BOOKS printed for J. WHISTON and B. WHITE, in Fleet-street.
In One large VOLUME, OCTAVO, (Price Six Shillings,) Illustrated with Eight fine Copper-Plates,

I. A COMPENDIUM of ANATOMY. In which all the Parts of the Human Body are succinctly and clearly described, and their Uses explain'd,

By LAURENCE HEISTER, M. D. Professor of Physic and Surgery in the University of Helmstadt, and Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Paris.

Translated from the last Edition of the original Latin; greatly augmented and improved by the Author.

To which are added, Notes by Mr. Henault, and the Editor.

II. HEALTH Preserved: In Two Treatises.

  • 1. On the Diseases of Artificers, which by their particular Callings they are most liable to; with the Method of avoiding them, and their Cure. By BERN. RAMAZINI, M. D. Chief Professor of Physic at Padua.
  • 2. On those Distempers which arise from particular Climates, Situations and Methods of Life; with Directions for the Choice of a healthy Air, Soil and Water. By FREDERICK HOFFMAN, M. D. Physician to the present King of Prussia. Translated and enlarged, with an Appendix, by R. JAMES, M. D. Author of the Medicinal Dictionary. In a large Volume 12mo. Price 2s 6d bound.

III. The 2d Edition corrected, illustrated with four large Copper-Plates Price 1s 6d sew'd,

A TREATISE of the URINARY PASSAGES, &c. Containing their Description, Power, and Uses; together with the principal Distempers that affect them; in particular, the Stone of the Kidneys and Bladder. By WILLIAM RUTTY, M. D. Fel­low of the College of Physicians, and of the Royal Society, and Reader of Anatomy at Surgeon's-Hall.

IV. New and Extraordinary Observations concerning the Pre­diction and various Crises by the PULSE, independent of the cri­tical Signs delivered by the Ancients, made by the long Experi­ence of several eminent Physicians, and illustrated with many [...]w C [...]ses and Remarks. To which are added, Some Hints on [...] [...]atu [...] the ancient Observance, and modern Neglect of [...] By [...]MES NIHELL, M. D. The 2d Edit. Pr. 2s sew'd.

[...] [...]us's History of Stones, with an English Version, [...] Philosophical Notes, including the Modern [...] &c. described by that Author, and many other [...] [...]y JOHN HILL, M. D. Price 2s 6d sew'd.

A TREATISE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY VIRTUES AND EFFECTS OF ASSES MILK, In the CURE of various DISEASES, Particularly the GOUT, SCURVY, and NERVOUS DISORDERS; And of its peculiar nourishing and restorative Qualities in all Consumptive Disorders, and even the Decays of Old Age.

Illustrated with several remarkable CASES.

Translated from the LATIN of the celebrated FREDERICK HOFFMAN, M. D. Principal Physician to his present Majesty the King of Prussia, and Member of the Royal Societies of London and Berlin.

LONDON: Printed for JOHN WHISTON and BENJAMIN WHITE, in Fleet-street. MDCCLIV.

(Price One Shilling.)


THE great reputation which Dr. Hoffman has deserved­ly acquired by his superior abilities and long experience in his profession, has made his writings universally known and esteemed by the learned.

This treatise being intended for general use, he has wrote with more plainness, and with as few terms of science as possible, to render it generally useful, as the subject he [Page iv]treats of is proper for every one to be acquainted with, whose state of health hath required the use of this common and almost universal re­medy.

WE thought it would not be amiss to prefix the opinions of those eminent physicians, Dr. Moffett, Mr. Lemery, and Dr. Arbuthnot, on the same subject, which we have there­fore here adjoined, all which con­firm and strengthen the sentiments of Dr. Hoffman in this treatise.

DR. MOFFETT in his treatise of foods, says, ‘"Asses milk is an especial cure for that sort of con­sumption, [Page v]wherein the flesh de­cayeth through ulceration of the lungs and breathing parts; it is both meat and medicine, cleans­ing and nourishing alike, not so thin as to hinder expectoration, nor so thick as to cause condensa­tion of the matter putrified, but being of a middle temper and consistence, and consequently most proper for that disease. A middle age Ass's milk is the best. Hav­ing got such a one, shut her from her foal four or five hours before you use her milk, let her be well curried, lest her skin, growing foul, ill vapours be encreased in­wardly, for want of perspiration. [Page vi]Feed her with grinded malt-straw dried, mingled with a little sweet fennel-seed, annis, or carraway-seeds, which she will eat with great pleasure, and digest into a sweet and wholesome blood. An hour after that milk her as near the patient as you can, that it may be drank before the air hath alter'd it; for if it be once cold it is not wholesome. This may be done twice a day, morning and evening, upon an empty stomach, neither eating or drinking after it for two hours: You may sweeten it with sugar-candy, sugar of roses, or fine honey, and it will be more effectual. In winter let her [Page vii]be fed with the sweetest meadow hay."’

MR. LEMERY in his treatise on foods, says, ‘"Asses milk, as to its consistence and virtues, is much like that of a woman; it is much used as a remedy against the phthi­sick and other disorders of the lungs, and being like woman's milk, is of a qualifying nature, is beneficial in the cure of pim­ples, the defluxions of the eyes, and to ease the pains of the gout."’

DR. ARBUTHNOT in his treatise on aliments, page 85. observes, that [Page viii] ‘"woman's milk is the sweetest as to the nutritious quality, the next to it is that of ASSES."’

THE translator hopes he has ren­dered the author's sense very clear, and wishing it may prove of general good, recommends it to the perusal of the publick.

A TREATISE OF THE Extraordinay Virtues and Effects of ASSES MILK.

THOSE who have had a long and careful experience in the practice of physic, have a better opportu­nity than the rest of mankind of observing that the plainest sorts of remedies, those which are most readily prepared, and as it were at hand in every family, are highly preferable to all kinds of compounds, and artificial mixtures of drugs whatsoever; not only in regard to the safety in using them, but likewise in their real virtue and efficacy; whether they be intended to thoroughly sub­due, or put a timely stop to all the various kinds of diseases.

IF we diligently revise the best writings of physicians in the earliest ages, we shall find that they met with greater success, and wrought more cures with the most simple and easy medicines, such as are quite agree­able to nature, such as only require a re­gulation in diet, and have a greater share of nourishment than of physic in them, than the chemists of later times can effect with their inestimable secrets, and subtle compositions, produced by the force of fire. For all these, unless administered with the nicest care and discretion, instead of doing service, are sure to do much mischief; and therefore must be esteemed very dangerous, and far less eligible than those family reme­dies that may be used without any hazard at all.

