants and materials needed to make the remedies, potions, elixirs, and unctions of the cure-all

• Details the author’s travels in the steps of the Crusader physicians where he met with healers still employing the mediciners’ practices

During the Crusades, chivalric knightly orders, such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller, brought along monastic mediciners to treat the sick and wounded. These mediciners not only employed the leading cures of medieval Europe but also learned new methods from the local folk-healers and Arabic healing traditions they encountered on their journeys.

Presenting a traditional “cure-all” or leechbook of the Crusader physicians, Jon Hughes shares a comprehensive encyclopedia of the ailments the Crusaders would have encountered and the remedies their mediciners would have employed. He details recipes for many cures and a range of magico-medical applications such as charms, spells, enchantments, and amulets used to address the new illnesses of strange and foreign lands. He includes a detailed and comprehensive herbal, listing all the plants and materials needed to make and administer the remedies of the cure-all. He also details his travels in the steps of the Crusader physicians throughout Poland, the Czech Republic, Malta, Morocco, and the island of Rhodes where he met with healers still following this healing path who shared their practices with him.

Revealing how the healers of the Crusades helped elevate Western medical knowledge through the integration of wisdom from their Middle Eastern counterparts, Hughes shows how their legacy continues through the many effective remedies and healing modalities still in use today.


Introductory Notes by the Author

Given the nature of this cure-all, it is particularly important to identify the sources of the techniques and materials it describes, along with outlining the methodology employed in compiling the cures presented here. Uniquely, the primary source of information used in compiling this text is a small collection of modern-day practitioners. Living and practicing in a variety of cities encircling the Mediterranean Sea, each of these practitioners continues to use the healing practices of the ancient mediciners of the chivalric orders involved in the Crusades.

The process began with a journey of discovery that took me to Morocco, Rhodes, Malta, The Czech Republic, and Poland. As I traveled, I accumulated a unique collection of ancient cures and detailed descriptions of the materials and methods used in crafting and administering each. On many of these occasions, the information I gathered was copied from old well-used, hand-written notebooks and journals; but much of the time it was gleaned from long discussions over endless glasses of strong, sweet coffee in hot, smoke-filled rooms. It all now seems to blend together in my memory.

Chapter Nine

The Cure-all
Many Ailments and their Remedies

As with most Cure-alls the remedies begin with ailments of the head and progress downward until reaching the feet. There then follow remedies for more general ailments common to most or all parts of the body. Finally, there are remedies for those specifically injured in battle, for those stricken by Elf-shot and Flying Venom, and those under the curse of Dwarves, Fairies and Enchanters. There are also recommended preventative potions for storms at sea, those fatigued from long journeys, and cures for seasickness and mental disorders.

The Cure-all is used by first referring to the area of the body where the problem lies, then searching the list of individual ailments to find the appropriate one. Then the Mediciner selects a suitable cure for the patient and references the ingredients used in the Pharmacopeia before preparing the remedy according to the recipe detailed in the Cure-all. The cure is then administered according to the dosage or method described. – J.G.H.


For Witlessness of the Mind -- A Complex

Take a single hen’s egg full of equal parts of Sulphurweed, also called Hog’s Fennel, and Wild Sage, pummel until the herbs release their juices. Boil juice and the herb fibre lightly with four of the same measures of Metheglyn. Strain through a linen and add Honey to sweeten. Take as the Sun rises and again as it sets for three days. Sleep one night, the following day and a night further. The cure will be spoken of far and wide for many years after.

For a Shattered Skull -- A Simple

Pound the Flowerheads of twenty-four Gladiolus and add to a flagon of Sweet-Water. Let the simple stand for at least four hours. Soak a light clothe in the Simple and wrap not tightly around the head, covering the wound. Pour more of the Simple over the clothe each hour until the pain is relieved. Relief will come and comfort return.

For the Same -- A Simple

Take the plant betonica, that some call Wood Betony, leaves, stalk and root and cut fine into pieces. Let it dry before the fire and then grind to a fine powder. Add two coin’s weight to hot Gruit Ale and give to drink. Add a further two coin’s weight to warmed vixen fat and pummel to a virtuous unction, then smear upon the forehead. The skull will be healed.

In the Same Way -- A Complex

Take equal measures of the liver of a Grey Toad that is dried and powdered, the Herb Rosemary and Red Dock and mix with oil of Rose. In this Complex soak a woollen clothe and make as a poultice to be wrapped around the injured head. This to be repeated once every hour for five hours until the skull is healed. This healing will take two days when the poultice can be left off.

About The Author

Jon G. Hughes, author of Celtic Sex Magic, is part of a lineage of druids that has been practicing for five generations in a remote area of Wales. He is now teaching the tradition at his home in western Ireland and gives workshops and seminars throughout Europe under his Welsh name of Cynon. He is the director of the Irish Centre for Druidic Practices.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Destiny Books (March 8, 2022)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781644113318

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Raves and Reviews

The Healing Practices of the Knights Templar and Hospitaller by Jon G. Hughes is a well-researched and fascinating look into the healing practices and related medicines of the early Crusaders. What makes this book all the more intriguing is the author’s personal journey of discovery, tracing the footsteps of the Crusaders across southern Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean as they made their way to the Holy Land and, hopefully, back again. Jon G. Hughes’s rediscovery of the many medicinal plants and spiritual healings is a journey of enlightenment. It’s also a story of East meets West, in that the warrior-monks adopted many of the Eastern healing practices and carried them back to western Europe. In many cases this knowledge and understanding is still in use some eight hundred years later. I have been waiting for a book of this nature for a very long time.”

– William F. Mann, author of The Last Refuge of the Knights Templar

“A truly fascinating investigation into medieval medicine, exploring how the European Crusaders learned of cures and remedies for a variety of aliments from the very people who were meant to be their enemies: the inhabitants of the Holy Land. A wonderful read, well researched, and easy to follow.”

– Graham Phillips, author of The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant

“A treasure trove of historic herbal research and lore awaits the reader—a comprehensive herbal, a traditional ‘cure-all’ of medieval ailments and remedies, and a travelogue of the author’s journeys. This book is a useful historical addition to any modern herbalist’s library and for all interested in medieval healing methods; medicine and the monastic and military orders; cross-cultural and interfaith exchanges of unusual cures, botanicals, and specialist herbal lore; the key role of field hospitals on a battlefield; and historic healing recipes ranging from ales, ointments, oils, and much more. Join in the footsteps of the monastic mediciners, Crusader physicians, and the healers of the Crusades and explore this texte vivant, a living text, of herbal lore for our time. Recommended!”

– Karen Ralls, Ph.D., historian and author of Knights Templar Encyclopedia and Medieval Mysteries

“An illuminating and well-researched insight into the medicinal knowledge of the Crusader knights, providing an excellent overview of the period as well as the author’s detailed account of his journey across parts of southern Europe and North Africa in search of the remnants of the Templars. The book’s largest section, the cures of the time, provides a sometimes gruesome but fascinating window into their practices. An essential book for those interested in the synthesis of medieval, lost Greco-Roman, and Arab-Turkish ideas that preempted the Renaissance in Europe.”

– Luke Eastwood, author of The Druid Garden and The Druid’s Primer

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