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I have spoken of those maladies of the body in which the regulation of the diet is most helpful: now I pass on to that part of medicine which combats rather by medicaments. These were held of high value by ancient writers, both by Erasistratus and those who styled themselves Empirics, especially how by Herophilus and his school, insomuch that they treated no kind of disease without them. A great deal has also been recorded concerning the powers of medicaments, as in the works of Zeno or of Andreas or of Apollonius, surnamed Mys. On the other hand, Asclepiades dispense with the use of these for the most part, not without reason; and since nearly all medicaments harm the stomach and content bad juices, he transferred all his treatment rather to the management of the actual diet. But while in most diseases that is the more useful method, yet very many illnesses attack our bodies which cannot be cured without medicaments. This before all things it is well to recognize, together, that it is impossible to separate off any[p. 5] one part completely, but each gets its name from the treatment which it uses most. Therefore, both that which treats by dieting has recourse at times to medicaments, and that which combats disease mainly by medicaments ought also to regulate diet, which produces a good deal of effect in all maladies of the body. But since all medicaments have special powers, and afford relief, often when simple, often when mixed, it does not seem amiss beforehand to state both their names and their virtues and how to compound them, that there may be less delay when we are describing the treatment itself.
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