UNDOUBTEDLY the refined art of che­mistry, which brings to light the various mixtures and properties of natural substances, deserves a very great and peculiar degree of admiration; and the experiment is very sur­prising of the chemists, who are able to re­lieve the sufferings of their patients with a few drops only, or a very small pill: yet [Page 3]when the larger or more plentiful prepara­tions of what are called Galenical medicines are rejected, when no regard is shewn to the safe assistance of regulated diets, so much re­commended by the antients, and medicines altogether chemical, are almost universally used against all diseases; the effect is, that the practice of physic is become far more dangerous in our days, than it was formerly, and gets discredit by more frequent instances of the loss of patients. For my own part, I was always guided by the following rule; that the only way to gain a happy and suc­cessful method in the healing art, is con­tinually to unite theory with practice, the experience of the antients with that of the moderns, and Galenical and domestic reme­dies with chemical. For I have discovered by a long improved experience, that reme­dies which have blended in them the powers of both nourishment and physic, and are therefore pleasant and refreshing to the frame of our bodies, are not only the safest, but the most efficacious in the cure and preven­tion of diseases. And it is undeniable that the use and properest method of administring these, is more exactly to be learnt from the [Page 4]remains of the antients authors, than from the works of the moderns, or even of such of the moderns as have plainly a fondness and partiality for the antients.

ONE of the most eminent and distinguish­ed instances of what I thus assert is Asses milk: which, indeed, was strenuously re­commended by the antient physicians, and esteemed of sovereign benefit in rooting out the obstinate remains of the most grievous distempers; yet most of our later physicians, in other respects men of high repute, are very ignorant of its most excellent quali­ties, and therefore were either so cautious, as seldom to introduce into their practice this desirable promoter of health, or actually were afraid to use it at all. In the following treatise therefore I intend, by fair and just arguments, founded on an extensive expe­rience, to set forth all the admirable virtues of Asses milk, which have so long been ab­solutely forgotten and unknown.

BUT before we come immediately to the subject, it is not improper previously to shew in general, that all milk is a sort of [Page 5]food that has a singular medicinal virtue belonging to it, without considering its re­markable nourishing quality; which very weighty reasons should recommend its being medicinally used. That milk has this nu­tritive quality, must I think be readily al­lowed by all, as it appears constantly to every man, by his own experience, to be parti­cularly constituted and adapted to the sup­port of our bodies. The unborn child, while yet inclosed in the womb, grows and is nourished by milk, which is prepared for it in the structure of the secundines. When it is born, it acquires still additional firm­ness from a supply of milk; is gradually wrought up to its perfect form; and all its inward parts gain so much more strength in proportion as they are able to alter and di­gest whatever food they take in, and reduce them to the milky juice called chyle. Lastly, every man, so long as he remains alive, re­ceives his whole nourishment and vigour from chyle, which is extracted from the food digested and dissolved, and is in truth no other than milk. It is milk that supplies the principles and materials, not of the blood [Page 6]alone, but of all the fluids that cherish and sustain life.

SINCE then milk is so manifestly proved to be the principal of all the kinds of ali­ment; so it may be deservedly reckoned the chief of all remedies. Which, though it may not seem clear and evident to others, may be proved to demonstration with very little difficulty. To begin then with expe­rience, the best instructor in all things, and what is superior to all the most refined spe­culations.

No man, that has cultivated ever so slight an acquaintance with the medicinal art, can be ignorant that the milk of almost all ani­mals has a very powerful and marvellous efficacy in tempering, subduing, and dimi­nishing the force of the strongest poisons, whether they come from the kingdom of minerals, animals, or plants, especially those of a corrosive kind, that are most remark­able for fatal execution. And so great is this efficacy, that any person, who has taken poison, by a seasonable use of milk in a proper method and quantity, will be sure to [Page 7]escape immediate death, and recover perfect health. On which account it may be rea­sonably questioned, whether there be any more ready and prevalent antidote to be found in the whole works of nature. And the most antient and early writers in me­dicine both knew and described the cer­tain virtue of milk against poisons. Dios­scorides, the most ancient writer concerning the Materia Medica, says, that milk, if fresh and new, is serviceable against corrosions and inflammations occasioned by deadly poisons, such as cantharides, pityocampa, salamandra, or bupreste, orpiment, dorycnium, aconite, or ephemeron. And Pliny repeats almost the very same account.

IF we enquire into the treatment of dis­eases themselves, it will appear that milk was frequently and successfully employed against them, from numberless testimonies and examples to be found in many late au­thors, in common with those antient physi­cians Hippocrates, Galen, Celsus, and the Arabian writers. This will be more largely illustrated when we proceed to the subject of asses milk. At present let it suffice to [Page 8]produce what we read in Martian, ‘"That heretofore milk was esteemed the sacred anchor and foundation of all remedies: so that there was scarce any distemper in which milk was not made use of."’ The same is attested by Jo. Jac. Wepfer, an eminent author, and noble ornament of the faculty among the Dutch. ‘"There is surely some divine quality belonging to milk. Formerly I could not have believed it, had I not had convincing experience of it. Mine own eyes have seen men intirely renewed by it. For by a discreet use of it, multitudes have acquired a sounder consti­tution, more hale complexion, and greater strength of body."’

BUT though the milk that is generally used in the medicinal way, is that of the common domestick sorts of animals, as cows, sheep, and goats; yet asses milk is by far the most efficacious, and its virtues in physic exceed those of every other species so much, that no sort of remedy is to be discovered so safe, and so powerful in its effects. For this, taken at seasonable times, in due quantities, and with a proper regimen, gives eminent [Page 9]relief to such as are afflicted with phthisics, hectics, consumption and slow consuming fevers, chronical coughs, and a scorbutic atrophy, hypochondriac and hysteric disorders, cramps, ulcers in the bowels, and diseases that proceed from a saline acrid erosion. This consideration induced me to fix upon this sort of milk, above all others, for the subject of my observations, in order to set forth its powers and properties, to demon­strate its usefulness, and confirm it by tes­timonies and examples.

