Ph. by Anna Rapisarda
We have told of the sacred value of water in ancient times (> Traveling into a landscape in the sacredness of water), in which springs and waterways, with their landscape, were considered the home of the divinities. A thought that over the millennia has generated awareness of their importance in man, who has therefore considered them a heritage to be protected.
A philosophy now lost, without which the damage is evident and immense.
To the undoubted psychophysical therapeutic power that the aquatic landscape exerts (> Journey with landscape in the personality of water), these lines add the benefits that water itself generates when it is inside the human body.
It is therefore clear that
man is water
water is man
“Water is the most common and simplest thing occurring in nature: it is found everywhere, in the bowels and on the surface of the Earth; on the slopes, in the middle, at the top of the highest mountains, in all bodies, in all minerals, vegetables, animals (…).
Without it, the Earth would not produce vegetables, and those that have begun to form would soon perish: Water is the drink of animals, the basis of their fluid parts, and it is also found in their solid parts (…)”.
Thus begins the preface by Mr. Nogues, doctor from Paris, translator of this eighteenth-century Treatise found in a truly unique bookshop, which we could define “the chamber of the paper columns”: the books of every shape, colour and time are not placed on ordinary shelves, but form very high piles that can only be reached with very high stairs.
The “choice” of the book is unique: after letting the readers wander among the columns, it is the book itself that comes to meet them, as if it already knew their desires.
Rain, river, spring water
Among the pages of this incredible dive into the past flow rivers of stories, reflections, experiments of the “Most famous Doctors” collected by Mr. Smith on the value and virtues of common water, first of all the rainwater, described as the purest, thinnest and most fluid. Anything boiled there tastes better than river or fountain water. It is more suitable for softening and cooking meat, for preparing liqueurs, …
Chemists only use rainwater to “sweeten the golden lime and the fulminant gold”. Bakers find it more suitable for “fermenting and removing the dough” with the result of a tastier and lighter bread, while gardeners use it for watering, resulting in more plants and herbs growing.
The month of March, or in any case the beginning of spring, is recommended as the best time to collect it, as the earth is not yet too hot and the sun is less scorching, while it is not recommended to do it in winter, when the heat would be weaker and would decrease its fluidity.
Regardless of the harvest period, which in the end does not seem so fundamental, preservation is very important: in the middle of the garden, in large tightly closed earthen pots, so that the external air does not “corrupt” it.
After rainwater, the second water, in terms of goodness, is river water which, if flowing rapidly and renewing itself continuously, is better, purer, lighter, like that of the Rhone and the Rhine, unlike the Seine, which is too full and slow.
He then describes the waters of fountains, or springs: they have the same origin as rivers, but are not as healthy and vary according to the nature of the soil and the minerals they contain.
Tips and benefits*
The most effective way to preserve yourself from any internal disease, is to drink “two or three large glasses in the morning after getting out of bed” and as many an hour and a half or two after lunch (…) and in any case “at any time it is good”.
Smith states that water deserves the name of Universal Remedy, because everyone can use it and it cures hiccups, it strengthens the membranes and fibres of the stomach and intestines for a good appetite and good digestion after lunch, as well as having countless other properties: an endless list with testimonials from everywhere.
Prodigious or not, the water healing remedies contained in the Treatise end with “The diet with Water alone can bring us to a very old age, although it cannot rejuvenate the old”.
* reported, but not to be followed
“Trattato delle virtù medicinali dell’acqua comune” (Treatise on the medicinal virtues of common water) Opera del signor Smith (Work by Mr. Smith)
Aggiungesi il Gran Febbrifugo del D.R Hancock (Dr. Hancock’s Great Febrifuge is added) (Appresso Simone Occhi, 1747)