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cipal means of prolongation of life, and restoring some degree of youth: for as we have often said, death cometh upon living creatures like the torment of Mezentius:
Mortua quin etiam jungebat corpora vivis,
Componens manibusque manus, atque oribus ora. En. viii. 485. For the parts in man's body easily reparable, as spirits, blood, and flesh, die in the embracement of the parts hardly reparable, as bones, nerves, and membranes; and likewise some entrails, which they reckon amongst the spermatical parts, are hard to repair: though that division of spermatical and menstrual parts be but a conceit. And this same observation also may be drawn to the present purpose of nourishing emaciated bodies: and therefore gentle frication draweth forth the nourishment, by making the parts a little hungry, and heating them; whereby they call forth nourishment the better. This frication I wish to be done in the morning. It is also best done by the hand, or a piece of scarlet wool, wet a little with oil of almonds, mingled with a small quantity of baysalt, or saffron: we see that the very currying of horses doth make them fat, and in good liking.
59. THE fifth means is, to further the very act of assimilation of nourishment; which is done by some outward emollients, that make the parts more apt to assimilate. For which I have compounded an ointment of excellent odour, which I call Roman ointment; vide the receipt. The use of it would be between sleeps; for in the latter sleep the parts assimilate chiefly.
Experiment solitary touching Filum medicinale.
60. THERE be many medicines, which by themselves would do no cure, but perhaps hurt; but being applied in a certain order, one after another, do great cures. I have tried, myself, a remedy for the gout, which hath seldom failed, but driven it away in twentyfour hours space: it is first to apply a poultis, of which vide the receipt, and then a bath, or fomentation, of
which vide the receipt; and then a plaister, vide the receipt. The poultis relaxeth the pores, and maketh the humour apt to exhale. The fomentation calleth forth the humour by vapours; but yet in regard of the way made by the poultis, draweth gently; and therefore draweth the humour out, and doth not draw more to it; for it is a gentle fomentation, and hath withal a mixture, though very little, of some stupefactive. The plaister is a moderate astringent plaister, which repelleth new humour from falling. The poultis alone would make the part more soft and weak, and apter to take the defluxion and impression of the humour. The fomentation alone, if it were too weak, without way made by the poultis, would draw forth little; if too strong, it would draw to the part, as well as draw from it. The plaister alone would pen the humour already contained in the part, and so exasperate it, as well as forbid new humour. Therefore they must be all taken in order, as is said. The poultis is to be laid to for two or three hours: the fomentation for a quarter of an hour, or somewhat better, being used hot, and seven or eight times repeated: the plaister to continue on still, till the part be well confirmed.
Experiment solitary touching cure by custom.
61. THERE is a secret way of cure, unpractised, by assuetude of that which in itself hurteth. Poisons have been made, by some, familiar, as hath been said. Ordinary keepers of the sick of the plague are seldom infected. Enduring of tortures, by custom, hath been made more easy: the brooking of enormous quantity of meats, and so of wine or strong drink, hath been, by custom, made to be without surfeit or drunkenness. And generally, diseases that are chronical, as coughs, phthisics, some kinds of palsies, lunacies, etc. are most dangerous at the first: therefore a wise physician will consider whether a disease be incurable; or whether the just cure of it be not full of peril; and if he find it to be such, let him resort to palliation; and alleviate the symptom, without
busying himself too much with the perfect cure: and many times, if the patient be indeed patient, that course will exceed all expectation. Likewise the patient himself may strive, by little and little, to overcome the symptom in the exacerbation, and so, by time, turn suffering into nature.
Experiment solitary touching cure by excess.
62. DIVERS diseases, especially chronical, such as quartan agues, are sometimes cured by surfeit and excesses: as excess of meat, excess of drink, extraordinary fasting, extraordinary stirring or lassitude, and the like. The cause is, for that diseases of continuance get an adventitious strength from custom, besides their material cause from the humours; so that the breaking of the custom doth leave them only to their first cause; which if it be any thing weak will fall off. Besides, such excesses do excite and spur nature, which thereupon rises more forcibly against the disease.
