Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 70
Publication Date: 1893
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Of this most noble liquor, and not vulgar medicine, the noble Helmont writeth thus, in his excellent discourse concerning THE TREE OF LIFE. In the year 1600 a certain man belonging to the camp, whose office was to keep account of the provision of victuals which was made for the army, being charged with a numerous family of small children unable to shift for themselves, himself being then fifty-eight years of age, was very sensible of the great care and burden which lay upon him to provide for them while he lived, and concluded that, should he die, they must be enforced to beg their bread from door to door: whereupon he came (saith Helmont) and desired of me something for the preservation of his life. I then (being a young man) pitied his sad condition, and thus thought with myself: The fume of burning sulphur is, by experience, found powerfully effectual to preserve wines from corruption. Then I, recollecting my thoughts, concluded that the acid liquor of oil, which is made of sulphur vive, set on fire, doth of necessity contain in itself this fume; yea, and the whole odour of the sulphur, inasmuch as it is indeed nothing else but the very sulphureous fume imbibed, or drunk up in its mercurial salt, and so becomes a condensed liquor. Then I thought with myself: Our blood being (to us) no other than, as it were, the very wine of our life, that being preserved, if it prolong not the life, at least it will keep it sound from those many diseases which proceed originally from corruption: by which means the life being sound, and free from diseases, and defended from pains and griefs, might be in some sort spun out into a further length than otherwise. Upon which meditated resolution I gave him a vial glass, with a small quantity of this oil, distilled from sulphur vive burning, and taught him (moreover) how to make it as he should afterwards need it. I advised him of this liquor he should take two drops before each meal in a small draught of beer, and not, ordinarily, to exceed that dose, nor to intermit the use of it, taking for granted that two drops of that oil, contained a large quantity of the fume of sulphur. The man took my advice, and at this day, in the year 1641, he is lusty and in good health, walks the streets at Brussels without complaint, and is likely longer to live; and that which is most remarkable, in this whole space of forty-one years he was not so much as ill, so as to keep his bed; yea, although (when of great age) in the depth of winter, he broke his leg, near to his ankle bone, by a fall upon the ice, yet with the use of the oil he recovered, without the least symptom of a fever; and although in his old age poverty had reduced him to great straits and hardship, and made him feel much want of things necessary for the comfort and conveniency of life, yet he lives, healthy and sound, though spare and lean. The old man's name is John Moss, who waited upon Rithovius, Bishop of Ypres, in his chamber, where the Earls of Horne and Egmondon were beheaded by the Duke of Alva; and he was then twenty-five years of age, so that now he is complete ninety-nine years of age, healthy and lusty, and still continues the use of that liquor daily. Thus far Helmont, which relation, as it is most remarkable, so it gives the philosophical reason of his advice, on which it was grounded. And elsewhere the same author relates how by this liquor he cured many dangerous, deplorable fevers, which by other doctors had been given over for desperate. And in other places he commends it as a peerless remedy to assuage the intolerable thirst which accompanies most fevers.
To which relation and testimony of this most learned doctor and acute philosopher I shall add my own experience.
I find it a rare preservative against corruption, not only in living creatures, but even in dead flesh, beer, wine, ale, etc.; a recoverer of dying beer and wines that are decayed, a cure for beer when sick and roping. Flesh by this means may be preserved so incorruptible as no embalming in the world can go beyond it for the keeping of a dead carcase, nor salting come near its efficacy; as to the conserving meat, or fowls, or fish, which by this means are not only kept from corruption, but made a mumial balsam, which is itself a preservative against corruption of such as shall eat thereof; which being a curious rarity, and too costly to be made a vulgar experiment, I shall pass it over, and come to those cases which are most beneficial and desirable.
It is an excellent cleanser of the teeth: being scoured with it, they will become as white as the purest ivory, and the mouth being washed with oil dropped in water or white wine, so as to make it only of the sharpness of vinegar, it prevents the growing of that yellow scale which usually adheres to the teeth, and is the forerunner of their putrefaction; it prevents their rottenness for the future, and stops it (being begun) from going further, takes away the pain of the teeth, diverts rheums, and is a pure help for the savour of the breath, making it very sweet. In a word, there is not a more desirable thing can be found for such who would have clear or sound teeth, or sweet breath, or to be free from rheums: for which use let the water be made by dropping this oil into it, as sharp as vinegar, as I said before.