previous next


We shall now proceed to speak of wine in relation to its medicinal uses. The wines of Campania1 which have the least body, are the most wholesome beverage for persons of rank and station; and for the lower classes2 the best kind of wine is that which is the most pleasant to the person who drinks it, provided he is in robust health. For persons of all ranks, however, the most serviceable wine is that the strength of which has been reduced by the strainer;3 for we must bear in mind that wine is nothing else but juice of grapes which has acquired strength by the process of fermentation. A mixture of numerous kinds of wine is universally bad, and the most wholesome wine of all is that to which no ingredient has been added when in a state of must; indeed, it is still better if the vessels even in which it is kept have never been pitched.4 As to wines which have been treated with marble, gypsum, or lime,5 where is the man, however robust he may be, that has not stood in dread of them?

Wines which have been prepared with sea-water6 are par- ticularly injurious to the stomach, nerves, and bladder. Those which have been seasoned with resin are generally looked upon as beneficial to a cold stomach, but are considered unsuitable where there is a tendency to vomit: the same, too, with must, boiled grape-juice,7 and raisin wine. New wines sea- soned with resin are good for no one, being productive of vertigo and head-ache: hence it is that the name of "crapula"8 has been given equally to new resined wines, and to the surfeit and head-ache which they produce.

The wines above mentioned9 by name, are good for cough and catarrh, as also for cœliac affections, dysentery, and the catamenia. Those wines of this sort which are red10 or black,11 are more astringent and more heating than the others. Wines which have been seasoned with pitch only, are not so injurious; but at the same time we must bear in mind that pitch is neither more nor less than resin liquefied12 by the action of fire, These pitched wines are of a heating nature, promote the digestion, and act as a purgative; they are good, also, for the chest and the bowels, for pains in the uterus, if there are no signs of fever, for inveterate fluxes, ulcerations, ruptures, spasms, suppurated abscesses, debility of the sinews, flatulency, cough, asthma, and sprains, in which last case they are applied in uncleansed wool. For all these purposes the wine is preferred which has naturally the flavour of pitch,13 and is thence known as "picatum:" it is generally agreed, however, that the produce of the vine called "helvennaca,"14 if taken in too large a quantity, is trying to the head.

In reference to the treatment of fever, it is well known that wine should never be given, unless the patient is an aged person, or the symptoms are beginning to abate. In cases of acute fever, wine must never be given, under any circumstance, except when there is an evident remission of the attack, and more particularly if this takes place in the night, for then the danger is diminished by one half, there being the probability of the patient sleeping off the effects of the wine. It is equally forbidden, also, to females just after delivery or a miscarriage, and to patients suffering from over-indulgence of the sexual passions; nor should it be given in cases of head-ache, of maladies in which the attacks are attended with chills at the extremities, of fever accompanied with cough, of tremulousness15 in the sinews, of pains in the fauces, or where the disease is found to concentrate itself in the iliac regions. Wine is strictly forbidden, too, in cases of induration of the thoracic organs, violent throbbings of the veins, opisthotony, tetanus, asthma, and hardness of breathing attended with fever.

Wine is far from beneficial for a patient, when the eyes are fixed and rigid, and when the eyelids are immoveable, or else relaxed and heavy; in cases, too, where, with an incessant nictation, the eyes are more than usually brilliant, or where the eyelids refuse to close—the same, too, if that symptom should occur in sleep—or where the eyes are suffused with blood, or congealed matter makes its appearance in the corners of those organs. The same rule should be observed, also, when the tongue is heavy and swollen, or when there is an impediment from time to time in the speech, when the urine is passed with difficulty, or when a person has been seized with a sudden fright, with spasms, or recurrent fits of torpor, or experiences seminal discharges during sleep.

1 The wines of Surrentum and Stata were Campanian wines.

2 "Volgo."

3 "Sacco." A strainer of linen cloth. See B. xiv. c. 28, and B. xix. c. 19. While it diminished the strength, however, it was considered to injure the flavour.

4 In that case, Fée says, they would differ but little from the wines of the present day. See B. xiv. c. 25.

5 See B. xiv. c. 24.

6 See B. xiv. cc. 9, 10.

7 "Sapa."

8 See B. xiv. c. 25.

9 Surrentine, Alban, Falernian, &c.

10 The colour of Tent and Burgundy.

11 The colour of Port.

12 See B. xiv. c. 25.

13 See B. xiv. cc. 3, 4.

14 See B. xiv. c. 4: Vol. III. p. 227.

15 "Tremore nervorum;" perhaps "nervousness."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (5 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: