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coction) in the due performing of their functions; whereby the aliment is distributed into all the parts, the spirits sent out, and thence the repair of the whole body secured.
We here speak not of the spleen, the gall, the kidneys, the mesentery, the intestines, and the lungs; because these are parts subservient to the principal ones: though in a discourse of health and diseases, they might sometimes be of capital considerations; as each of them has its particular distempers, which, unless cured, affect also the principal viscera. But with regard to the prolongation of life, the repair by alimentation, and retarding the waste brought on by old age; if the concoctions and these principal viscera are well secured, the rest, in great measure, proceeds successfully
Every one must, for himself, collect such particulars from the writings of the physicians that treat of comforting and preserving the four principal viscera, as the nature and constitution of his body requires; and apply them in his diet and regimen of life: for the preservation of health generally requires only temporary remedies ; but the prolongation of life is to be endeavoured by a thorough regimen, and a constant course of assisting remedies : a few of the best whereof, selected with choice, we shall here propose.
The stomach, which provides for all the other parts, and whose strength is fundamental to all the other concoctions, should be so defended and secured as to remain moderately warm, constringed, clear, and unoppressed by nauseating humours; yet never entirely empty; as being rather nourished by itself than by the veins: and lastly, in good appetite; because appetite promotes digestion.
It seems strange, that the practice of drinking liquors hot, which prevailed among the antients, should be grown into disuse. I remember a very eminent physician that used, at dinner and supper, greedily to swallow down his broth very hot; and presently after to wish it up again, saying, He did not want the broth; but only the heat. And indeed I conceive it useful, to take the first glass of liquor, whatever it be, always bot at supper.
We likewise judge such wine proper at meals, wherein gold has been quenched; not as believing the gold communicates any virtue to the wine; but, as knowing that all metals quenched in any liquor, give it a powerful astringency: and we make choice of gold, because it leaves no other metallic impression, besides the desired astringency, behind.
Towards the middle of the meal, we judge, that bread dipped in wine, is better than wine ita self; especially if the wine it is dipped in be first impregnated with rosemary and citron-peel; and also sugared, to make it pass the slower.
The use of quinces is, by experience, found to strengthen the stomach ; but, in our judgment, the clarified juice made into a marmalade, or syrup, with sugar, is preferable to the flesh, or pulp; as it thus proves less oppressive to the stomach; and the marmalade eat by itself, after meals, or along with vinegar before them, is excellent.
The simples best suited to the stomach are rosemary, elecampane, wormwood, sage, and mint.
We approve of pills composed of aloes, mastich, and saffron, taken before dinner, especially in the winter; provided the aloes be not only several times washed in the juice of roses, but also in vinegar, wherein gum traganth is dissolved; and afterwards steeped, for some hours, in fresh drawn oil of sweet almonds, before it is made up iuto the mass.*
Wormwood-ale, or wine, with a small addition of elecampane and yellow saunders, is properly used at intervals; though best in the winter.
But in the summer, a glass of white wine diluted with strawberry-water; the wine having
* See the article Medicine, in the Sylva Sylvarum,
first stood upon fine powder of pearls, craw-fishshells, and (though this may seem strange) a little chalk; admirably strengthens and refreshes the stomach.
But in general, all morning draughts of cooling liquors, whether juices, decoctions, whey, &c. are to be avoided ; and nothing that is purely cold taken upon an empty stomach. Such things are better used, if occasion be, five hours after dinner; or an hour after a light breakfast.
Often fasting is prejudicial to long life; and all thirst must be avoided: the stomach being kept sufficiently clean, but continually moist.
A little mithridate being dissolved in fresh oil-olive, and rubbed upon the spine, opposite to the mouth of the stomach, strangely cherishes and refreshes the stomach.
A little bag filled, with fine teased wool, or scarlet flax, and steeped in rough red wine, impregnated with myrtle, citron-peel, and a little saffron, may be constantly wore upon the stomach. But enough of remedies for comforting the stomach; since many of those which answer the other intentions, also conspire to answer this.
As to the liver; if it be preserved from dryress and obstruction, it requires nothing more; for that relaxation of it which produces aquosities, is plainly a disease: but the coming on of
old age, also causes the other two. And this intention is chiefly answered by the remedies above set down, under the operation upon the blood: but we will here add a few more to them, selected with choice.
Let a principal use be made of the wine of sweet pomegranates, or, if that cannot be pro, cured, of their juice fresh expressed: to be taken in the morning with a little sugar, a bit of fresh citron-peel, and three or four whole cloves, put into the glass wherein the juice is squeezed. And let this be continued from February to the end of April.
Before all other herbs, let young cresses be used; either in the way of sallad, in broths, or in drinks; and next to this scurvy-grass.
Aloes, in what manner so ever washed, or corrected, is prejudicial to the liver; and theretore never to be used common.: but rhubarb is sovereign to the liver, if used with three cautions; viz. 1. if taken a little before meals; to prevent its drying too much, or leaving a stypticity behind: 2. if it be steeped for an hour or two in fresh oil of almonds, along with rose-water, before it be otherwise infused, or given in. substance: and, 3. if taken alternately, one while simple, another while with tartar, or a little bay-salt; to prevent its carrying off only the