IN the first place, we must assign the rea­son why Asses milk is to be preferred in me­dicine, before that of other creatures. Which may be done in a more convincing and sa­tisfactory manner, if we previously lay down some certain stated propositions, concerning the composition of milk, and those ingre­dients which are the foundation of all its operations. It is universally known that milk consists of three different substances, each of which has a different quality and powers peculiar to itself. The first is the fluid part, commonly called serum, or whey. The next is the oily fat part, which exhibits itself in cream [Page 10]on the surface, and is to be wrought into butter. The third is of a coarser nature, earthy and mucilaginous in its texture, and of this cheese is formed. The serum, or watry portion, exceeds the others in quan­tity, so that in different milks, there will be found eight or ten parts of this fluid, to one only of solid. The butter, or oily fat sub­stance is the lightest, and the least in quan­tity, and inflammable in its nature. And lastly the curd is of a more fixed and heavy temper, is very readily hardened by acids, and subsides to the bottom in the substance of cheese.

THE efficacy of every sort of milk in curing and subduing any disease, is derived from this threefold nature of the ingredients that constitute the substance of milk. For that milk which is thin and liquid, and con­tains a larger proportion of serum, is prefer­able for its faculty of moistening, diluting, cleansing and relaxing. Again, that which is heavier, and has much of the gross sub­stance of curd, is valuable for its excellence in hardening, confirming and consolidating the broken vessels.

BUT that which produces a great share of cream, and likewise a considerable quan­tity of the curd-like substance, is eminent for its softening, smoothening, and nou­rishing quality. If we examine the diffe­rent species of milks that are in common and daily use; the human is the sweetest of all, of a very soft and rich temperature, and is the best accommodated for the nutriment of the human body. That of cows is fatter, has more of the earthy and less of the watery substance, and is therefore less fitted for cleansing the vessels, but best formed for softening, tempering and nourishing. Sheeps milk is the most gross, and very full of the earthy mucilaginous curd; whence it has little of a cleansing power, but is extremely useful for closing up such blood vessels, or lymphaticks, as are injur'd and corroded by acrid humours. Goats milk has very little serum, and is of a pretty thick and astrin­gent consistence, produces very little butter, yet is more cleansing and diluting than cows milk.

THIS different proportion in the ingre­dients of milk, and the difference of beneficial [Page 12]effects arising therefrom, is not so much to be ascribed to the food of the animals, (of which more largely hereafter,) as to the different texture and conformation of their bodies. For tho' we were to feed the various milch-crea­tures with the same sort of food, for the same length of time, and in the same manner in all respects, yet would they not give milk of one and the same nature, but each of its own and peculiar kind. It is therefore a very evi­dent truth, that the matter and quality of the food conduces but little towards the forma­tion of milk, but that it is altogether brought to perfection by the p [...]culiar nature of the animal, which consist in a distinct compo­sition and texture of the fluids, (namely, the temperature of the blood and other juices,) and a particular make, structure, and con­stitution of the solids, especially of the glands belonging to the udder, which are com­posed of numberless fine vessels.

WHEN we examine more minutely into the medicinal virtue and disposition of Asses milk, it will appear to be fraught with an abundance of peculiar excellencies which render it so exceedingly wholesome. In the [Page 13]first place, it is thinner than all other milks, and abounds with watery and serous ingredi­ents. This is what Aristotle and Galen have both observed, who call it [...], com­posed of the minutest particles. Since then it is known that many diseases are caused by a grossness and tenacity of the juices, which, as they pass slowly thro' the finer vessels, of which the principal emunctories and strain­ers of the glands consist, are apt to stop in those narrow passages, to fill them up, and occasion obstructions, it is very obvious and natural to conclude, that the use of Asses milk, which abounds with serous and fluid particles, must be extremely proper to open the obstructed vessels, to attenuate the gross and viscid juices, and set them in an easy and free motion. Again, when we know that multitudes of distempers proceed from an acrid, salt, and corrosive state of the fluids, we cannot but be assured that the thin serum of Asses-milk will not fail of diluting, soften­ing, and subduing them: altho' it must be allowed at the same time, that the sweet oily substance contributes much toward this effect, which embraces and involves the pointed particles of salt, and by this means the crude, [Page 14]ill-digested juices, being property corrected, are, by the plentiful assistance of serum, con­vey'd in their due course thro' the vessels ap­pointed for secretion.

IT is another extraordinary excellence of Asses milk, that it contains but a small pro­portion of the grosser curdling substance. Out of eight ounces of Asses milk which I set over hot coals in a broad vessel, after all the serum was evaporated, I could scarce ga­ther so much as six drachms of a whitish sweet matter. I then took twelve ounces of the same milk, and set it by to curdle in a close vessel, filled about half way. In three days time a very white and thin curd settled at the bottom, which when separated from the whey by straining thro' filtrating paper, and afterwards dried, scarce amounted to two drachms; all the rest of its solid parts having in part passed with the whey thro' the strainer, and partly adhered to the sides of the vessels, or lost themselves in the opera­tion. On the contrary, the same weight of cows milk, treated in the same manner, thickened into a grosser and heavier curd, which when clear'd from the whey, spread [Page 15]out in a broad plate, and dried in the sun, weighed ten drachms. From these experi­ments it is evident, that the quantity of the gross curdling substance is very small in Asses milk, when compared with other sorts. For this reason it easily diffuses itself into the mi­nutest extremities of the blood-vessels, tho­roughly dilutes the vital juices, liquifies the sluggish humours, and when it has thus dis­solved them conveys them off. A third cir­cumstance that more strongly evinces the sa­lubrious quality of Asses milk, is, that the share of cheese-like substance which it con­tains is extremely soft and tender, and never makes a gross or firm curd. To make this evident, I warmed some Asses milk, and sprinkled it with vinegar, expecting to see it contract a thick consistence; but nothing appear'd of that sort, except a few light thin flakes floating here and there on the serum: when, on the contrary, cow's milk, the in­stant it was mixed with an acid, condensed into lumps of a considerable hardness, and fell to the bottom. Now in all cures which are sought by milk, nothing can be so hurt­ful and dangerous as to have it curdle in the stomach, to prevent which accident ought [Page 16]to be the physicians principle care and con­cern. For the mischiefs occasioned by a coagulation of milk in the stomach are very pernicious, and have been observed and cau­tioned against by the best authors. It is past dispute therefore that that milk is the most wholsome and properest for medicinal uses, which has least tendency to curdle, which is the case with Asses milk in the most re­markable degree.

