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Having, in the former part of this work, treated, of the suppression and overflowing of the monthly terms, I shall content myself with referring the reader thereto, and proceed to speak of their coming out of order, either before or after the usual time.
Both these proceed from an ill constitution of body. Everything is beautiful in its order, in nature as well as in morality; and if the order of nature be broken, it shows the body to be out of order. Of each of these effects briefly.
When the monthly courses come before their time, showing a depraved excretion, and flowing sometimes twice a month, the cause is in the blood, which stirs up the expulsive faculty of the womb, or else in the whole body, and is frequently occasioned by the person's diet, which increases the blood too much, making it too sharp or too hot. If the retentive faculty of the womb be weak, and the expulsive faculty strong, and of a quick sense, it brings them forth the sooner. Sometimes they flow sooner by reason of a fall, stroke or some violent passion, which the parties themselves can best relate. If it be from heat, thin and sharp humours, it is known by the distemper of the whole body. The looseness of the vessels and the weakness of the retentive faculty, is known from a moist and loose habit of the body. It is more troublesome than dangerous, but hinders conception, and therefore the cure is necessary for all, but especially such as desire children. If it proceeds from a sharp blood, let her temper it by a good diet and medicines. To which purpose, let her use baths of iron water, that correct the distemper of the bowels, and then evacuate. If it proceeds from the retentive faculty, and looseness of the vessels, it is to be corrected with gentle astringents.
As to the courses flowing after the usual time, the causes are, thickness of the blood, and the smallness of its quantity, with the stoutness of the passage, and weakness of the expulsive faculties. Either of these singly may stop the courses, but if they all concur, they render the distemper worse. If the blood abounds not in such a quantity as may stir up nature to expel it, its purging must necessarily be deferred, till there be enough. And if the blood be thick, the passage stopped, and the expulsive faculty weak, the menses must needs be out of order and the purging of them retarded.
For the cure of this, if the quantity of blood be small, let her use a larger diet, and a very little exercise. If the blood be thick and foul, let it be made thin, and the humours mixed therewith, evacuated. It is good to purge, after the courses have done flowing, and to use calamint, and, indeed, the oftener she purges, the better. She may also use fumes and pessaries, apply cupping glasses without scarification to the inside of the thighs, and rub the legs and scarify the ankles, and hold the feet in warm water four or five days before the courses come down. Let her also anoint the bottom of her belly with things proper to provoke the terms.
Make a cataplasm of bean meal and salad oil, and lay it to the place afflicted. Or anoint with the juice of papilaris. This must be done when the papa are very sore.
If the paps be hard and swollen, take a handful of rue, colewort roots, horehound and mint; if you cannot get all these conveniently, any two will do; pound the handful in honey, and apply it once every day till healed.
If the nipples be stiff and sore, anoint twice a day with Florence oil, till healed. If the paps be flabby and hanging, bruise a little hemlock, and apply it to the breast for three days; but let it not stand above seven hours. Or, which is safer, rusae juice, well boiled, with a little sinapios added thereto, and anoint.
If the paps be hard and dead, make a plate of lead pretty thin, to answer the breasts; let this stand nine hours each day, for three days. Or sassafras bruised, and used in like manner.
Drink arpleui, drawn as tea, for twenty-one days. Or eat of aniseeds. Also the juice of arbor vitae, a glassful once a day for eleven days, is very good, for it quickens the memory, strengthens the body, and causeth milk to flow in abundance.
Drawing of blood was first invented for good and salutary purposes, although often abused and misapplied. To bleed in the left arm removes long continued pains and headaches. It is also good for those who have got falls and bruises.
Bleeding is good for many disorders, and generally proves a cure, except in some extraordinary cases, and in those cases bleeding is hurtful. If a woman be pregnant, to draw a little blood will give her ease, good health, and a lusty child.
Bleeding is a most certain cure for no less than twenty-one disorders, without any outward or inward applications; and for many more with application of drugs, herbs and flowers.
When the moon is on the increase, you may let blood at any time day or night; but when she is on the decline, you must bleed only in the morning.
Bleeding may be performed from the month of March to November. No bleeding in December, January or February, unless an occasion require it. The months of March, April and November, are the three chief months of the year for bleeding in; but it may be performed with safety from the ninth of March to the nineteenth of November.
To prevent the dangers that may arise from she unskilful drawing of blood, let none open a but a person of experience and practice.
There are three sorts of people you must not let draw blood; first ignorant and inexperienced persons. Secondly, those who have bad sight and trembling hands, whether skilful or unskilled. For when the hand trembles, the lance is apt to start from the vein, and the flesh be thereby damaged, which may hurt, canker, and very much torment the patient. Thirdly, let no woman bleed, but such as have gone through a course of midwifery at college, for those who are unskilful may cut an artery, to the great damage of the patient. Besides, what is still worse, those pretended bleeders, who take it up at their own hand, generally keep unedged and rusty lancets, which prove hurtful, even in a skilful hand. Accordingly you ought to be cautious in choosing your physician; a man of learning knows what vein to open for each disorder; he knows how much blood to take as soon as he sees the patient, and he can give you suitable advice concerning your disorder.
Q. Among all living creatures, why hath man only his countenance lifted up towards Heaven. A. 1. From the will of the Creator. But although this answer be true, yet it seemeth not to be of force, because that so all questions might be easily resolved. Therefore, 2. I answer that, for the most part, every workman doth make his first work worse, and then his second better! so God creating all other animals before man gave them their face looking down to the earth; and then secondly he created man, unto whom he gave an upright shape, lifted unto heaven, because it is drawn from divinity, and it is derived from the goodness of God, who maketh all his works both perfect and good. 3. Man only, among all living creatures, is ordained to the kingdom of heaven, and therefore hath his face elevated and lifted up to heaven, because that despising earthly and worldly things, he ought often to contemplate on heavenly things. 4. That the reasonable man is like unto angels, and finally ordained towards God; and therefore he hath a figure looking upward. 5. Man is a microcosm, that is, a little world, and therefore he doth command all other living creatures and they obey him. 6. Naturally there is unto everything and every work, that form and figure given which is fit and proper for its motion; as unto the heavens, roundness, to the fire a pyramidical form, that is, broad beneath and sharp towards the top, which form is most apt to ascend; and so man has his face towards heaven to behold the wonders of God's works.