[Sca-cooks] tisane

emilio szabo emilio_szabo at yahoo.it
Sat Nov 3 21:41:06 PDT 2007


thank you! I am familiar with the OED quotations.

As far as I can see, all of the earlier quotations in the 
OED mention varieties of the classical barley preparations 
called "ptisana" by the ancients (Hippocrates, Galen, Celsus,
Alexander Trallianus, ...). This was not a herb infusion,
but something ranging from a thick barley broth to a thin
barley drink strained through a sieve, sometimes mixed
with honey and other ingredients. 

>  1398  Trevisa /Barth. De P.R./ xvii. cxv. (Bodl. MS.), Of barlich
>      ischeled and isode in water is a medicinable drinke ymade þat
>      phisicians clepen Thisan;

Barley "isode in water". Not an herb infusion but the
traditional barley ptisana.

>  C. 1400/Lanfranc's Cirurg./ 139 In þe v; day he took þikke
>      tizanne [/v.r/. tysan].

(th)ikke indicates, that this quotation refers to a traditional 
barley ptisana variety as well. 

>  C. 1440 /Promp. Parv./ 494/2 Tysane, drynke, /ptisana/

This one is hard to decide; the traditional barley water
is certainly a kind of drink.

There are late medieval and even early modern 
quotations from the OED still refering 
to a kind of barley water: "Ptisane is watir 
at barliche is soden yn."a1475 tr. Gilbertus Anglicus Pharmaceutical Writings (Wellcome) 108 Let him ete diapenidion with ptisane. (Ptisane is watir at barliche is soden yn.)  

?1537 T. ELYOT Castell of Helthe II. xxi. 36 Ptysane..is none other than pure barley, brayed in a morter, and sodden in water.

1562 W. BULLEIN Bk. Simples f. 8v, in Bulwarke of Defence,  And of cleane Barly and puer water, is made that excellente water called Ptisant.

What I would like to see is a clear quotation for "tisane" or one of its spelling

varieties used for a herb infusion, we would be prepared to call tea today. 

If "such a beasty was often called a tissane" in the Middle Ages, it should be easy to 

quote one of the instances.


> Saint Phlip wrote:
>> while we moderns call a tea any dried herb steeped in water, in the MA 
>> such a beasty was often called a tissane. 
> I am still looking for examples in medieval English, could you please share a few quotations?

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