A fourth, and the most valuable excellence in Asses milk, is its exquisite sweetness, in which it exceeds all other species of milk, except the human: for you may extract from it by much the greatest quantity of de­licate tasted sugar, or rather a thick substance resembling manna. To try the experiment, I boiled twelve ounces of Asses milk, in the month of July, over a gentle fire, and im­mediately it produced a thick concretion very sweet, weighing one ounce. Upon this I poured it into a glass with a pint of rain water, which when frequently shaken al­most dissolved the mass, leaving only a small sediment. The liquor was then poured through filtrating paper, and set to evaporate, [Page 17]and yielded half an ounce of an honey-like substance, extremely sweet, and white. As Asses milk therefore contains so plentiful a proportion of sweet salts, we cannot doubt but it has for that reason a very singular me­dicinal quality which cannot be expected in other kinds of milk. For this honey-like salt greatly softens, checks and moderates the acrimony of humours, whether acid or bi­lious, and by gently irritating the fibres of the bowels, urges them to their office and operation. Hippocrates very justly observes, that Asses milk disposes to purging more than any other. And in another place advises, as a remedy for the Fluor Albus, first to occasion a gentle purging by drinking Asses milk, and then to change it for cows milk.

FROM these enlarged observations which we have made on the excellencies of Asses milk, it must be evident to all that judge sensibly, that it has an admirable efficacy towards curing many distempers. It may now be proper to enumerate those distem­pers in regular order, and explain the use­fulness of this milk in each particular. The first and most remarkable instance we shall [Page 18]give, by proving that no surer or more suc­cessful remedy can be invented or recom­mended against consumptions. The use of milk in such diseases had long been practis'd, till the physical schools of Cnidos and Cos exploded it: at length Hippocrates, who came from the latter, vindicated and established its credit, and was universally followed in it by all the physicians of the next age. Galen says a great deal in praise of milk in consumptive cases; and speaks of a place, called Stabia, very famous for its good air, pasture for cattle, and their wholsome milk, which was filled frequently with crouds of consumptive people that came thither for relief. And Aretaeus ascribes so extraordinary virtues to milk in this grievous distemper, that he does not scruple to affirm, that if consumptive folks would drink great quantities of milk they would need no other remedy.

YET although milk of all kinds be a whol­some medicine in consumptive and decaying constitutions, yet Asses milk excells the others in a greater degree, because it fully answers every requisite that can conduce to the cure of consumptions. If we strictly enquire into [Page 19]the cause and origin of a consumption of the lungs, it will be found to proceed from a stoppage and obstruction of the vessels, of which the lungs are almost entirely composed. Whence Hippocrates very properly and inge­niously describes the rise of a consumption in these words; ‘"when the lungs have col­lected a quantity of blood, or salt phlegm, and cannot discharge them, but they settle and fix there, they occasion little pustules to rise; which suppurate at first; and thro' the whole distemper there continues a sharp dry cough, chilliness, a fever, a pain in the breast and back, and sometimes a a strong wheesing both in lying down and sitting up, and then the patient begins to spit up much corrupted matter."’— It was usual with the ancients to vary their pre­scriptions of milk for consumptions, and sometimes order Asses milk before, and some­times after the use of other milk, as different occasions required. Hippocrates advises purg­ing with Asses milk boiled (or Mares milk strained, which much resembles Asses milk) and drank every morning to the quantity of about a quart; after which he recommends cows milk, or goats.

PROSPER ALPINUS greatly recommends the use of woman's milk at first, then Asses, and lastly goats, in a consumption and ulceration of the lungs. For my part, I am convinced both from reason and expe­rience, that Asses milk alone is sufficient for the cure of this terrible disease. For no­thing can be so properly adapted as this is, by its abundance of sweet detersive salts, to cleanse away and disperse the matter that obstructs the vessels and pipes of the lungs. Besides, it greatly restores decay'd strength, cools the heat of the intestines, fills out the wasted limbs, and preserves a free and open perspiration. Yet I do not deny, but when the obstruction of the vessels in the lungs is cured, cows milk or goats, by reason of their plenty of gross, earthy substance, may be proper to fill up and consolidate the cavi­ties made by the corrosive ulcers.

IF I may be allowed to produce my own experience, I could recount many instances of consumptive people, who were afflicted with an obstinate cough, a fever, a great discharge of viscid matter from the lungs, [Page 21]and an amazing waste of the whole body; and who, after an ineffectual trial of other remedies, by my directions took to a long continued course of Asses milk, or cows milk, (either with or without some sort of tea,) and perfectly recovered. But omitting others, I shall only relate one very late case, which is now fresh in my memory: A man, about thirty years old, of a very debauched life, and given to all kinds of intemperance, espe­cially drinking of spirituous liquors, first fell into a spitting of blood, which being cured, tho' after a long continuance, he contracted a fever, which at first had the appearance of a defluxion, but at length consumed his strength, and afflicted him night and day. He continually spit up a great discharge of purulent and viscid matter, his strength failed, and his flesh wasted so speedily, that he could not walk about, and was given over by every body. Yet, after he had laid three months in this sad condition, by God's bles­sing he recovered, unexpectedly, at the re­turn of the spring, on drinking goats milk warm every morning, after I had admini­stered gentle, opening, saline-abstersive and [Page 22]nitrous powders, to remove his obstructions, and hectic heat.

YET we must take notice, that tho' this be such a sovereign remedy for consump­tions, and when given in a judicious manner, scarce ever fails of success, yet it will not cure every sort of consumption; but must be applied in the beginning of the distemper, and is most likely to take effect, before the ulcers be grown callous, or the corroded ca­vity be too deep and large, or the fever be­come continued and without intermission. Celsus justly advises, ‘"If it be a real con­sumption, you ought to attack it as early as possible; for when this distemper is of long date, it is not easily conquered. But in the beginning, as in all lasting and ob­stinate fevers, the use of milk is proper."’ And Alpinus very discreetly says, that a re­gular course of milk will cure consumptions in their beginning, before the ulcers be grown large and callous.

