Francis Bacon.

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certainly, that the water itself, by mixture of ashes or
dust, will shrink or draw into less room.

Experiment solitary toncldiig the making viJies more fruitful.

35. It is reported of credit, that if you lay good
store of kernels of grapes about the root of a vine, it
will make the vine come earlier and prosper better.
It may be tried with other kernels laid about the root
of a plant of the same kind ; as figs, kernels of apples,
etc. The cause may be, for that the kernels draw out
of the earth juice fit to nourish the tree, as those that
would be trees of themselves, though there were no
root ; but the root being of greater strength robbeth
and devoureth the nourishment, when they have drawn
it ; as great fishes devour little.

Experiments in consort touching purging medicines.

36. The operation of purging medicines, and the
causes thereof, have been thought to be a great secret;
and so, according to the slothful manner of men, it is
referred to a hidden propriety, a specifical virtue, and
a fourth quality, and the like shifts of ignorance.
The causes of purging are divers : all plain and per-
spicuous ; and throughly maintained by experience.
Tlic first is, that whatsoever cannot be overcome and
digested by the stomach, is by the stomach either put
up by vomit, or put down to the guts ; and by that
motion of expulsion in the stomach and guts, other
parts of the body, as the orifices of the veins, and the
like, are moved to expel by consent. For nothing is
more frequent than motion of consent in the body of
man. This surcharge of the stomach is caused either



by the quality of the medicine, or by the quantity.
The qualities are three : extreme bitter, as in aloes,
coloquintida, etc. loathsome and of horrible taste, as in
agaric, black hellebore, etc. and of secret malignity,
and disagreement towards man's body, many times not
appearing much in the taste, as in scammony, mecho-
achan, antimony, etc. And note well, that if there be
any medicine that purgeth, and hath neither of the
first two manifest qualities, it is to be held suspected
as a kind of poison : for that it worketh either by cor-
rosion, or by a secret malignity, and enmity to nature,
and therefore such medicines are warily to be prepared
and used. The quantity of that which is taken doth
also cause purging ; as we see in a great quantity of
new milk from the cow ; yea and a great quantity of
meat ; for surfeits many times turn to purges, both up-
w^ards and downwards. Therefore we see generally,
that the working of purging medicines cometh two or
three hours after the medicines taken ; for that the
stomach first maketh a proof, whether it can concoct
them. And the like happeneth after surfeits, or milk
in too great quantity.

37. A second cause is mordication of the orifices of
the parts ; especially of the mesentery veins ; as it is
seen, that salt, or any such thing that is sharp and bit-
ing, put into the fundament, doth provoke the part to
expel ; and mustard provoketh sneezing: and any sharp
thing to the eyes provoketh tears. And therefore we
see that almost all purgers have a kind of twitching
and vellication, besides the griping which cometh of
wind. And if this mordication be in an over-high de-
gree, it is little better than the corrosion of poison ; as
it cometh to pass sometimes in antimony, esi^ecially if
it be given to bodies not replete with humours ; for
where humours abound, the humours save the parts.

38. The third cause is attraction : for I do not
deny, but that purging medicines have in them a di-
rect force of attraction ; as drawing plaisters have in
surgery : and we see sage or betony bruised, sneezing
powder, and other powders, or liquor, which the pliy-
sicians call trrhm€i>, put into the nose, draw phlegm


and water from the head ; and so it is in apophlegma-
tisms and gargarisms that draw the rheum down by the
palate. And by this virtue, no doubt, some purgers
draw more one humour, and some another, according to
the opinion received : as rhubarb draweth choler ; sena
melancholy ; agaric phlegm, etc. but yet, more or less,
they draw promiscuously. And note also, that besides
sympathy between the purger and the humour, there
is also another cause, why some medicines draw some
humour more than another. And it is, for that some
medicines work quicker than others : they that draw
quick, draw only the lighter and more fluid humours;
and they that draw slow, work upon the more tough
and viscous humours. And therefore men must be-
ware how they take rhubarb, and the like, alone fami-
liarly ; for it taketh only the lightest part of the hu-
mour away, and leaveth the mass of humours more
obstinate. And the like may be said of wormwood,
which is so much magnified.

