Sunday, March 29, 2009
We are now nine days past the vernal equinox, and though the weather has for the most part insisted on remaining cold and dreary, I have already felt a few of the first breaths of spring spreading over the land. Ah, printemps!--the season of love, when Nature bursts forth from the frigid shackles of winter, and amorous desires stir in the hearts of young virgins. Spring is a time for enjoyment, but it also carries its dangers, and an honest rake, if he is not aware of the proper medical wisdom, may fall prey to a catalog of ailments.
When we say medical wisdom, we don't mean this cellular pathology nonsense espoused by that charlatan Rudolf Virchow, which has lately blinded the eyes of natural science to the wisdom of the ancients. Any good rake knows that, for the maintenance of the constitution, Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna should everywhere be preferred to Pasteur, Salk, and Fleming.
Hippocrates tell us that the diseases of spring are maniacal, melancholic, and epileptic disorders, bloody flux, quinsy, coryza, hoarseness, cough, leprosy, lichen alphos, exanthemata mostly ending in ulcerations, tubercles, and arthritic diseases. The rake, more than other men, should constantly be on the lookout for the onset of such maladies. He is fundamentally of the sanguine temperament, and as both air and blood ascend in springtime, as they do in our sanguine characters, the coming season may exacerbate our humoral imbalance. If the accumulation of blood be too thick, the rake should limit his diet to cold & dry foods, such as raw cereals, as they will balance out the proportion of black bile to blood. Be careful not to produce too much black bile, though, as it will throw you into a melancholic humour and may even precipitate the onset of dropsy. If he suffers a particularly bad episode of coryza, he remedy it with bloodletting or leeches. Be careful here as well, as losing too much blood will sap your amorous energies.
Learning all the proper theory is key, and so you should immediately begin compiling your medical library. Here are just a few of the essential texts:
Aphorisms by Hippocrates
De Sanitate Tuenda
De Usu Partium Corporis Humani
Quod Animi Mores Corporis Temperatura Sequantur
Keep in mind that these basic texts only represent the orthodox Hippocratic-Galenic school. When you have familiarized yourself with them, you should then endeavor to acquire complementary books by the Erasistrateans and the Asclepiadeans, as the competing viewpoints will broaden your medical mind.
(Above is the chart of the Hippocratic Humours and their corresponding seasons, elements, organs and qualities. Commit this chart to memory and reference it often.)
Posted by Alisdair MacDowell at 11:12 AM