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PART 15

Hydromel, when drunk in any stage of acute disease, is less suitable to persons of a bilious temperament, and to those who have enlarged viscera, than to those of a different character; it increases thirst less than sweet wine; it softens the lungs, is moderately expectorant, and alleviates a cough; for it has some detergent quality in it, whence it lubricates the sputum. Hydromel is also moderately diuretic, unless prevented by the state of any of the viscera. And it also occasions bilious discharges downwards, sometimes of a proper character, and sometimes more intense and frothy than is suitable; but such rather occurs in persons who are bilious, and have enlarged viscera. Hydromel rather produces expectoration, and softening of the lungs, when given diluted with water. But unmixed hydromel, rather than the diluted, produces frothy evacuations, such as are unseasonably and intensely bilious, and too hot; but such an evacuation occasions other great mischiefs, for it neither extinguishes the heat in the hypochondria, but rouses it, induces inquietude, and jactitation of the limbs, and ulcerates the intestines and anus. The remedies for all these will be described afterwards. [p. 76]By using hydromel without ptisans, instead of any other drink, you will generally succeed in the treatment of such diseases, and fail in few cases; but in what instances it is to be given, and in what it is not to be given, and wherefore it is not to be given,- all this has been explained already, for the most part. Hydromel is generally condemned, as if it weakened the powers of those who drink it, and on that account it is supposed to accelerate death; and this opinion arose from persons who starve themselves to death, some of whom use hydromel alone for drink, as fancying that it really has this effect. But this is by no means always the case. For hydromel, if drunk alone, is much stronger than water, if it do not disorder the bowels; but in some respects it is stronger, and in some weaker, than wine that is thin, weak, and devoid of bouquet. There is a great difference between unmixed wine and unmixed honey, as to their nutritive powers, for if a man will drink double the quantity of pure wine, to a certain quantity of honey which is swallowed, he will find himself much stronger from the honey, provided it do not disagree with his bowels, and that his alvine evacuations from it will be much more copious. But if he shall use ptisan for a draught, and drink afterward hydromel, he will feel full, flatulent, and uncomfortable in the viscera of the hypochondrium; but if the hydromel be taken before the draught, it will not have the same injurious effects as if taken after it, but will be rather beneficial. And boiled hydromel has a much more elegant appearance than the unboiled, being clear, thin, white, and transparent, but I am unable to mention any good quality which it possesses that the other wants. For it is not sweeter than the unboiled, provided the honey be fine, and it is weaker, and occasions less copious evacuations of the bowels, neither of which effects is required from the hydromel. But one should by all means use it boiled, provided the honey be bad, impure, black, and not fragrant, for the boiling will remove the most of its bad qualities and appearances.

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