As a spitting of blood, difficulty of breath­ing, wasting of the flesh, and a small fever, [Page 23]all generally inseparable companions of a consumption of the lungs, are occasioned by the same cause, namely, an obstruction of the vessels of the lungs, and pustules that arise from thence, which in the height of the di­stemper grow to a scirrhous and cancerous ulceration, there is no more powerful help against all these symptoms, than Asses milk, and it has always been recommended by the most antient and able physicians. There is a remarkable passage in Trallian, which says, ‘"If the whole body receives no be­nefit from food, but begins apparently to waste away, and the breast does not dis­charge much matter, they ought to live on milk only, and that of Asses excells all others, because it purges to a pro­per degree."’ The same author again commends Asses milk for a difficulty of breathing: ‘"Such as are afflicted with a difficulty of breathing, I have often known relieved by Asses milk, when given properly, for it clears and removes whatever is fixed in the vessels of the lungs."’ And in another place, speaking of spitting blood, he fays, ‘"All that spit blood find relief from milk. For there [Page 24]is no medicine or food of any kind so suited to their case as milk: and those that took to the use of that alone at first, and persevered in it for a long time, have all recovered their health. I knew a man that by living on milk for a whole year, and entirely abstaining from wine, was cured of a spitting of blood and matter, and escaped falling into a con­sumption."’

A consumption with a slow feverish heat, is most times caused by a stoppage or ob­struction in the smaller vessels, thence pro­ceeds a stagnation of the humours, either in the lungs or bowels, and glandulous parts of the belly. Now Asses milk serves to moisten and remove these obstructions; it likewise cools and checks the violence of the feverish heat. Whence 'tis evident, that a right use of Asses milk is not only extremely service­able, but the very best of all remedies in a slow fever. Hippocrates agrees with us in this, and advises those that have a consump­tion and small fever to drink milk. And Riverius relates a remarkable case of a young lady of Montpellier, aged 25, who had been [Page 25]long confined to her bed with a cough that harrassed her night and day, perpetual watch­ing, a pain in her stomach, a slow fever, costiveness, and a general decay of the whole body, who was perfectly recovered by drink­ing Asses milk for one month, after being prepared for it by a laxative cooling julep.

To this let me add a most singular case that came within my observation a few years ago. A gentlewoman had for many years been subject to much sickness, but now for half a year together was afflicted with a slow fever, a loathing of food, languidness of the limbs, a dry cough, watchings, a great pain about the Os Sacrum, heat of urine, pro­fuse sweats by night, and so entire a waste and decay in flesh and strength, that she was unable to stir from her bed. In vain had she been ply'd with decoctions, an­ti-hectic powders, stomachicks, anti-hyste­rics, resolvents, and a thousand other things; she lay past all hopes, and in ex­pectation of certain death. At length, in the beginning of the spring, by my direc­tions, she took to Asses milk, taking be­tween whiles a little opening manna, mixed [Page 26]with some cooling nitrous powders, and now and then some nourishing broths pre­pared with laxative roots, and with such happy success, that in three days only, every thing appeared wonderfully amended; and tho' the cure was not entirely compleated in many weeks, she was at last perfectly re­stored to her health and vigour.

I likewise judge Asses milk to be very efficacious against an Empyema, which is often caused by a pleuresy improperly treat­ed, especially in bodies of a spongy habit, and shews itself by a constant and copious spitting of matter. To confirm which opi­nion I shall relate a remarkable case as told by T. Valleriola: A woman, after recovery from a pleuresy, began to discharge, by spitting, great quantities of purulent matter, which reduc'd her to a miserable, thin, emaciated, and lifeless condition. The au­thor tried to relieve her breast of that load of filth by detersive drinks, linctus's, broths, and such sort of things, but without success: at length, as her fever was not very high, nor any obstruction appeared to be in the Hypochondria, or the bowels, he prescribed [Page 27]Asses milk fresh milked, and sweetened with a little sugar, which having drank for six weeks, she recovered her health and a good constitution, and died twelve years after in child-bed. I likewise remember, many years since, when I practis'd physic at Minden, a nobleman, thirty years of age, of a full and sanguine habit of body, who, af­ter a pleuresy injudiciously treated, fell into so very great a spitting both of purulent and chylous matter, which lasted more than a month; and that he sometimes spit more than a pint a day, and was thereby surprizing­ly weaken'd and emaciated. I ordered him to drink Asses milk, with powders of crab-shells and bole armonic, balsam of sulphur of almonds, sperma ceti, and dragons blood mixt; when he had done this for two months, by the assistance of providence he was happily cured, to the admiration of all that knew him.

BUT yet, 'tis not only in these diseases which affect the lungs and other intestines with a cough, fever, waste and consump­tion, that Asses milk has this admirable and divine efficacy, but it is also wonderfully [Page 28]serviceable for soothing, abating, and lulling the fierceness of pains in the nervous parts of the body, chiefly those that fix themselves in the joints. These diseases, such as the gout in the hands, feet, and hips, are caused by a sharp, thin serum, issuing out of those glands which were discovered by Clopton Havers, nay through the coats of the glands, and falling on the articulo-nerveo-tendinous ligaments, which corrodes them and occa­sions most acute pains, cramps, and con­tractions of the limbs. This, in time, af­fects the whole system of the nerves, and brings on a fever, watching, anxiety, lan­guidness, want of appetite, and universal restlessness, if the fit be very violent. In these rheumatic and gouty cases, the whole mass of humours is infected with foul, salt, tartarous, and sharp particles; which is perhaps owing to some antecedent cause, a fullness of blood, some suppression of a cri­tical discharge from the blood, irregular living, or excess in eating; and yet some modern practitioners are apt to confound these remote causes with the proximate, the salt foulness of the humours, and prove them­selves quite ignorant of the nature of this [Page 29]distemper, as well as of the method of ap­plying remedies. For it's evident from ex­perience, that all such remedies as sweeten the juices, correct the sharp salts, and as it were sheath-up their points, and at the same, time gently promote each different kind of excretion, go a great way towards relieving the violence of the distemper, soften and mi­tigate the sharp pains, and in a great mea­sure cure the disease itself, unless it be he­reditary, or of a very long date.

