The Preservation of Youth: Essays on Health
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Capitalizing on his vast practical experience as a physician, combined with his knowledge of classical and medieval principles of healing, Maimonides was able to provide a comprehensive theory for the therapy of body and mind. In this work he describes many conditions including asthma, diabetes, hepatitis and pneumonia. He includes recommendations on many aspects for a healthy life which are still applicable today. Included are suggestions on diet and exercise, sex life and the underlying psychological causes of illness.
the natural heat. And when it gets cold the openings in the flesh close and do not prevent satiety. [Your] servant states: If a man would take care of his body as he takes care of the animal he rides on, he would be spared many serious ailments. For you will not find a man who would give too much hay to his animal, but he measures it according to its capacity. However, he himself will eat too much without measure and consideration. Man is very attentive to his animal’s movement and fatigue in
godliness, natural processes being synonymous with the divine. He demanded the highest standard of ethics from the physician and took no remuneration from the indigent. Many physicians before Maimonides referred to emotional states of the patient, but Maimonides made the interaction of mind and body the cornerstone of his diagnosis and therapy, in true psychosomatic tradition. He dwelt at large on the importance of the measures to prevent disease, on the role of proper diet and on the
constitution to take [the theriac] or to take it in the summer or in a period of great heat or when the stomach has any trace of a bad moisture. EMETICS And when it is said that to vomit once or twice a month is good for the health, this is so provided a man has no weakness in his chest or fullness or pain in his head. Vomiting is of no help when it is very cold. And every time it is allowed, it is under the conditions we have mentioned. We have advised employing light medications and we
And here is the mode of its preparation: oxtongue herb—four drachmas; licorice, cleaned and shelled, herba fontis, barberry seeds—three drachmas of each; althea seeds—five drachmas; moist roses of seven petals, anethum—seven hearts. All should be soaked in one and a half liters of warm water a day and a night, then it should be boiled and crushed and strained over twenty drachmas of cassia fistula, twenty drachmas of almond oil and one ounce of sugar. He should take it and wait until it completes
over a small flame until they thicken into a syrup, perfuming it with a quarterweight of myrrh. TO STRENGTHEN THE HEART Your servant has not found any syrup equal to it, to gladden and strengthen the heart and give it power. It is mild and neither raises nor lowers the temperature and therefore can be taken at any time. And the amount to be taken is from two to three ounces, in cold water in summertime and in warm water in wintertime. But the second syrup which your servant saw fit to compound