After bloodletting we must proceed to other medicines; first prepare, and then purge, Augeæ stabulum purgare, make the body clean before we hope to do any good. Walter Bruel would have a practitioner begin first with a clyster of his, which he prescribes before bloodletting: the common sort, as Mercurialis, Montaltus cap. 30. &c. proceed from lenitives to preparatives, and so to purgers. Lenitives are well known, electuarium lenitivum, diaphenicum, diacatholicon, &c. Preparatives are usually syrups of borage, bugloss, apples, fumitory, thyme and epithyme, with double as much of the same decoction or distilled water, or of the waters of bugloss, balm, hops, endive, scolopendry, fumitory, &c. or these sodden in whey, which must be reiterated and used for many days together. Purges come last, "which must not be used at all, if the malady may be otherwise helped," because they weaken nature and dry so much, and in giving of them, "we must begin with the gentlest first." Some forbid all hot medicines, as Alexander, and Salvianus, &c. Ne insaniores inde fiant, hot medicines increase the disease "by drying too much." Purge downward rather than upward, use potions rather than pills, and when you begin physic, persevere and continue in a course; for as one observes, movere et non educere in omnibus malum est; to stir up the humour (as one purge commonly doth) and not to prosecute, doth more harm than good. They must continue in a course of physic, yet not so that they tire and oppress nature, danda quies naturæ, they must now and then remit, and let nature have some rest. The most gentle purges to begin with, are senna, cassia, epithyme, myrabolanea, catholicon: if these prevail not, we may proceed to stronger, as the confection of hamech, pil. Indae, fumitoriae, de assaieret, of lapis armenus and lazuli, diasena. Or if pills be too dry; some prescribe both hellebores in the last place, amongst the rest Aretus, "because this disease will resist a gentle medicine." Laurentius and Hercules de Saxonia would have antimony tried last, "if the party be strong, and it warily given." Trincavelius prefers hierologodium, to whom Francis Alexander in his Apol. rad. 5. subscribes, a very good medicine they account it. But Crato in a counsel of his, for the duke of Bavaria's chancellor, wholly rejects it.
I find a vast chaos of medicines, a confusion of receipts and magistrals, amongst writers, appropriated to this disease; some of the chiefest I will rehearse. To be seasick first is very good at seasonable times. Helleborismus Matthioli, with which he vaunts and boasts he did so many several cures, "I never gave it" (saith he), "but after once or twice, by the help of God, they were happily cured." The manner of making it he sets down at large in his third book of Epist. to George Hankshius a physician. Walter Bruel, and Heurnius, make mention of it with great approbation; so doth Sckenkius in his memorable cures, and experimental medicines, cen. 6. obser. 37. That famous Helleborisme of Montanus, which he so often repeats in his consultations and counsels, as 28. pro. melan. sacerdote, et consil. 148. pro hypochondriaco, and cracks, "to be a most sovereign remedy for all melancholy persons, which he hath often given without offence, and found by long experience and observations to be such."
Quercetan prefers a syrup of hellebore in his Spagirica Pharmac. and Hellebore's extract cap. 5. of his invention likewise ("a most safe medicine and not unfit to be given children") before all remedies whatsoever.
Paracelsus, in his book of black hellebore, admits this medicine, but as it is prepared by him. "It is most certain" (saith he) "that the virtue of this herb is great, and admirable in effect, and little differing from balm itself; and he that knows well how to make use of it, hath more art than all their books contain, or all the doctors in Germany can show."
Ælianus Montaltus in his exquisite work de morb. capitis, cap. 31. de mel. sets a special receipt of his own, which, in his practice "he fortunately used; because it is but short I will set it down."
"Rx. Syrupe de pomis ounces ij, aquae borag. ounces iiij. Ellebori nigri per noctem infusi in ligatura 6 vel 8 gr. mane facta collatura exhibe."
Other receipts of the same to this purpose you shall find in him. Valescus admires pulvis Hali, and Jason Pratensis after him: the confection of which our new London Pharmacopoeia hath lately revived. "Put case" (saith he) "all other medicines fail, by the help of God this alone shall do it, and 'tis a crowned medicine which must be kept in secret."
"Rx.. Epithymi semunc., lapidis lazuli, agarici ana ounces ij. Scammnonii. drachms j, Chariophillorum numero 20 pulverisentur Omnia, et ipsius pulveris scrup. 4. singulis septimanis assumat."
To these I may add Arnoldi vinum Buglossalum, or borage wine before mentioned, which Mizaldus calls vinum mirabile, a wonderful wine, and Stockerus vouchsafes to repeat verbatim amongst other receipts. Rubeus his compound water out of Savanarola; Pinetus his balm; Cardan's Pulvis Hyacinthi, with which, in his book de curis admirandis, he boasts that he had cured many melancholy persons in eight days, which Sckenkius puts amongst his observable medicines; Altomarus his syrup, with which he calls God so solemnly to witness, he hath in his kind done many excellent cures, and which Sckenkius cent. 7. observ. 80. mentioneth, Daniel Sennertus lib. 1. part. 2. cap. 12. so much commends; Rulandus' admirable water for melancholy, which cent. 2. cap. 96. he names Spiritum vitæ aureum, Panaceam, what not, and his absolute medicine of 50 eggs, curat. Empir. cent. 1. cur. 5. to be taken three in a morning, with a powder of his. Faventinus prac. Emper. doubles this number of eggs, and will have 101 to be taken by three and three in like sort, which Sallust Salvian approves de red. med. lib. 2. c. 1. with some of the same powder, till all be spent, a most excellent remedy for all melancholy and mad men.
"Rx.. Epithymi, thymi, ana drachmas duas, sacchari albi unciam unam, croci grana tria, Cinamomi drachmam unam; misce, fiat pulvis."
All these yet are nothing to those chemical preparatives of Aqua Chalidonia, quintessence of hellebore, salts, extracts, distillations, oils, Aurum potabile, &c. Dr. Anthony in his book de auro potab. edit. 1600. is all in all for it. "And though all the schools of Galenists, with a wicked and unthankful pride and scorn, detest it in their practice, yet in more grievous diseases, when their vegetals will do no good," they are compelled to seek the help of minerals, though they "use them rashly, unprofitably, slackly, and to no purpose." Rhenanus, a Dutch chemist, in his book de Sale e puteo emergente, takes upon him to apologise for Anthony, and sets light by all that speak against him. But what do I meddle with this great controversy, which is the subject of many volumes? Let Paracelsus, Quercetan, Crollius, and the brethren of the rosy cross, defend themselves as they may. Crato, Erastus, and the Galenists oppugn Paracelsus, he brags on the other side, he did more famous cures by this means, than all the Galenists in Europe, and calls himself a monarch; Galen, Hippocrates, infants, illiterate, &c. As Thessalus of old railed against those ancient Asclepiadean writers, "he condemns others, insults, triumphs, overcomes all antiquity" (saith Galen as if he spake to him) "declares himself a conqueror, and crowns his own doings. One drop of their chemical preparatives shall do more good than all their fulsome potions." Erastus, and the rest of the Galenists vilify them on the other side, as heretics in physic; "Paracelsus did that in physic, which Luther in Divinity. A drunken rogue he was, a base fellow, a magician, he had the devil for his master, devils his familiar companions, and what he did, was done by the help of the devil." Thus they contend and rail, and every mart write books pro and con, et adhuc sub judice lis est: let them agree as they will, I proceed.