Now milk, and particularly that of Asses, is by far the best and most excellent of this sort of remedies, excepting the diluting de­coctions that are prepared from roots. Nor is its excellence any late discovery of the moderns, but the earliest writers in physic, and all their followers, highly recommended and approve it. Hippocrates advises, in a sciatica, first a purge, and then a course of Asses milk. And in the same treatise, he adds, it is proper in the gout first to soften the bowels with a glyster or suppository, and after a purge to drink warm whey or Asses milk. Pliny tells us many have been relieved from pains in the joints by drinking milk. [Page 30]And Celsus says, many people, by a long course of Asses milk, have been so thoroughly cleared of this distemper, as to be free from it ever after. Among the moderns, Gabriel Fonseca, Hollerius, Ballonius, Baglivi, Sydenham, Sachs, Griselius, Pechlinus, Dolaeus, Waldsch­midt, and many more, all agree, from num­berless experiments and observations, in al­lowing milk, and especially Asses milk, to be the principal comfort and relief of gouty and rheumatic persons.

AND I can from my own knowledge assert, that after using gentle laxatives made of manna, solutive syrup of roses, and some ab­sorbents mixed, I have found the drinking of goats milk, (where Asses could not be had) for many days together, without meat or drink of any other sort, has given great be­nefit; the pains have grown milder, and of shorter continuance, and all the other symp­toms have ceased. I have known many gouty old men, who after drinking Asses milk with manna for the three first days, and then con­tinuing it alone for a fortnight, have found their pains greatly abated: but when they laid aside this remedy, their torture was most [Page 31]intense and obstinate, and confined them to their beds for some months. Yet this must all along be observed, that in these distem­pers the good effects of milk is more speedy and certain where the patient is young, the disease not inveterate, the gout not fixed to a particular part, nor transmitted by inhe­ritance.

As Asses milk proves so very useful in re­lieving the pains that seize the outward parts of the Body, so it is likewise no less service­able against those that affect the inward nervous parts, the stomach and intestines, as is the case in convulsive cholics. This very beneficial effect of it is to be accounted for in the following manner: The Asses milk, being diluting, corrects and overpowers the acrimony of the bilious juices, softens and relaxes the contracted fibres with its serous and slippery particles, and with its sweet in­gredients renders the bowels laxative; then that corrosive matter which occasions all the pain, is readily conveyed off by stool, and all is easy and quiet. The truth of this Ballonius asserts, and although Hippocrates forbids the use of milk where there are bilious purgings, [Page 32]yet, if there be no remarkable fever to cor­rupt the milk, I think it should be given. For if it may be thrown into the bowels by a glyster, without any hurtful effect, why not also into the stomach?

WHEN cramps and convulsions seize the nervous parts, which is the common symp­tom in hypochondriac and hysteric fits, I have always observed milk, especially that of Asses, do great good; provided there be no costiveness, nor obstruction in the bowels, and the first passages be not clogged with sharp and viscid phlegm. Hence Sydenham highly approves the use of milk in what he calls the hysteric cholic. ‘Many women, says he, for a long while troubled with hysteric disorders, especially that which I call hysteric cholic, have been quite cured by only living on milk for some time."’ Bened. Sylvaticus bestows the highest praises on Asses milk in hypochondriac complaints, which he directs to be sweetned with sugar, and made a moderate purge by a small mix­ture of powdered senna, and drank for forty days together. And although Hippocrates for­bids milk where the hypochondria are di­stended, [Page 33]that is, when the stomach is ex­panded with wind, or the belly swoln and overcharged with blood, yet I have often learn'd from indisputable experience, that the hypochondria are not always thus op­pressed, but that the stomach and adjoining intestines are often tortured with contractions caused by the sharpness of the humours, and blood that stagnates in the finer vessels, and that this disorder is successfully removed by milk.

FOR the same reason this judicious au­thor zealously recommends Asses milk, in madness and hypochondriac melancholy, which are occasioned by spasms, that force too great a quantity of blood into the head, so that it cannot circulate equally and freely thro' the vessels of the membranes that in­close the brain: and if it be drank every morning to the quantity of four or five ounces, for the space of a month, or longer, it corrects the acrid humours, eases the con­tractions of the fibres, cools and relaxes the bowels, and by gradually removing the cause, subdues that terrible disorder. But in order [Page 34]for more certain success, it is proper to make an addition to the purging quality of the milk, by mixing a little manna; the happy effects of which I have very often expe­rienced.

SINCE therefore it is so evident that Asses milk is beneficial to the nerves, and heals their several fore-mentioned disorders by means of its softening and lubricating quality, we can­not doubt but it may be properly admi­nistered in other complaints, where the ner­vous parts are likewise afflicted and disor­dered with violent motions, as in epilepsies and convulsive fits. This is affirmed by that eminent author Sylvaticus, in many places; and I can attest the same with con­fidence. For I could produce very many examples of it, but one in particular of a youth of noble birth, about fourteen years of age, and of admirable parts and under­standing. Having been struck by some sudden fright, he was instantly seized with strong convulsions in his limbs, chiefly his legs and arms: and after much anxiety and un­easiness of spirits, was oppressed with entire [Page 35]swoonings, so that the fit came sometimes every other day, sometimes every day, about the evening, and pursuing him for the space of two months, reduced him to a very weak condition. Many physicians were consulted, who gave him various medicines, but with­out any effect: at last he was ordered to drink every morning about three ounces of Asses milk, now and then with a little manna, and to be put in a warm bath every other day, taking between whiles some anti-epileptic powders: in a month's time the disorder disappeared, and the patient, by the divine blessing, recovered his health and strength.

LET us consider those grievous disorders that attend the scurvy, such as a wasting of the flesh, fierce pains and contractions of the limbs, external ulcers and erosions. All which are derived from a total distemperature of the juices, a suppression of those very useful evacuations of sweat and excrement; from a a defect in the secretion of the bilious hu­mours in the spleen; from a salt sulphureous foulness in the humours; and likewise from [Page 36]their too thick consistence, which retards their natural progress, and obstructs the finer vessels. Now nothing can be so proper to open these closed passages, to remove obstruc­tions, to correct the acrimony of the hu­mours and to dissolve their viscidity, as di­luting, moistening and cooling remedies, such as the whey of goats milk, or, what is still preferable to all, Asses milk.

THE strongest testimony I can produce in favour of this eminent good quality in milk, is that of the best author that ever wrote upon the scurvy, Eugalenus, who says, ‘"I have seen many people recover out of the scurvy from the use of milk and milk-diets, with a stronger and better constitution than those that have lived under the rules and prescriptions of physicians."’ And he men­tions several that have been cured of scorbu­tic fevers by milk, though contrary to the pre­scription of Hippocrates, in his aphorisms. And I myself could produce a multitude of ex­amples within my own experience of people afflicted with a wandering scorbutic gout, (a national distemper in Westphalia) whom I [Page 37]absolutely cured, when I practised physic at Minda, with no other medicine than Asses, or other sorts of milk, if it were not need­less to tire the reader with so many illu­strations of a thing that is so clear and evi­dent.

