Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. dried, and a little Myrrhe ſnuffed up in the morning at the mouth and noſtrils, would be
very good.



In Grand Opiates, ſuch as are Treacle, Methridate, and the reſt, it would not be
amiſs (eſpecially in youth) to take rather the diſtilled Waters of them than themſelyes
in their bodies; for the vapour in diſtilling doth riſe, but the heat of the Medicine com-
monly ſetleth. Now diſtilled Waters are good in thoſe vertues which are conveyed by
Vapours, in other things but weak.



There are Medicines which have a certain weak and hidden degree, and therefore
ſafe to an Opiate vertue; theſe ſend forth a ſlow and copious vapour, but not malig-
nant as Opiates do, therefore they put not the Spirits to flight; notwithſtanding they
congregate them, and ſome what thicken them.



Medicines in order to Opiates are principally Saffron, next Folium Indum, Am-
ber-greeſe, Coriander-ſeed prepared, Amomum, Pſeuda-momum, Lignum-Rh [?] odium,
Orenge-flower water, and much more the Infuſion of the ſame Flowers new gathered
in the Oil of Almonds; Nutmegs pricked full of holes, and macerated in Roſe-



As Opiates are to be taken very ſparingly, and at certain times, as was ſaid, ſo theſe ſe-
condaries may be taken familiarly, and in our daily diet, and they will be very effectual
to prolongation of life. Certainly an Apothecary of Calecute, by the uſe of Amber,
is ſaid to have lived an hundred and ſixty years; and the Noble-men of Barbary, through
the uſe thereof, are certifi’d to be very long liv’d, whereas the mean people are but
of ſhort life. And our Anceſtors, who were longer-liv’d than we, did uſe S [?] affron
much in their Cakes, Broths, and the like. And touching the firſt way of condenſing
the Spirits of Opiates and the Subordinates thereto, thus much.



Now we will enquire of the ſecond way of condenſing the Spirits by Cold. For the
proper work of Cold is Condenſation, and it is done without any malignity, or adverſe
quality; and therefore it is a ſafer operation than by Opiates, though ſomewhat leſs
powerful, if it be done by turns onely, as Opiates are. But then again, becauſe it may
be uſed familiarly, and in our daily diet with moderation, it is much more powerful for
the prolongation of life than by Opiates.



The Refrigeration of the Spirits is effected three ways, either by Respiration,
or by Vapours, or by Aliment. The firſt is the beſt, but, in a ſort, out of our
power; the ſecond is potent, but yet ready, and at hand; the third is weak, and
ſomewhat about.



Air clear and pure, and which hath no foggineſs in it, before it be received into the
Lungs, and which is leaſt expoſed to the Sun-beams, condenſeth the Spirits beſt. Such
is found either on the tops of dry Mountains, or in Champagnes open to the wind, and
yet not without ſome ſhade.



As for the Refrigeration and Condenſation of the Spirits by Vapours, the Root of this
operation we place in Nitre, as a Creature purpoſely made and choſen for this end, be-
ing thereunto led, and perſwaded by theſe Arguments.



Nitre is a kind of cool Spice: this is apparent to the ſenſe it ſelf, for it bites the
Tongue and Palate with cold, as Spices do with heat, and it is the onely thing, as far as
we know, that hath this property.



Almoſt all cold things (which are cold properly, and not by accident, as Opium is)
are poor and jejune of Spirit; contrarily, things full of Spirit are almoſt all hot, onely
Nitre is found amongſt Vegetables, which aboundeth with Spirit, and yet is cold. As
for Camphire, which is full of Spirit, and yet performeth the actions of cold, it cooleth
by accident onely; as namely, for that by the thinneſs thereof, without Acrimony,
it helpeth perſpiration in inflammations.



In congealing and freezing of Liquors, (which is lately grown into uſe) by laying
Snow and Ice on the out-ſide of the Veſſel, Nitre is alſo added, and no doubt it ex-
citeth and fortifieth the Congelation. It is true, that they uſe alſo for this work ordinary
Bay-Salt, which doth rather give activity to the coldneſs of the Snow, than cool by it
ſelf: But, as I have heard, in the hotter Regions, where Snow falls not, the congeal-
ing is wrought by Nitre alone; but this I cannot certainly affirm.



It is affirmed that Gun powder, which conſiſteth principally of Nitre, being taken in
drink, doth conduce to valour, and that it is uſed oftentimes by Mariners and Souldiers
before they begin their Battels, as the Turks do Opium.



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