Hugieas

helleborus

Κἢν ἐς τὰ μεγάλα δηθύνῃ, ἐν ἕδρῃ ἵζει ἡ μελαγχολία· καὶ ἢν πάντη τοῦ σώματος ἐνοικήσῃ, αἰσθήσεσι, γνώμῃ, αἵματι, χολῇ, λάβηται δὲ καὶ νεύρων, αὐτή τε ἐς ἀνήκεστον τρέπεται, ἐντίκτει τε τῷ σκήνεϊ ἑτέρων νοσημάτων τόκους, σπασμοῦ, μανίης, παραλύσιος· κἢν ἐκ μελαγχολίης τάδε γίγνηται, τὰ ἐπιγιγνόμενα ἀνήκεστα. ἐλλεβόρῳ ὦν χρέεσθαι ἐς ἴησιν τοῦ κακοῦ. ἐπίπροσθεν δὲ τοῦ ἑλλεβόρου χρὴ τόν τε στόμαχον μελετῆσαι ἐξεμέειν, καὶ τὰ ὑγρὰ λεπτῦναι, καὶ τὸ σκῆνος εὔροον ποιέειν· ἔμετοι δὲ τάδε πρήσσουσι, ἄλλοτε μὲν οἱ νήστιες, ἄλλοτε δὲ ῥαφανῖδες. φράσω δὲ τόν τε τρόπον καὶ τὴν ὕλην· φράσω δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἐλλεβόρου τὰ εἴδεα, καὶ τῆς χρήσιος τοῦς τρόπους, καὶ ὅκως προευκρινῆσαι ἕκαστον χρὴ, καὶ ὅκως ἐν τοῖσι ἐμέτοισι ἀρήγειν. ἄπιστον, ἐπὶ τοῖσδε εἰ μὴ ἐλύθη ἐς τὸ πάμπαν ἡ νοῦσος, ἢ πολλῶν ἐτέων ἔσχε διαλείψιας. τὰ πολλὰ γὰρ τοῦδε ἀπότοκοι μελαγχολίαι· ἢν δὲ ἔμπεδος ἥδε, μὴ ἤδη περιμένειν. χρὴ ὦν τὰ ἐς τὸν ἐλλέβορον ἅπαντα πρήσσειν. ὑγιέας μὲν ὦν ἅπαντας ποιέειν ἀδύνατον τοὺς νοσέοντας· ᾖ γὰρ ἂν ἰητρὸς κρέσσων θεοῦ. ἀπονίην δὲ καὶ διαλείψιας καὶ νούσων ἐπικρύψιας, δρῆν θέμις ἰητρόν. ἢ ὦν ἀπαυδῆν ἐπὶ τοῖσδε καὶ ἀπαρνεῖσθαι, προϊσχομένους τὸ ἄναλθες, ἢ καὶ ἐς τέλος τοῖσι ἔργοισι ὁμιλέειν.
(Aretaeus, Chroniōn nousōn therapeutika 1.5)

And if the disease lodge in all parts of the body,—in the senses, the understanding, the blood, and the bile,—and if it seize on the nerves, and turn to an incurable condition, it engenders in the system a progeny of other diseases,—spasms, mania, paralysis. And if they arise from melancholy, the newly-formed diseases are incurable. Wherefore we are to use hellebore for the cure of the ailment. But before the administration of the hellebore, we must train the stomach to vomiting, attenuate the humours, and render the whole system freely perspirable; emetics will accomplish these things sometimes those which are given with an empty stomach, and sometimes those which consist of radishes. I will describe the mode and materials of it; and I will also describe the species of hellebore and the modes of using it; and how we ought to judge of everything beforehand, and how to render assistance during the operation of the emetics. It cannot be doubted that by these means the disease has either been entirely removed or had intervals of several years. For generally melancholy is again engendered. But if it be firmly established, we are no longer to hesitate, but must have recourse to everything relating to the hellebore. It is impossible, indeed, to make all the sick well, for a physician would thus be superior to a god; but the physician can produce respite from pain, intervals in diseases, and render them latent. In such cases, the physician can either decline and deny his assistance, alleging as an excuse the incurable nature of the disease, or continue to the last to render his services. (tr. Francis Adams)

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