I have declared in the causes what harm costiveness hath done in procuring this disease; if it be so noxious, the opposite must needs be good, or mean at least, as indeed it is, and to this cure necessarily required; maxime conducit, saith Montaltus, cap. 27. it very much avails. Altomarus, cap. 7, "commends walking in a morning, into some fair green pleasant fields, but by all means first, by art or nature, he will have these ordinary excrements evacuated." Piso calls it, Beneficium ventris, the benefit, help or pleasure of the belly, for it doth much ease it. Laurentius, cap. 8, Crato, consil. 21. l. 2. prescribes it once a day at least: where nature is defective, art must supply, by those lenitive electuaries, suppositories, condite prunes, turpentine, clysters, as shall be shown. Prosper Calenus, lib. de atra bile, commends clysters in hypochondriacal melancholy, still to be used as occasion serves; Peter Cnemander in a consultation of his pro hypocondriaco, will have his patient continually loose, and to that end sets down there many forms of potions and clysters. Mercurialis, consil. 88. if this benefit come not of its own accord, prescribes clysters in the first place: so doth Montanus, consil. 24. consil. 31 et 229. he commends turpentine to that purpose: the same he ingeminates, consil. 230. for an Italian abbot. 'Tis very good to wash his hands and face often, to shift his clothes, to have fair linen about him, to be decently and comely attired, for sordes vitiant, nastiness defiles and dejects any man that is so voluntarily, or compelled by want, it dulleth the spirits.
Baths are either artificial or natural, both have their special uses in this malady, and as Alexander supposeth, lib. 1. cap. 16. yield as speedy a remedy as any other physic whatsoever. Aetius would have them daily used, assidua balnea, Tetra. 2. sect. 2. c. 9. Galen cracks how many several cures he hath performed in this kind by use of baths alone, and Rufus pills, moistening them which are otherwise dry. Rhasis makes it a principal cure, Tota cura sit in humectando, to bathe and afterwards anoint with oil. Jason Pratensis, Laurentius, cap. 8. and Montanus set down their peculiar forms of artificial baths. Crato, consil. 17. lib. 2. commends mallows, camomile, violets, borage to be boiled in it, and sometimes fair water alone, and in his following counsel, Balneum aquæ dulcis solum sæpissime profuisse compertum habemus. So doth Fuchsius, lib. 1. cap. 33. Frisimelica, 2. consil. 42. in Trincavelius. Some beside herbs prescribe a ram's head and other things to be boiled. Fernelius, consil. 44. will have them used ten or twelve days together; to which he must enter fasting, and so continue in a temperate heat, and after that frictions all over the body. Lelius Aegubinus, consil. 142. and Christoph. Aererus, in a consultation of his, hold once or twice a week sufficient to bathe, the "water to be warm, not hot, for fear of sweating." Felix Plater, observ. lib. 1. for a melancholy lawyer, "will have lotions of the head still joined to these baths, with a lee wherein capital herbs have been boiled." Laurentius speaks of baths of milk, which I find approved by many others. And still after bath, the body to be anointed with oil of bitter almonds, of violets, new or fresh butter, capon's grease, especially the backbone, and then lotions of the head, embrocations, &c. These kinds of baths have been in former times much frequented, and diversely varied, and are still in general use in those eastern countries. The Romans had their public baths very sumptuous and stupend, as those of Antoninus and Diocletian. Plin. 36. saith there were an infinite number of them in Rome, and mightily frequented; some bathed seven times a day, as Commodus the emperor is reported to have done; usually twice a day, and they were after anointed with most costly ointments: rich women bathed themselves in milk, some in the milk of five hundred she-asses at once: we have many ruins of such, baths found in this island, amongst those parietines and rubbish of old Roman towns. Lipsius, de mag. Urb. Rom. l. 3, c. 8, Rosinus, Scot of Antwerp, and other antiquaries, tell strange stories of their baths. Gillius, l. 4. cap. ult. Topogr. Constant. reckons up 155 public baths in Constantinople, of fair building; they are still frequented in that city by the Turks of all sorts, men and women, and all over Greece, and those hot countries; to absterge belike that fulsomeness of sweat, to which they are there subject. Busbequius, in his epistles, is very copious in describing the manner of them, how their women go covered, a maid following with a box of ointment to rub them. The richer sort have private baths in their houses; the poorer go to the common, and are generally so curious in this behalf, that they will not eat nor drink until they have bathed, before and after meals some, "and will not make water (but they will wash their hands) or go to stool." Leo Afer. l. 3. makes mention of one hundred several baths at Fez in Africa, most sumptuous, and such as have great revenues belonging to them. Buxtorf. cap. 14, Synagog. Jud. speaks of many ceremonies amongst the Jews in this kind; they are very superstitious in their baths, especially women.
