Sources of Ancient Healing Thermalism

Caelius Aurelianus Chronicae passiones 3.5.72–74

Cael. Aur. chron. 3.5.72–73

Tratamientos para la ictericia, entre los que se incluyen los diferentes usos que se le pueden dar a un balneario.

72Item naribus infundendum, priusquam in lauacrum ueniant aegrotantes, ut quidam probant, struthium cum lacte, et ad speciem referentes, asinino uel humano, similiter etiam elaterium quod appellant, hoc est cucumeris agrestis sucum, item cyclamini cum eodem lacte. fertur enim statim per nares quae uultum tenuerat fellis infectio, et magis, si aeger ingrediens calidas cellas feruens descenderit solium atque requiescens diu⟨tu⟩rno tempore aqua calida fuerit uaporatus, adhibitis aliquando etiam apophlegmatismis, quorum materiam saepe memorauimus, 73item his, quae superficiem corporis lacessendo osculare uidentur, quae appellata sunt anastomotica, et praeterea recorporatiua in sudorem prouocantia fellis infectionem, hoc est dropax iugiter adhibitus uel solis feruor torridus, quem Graeci heliosin appellant, item naturalium aquarum exhalatio uel medicaminum sudorem mouentium usus. aspergendum denique corpus struthio, nitro, sulphure et his aspersionibus, quae ob pruritum corporis adinuentae sunt, a Graecis sympasmata appellata. feruentiore aqua fouendi aegrotantes. sic enim seruata regula generali etiam accidentia passionis curabuntur. non enim haec solis in acutis erunt passionibus obseruanda, uerum etiam in tardis, quas Graeci chronias uocant.

74Vtendum etiam aeris mutatione et gestatione uaria et litoraria moratione, animi quoque laxamento ac iucunditate et aquarum naturalium uoluptate, natatione uaria…

72And, in accordance with the prescription of certain physicians, before the patient enters the bath pour into his nostrils soapwort with milk. With regard to the kind of milk, either that of asses or that of humans may be used. In the same way elaterium, as it is called, i.e., the juice of wild cucumber, or cyclamen juice may be used with the same kind of milk. For the yellow bile which had suffused itself over the face will thus be swiftly car­ried out through the nose, especially if the patient passes through the steamrooms before descending into the hot bath, and then remains in the bath a long while and is thus thoroughly steamed by the hot water. In some cases drugs may be given to promote the discharge of phlegm; we have often set forth the 73substances used for this purpose. Use may also be made of those drugs, called anastomotica, which, by irritating the surface of the body, open the pores. So, too, employ metasyncritic measures that cause the bile suffused through the body to pass into sweat, e.g., the continual application of pitch plasters, intense baking in the heat of the sun (Greek heliosis), vapors from natural spring waters, and the use of sudorific drugs. Also dust the body with soapwort, soda, sulphur, and those powders, called sympas­mata by the Greeks, which have been found to be suitable for an itching condition. And foment the patient with hot water. Now if the general therapeutic principles are adhered to in this way, the concomitant symptoms of the disease will also be cured. And, indeed, these symptoms must be watched, not merely in acute diseases, but also in those of long duration (Greek chroniae).

74Prescribe also a change of climate, varied passive exercise, and sojourning at the seashore. See that the patient is mentally relaxed and diverted, and have him enjoy the use of natural springs and do various kinds of swimming.

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