It is granted by all that tunbridge water proceeds from an iron mine, but how it contracts that acidity and that ironish and vitriolated taste and odor, seeing upon evaporation thereof, there remains little or no vitriol or salt of iron at the bottom, is the great question. Now for the solution of this, we must consider how many ways a subterranean mineral or metal may communicate its acidity to waters and that, says Henricus ab Heers, upon spew waters, it does three ways: one, when the water passing through the mines carries along with it some of the dissoluble parts of the mine, to which is consonant the saying of Aristotle that such are waters, as is the nature of those mines through which they pass, as also of Galen when he says that pure water passing through mineral mines carry with them some of the substance of the mines. The second way is when the vapors arising from fermented minerals and metals are mixed with waters. Now that vapors retain the odor and taste of those things from whence they are raised, Aristotle in his fourth book, Sublimium, affirms, and also Helmont when he says that some parts of the iron mines, being by fermentation turned into a vapor, retain the odor and taste of the mine by virtue of the acid esurine salt and are not presently reduced into a body, and also artificial vapors of the iron mines have more virtue,and active (I mean those parts that are raised by a strong fire in a furnace from the mine of iron)than iron itself when it is melted. The third way is when a great quantity of vapors arising from the aforesaid fermented mines is elevated and by the coldness of the ambient earth is turned into an acid water which, as it passes through the earth, meets with some springs of water and, mixing with them, gives them a pleasant acidity. And this is the best of all acid waters, being clear and very pure.
This being premised, I shall now proceed to the process of making artificial waters like to those of Tunbridge and Epsom.
To make tunbridge water, take of the mine or ore of iron. Beat it very small and put it into the furnace expressed on page 90 and there will come forth an acid spirit and flowers which you must mix together until the acid spirit extracts the salt out of the flowers. Then decant off the clear liquor which will have a strong taste and smell of iron.
A few drops of this liquor put into a glassful of fountain water gives it the odor and taste of tunbridge water and communicates the same operations to it.
It opens all obstructions, purges by urine, cleanses the kidneys and bladder, helps the pissing of blood, the stopping of the urine and difficulty of making water. It allays all sharp humors, cures inward ulcers and impostumes, cleanses and strengthens the stomach and liver, etc.
Note that fountain water being made moderately acid with this acid ironish liquor may be taken from a pint to six pints but, by degrees and after the taking of it, moderate exercise is to be used, and fasting to be observed until all the water be gone out of the body which will be in seven or eight hours.
Epsom water is made artificially thus. Take of the mine of alum or alum stones. Powder it very small and distill it in the furnace expressed on page 90 end there will distill over a certain acid aluminish water which must be mixed with a double quantity of nitre water (the preparation whereof is set down in the process of making the artificial hot bath). Now you must know that Epsom water has a certain kind of acid taste which is partly aluminous and partly nitrous which proceeds from nitrous air and vapors arising from the fermentation of aluminous mines, being first mixed together and then mixed with the fountains passing through the earth.
If you put a few drops of this liquor into a glassful of fountain water it will give it the odor and taste of Epsom water, that you shall scarce discern them asunder either by that odor or operation. This water is purgative and, indeed, purges especially all sharp burning humors, cools an inflamed, and opens an obstructed body, cleanses the kidneys and bladder, cures inward ulcers and impostumes, and is a very good preservative against the consumption, etc.
Fountain water made acid with this liquor may be taken from a pint to six or eight, but by degrees, and after it moderate exercise must be used, and fasting until the water be out of the body. Only some thin warm suppings may be taken to help the working thereof. Some take this water warm.
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