Experiment solitary touching cure by motion
63. THERE is in the body of man a great consent in the motion of the several parts. We see, it is children's sport, to prove whether they can rub upon their breast with one hand, and pat upon their forehead with another; and straightways they shall sometimes rub with both hands, or pat with both hands. We see, that when the spirits that come to the nostrils expel a bad scent, the stomach is ready to expel by vomit. We find that in consumptions of the lungs, when nature cannot expel by cough, men fall into fluxes of the belly, and then they die. So in pestilent diseases, if they cannot be expelled by sweat, they fall likewise into looseness; and that is commonly mortal. Therefore physicians should ingeniously contrive, how by emotions that are in their power, they may excite inward motions that are not in their power, by consent: as by the stench of feathers, or the like, they cure the rising of the mother.
Experiment solitary touching cure of diseases which are contrary to predisposition.
64. HIPPOCRATES' aphorism, in morbis minus, is a good profound aphorism. It importeth, that diseases, contrary to the complexion, age, sex, season of the year, diet, etc. are more dangerous than those that are concurrent. A man would think it should be otherwise; for that, when the accident of sickness, and the natural disposition, do second the one the other, the disease should be more forcible: and so, no doubt, it is, if you suppose like quantity of matter. But that which maketh good the aphorism is, because such diseases do shew a greater collection of matter, by that they are able to overcome those natural inclinations to the contrary. And therefore in diseases of that kind, let the physician apply himself more to purgation than to alteration; because the offence is in the quantity; and the qualities are rectified of themselves.
Experiment solitary touching preparations before purging, and settling of the body afterwards.
65. PHYSICIANS do wisely prescribe, that there be preparatives used before just purgations; for certain it is, that purgers do many times great hurt, if the body be not accommodated, both before and after the purging. The hurt that they do, for want of preparation before purging, is by the sticking of the humours, and their not coming fair away; which causeth in the body great perturbations and ill accidents during the purging; and also the diminishing and dulling of the working of the medicine itself, that it purgeth not sufficiently: therefore the work of preparation is double; to make the humours fluid and mature, and to make the passages more open: for both those help to make the humours pass readily. And for the former of these, syrups are most profitable; and for the latter, apozemes, or preparing broths; clysters also help, lest the medicine stop in the guts, and work gripingly. But it is true, that
bodies abounding with humours, and fat bodies, and open weather, are preparatives in themselves; because they make the humours more fluid. But let a physician beware, how he purge after hard frosty weather, and in a lean body, without preparation. For the hurt that they may do after purging, it is caused by the lodging of some humours in ill places; for it is certain, that there be humours, which somewhere placed in the body, are quiet, and do little hurt; in other places, especially passages, do much mischief. Therefore it is good, after purging, to use apozemes and broths, not so much opening as those used before purging; but abstersive and mundifying clysters also are good to conclude with, to draw away the relics of the humours, that may have descended to the lower region of the body.
Experiment solitary touching stanching of blood. 66. BLOOD is stanched divers ways. First, by astringents, and repercussive medicines. Secondly, by drawing of the spirits and blood inwards; which is done by cold; as iron or a stone laid to the neck doth stanch the bleeding at the nose; also it hath been tried, that the testicles being put into sharp vinegar, hath made a sudden recess of the spirits, and stanched blood. Thirdly, by the recess of the blood by sympathy. So it hath been tried, that the part that bleedeth, being thrust into the body of a capon or sheep, new ript and bleeding, hath stanched blood; the blood, as it seemeth, sucking and drawing up, by similitude of substance, the blood it meeteth with, and so itself going back. Fourthly, by custom and time; so the Prince of Orange, in his first hurt by the Spanish boy, could find no means to stanch the blood, either by medicine or ligament; but was fain to have the orifice of the wound stopped by men's thumbs, succeeding one another, for the space at the least of two days; and at the last the blood by custom only retired. There is a fifth way also in use, to let blood in an adverse part, for a revulsion.