Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Grecians attributed much, both for health and for prolongation of life, as O-
piates: but the Arabians much more, inſomuch that their grand Medicines (which they
called the gods Hands) had Opium for their Baſis and principal Ingredient, other things
being mixed to abate and correct the noxious qualities thereof; ſuch were Treacle,
Methridate, and the reſt.



Whatſoever is given with good ſucceſs in the curing of Peſtilential and Malignant
Diſeaſes, to ſtop and bridle the Spirits, leſt they grow turbulent and tumultuate, may
very happily be transferred to the prolongation of life; for one thing is effectual unto
both, namely, the condenſation of the Spirits: now there is nothing better for that
than Opiates.



The Turks find Opium, even in a reaſonable good quantity, harmleſs and comfortable,
inſomuch that they take it before their Battel to excite courage: but to us, unleſs it be
in a very ſmall quantity, and with good Correctives, it is mortal.



Opium and Opiates are manifeſtly found to excite Venus; which ſhews them to have
force to corroborate the Spirits.



Diſtilled Water of wilde Poppy is given with good ſucceſs in Surfeits, Agues, and divers
diſeaſes; which no doubt is a temperate kind of Opiate. Neither let any man wonder
at the various uſe of it; for that is familiar to Opiates, in regard that the Spirits, cor-
roborated and condenſed, will riſe up againſt any diſeaſe.



The Turks uſe a kind of Herb which they call Caphe, which they dry and powder,
and then drink in warm water; which, they ſay, doth not a little ſharpen them, both
in their Courage, and in their Wits; notwithſtanding, if it be taken in a large quantity,
it affects and diſturbs the mind: whereby it is manifeſt, that it is of the ſame nature
with Opiates.



There is a Root much renowned in all the Eaſtern parts, which they call Betel, which
the Indians and others uſe to carry in their mouths, and to champ it, and by that
champing they are wonderfully enabled both to endure labours, and to overcome
ſickneſſes, and to the act of carnal copulation: It ſeems to be a kind of Stupefactive,
becauſe it exceedingly blacks the Teeth.



Tobacco in our age is immoderately grown into uſe, and it affects men with a ſe-
cret kind of delight, inſomuch that they who have once inured themſelves unto it can
hardly afterwards leave it: and no doubt it hath power to lighten the body, and to
ſhake off wearineſs. Now the vertue of it is commonly thought to be, becauſe it
opens the paſſages, and voids humors: but it may more rightly be referred to the con-
denſation of the Spirits; for it is a kind of Henbane, and manifeſtly troubles the
Head, as Opiates do.



There are ſometimes Humors engendred in the body, which are, as it were, Opiate
themſelves; as it is in ſome kind of Melancholies, with which if a man be affected, it
is a ſign of very long life.



The ſimple Opiates (which are alſo called Stupefactives) are theſe; Opium it ſelf,
which is the juice of Poppy; both the Poppies, as well in the Herb as in the Seed; Hen-
bane, Mandrake, Hemlock, Tobacco, Night-ſhade.



The compound Opiates are, Treacle, Methridate, Trifera, Ladanum, Paracelſi, Diaco-
nium, Diaſcordium, Philonium, Pills of Hounds-tongue.



From this which hath been ſaid, certain Deſignations or Counſels may be deduced
for the prolongation of life, according to the preſent intenſion; namely, of condenſing
the Spirits by Opiates.



L [?] et there be therefore every year, from Adult years of Youth, an Opiate diet; let it
be taken about the end of May, becauſe the Spirits in the Summer are more looſe and
attenuated, and there are leſs dangers from cold humours; let it be ſome Magiſtral
Opiate, weaker than thoſe that are commonly in uſe, both in reſpect of a ſmaller quan-
tity of Opium, and of a more ſparing mixture of extreme hot things; let it be taken in
the morning betwixt ſleeps. The fare for that time would be more ſimple and ſpa-
ring than ordinary, without Wine, or Spices, or Vapourous things. This Medicine to
be taken onely each other day, and to be continued for a fortnight. This Deſignation in
our judgment comes home to the intenſion.



Opiates alſo may be taken, not onely by the mouth, but alſo by Fumes; but the
Fumes muſt be ſuch as may not move the expulſive Faculty too ſtrongly, nor force
down humours, but onely taken in a Weft, may work upon the Spirits within the
brain. And therefore a Suffumigation of Tobacco, Lignum-Aloes, Roſemary-leaves


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