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The Good House-Wife Made a Doctor by Thomas Tryon, 1692


Today’s interesting old-timey find on the site is The Good House-Wife Made a Doctor by Thomas Tryon, 1692. We only have one original copy, priced at just over three grand, so one would have to be very interested indeed to purchase it. But for those chiefly interested in its contents and text, there are several modern print-on-demand copies available for as little as $25.00.

It’s a fascinating book. Its full title is The Good House-Wife Made a Doctor, Or, Health’s Choice and Sure Friend Being a Plain Way of Nature’s Own Prescribing to Prevent and Cure Most Diseases Incident to Men, Women and Children by Diet and Kitchin Physick Only. In short, it sounds like a very early book of herbal remedies and nutrition as preventative medicine. I find it interesting, since so many health professionals seem to be trying to return to similar thinking now.


The preface (pictured above) reads (in part):

Health is the greatest temporal Blessing we can enjoy in this Mortal State: Without it the choicest Beauty vanishes in a Moment, like a withered Flower; the stoutest Strength dwindles into a childish Weakness, scarce able to the Support the tottering Carkass (sic); Riches become insignificant Lumber; Honour an empty Bubble, or extrinsick shadow, yielding no delight; Nay, Wit and Parts grow Useless, and Life it self but an unwelcome load and continual Torture. For how often may we see Lords and Aldermen, the Rich and the…

That does indeed sound dire.


Thomas Tryon was a 17th-century author, primarily of health and self-help books, and a big believer in and advocate of plant-based food as medicine. He touted the benefits of a vegetarian diet long (long!) before it was common or fashionable.

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