Acollyrium described by P. AEgineta, lib. vii. c. 16; called ammonii collyrium.
Hygidion hygeia, Hygidion Hygieia,(from sound). Health or soundness. The name of a plaster called panacea, and the plaster of the three brothers, described in AEtius. Health, however, a more extensive sense, comprehends a great variety of considerations, which, in the Leyden school, formed a considerable and important part of the institutions of medicine. We cannot attend to it with equal care; and indeed its doctrines comprehend a variety of subjects treated of under distinct heads. We must not, however, pass it over lightly.
It will be at once obvious that health is a relative term; for the changes consistent with it in some con-ititutions would be morbid in others. It is equally obvious that there is some latitude in its use, and that many changes may take place, without inducing a lesion of the functions, and, of course, a disease. Authors have, therefore, used the expression,"within the limits of health," to imply some deviation from the most perfect, but not sufficient to constitute a morbid, state.
Health depends on the management of what has been called the non naturals, a fanciful term, comprehending air, food, exercise, the"passions, retenta and excreta, sleep and waking. Yet the regulation of these depends on the constitution, what has been styled temperament or idiosyncracy: the former a generic term, comprising peculiarities of constitution, common to many persons; the other the peculiarity of each individual's structure. We must not now anticipate the subject of temperaments, but may remark that the ancients, in subservience to their doctrine of humours, distinguished four; the sanguine, the bilious, the phlegmatic, and the melancholic. The distinction is not wholly theoretical. The supposed sanguine temperament is that of youth, where the vessels are full, the fibres firm and active, quickly excited to motion, and often to excessive or irregular action. The bilious is distinguished by equal strength and activity; but by a yellow hue on the skin, red hair, with a constitution often more acutely sensible, always more irritable. The phlegmatic temperament is pale in complexion; languid in its exertions; the vessels, if full, torpid; the constitution inactive; the mind not easily excited to exertion. The melancholic has a greater degree of torpor, with a dark yellow hue; the mind dull, abstracted, but persevering. In such constitutions the plethora is chiefly-venous.
The sanguine temperament bears evacuations with great ease; but they soon constitute a habit which is seldom broken with impunity. Health, with such persons, is best preserved by low living, avoiding excess of every kind, particularly cold after active bodily exertions. The bilious requires the same precautions; but the evacuations best adapted, which are indeed almost indispensable to this kind of constitution, are the free and frequent use of the milder laxatives. The warm cordial diet, and the stimuli, which suit the phlegmatic temperament, would induce fever in the sanguine or bilious. Free air, regular and constant exercise, with every means of strengthening, without constriction, are adapted for persons of this class. They will not bear evacuations, particularly loss of blood; and, at the same time, must not indulge too freely in high living or inactivity. In the melancholic, every thing which accumulates the blood in the internal organs must be avoided. Exercise, which determines to the skin; purgatives, which can rouse the torpid fibres into active exertions; amusements, which can interest the mind; are peculiarly necessary in such habits. A sameness of exercise and of objects, mental or corporeal, must be avoided; for the bent which the body or mind takes, is with difficulty counteracted.
Health is also a relative to different ages, to different sexes, and different occupations. Infancy is the period of peculiar irritability, and of peculiar sensibility. It is the sanguine temperament of manhood, with the mobility of the female constitution. As the body increases in size and in bulk, the mobility lessens, the strength and the activity of the sanguiferous and nervous systems augment. The power is at its height from about twenty-eight to thirty-five, and then gradually declines, assuming, by slow degrees, some of the more distinguishing appearances of the melancholic temperament, but not so acutely marked. In the early and later periods, the limits of health are more narrow; in the middle period, extensive; and the means of preserving it in both will be sufficiently obvious from what has been already remarked.
Different sexes differ also in the means of preserving health. The constitution of women is that of youth: in advanced age the sexes approach very nearly in temperament. Women are generally distinguished by a plethora, and this is often a cause of apparent debilty. The circulation is also balanced with peculiar nicety, so that the equilibrium is soon destroyed. The two distinguishing eras in a woman's life are, when the cata-menia first appear, and when they cease. In each, before the equilibrium is established, either a morbid, irregular mobility, or a torpor, takes place. In the latter case the temperament approaches the phlegmatic. We have no appellation for the former; and another temperament should be added to express" it, which may have the hackneyed appellation of the nervous.
The health as adapted to different occupations also differs. The sturdy strength of the husbandman would be torpor in the watchmaker; and the delicate feelings, the acute eye, and minute exactness of the latter, would be morbid sensibility in the sailor. Habit, in these instances, forms the constitution; but the limits of health are in each peculiarly his own. The diet of the one would be injurious to the other: the robust exercises of the sailor would bring on a morbid tremor in the artist.
For active exertions and continued labour the diet should be chiefly animal, but not in excess: the vessels must be full, not distended. This is the training of the pugilist and the game cock, whose contests require the most vigorous exertions; and sometimes their continuance.
Health is also relative when there is any constitutional disease. In gouty habits it is necessary often to reduce the stronger state of the constitution; but it must be done with caution, lest the atonic form of the disease should follow. Scrofula, the disease of the phlegmatic constitution, will also not admit of stimulants; and, in each, we must keep to those extreme limits of health, which in many constitutions might be called debility. In nervous complaints we often find plethora at least a remote cause, and to lower the tone more may increase the irritability, and consequently the disease. We must here also keep to the extreme limits, and cautiously regulate our evacuations, lest the patient sink too low.
Idiosyncracy is, in part, constitutional, but often induced by habit. It can be taught only by observation, and generally by the observation of the individual. No prudent physician will, therefore, employ an active medicine, until, from the patient or his friends, he has attempted to ascertain any peculiarity of constitution, which should render him cautious in this respect, or wholly forbid its being given.