Natural History and Medicine
Between 1151 and 1158, Hildegard composed Physica (Natural History; also known as The Book of Simple Medicine) and Causae et Curae (Causes and Cures; also known as The Book of Compound Medicine). Unlike the previous books, these are not structured in a visionary form although a mystical introduction may have existed at one time. Physica has nine parts, each of which is devoted to a category of creatures. Causae et Curae begins with an account of cosmology and the place of human beings within creation. It also contains a treatise on humoral medicine that shows Hildegard’s departure from some traditionally held beliefs. It also offers a description of more than two hundred diseases, giving remedies for many of them. Finally it offers some astrological predictions based on the phases of the moon at the time of conception. Secrets of God gives a representative sampling of the various divisions of these books.