Natural baths are praised by some, discommended by others; but it is in a divers respect. Marcus, de Oddis in Hip. affect. consulted about baths, condemns them for the heat of the liver, because they dry too fast; and yet by and by, in another counsel for the same disease, he approves them because they cleanse by reason of the sulphur, and would have their water to be drunk. Areteus, c. 7. commends alum baths above the rest; and Mercurialis, consil. 88. those of Lucca in that hypochondriacal passion. "He would have his patient tarry there fifteen days together, and drink the water of them, and to be bucketed, or have the water poured on his head." John Baptista, Sylvaticus cont. 64. commends all the baths in Italy, and drinking of their water, whether they be iron, alum, sulphur; so doth Hercules de Saxonia. But in that they cause sweat and dry so much, he confines himself to hypochondriacal melancholy alone, excepting that of the head and the other. Trincavelius, consil. 14. lib. 1. refers those Porrectan baths before the rest, because of the mixture of brass, iron, alum, and consil. 35. l. 3. for a melancholy lawyer, and consil. 36. in that hypochondriacal passion, the baths of Aquaria, and 36. consil. the drinking of them. Frisimelica, consulted amongst the rest in Trincavelius, consil. 42. lib. 2. prefers the waters of Apona before all artificial baths whatsoever in this disease, and would have one nine years affected with hypochondriacal passions fly to them as to a holy anchor. Of the same mind is Trincavelius himself there, and yet both put a hot liver in the same party for a cause, and send him to the waters of St. Helen, which are much hotter. Montanus, consil. 230. magnifies the Chalderinian baths, and consil 237. et 239. he exhorteth to the same, but with this caution, "that the liver be outwardly anointed with some coolers that it be not overheated." But these baths must be warily frequented by melancholy persons, or if used, to such as are very cold of themselves, for as Gabelius concludes of all Dutch baths, and especially of those of Baden, "they are good for all cold diseases, naught for choleric, hot and dry, and all infirmities proceeding of choler, inflammations of the spleen and liver." Our English baths, as they are hot, must needs incur the same censure: but D. Turner of old, and D. Jones have written at large of them. Of cold baths I find little or no mention in any physician, some speak against them: Cardan alone out of Agathinus commends "bathing in fresh rivers, and cold waters, and adviseth all such as mean to live long to use it, for it agrees with all ages and complexions, and is most profitable for hot temperatures." As for sweating, urine, bloodletting by haemrods, or otherwise, I shall elsewhere more opportunely speak of them.
Immoderate Venus in excess, as it is a cause, or in defect; so moderately used to some parties an only help, a present remedy. Peter Forestus calls it aptissimum remedium, a most apposite remedy, "remitting anger, and reason, that was otherwise bound." Avicenna Fen. 3. 20. Oribasius med. collect. lib. 6. cap. 37. contend out of Ruffus and others, "that many madmen, melancholy, and labouring of the falling sickness, have been cured by this alone." Montaltus cap. 27. de melan. will have it drive away sorrow, and all illusions of the brain, to purge the heart and brain from ill smokes and vapours that offend them: "and if it be omitted," as Valescus supposeth, "it makes the mind sad, the body dull and heavy." Many other inconveniences are reckoned up by Mercatus, and by Rodericus a Castro, in their tracts de melancholia virginum et monialium; ob seminis retentionem saviunt sæpe moniales et virgines, but as Platerus adds, si nubant sanantur, they rave single, and pine away, much discontent, but marriage mends all. Marcellus Donatus lib. 2. med. hist. cap. 1. tells a story to confirm this out of Alexander Benedictus, of a maid that was mad, ob menses inhibitos, cum in officinam meritoriam incidisset, a quindecem viris eadem nocte compressa, mensium largo profluvio, quod pluribus annis ante constiterat, non sine magno pudore mane menti restituta discessit. But this must be warily understood, for as Arnoldus objects, lib. 1. breviar. 18. cap. Quid coitus ad melancholicum succum? What affinity have these two? "except it be manifest that superabundance of seed, or fullness of blood be a cause, or that love, or an extraordinary desire of Venus, have gone before," or that as Lod. Mercatus excepts, they be very flatuous, and have been otherwise accustomed unto it. Montaltus cap. 27. will not allow of moderate Venus to such as have the gout, palsy, epilepsy, melancholy, except they be very lusty, and full of blood. Lodovicus Antonius lib. med. miscet. in his chapter of Venus, forbids it utterly to all wrestlers, ditchers, labouring men, &c. Ficinus and Marsilius Cognatus puts Venus one of the five mortal enemies of a student: "it consumes the spirits, and weakeneth the brain." Halyabbas the Arabian, 5. Theor. cap. 36. and Jason Pratensis make it the fountain of most diseases, "but most pernicious to them who are cold and dry:" a melancholy man must not meddle with it, but in some cases. Plutarch in his book de san. tuend. accounts of it as one of the three principal signs and preservers of health, temperance in this kind: "to rise with an appetite, to be ready to work, and abstain from venery," tria saluberrima, are three most healthful things. We see their opposites how pernicious they are to mankind, as to all other creatures they bring death, and many feral diseases: Immodicis brevis est ætas et rara senectus. Aristotle gives instance in sparrows, which are parum vivaces ob salacitatem, short lived because of their salacity, which is very frequent, as Scoppius in Priapus will better inform you. The extremes being both bad, the medium is to be kept, which cannot easily be determined. Some are better able to sustain, such as are hot and moist, phlegmatic, as Hippocrates insinuateth, some strong and lusty, well fed like Hercules, Proculus the emperor, lusty Laurence, prostibulum fæminæ Messalina the empress, that by philters, and such kind of lascivious meats, use all means to enable themselves: and brag of it in the end, confodi multas enim, occidi vero paucas per ventrem vidisti, as that Spanish Celestina merrily said: others impotent, of a cold and dry constitution, cannot sustain those gymnics without great hurt done to their own bodies, of which number (though they be very prone to it) are melancholy men for the most part.