39- The fourth cause is flatuosity ; for wind stirred
moveth to expel: and we find that, in cflfect, all purgers
have in them a raw spirit or wind ; which is the prin-
cipal cause of tortion in the stomach and belly. And
therefore purgers lose, most of them, the virtue, by
decoction upon the fire ; and for that cause are given
chiefly in infusion, juice, or powder.

40. The fifth cause is compression or crushing: as
when water is crushed out of a spunge : so we see that
taking cold moveth looseness by contraction of the
skin and outward parts ; and so doth cold likewise
cause rheums, and defluxions from the head ; and some
astringent plaisters crush out purulent matter. Tliis
kind of operation is not found in many medicines :
myrobalaneshave it; and it may be thebarks of peaches;
for this virtue requircth an astriction ; but such an as-
triction as is not grateful to the body ; for a pleasing
astriction doth rather bind in the humours than expel
them : and therefore, such astriction is found in things
of an harsh taste.

41. The sixth cause is lubrefaction and relaxation.
As we see in medicines emollient ; such as are milk.


honey, mallows, lattice, mercurial, pellitory of the wall,
and others. There is also a secret virtue of relaxation
in cold : for the heat of the body bindeth the parts and
humours together, which cold relaxeth : as it is seen
in urine, blood, pottage, or the like ; which, if they be
cold, break and dissolve. And by this kind of relaxa-
tion, fear looseneth the belly ; because the heat retir-
ing inwards towards the heart, the guts and other
parts are relaxed ; in the same manner as fear also
causeth trembling in the sinews. And of this kind
of purgers are some medicines made of mercury.

42. The seventh cause is abstersion ; which is
plainly a scouring off, or incision of the more viscous
humours, and making the humours more fluid ; and
cutting between them and the part : as is found in

. nitrous water, which scoureth linen cloth speedily from
the foulness. But this incision must be by a sharp-
ness, without astriction : which we find in salt, worm-
wood, oxymel, and the like.

43. There be medicines that move stools, and not
urine ; some other, urine, and not stools. Those that
purge by stool, are such as enter not at all, or little,
into the mesentery veins ; but either at the first are
not digestible by the stomach, and therefore move im-
mediately downwards to the guts ; or else are after-
wards rejected by the mesentery veins, and so turn
likewise downwards to the guts ; and of these two kinds
are most purgers. I5ut those that move urine, are such
as are well digested of the stomach, and well received
also of the mesentery veins ; so they come as far as the
liver, which sendeth urine to the bladder, as the whey
of blood : and those medicines being opening and pier-
cing, do fortify the operation of the liver, in sending
down tlie wheyey part of the blood to the reins. For
medicines urinative do not work by rejection and in-
digestion, as solutive do.

44. There be divers medicines, which in greater
quantity move stool, and in smaller, urine : and so con-
trariwise, some that in greater quantity move urine,
and in smaller, stool. Of the former sort is rhubarb,
and some others. The cause is, for that rhubarb is a


medicine which the stomach in a small quantity doth
digest and overcome, being not fiatuous nor loathsome,
and so sendeth it to the mesentery veins ; and so being
opening, it helpeth down urine : but in a greater quan-
tity, the stomach cannot overcome it, and so it goeth
to the guts. Pepper by some of the ancients is noted
to be of the second sort ; which being in small quantity,
moveth wind in the stomach and guts, and so expelleth
by stool ; but being in gi'eater quantity, dissipateth the
wind ; and itself getteth to the mesentery veins, and
so to the liver and reins ; where, by heating and open-
ing, it sendeth down urine more plentifidly.

Experiments in consort touching meats and drinks that
are most nourishing.

45. We have spoken of evacuating of the body; we
will now speak something of the filling of it by resto-
ratives in consumptions and emaciating diseases. In
vegetables, there is one part that is more nourishing
than another ; as grains and roots nourish more than
the leaves ; insomuch as the order of the Folietanes
was put down by the pope, as finding leaves unable to
nourish man's body. Whether there be that differ-
ence in the flesh of living creatures, is not well in-
quired : as whether livers, and other entrails, be not
more nourishing than the outward flesh. We find
that amongst the Romans, a goose's liver was a great
delicacy ; insomuch as they had artificial means to
make it fair and great ; but whether it were more
nourishing appeareth not. It is certain, that marrow is
more nourishing than fat. And I conceive that some
decoction of bones and sinews, stamped and well
strained, would be a very nourishing broth : we find
also that Scotch skinck, which is a pottage of strong
nourishment, is made with the knees and sinews of
beef, but long boiled : jelly also, which they use for
a restorative, is chiefly made of knuckles of veal. The
pulp that is within the crawfish or crab, which they
spice and butter, is more nourishing than the flesh of
the crab or crawfish. The yolks of eggs are clearly more
nourishins: than the whites. So that it should seem.


that the parts of living creatures that lie more inwards,
nourish more than the outward flesh ; except it be the
brain : which the spirits prey too much upon, to leave
it any great virtue of nourishment. It seemeth for the
nourishing of aged men, or men in consumptions, some
such thing should be devised, as should be half cliylus,
before it be put into the stomach.

