How to Cure Lethargy, 1655

print of patient in bed surrounded by doctors with strange implementsBaccio del Bianco, Allegory of Medicine, 17th c.

In direct opposition to a Frenzie, is the Disease called a Lethargie; which causeth sluggishnesse, and an inexpugnable desire to sleep.

It is caused of Flegm, which cooleth the Brain overmuch, and moistneth it, and thereby provoketh sleep… sometimes they will open their eyes, if you cry aloud to them, but they instantly shut them again…

You may burn Brimstone under his Nose, or assa foetida to awake him… also you may safely put a whole spoonfull of Mustard into his mouth at once.

You may shave off his Hair, and keep his head alwayes moistned with Vinegar of Roses: also it is excellent to let it drop down from some high place upon the crown of his Head.

Provoke him often to sneeze with white Hellebore.

Nicholas Culpeper, Culpeper’s Last Legacy

Self-care is all well and good. But if your brain phlegm gets really bad, it’s time for a little self-hazing.