« AnteriorContinuar »
The inhabitants of the Orcades, who feed upon salt fish, and generally all fish-eaters, are long lived.
The monks and hermits, who used a sparing and dry diet, were also generally long lived.
A free use of clear water for drink renders the juices of the body less spumy; and because of the dulness of its spirit, which doubtless in water is not very penetrating, we judge it of use to dissolve a little nitre therein. And so much for the firmness of the aliment.
2. As for condensing the skin and flesh by cold; we find such persons are generally longer lived, who live in the open air, than those that live under cover; and the inhabitants of cold countries longer lived than those of hot ones.
Too inuch covering upon the bed, and too much clothing soften and dissolve the body.
Cold bathing is serviceable to prolong life; but warm bathing is prejudicial: and for bathing in astringent mineral springs, we have spoke of it above.
3. With regard to exercise; an unactive life manifestly renders the flesh soft and dissipable ; but robust exercise, if without too much sweat and lassitude, hard and compact. Exercise also in cold water, as that of swimming is very advantageous; and in general, exercise in the open air, is better than under cover.
As for frictions, though these are a species of exercise, yet as they rather call forth than indurate the aliment, we shall not speak to them here, but hereafter.
We come next to the unctuousness or roscidity of the juices; which is a more perfect and powerful intention than induration; as having no inconvenience or mischievous effect: for all those things which tend to harden the juices, at the same time that they prevent the wasting of the aliment, also prevent its repair; and thence are both conducive to, and preventive of long life; whilst that which regards the roscidity of the juices, proves advantageous in all respects; as rendering at once the aliment less dissipable, and more reparable.
By saying that the juices should be roscid or unctuous, we mean not this of any manifest fat; but only that a dewy, talmy, or, to use the vulgar expression, a radical moisture, should be every way diffused through the habit or substance of the body.
Nor again, let any one imagine that oil, or fat meats, or marrow, beget these juices, and so answer the present intention; for whatever is once perfected, never goes its course over again : but the aliment ought to be such as, after digestion and maturation, at length produces a balminess in the juices.
Nor must it be imagined, that though simple oil or fat collected together, be of itself hard to dissipate ; yet it assumes another nature in mixture: for as oil alone, wastes much slower than water alone, so does it also hang longer in paper or cloth, and dries slower; as was observed above.
For spreading these roscid juices through the body, roasted or baked meats are better disposed than boiled; and all preparations of meat with water are less proper : thus we see that oil is yielded more copiously by dry bodies than by moist ones.
In general, the free use of sweet things conduces to procure this roscidity of the juices; such as sugar, honey, sweet almonds, pine-apples, pistachios, dates, raisins, currans, figs, &c. As on the contrary, all acid, over saline, and too acrimonious things, are preventive thereof.
Nor let us be thought to favour the Manichees, and their diet, if we direct a frequent use of seeds, nuts, and roots, in meats or sauces; since all bread, which is the capital food, is either made of seeds or roots.
But above all, the quality of drinks is what most conduces to diffuse roscid juices through the body; as being the vehicle of the food : and h erefore let the drink turn upon such liquors as are subtile, but without acrimony or acidity;
viz. wines which have lost their pungency; or, as the old woman in Plautus expresses it, are grown toothless with age. And the same is to be understood of malt liquors.
We conceive that mead would be a proper liquor,
if made strong and kept till it was old; but since all honey has some acid or sharp parts, as appears from the corrosive water which chemists draw from it that even dissolves metals, it were better to make a like drink of sugar; not by a slight infusion, but by a thorough incorporation; in the same manner as honey is incorporated in mead: and this should be kept for a year, or six months, before it is used; whereby the water employed in the composition, may both lose its crudity, and the sugar acquire a subtilty of parts.
Age, in fermented liquors, has the property of procuring subtilty in all the parts, and acrimony in the spirit; the former of which is beneficial, but the latter prejudicial: therefore, to remedy this undue mixture, let a proper portion of well boiled venison, or pork, be put into the cask, before the liquor is fallen fine, or whilst it continues new; that the spirit of the liquor may have
* Vina vetustate edentula
somewhat to feed and prey upon; and thence deposite its acrimony.*
In like manner, a drink brewed, not entirely of grain; as malted barley, wheat, oats, pease &c. but with the addition of about a third part of roots, or fat pulps; as potatoes, artichoakbottoms, burdock-roots, &c. we conceive would be more conducive to long life, than a drink prepared entirely of grain.
Again, such things as abound with very fine parts, yet without all acrimony or pungency, may be employed in the way of sauce, pickle, or sallad: and this kind of property we find in some few flowers ; as those of ivy; which being pickled in vinegar, are pleasant to the taste; those of marigold, and those of betony. And so much for the operation upon the juices of the body.
The writings, prescriptions, and directions of physicians, may shew what things assist the four principal viscera; (viz. the stomach, the liver, the heart, the brain; which are the seats of con
See the articles Clarification, Drinks, &c. in the Sylva Sylvarum