Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Hippocrates
Pages of On Ancient Medicine



Previous | Next
                  

On Ancient Medicine   


of which it loses, and with others it is diluted and mixed.


PART 14
And this I know, moreover, that to the human body it makes a great
difference whether the bread be fine or coarse; of wheat with or without
the hull, whether mixed with much or little water, strongly wrought
or scarcely at all, baked or raw- and a multitude of similar differences;
and so, in like manner, with the cake (maza); the powers of each,
too, are great, and the one nowise like the other. Whoever pays no
attention to these things, or, paying attention, does not comprehend
them, how can he understand the diseases which befall a man? For,
by every one of these things, a man is affected and changed this way
or that, and the whole of his life is subjected to them, whether in
health, convalescence, or disease. Nothing else, then, can be more
important or more necessary to know than these things. So that the
first inventors, pursuing their investigations properly, and by a
suitable train of reasoning, according to the nature of man, made
their discoveries, and thought the Art worthy of being ascribed to
a god, as is the established belief. For they did not suppose that
the dry or the moist, the hot or the cold, or any of these are either
injurious to man, or that man stands in need of them, but whatever
in each was strong, and more than a match for a manís constitution,
whatever he could not manage, that they held to be hurtful, and sought
to remove. Now, of the sweet, the strongest is that which is intensely
sweet; of the bitter, that which is intensely bitter; of the acid,
that which is intensely acid; and of all things that which is extreme,
for these things they saw both existing in man, and proving injurious
to him. For there is in man the bitter and the salt, the sweet and
the acid, the sour and the insipid, and a multitude of other things
having all sorts of powers both as regards quantity and strength.
These, when all mixed and mingled up with one another, are not apparent,
neither do they hurt a man; but when any of them is separate, and
stands by itself, then it becomes perceptible, and hurts a man. And
thus, of articles of food, those which are unsuitable and hurtful
to man when administered, every one is either bitter, or intensely
so, or saltish or acid, or something else intense and strong, and
therefore we are disordered by them in like manner as we are by the
secretions in the body. But all those things which a man eats and
drinks are devoid of any such intense and well-marked quality, such
as bread, cake, and many other things of a similar nature which man
is accustomed to use for food, with the exception of condiments and
confectioneries, which are made to gratify the palate and for luxury.
And from those things, when received into the body abundantly, there
is no disorder nor dissolution of the powers belonging to the body;
but strength, growth, and nourishment result from them, and this for
no other reason than because they are well mixed, have nothing in
them of an immoderate character, nor anything strong, but the whole
forms one simple and not strong substance.


PART 15
I cannot think in what manner they who advance this doctrine, and
transfer Art from the cause I have described to hypothesis, will cure
men according to the principle which they have laid down. For, as
far as I know, neither the hot nor the cold, nor the dry, nor the
moist, has ever been found unmixed with any other quality; but I suppose
they use the same articles of meat and drink as all we other men do.
But to this substance they give the attribute of being hot, to that
cold, to that dry, and to that moist. Since it would be absurd to
advise the patient to take something hot, for he would straightway
ask what it is? so that he must either play the fool, or have recourse
to some one of the well known substances; and if this hot thing happen
to be sour, and that hot thing insipid, and this hot thing has the

Previous | Next
Site Search