46. Take two large capons ; parboil them upon a
soft fire, by the space of an hour or more, till in effect
all the blood be gone. Add in the decoction the pill
of a sweet lemon, or a good part of the pill of a citron,
and a little mace. Cut off the shanks, and throw them
away. Then with a good strong chopping-knife mince
the two capons, bones and all, as small as ordinary
minced meat ; put them into a large neat boulter ;
then take a kilderkin, sweet and well seasoned, of four
gallons of beer, of 8s. strength, new as it cometh from
the tunning ; make in the kilderkin a great bung-
hole of purpose : then thrust into it the boiUter, in
which the capons are, drawn out in length ; let it
steep in it three days and three nights, the bung-hole
open, to work ; then close the bung-hole, and so let it
continue a day and a half ; then draw it into bottles,
and you may drink it well after three days bottling ;
and it will last six weeks : approved. It drinketh
fresh, flowereth and mantleth exceecHngly ; it drink-
eth not newish at all ; it is an excellent drink for a
consumption, to be drunk either alone, or carded with
some other beer. It quencheth thirst, and hath no
whit of windiness. Note, tliat it is not possible, that
meat and bread, either in broths, or taken with drink,
as is used, should get forth into the veins and outward
parts, so finely and easily, as when it is thus incorpo-
rate, and made almost a chylus aforehand.

47. Trial would be made of the like brew with
potatoe roots, or burr roots, or the pith of artichokes,
which are nourishing meats : it may be tried also with
other flesh ; as ])hcasant, partridge, young pork, pig,
venison, especially of young deer, etc.

48. A mortress made with the brawn of capons.


staiii})e(l, and sLraincd, and mingled, after it is made,
witli like (quantity, at the least, of almond butter, is an
excellent meat to nourish those that are weak ; better
than blackmanj>;cr, or jelly ; and so is the cullice of
cocks, boiled thick with the like mixture of almond
butter ; for the mortress or cullice, of itself, is more
savoury and strong, and not so fit for nourishing of
weak bodies ; but the almonds, that are not of so high
a taste as flesh, do excellently qualify it.

49. Indian maiz hath, of certain, an excellent spirit
of nourishment ; but it must be throughly boiled, and
made into a maiz-cream like a barley-cream. I judge
the same of rice, made into a cream ; for rice is in Tur-
key, and other countries of the cast, most fed upon; but
it must be throughly boiled in respect of the hardness
of it, and also because otherwise it bindeth the body
too much.

50. Pistachoes, so they be good, and not musty,
joined with almonds in almond milk ; or made into a
milk of themselves, like unto almond milk, but more
green, are an excellent nourisher: but you shall do well,
to add a little ginger, scraped, because they are not
without some subtile windiness.

5 1 . Milk warm from the cow, is found to be a great
nourisher, and a good remedy in consumptions : but
then you must put into it, when you milk the cow,
two little bags ; the one of powder of mint, the other
of powder of red roses ; for they keep the milk some-
what from turning or curdling in the stomach ; and
put in sugar also, for the same cause, and partly for
the taste's sake ; but you must drink a good draught,
that it may stay less time in the stomach, lest it cur-
dle : and let the cup into which you milk the cow, be
set in a greater cup of hot water, that you may take it
warm. And cow milk thus prepared, I judge to be
better for a consumption, than ass milk, which, it is
true, turneth not so easily, but it is a little harsh ;
marry it is more proper for sharpness of urine, and
exulceration of the bladder, and all manner of lenify-
ings. Woman's milk likewise is prescribed, when all
fail ; but I commend it not, as being a little too near

VOT,. T. s


the juice of man's body, to be a good nourisher ; ex-
cept it be in infants, to whom it is natural.