WHEN scorbutic people and old men, who are naturally subject to a salt and foul corruption of the humours, and likewise such as are infected with a venereal taint, are afflicted with dangerous ulcers that seem to resemble cancers; even in these terrible symptoms a very speedy and sure relief may be had from Asses milk, and the whey of it. Which, as it is evident from all the above-mentioned arguments, is likewise con­firmed by the authorities of many authors both antient and modern. Dioscorides recom­mends milk, mixed with honey, or salt, in all sorts of ulcerations in general, as well in­ward as outward, for violent itching in the skin, pimples, and foul humours of the body. Galen advises the use of Asses milk for ulcers in the uterus, the reins, the blad­der, and pudenda. To these we may add [Page 38]the assertion of Sylvaticus, that Asses milk drank for thirty or forty days together, not only entirely cured a cancerous swelling in the neck of the uterus, but also a venereal ulcer, attended with a consumption and slow fever. Again, the same author commends the same remedy for the cure of that hercu­lean distemper, the elephantiasis, in these words; ‘"Asses milk drank every morning to the quantity of a quart, with a little sugar, and cream of tartar, to render it purgative, is a very excellent remedy for the elephantiasis."’ And Ambrose Parey, in his book of surgery, says, he has known by experience the admirable efficacy of Asses milk, in cancerous ulcers, both taken inwardly, and applied outwardly in fomentations.

AND while we are enumerating the many noble virtues of Asses milk, we must not omit its peculiar excellence not only as a remedy to the distempers of old men, but as a sort of food of great efficacy in restoring their decayed strength. With regard to its medicinal excellence in relieving old age, we [Page 39]have elsewhere shewn at large, that in an advanced age, the blood and all the juices contract a great degree of foulness and cor­ruption, from obstructions in the excretory glands and vessels, whence in time proceeds variety of distempers, the most remarkable of which are indigestion, languidness in the limbs, consumption of the solids, a low fever, and pruritus. And all these are to be relieved by a proper use of milk. And on this account it has always been held in great esteem both by the ancients and moderns; for it is very efficacious in rendering the hu­mours fluid when they are too thick, in di­luting those that are salt and acrid, in relax­ing the too rigid and tense fibres, and in restoring the excretions, when disturbed, to their proper order, as it not only cleanses the foul juices, but likewise breeds a proper sup­ply of good ones. It will be sufficient for the present purpose to produce the authority of Trallian, who strongly recommends Asses milk to old people who are under a con­sumptive wasting; and the reason he gives for it is, because they have but a small share of strength, and are neither able to separate [Page 40]nourishment from common food, nor to di­stribute it thro' the constitution; wherefore the milk of women is first to be prefer'd, and next to it that of Asses.

IF we enquire into the nourishing and ana­leptic property of Asses milk, by which it retards the decays of old age, and restores the strength of those who have been re­duced by distempers, no body can hesitate to give the preference to this kind of milk above any others.

BUT it may not perhaps be disagreeable, or improper, to produce the authority of authors of great credit, who have treated of this subject. I shall begin with the recom­mendation that Helmont gives of it; who, al­tho' in other parts of his writings he con­demns the use of milk, yet in Libr. de Di­gest. Aliment. ascribes a particularly refresh­ing invigorating and nourishing property to that of Asses, supposing that the Ass, as a long-liv'd animal, is furnish'd with milk preferable to any others. Eryphon, as Hero­dotus relates, relied altogether on Asses milk [Page 41]for restoring old and emaciated people. I myself also knew an officer of the army, who was restored to his former health and ease by Asses milk, tho' he was almost en­tirely wasted away with the venereal di­stemper and excruciating pains that had af­flicted him for several years. Heurnius also relates, that Asses milk prevents old age and wrinkles; for which reason, no doubt, it was that Poppaea, the wife of Nero, always ordered a hundred Asses to be kept, that she might bathe every day in their milk, to preserve her skin white, soft, and smooth.

HAVING now explained the property of Asses milk, and its excellence in several dis­orders, I shall proceed to the proper method of giving it, and then shew what is ne­cessary to be observed in order to expect success from it. But it will first be proper to say somewhat of the animal itself. A milch Ass ought to be quite free from any disorder, not very old, but of a middle age, neither too fat nor too lean, and may be esteemed the better if she bring her foal in the month of May. She ought not to be [Page 42]fed in a house, but kept in meadows which produce plenty of medicinal herbs; she should drink river water, which, as it is lighter and more diluting than spring water, passes off quicker by the proper discharges, and mixing more thoroughly with the hu­mours, cleanses them more effectually. Hel­mont has an ingenious remark on this subject: he advises that the Ass should be combed or curried every morning as horses are, for that it may easily be known from the milk, whether she has been dressed that morning or not. Without doubt there may be some reason for this, because the use of the curry­comb increases perspiration, and cleanses the humours, by passing off a great many saline particles that way.

IT ought to be consider'd too what the Ass is fed with, because the nature and pro­perties of the milk of animals is alter'd by their diet, so as to be more or less whole­some, or even adapted to some particular disorders. For as it is a common practice to make a purging or alterative medicine given to the nurse, communicate its proper­perties [Page 43]to her milk and take effect on the child, so no doubt the same will hold good in regard to the animals whose milk we use. Galen proves this by the instance of goats, who are fed with scammony or spurge, whose milk is purging. Dioscorides and Hippocrates are of the same opinion, and in the Acta Haffniensia it is asserted, that worm­wood eaten in large quantities makes the milk bitter. From hence it is that Coelius Aurelianus commends milk in the coeliac passion, or flux, which is taken from goats that feed on willows, vine leaves, oaks, or sallows, plaintain, and plants of the same nature; giving this reason for it, ‘"because the astringent quality of the herbs com­municates itself to the milk."’ But there is a remarkable difference between the milk which is produced in spring from green pa­sture, and that in winter from dry food. Varro, who was very well acquainted with what belong to country affairs, was of this opinion, and says, ‘"that milk from barley and stubble, and all kinds of hard and dry food is nourishing; but that is more cleans­ing which comes from green pasture."’ And [Page 44] Dioscorides thinks that milk in spring is thinner, and because it comes from green pasture, more laxative and softening.

