The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,594 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.

Cerotes are applied to several parts and frontals, to take away pain, grief, heat, procure sleep.  Fomentations or sponges, wet in some decoctions, &c., epithemata, or those moist medicines, laid on linen, to bathe and cool several parts misaffected.

Sacculi, or little bags of herbs, flowers, seeds, roots, and the like, applied to the head, heart, stomach, &c., odoraments, balls, perfumes, posies to smell to, all which have their several uses in melancholy, as shall be shown, when I treat of the cure of the distinct species by themselves.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Purging Simples upward.

Melanagoga, or melancholy purging medicines, are either simple or compound, and that gently, or violently, purging upward or downward.  These following purge upward. [4185]Asarum, or Asrabecca, which, as Mesue saith, is hot in the second degree, and dry in the third, “it is commonly taken in wine, whey,” or as with us, the juice of two or three leaves or more sometimes, pounded in posset drink qualified with a little liquorice, or aniseed, to avoid the fulsomeness of the taste, or as Diaserum Fernelii.  Brassivola in Catart. reckons it up amongst those simples that only purge melancholy, and Ruellius confirms as much out of his experience, that it purgeth [4186]black choler, like hellebore itself.  Galen, lib.  G. simplic. and [4187]Matthiolus ascribe other virtues to it, and will have it purge other humours as well as this.

Laurel, by Heurnius’s method, ad prax. lib. 2. cap. 24. is put amongst the strong purgers of melancholy; it is hot and dry in the fourth degree.  Dioscorides, lib. 11. cap. 114. adds other effects to it. [4188]Pliny sets down fifteen berries in drink for a sufficient potion:  it is commonly corrected with his opposites, cold and moist, as juice of endive, purslane, and is taken in a potion to seven grains and a half.  But this and asrabecca, every gentlewoman in the country knows how to give, they are two common vomits.

Scilla, or sea-onion, is hot and dry in the third degree.  Brassivola in Catart. out of Mesue, others, and his own experience, will have this simple to purge [4189]melancholy alone.  It is an ordinary vomit, vinum scilliticum mixed with rubel in a little white wine.

White hellebore, which some call sneezing-powder, a strong purger upward, which many reject, as being too violent:  Mesue and Averroes will not admit of it, [4190]"by reason of danger of suffocation,” [4191]"great pain and trouble it puts the poor patient to,” saith Dodonaeus.  Yet Galen, lib. 6. simpl. med. and Dioscorides, cap. 145. allow of it.  It was indeed [4192] “terrible in former times,” as Pliny notes, but now familiar, insomuch that many took it in those days, [4193]"that were students, to quicken their wits,” which Persius Sat. 1. objects to Accius the poet,

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