52. Oil of sweet almonds, newly drawn, with sugar,
and a little spice, spread upon bread toasted, is an ex-
cellent noiu:isher : but then to keep the oil from fry-
ing in the stomach, you must drink a good draught of
mild beer after it ; and to keep it from relaxing the
stomach too much, you must put in a little powder of

53. The yolks of eggs are of themselves so well pre-
pared bynature for nourishment, as, so they be poached,
or rare boiled, they need no other preparation or mix-
ture ; yet they may be taken also raw, when they are
new laid, with Malmsey, or sweet wine ; you shall do
well to put in some few slices of eryngium roots, and
a little ambergrice ; for by this means, besides the bu-
rn ediate faculty of nourishment, such drink will
strengthen the back, so that it will not draw down the
urine too fast ; for too much urine doth always hin-
der nourishment.

54. Mincing of meat, as in pies,and buttered minced
meat, saveth the grinding of the teeth ; and therefore,
no doubt, it is more nourishing, especially in age, or
to them that have weak teeth ; but the butter is not
so proper for weak bodies ; and therefore it were good
to moisten it with a litle claret wine, pill of lemon or
orange, cut small, sugar, and a very little cinnamon
or nutmeg. As for chuets, which are likewise minced
meat, instead of butter and fat, it were good to moisten
them, partly with cream, or almond, or pistacho milk ;
or barley, or maiz-cream ; adding a little coriander
seed and caraway seed, and a very little saffron. The
more full handling of alimentation we reserve to the
due place.

Wc have hitherto handled the particulars which
yield best, and easiest, and plentifullest nourishment ;
and now we will speak of the best means of conveying
and converting the nourishment.

55. The first means is, to procure that the nourish-
ment may not be robbed and drawn away ; wherein
that which wc have ahcady said is very material ; to
provide tliat the reins draw not too strongly an over


great part of llio blood into iirin.?. To this add that
precept of Aristotle, that wine be forborn in all con-
sumptions ; for that the spirits of the wine do prey
upon the roscid juice of the body, and inter-common
with the spirits of tiie body, and so deceive and rob
them of their nourishment. And therefore if the con-
sumption growing from the weakness of the stomach
do force you to use wine, let it always be burnt, that
the quicker spirits may eva])orate ; or, at the least,
quenched with two little wedges of gold, six or seven
times repeated. Add also this provision, that there
be not too nuich expence of the nourishment, by ex-
haling and sweating ; and therefore if the patient be
apt to sweat, it must be gently restrained. But chiefly
Hippocrates's rule is to be followed, who adviseth
quite C(mtvary to that which is in use : namely, that
the linen or garment next the flesh be, in winter, dry
and oft changed; and in summer seldom changed,
and smeared over with oil ; for certain it is, that any
substance that is fat, doth a little fill the pores of the
body, and stay sweat in some degree : but the more
cleanly way is, to have the linen smeared lightly over
with oil of sweet almonds ; and not to forbear shifting
as oft as is fit.

56. The second means is, to send forth the nourish-
ment into the parts more strongly ; for which the
working must be by strengthening of the stomach ;
and in this, because the stomach is chiefly comforted
by wine and hot things, which otherwise hurt ; it is
good to resort to outward applications to the stomach :
^Vherein it hath been tried, tliat the quilts of roses,
spices, mastic, wormwood, mint, etc. are nothing so
helpful, as to take a cake of new bread, and to bedew
it with a little sack, or Alicant ; and to dry it ; and
after it be dried a little before the fire, to put it within
a clean napkin, and to lay it to the stomach ; for it is
certain, that all flour hath a potent virtue of astric-
tion ; in so much as it hardeneth a piece of flesh,
or a flower, that is laid in it : and therefore a bag
quilted with bran is likewise very good ; but it drieth
somewhat too much, and therefore it must not lie

s 2


57. The third means, which may be a branch of the
former, is to send forth the nourishment the better by
sleep. For we see, that bears, and other creatures
that sleep in the winter, wax exceeding fat : and cer-
tain it is, as it is commonly believed, that sleep doth
nourish much ; both for tliat the spirits do less spend
the nourishment in sleep, than when living creatures
are awake ; and because, that which is to the present
purpose, it helpeth to thrust out the nourishment into
the parts. Therefore in aged men, and weak bodies,
and such as abound not with choler, a short sleep after
dinner doth help to nourish ; for in such bodies there
is no fear of an over-hasty digestion, which is the in-
convenience of postmeridian sleeps. Sleep also in the
morning, after the taking of somewhat of easy diges-
tion, as milk from the cow, nourishing broth, or the
like, doth further nourishment : but this would be
done sitting u])right, that the milk or broth may pass
the more speedily to the bottom of the stomach,

