Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Hippocrates
Pages of On Airs, Waters, And Places



Previous | Next
                  

On Airs, Waters, And Places   


soil, but those that are hard and of a heating nature, difficult to
pass by urine, and of difficult evacuation by the bowels. The best are
those which flow from elevated grounds, and hills of earth; these
are sweet, clear, and can bear a little wine; they are hot in summer
and cold in winter, for such necessarily must be the waters from
deep wells. But those are most to be commended which run to the rising
of the sun, and especially to the summer sun; for such are necessarily
more clear, fragrant, and light. But all such as are salty, crude, and
harsh, are not good for drink. But there are certain constitutions and
diseases with which such waters agree when drunk, as I will explain
presently. Their characters are as follows: the best are such as
have their fountains to the east; the next, those between the summer
risings and settings of the sun, and especially those to the
risings; and third, those between the summer and winter settings;
but the worst are those to the south, and the parts between the winter
rising and setting, and those to the south are very bad, but those
to the north are better. They are to be used as follows: whoever is in
good health and strength need not mind, but may always drink
whatever is at hand. But whoever wishes to drink the most suitable for
any disease, may accomplish his purpose by attending to the
following directions: To persons whose bellies are hard and easily
burnt up, the sweetest, the lightest, and the most limpid waters
will be proper; but those persons whose bellies are soft, loose, and
pituitous, should choose the hardest, those kinds that are most crude,
and the saltiest, for thus will they be most readily dried up; for
such waters as are adapted for boiling, and are of a very solvent
nature, naturally loosen readily and melt down the bowels; but such as
are intractable, hard, and by no means proper for boiling, these
rather bind and dry up the bowels. People have deceived themselves
with regard to salt waters, from inexperience, for they think these
waters purgative, whereas they are the very reverse; for such waters
are crude, and ill adapted for boiling, so that the belly is more
likely to be bound up than loosened by them. And thus it is with
regard to the waters of springs.
8. I will now tell how it is with respect to rain-water, and water
from snow. Rain waters, then, are the lightest, the sweetest, the
thinnest, and the clearest; for originally the sun raises and attracts
the thinnest and lightest part of the water, as is obvious from the
nature of salts; for the saltish part is left behind owing to its
thickness and weight, and forms salts; but the sun attracts the
thinnest part, owing to its lightness, and he abstracts this not
only from the lakes, but also from the sea, and from all things
which contain humidity, and there is humidity in everything; and
from man himself the sun draws off the thinnest and lightest part of
the juices. As a strong proof of this, when a man walks in the sun, or
sits down having a garment on, whatever parts of the body the sun
shines upon do not sweat, for the sun carries off whatever sweat makes
its appearance; but those parts which are covered by the garment, or
anything else, sweat, for the particles of sweat are drawn and
forced out by the sun, and are preserved by the cover so as not to
be dissipated by the sun; but when the person comes into the shade the
whole body equally perspires, because the sun no longer shines upon
it. Wherefore, of all kinds of water, these spoil the soonest; and
rain water has a bad spot smell, because its particles are collected
and mixed together from most objects, so as to spoil the soonest.
And in addition to this, when attracted and raised up, being carried
about and mixed with the air, whatever part of it is turbid and
darkish is separated and removed from the other, and becomes cloud and
mist, but the most attenuated and lightest part is left, and becomes
sweet, being heated and concocted by the sun, for all other things
when concocted become sweet. While dissipated then and not in a
state of consistence it is carried aloft. But when collected and
condensed by contrary winds, it falls down wherever it happens to be
most condensed. For this is likely to happen when the clouds being

Previous | Next
Site Search