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And when Magnus had said all this about figs, Daphnus the physician said: Philotimus, in the third book of his treatise on Figs, says, "There is a great deal of difference between the various kinds of figs when fresh; both in their sorts, and in the times when each is in season, and in their effects; not but what one may lay down some general rules, and say that the juicy ones and those which are full ripe are quickly dissolved and are digested more easily than any other fruit whatever, nor do they interfere with the digestion of other sorts of food; and they have the ordinary properties of all juicy food, being glutinous and sweet, and slightly nitrous in taste. And they make the evacuations more copious and fluid, and rapid and wholly free from discomfort; and they also diffuse a saltish juice, having a good deal of harshness, when they are combined with anything at all salt. They are very quickly dissolved by the digestion, because, though many heavy things may be taken into the stomach, we still after a short time feel as if we had become excessively empty: but this could not have happened if the figs had remained in the stomach, and were not immediately dissolved. And figs are dissolved more easily than any other [p. 133] fruit; as is proved not only by the fact that though we eat a great many times as great a quantity of figs as of all other fruits put together, we still never feel inconvenienced by them; and even if we eat a quantity of figs before dinner, and then eat as much of other things as if we had never touched them, we still feel no discomfort. It is plain, therefore, that if we can manage both them and the rest of our food, they must be easily digested; and that is why they do not interfere with the digestion of the rest of our food. “Figs, then, have the qualities which I have mentioned. That they are glutinous and rather salt is proved by their being sticky and cleansing the hands; and we see ourselves that they are sweet in the mouth. And it certainly needs no arguments to prove that our evacuations after eating them take place without any convulsions or trouble, and that they are more numerous and more rapid and more easy in consequence. And they do not go through any great decomposition in the stomach, which arises not from their being indigestible, but because we drink while eating them, without waiting for the action of the stomach to soften them, and also because they pass through the stomach so quickly. And they generate a salt juice in the stomach, because it has been already shown that they contain something of nitre in them: and they will make that food taste rather salt and harsh which is combined with them. For salt increases the briny taste of anything, but vinegar and thyme increase the harsh qualities of food.”
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