FROM whence it plainly appears, that milk of all sorts, but more especially Asses, is not only most serviceable in the spring, but that its virtues may, by a regulation of food, be so prepared, as to be particularly effective against any one distemper. Where­fore I should advise that a milch Ass be fed with such herbs as in themselves are known proper for the disease you would relieve. In a consumption, and diseases of the lungs and breast, let her be supplied with vero­nica, ground ivy, the blind or dead nettle, colts-foot, scurvy-grass; or, if you want to restore the vigour of the solids, with sanicula, tansey, nummularia, consolida-major, flowers of St. John's-wort, alchi­milla, polygonum, and the like; or let the creature be drove to places where these plants abound. In pains and spasms, both inward and external, it may be useful to mix in her food yarrow, chamomile flow­ers, acacia, mead-wort, tilia, melilot, spurge, [Page 45]mallows, marsh mallows, and others of this nature. In slow and hectic fevers, (besides those we named as good for the lungs) we may add plantane, prunella, and scurvy-grass mix'd with germander. If the hypo­chondria are obstructed, and cause a scor­butic foulness in the juices, choose out some herbs of the opening or laxative kind; such are fumitory, the lesser centaury, absin­thium, scurvy-grass, trefoil, water-cress, na­sturtium, and the lesser house-leek. In the same manner may milk be rendered medi­cinal, and fit for almost any complaints, by administring such herbs and flowers as the physician shall esteem most proper and ef­fectual.

As to the method of using it, these fol­lowing rules may be observed.

1. IN cases of necessity, Asses milk may be drank at all times; but it is by far the most serviceable in the spring and summer, when all the herbs are full of juices, and greatly enrich the milk. 2. The milk should be milked into a pail set over hot water, and [Page 46]immediately put into a vessel that has a narrow mouth, and shuts close, and so drank di­rectly while it is warm; for milk, like all other liquors, has a subtle spirit, of a strengthening and invigorating quality, which by no means ought to be allowed to fly off with its warmth. Hence Galen orders that milk be drank instantly, and the animal brought to the patient's bed-side; for that its nature, like that of the semen, is at once altered by the open air. 3. The morning is the best time of day to drink, as it will operate the easier in an empty stomach; and therefore no other food ought to be taken in four or five hours after it. Yet, if circum­stances require a frequent repetition of it, if may be drank in the afternoon; but it should be about four hours after dinner has been digested, and in but half the quantity that is drank in the morning, 4. 'Tis impossible to prescribe in general any fix'd quantity that should be used, because of the difference of ages, constitutions, and distempers; but thus far may be said, that you ought never to exceed the quantity of three common pints. 5. The time of continuing it must be di­rected [Page 47]by the degree and strength of the distemper: if that be very obstinate, it were well to continue drinking it for three months, or longer; especially if a favourable prospect appears of success, and the violence of the symptoms abate very discernably.

YET a prudent and experienced physician will so order, regulate, and methodise the use of this medicine, as almost to insure suc­cess, and avoid any hurtful consequences. I shall therefore conclude with a few cautions that should be observed very accurately.

1. BEFORE a course of milk is begun, the state and condition of the stomach must be carefully inquired into: Whether it will bear milk, and have a sufficient degree of strength to concoct, digest, and then discharge it. For if that be weak and infirm, if it be troubled with wind and phlegm, or be load­ed with a croud of acid humours, milk must not be taken; because, until these things are remedied, that will curdle and stagnate, and corrupt, and increase the flatulence and uneasiness. It will be proper therefore to [Page 48]cleanse and relieve the stomach first, either downwards, by a gentle dose of manna, or, where the case will allow, by a vomit with a grain or two of emetic tartar. 2. Great care must be had that the milk be not turned to curd. And therefore where the food is apt to grow acid in the stomach, as is the case with old and hypochondriac people, it is adviseable to give absorbent, earthy, and alcaline medicines, mix'd with the milk, adding likewise some stomachic carminative essence, or volatile oily salt. 3. When the patient has drank milk for six or eight days, a gentle dose of manna should be given, to purge the bowels, and carry off whatever foul­ness the stomach may have contracted, that the farther efficacy of the milk be not retarded. 4. It is best to drink it at first sparingly, three or four ounces, and then to increase the draught gradually, that the stomach be not too suddenly oppressed, and conceive a dislike and loathing to the remedy. 5. A proper regulation of diet must be observed during the course of milk. The lightness of food must be chiefly consulted; avoid­ing not only meats hard of digestion, but [Page 49]also those that are reckoned to afford little nourishment, and likewise all flatulent vic­tuals, summer fruits, and acids of all kinds; abstaining from all malt liquors, and wines, except a small quantity of the soundest Spanish wines. Nor should any bread be used that is lumpish and fermented, but what is made of the cleanest and finest wheat flour.

IN the last place let me add some in­stances, wherein the use of milk may be judged improper. In head-aches arising from crudities in the stomach, in very acute fevers, and when the bowels are overcharged with gross blood, milk is very pernicious: being no less improper when the Stomach is cold and filled with acids, than when in a heat and ferment, as it is in fevers, and when the bilious humours abound, because in both cases it quickly turns to a foul and offensive putrid state. Milk is also very prejudicial to those who, either through neglect of bleeding, or a total suppression of the dis­charge of the piles, or the menses, are afflict­ed with a too great and unnatural share of [Page 50]blood, and consequently with a foulness of the humours. Which agrees entirely with the observation of Hippocrates, That the more you nourish distempered bodies, the more you injure them. For unless the ex­cess of blood be reduced by moderate bleed­ing, and the faulty digestion amended by medicines that correct the whole mass of fluids, all sorts of milk must be avoided, as extremely hurtful and dangerous.


Thi [...] Day is Published, Price 5s. bound, In ONE VOLUME, OCTAVO, The SECOND EDITION, beautifully printed, of HIPPOCRATES upon AIR. WATER, and SITUATION; upon Epidemical Diseases; and upon Prognostics, in Acute Cases especially.

To which is added, The Life of Hippocrates from Scranus, and Thucydides's Account of the Plague of Athens. The Whole translated, me­thodised, and illustrated with useful and explanatory Notes.


Fellow of the College of Physicians, and of the Royal Society.

Printed for J. Whiston and B. White, at Mr. Boyle's Head in Fleet-street.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.