The Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre

The Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre

Also, blood was considered the main humor out of the four, the three others being phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, and a fine balance between all four was necessary in an individual’s body in order to ensure good health. Different blood vessels were linked with different organs: the vein in the right hand was linked to the liver, and blood was drained from it in case of liver disorders, as we see in the instance of Jean-Pierre: the doctors, "seeing his face had gone yellow, considered he was suffering from an obstruction in the liver, and prescribed a bleeding."
The lovelorn man’s jaundiced skin is interpreted as a liver disease, and much unlike the modern times where liver diseases are variously classified into strains of hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer or hemachromatosis and so on, and are treated accordingly, the hapless man is prescribed bloodletting.What is worse, the doctor does not do a good job of bandaging the wound and the man himself ignores its importane, resulting in the bandage coming off and his untimely death through excessive blood loss. This presents a picture of medicine in sharp contrast to modern times, because of its generalised and careless nature.
In the story of "A nasty breakfast given to an advocate and a gentleman by an apothecary’s man", the narrator describes the apothecary’s man picking up a "sir reverence" which is nothing but a subtle way of naming human excrement in polite company, according to the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose.
The standards of hygiene in a society where human faeces are to be found lying around frozen on the road definitely need much to be desired. The practice of defecating in the open prevalent probably due to lack of adequate sanitary arrangements and accurate information on the spread of harmful germs, surely posed a threat to the well being of the citizens as it could spread infections.These standards of hygiene were one of the main reasons for the spread of diseases in the form of epidemics across Europe in those times.
In the story of "A woman gives her husband powder of cantharides to make him love her, and goes near to killing him", we see the superstitions that have traditionally surrounded the reported properties of aphrodisiacs. The "cantharides" are nothing but a mixture commonly known through the centuries as "Spanish fly". It is known to be a substance made from powdered beetles from the southern part of Europe. To an extent, it simulates arousal by irritating the urogenital tract and causing the genital organs to burn, swell and itch.It is not recommended in modern times because it can cause pain, nausea, vomiting, and in case of excessive dosage, even death.
Aphrodisiacs hold their fascination even today from supplements to sexual vitality like Arginine, Fenugreek, Sho wu, Lychii fruit and Ginseng to exotic substances like tiger bones and rhinoceros horn. Modern science has yet to prove the efficacy of most of them, but the craze to acquire potency continues in the human mind.Substances like viagra have come to the aid of those with erectile dsyfunction, and phermones are peddled for their aphrodisiac properties, but as the story illustrates, the rampant and unthinking use of such substances can only do more harm than good.
In the story where a woman at the point of death flew into such a violent passion at seeing her

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