58. The fourth means is, to provide that the parts
themselves may draw to them the nourishment strongly.
There is an excellent observation of Aristotle ; that a
great reason, why plants, some of them, are of greater
age than living creatures, is, for that they yearly put
forth new leaves and boughs : whereas living creatures
put forth, after their period of gi'owth, nothing that is
young, but hair and nails, which are excrements, and
no parts. And it is most certain, that whatsoever is
young, doth draw nourishment better than that which
is old ; and then, that which is the mystery of that
observation, young boughs, and leaves, calling the sap
up to them, the same nourisheth the body in the
passage. And this we see notably proved also, in that
the oft cutting, or polling of hedges, trees, and herbs,
doth conduce much to their lasting. Transfer there-
fore this observation to the helping of nourishment in
living creatures : the noblest and principal use whereof
is, for the prolongation of life ; restoration of some
degree of youth ; and intcneration of tlie parts : for
certain it is, that there are in living creatures parts
that nourish and repair easily, and parts that nourish


and repair hardly : and you must refresh and renew
those that are easy to nourish, that the other may be
refreshed, and, as it were, drink in nourishment in
the passage. Now^ we see that draught oxen, put in-
to good pasture, recover the flesli of young beef ; and
men after long emaciating diets wax plump and fat,
and almost new : so that you may surely conclude,
that the frequent and wise use of those emaciating
diets, and of purgings, and perhaps of some kind of ■
bleeding, is a principal means of prolongation of life,
and restoring some degree of youth : for as we have
often said, death comcth upon living creatures like
the torment of IMezentius :

Mortua quin ctiuni jungebat corpora vivis,
Componens manibusque manus, atque oribus ora.

^N. viii. 485.

For the parts in man's body easily reparable, as spirits,
blood, and flesh, die in the embracement of the parts
hardly reparable, as bones, nerves, and membranes ;
and likewise some entrails, whicli they reckon amongst
the spermatical parts, are hard to repair : though that
division of spermatical and menstrual parts be but a
conceit. And this same observation also may be drawn
to the present purpose of nourishing emaciated bodies:
and therefore gentle fricationdrawetli forth the nourish-
ment, by making tlie parts a little hungry, and heating
them; whereby they call forth nourishment the better.
This frication I wish to be done in the morning. It is
also best done by the hand, or a piece of scarlet wool,
wet a little with oil of almonds, mingled with a small
quantity of bay-salt, or saffron : we see that the very
currying of horses doth make them fat, and in good

59. The fifth means is, to further the very act of
assimilation of nourishment ; which is done by some
outward emollients, that make the parts more apt to
assimilate. For which I have compounded an ointment
of excellent odour, which I call Roman ointment; vide
the receipt. The use of it would be between sleeps ;
for in the latter sleep the parts assimilate chiefly.

:QQ natural history. [cent. I.

Experiment solitary touching Filum viedicinale,

60. There be many medicines, which by themselves
would do no cure, but perhaps hurt ; but being ap-
plied in a certain order, one after another, do great
cures. I have tried, myself, a remedy for the gout,
which hath seldom failed, but driven it away in twenty-
four hours space : it is first to apply a poultis, of which
vide the receipt, and then a bath, or fomentation, of
which vide the receipt ; and then a plaister, vide the
receipt. The poultis relaxeth the pores, and maketh
the humour apt to exhale. The fomentation calleth
forth the humour by vapours ; but yet in regard of the
way made by the poultis, draweth gently ; and there-
fore draweth the humour out, and doth not draw more
to it ; for it is a gentle fomentation, and hath withal a
mixture, though very little, of some stupefactive. The
plaister is a moderate astringent plaister, which re-
pelleth new humour from falling. The poultis alone
would make the part more soft and weak, and apter
to take the defluxion and impression of the humour.
The fomentation alone, if it were too weak, without
way made by the ])oultis, would draw forth little ; if
too strong, it would draw to the part, as well as draw

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 52)