Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton

Memb. ii.

Cure of Melancholy over all the Body.

Where the melancholy blood possesseth the whole body with the brain, 4371 it is best to begin with bloodletting. The Greeks prescribe the 4372 median or middle vein to be opened, and so much blood to be taken away as the patient may well spare, and the cut that is made must be wide enough. The Arabians hold it fittest to be taken from that arm on which side there is more pain and heaviness in the head: if black blood issue forth, bleed on; if it be clear and good, let it be instantly suppressed, 4373 “because the malice of melancholy is much corrected by the goodness of the blood.” If the party's strength will not admit much evacuation in this kind at once, it must be assayed again and again: if it may not be conveniently taken from the arm, it must be taken from the knees and ankles, especially to such men or women whose haemorrhoids or months have been stopped. 4374 If the malady continue, it is not amiss to evacuate in a part in the forehead, and to virgins in the ankles, who are melancholy for love matters; so to widows that are much grieved and troubled with sorrow and cares: for bad blood flows in the heart, and so crucifies the mind. The haemorrhoids are to be opened with an instrument or horseleeches, &c. See more in Montaltus, cap. 29. 4375Sckenkius hath an example of one that was cured by an accidental wound in his thigh, much bleeding freed him from melancholy. Diet, diminutives, alteratives, cordials, correctors as before, intermixed as occasion serves, 4376“all their study must be to make a melancholy man fat, and then the cure is ended.” Diuretics, or medicines to procure urine, are prescribed by some in this kind, hot and cold: hot where the heat of the liver doth not forbid; cold where the heat of the liver is very great: 4377amongst hot are parsley roots, lovage, fennel, &c.: cold, melon seeds, &c., with whey of goat's milk, which is the common conveyer.

To purge and 4378purify the blood, use sowthistle, succory, senna, endive, carduus benedictus, dandelion, hop, maidenhair, fumitory, bugloss, borage, &c., with their juice, decoctions, distilled waters, syrups, &c.

Oswaldus, Crollius, basil Chym. much admires salt of corals in this case, and Aetius, tetrabib. ser. 2. cap. 114. Hieram Archigenis, which is an excellent medicine to purify the blood, “for all melancholy affections, falling sickness, none to be compared to it.”

4371. Piso.

4372. Mediana prae caeteris.

4373. Succi melancholici malitia a sanguinis bonitate corrigitur.

4374. Perseverante malo ex quacunque parto sanguinis detrahi debet.

4375. Observat. fol. 154. curarus ex vulnere in crure ob cruorem arnissum.

4376. Studium sit omne ut melancholicus impinguetur: ex quo enim pingues et carnosi, illico sani sunt.

4377. Hildesheim spicel. 2. Inter calida radix petrofelini, apii, feniculi; Inter frigida emulsio seminis melonum cum sero caprino quod est commune vehiculum.

4378. Hoc unum praemoneo domine ut sis diligens circa victum, sine quo cetera remedia frustra adhibentur.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31