A 1750’s Guide to Longevity

In 2050, may it be told that once upon a time in the early part of the century we had more than an abundance of sometimes conflicting advice on healthy living – from Dr. Oz to David Wolfe! By that future date, the youngest “active aging” Boomers will be well in their 80’s. Who knows what volume of content about optimizing longevity will supersede what went before.

L_ISBN_9780712358989Rewind to 1750. Characterized as a man who practiced quackery, botanist and writer John Hill wrote The Old Man’s Guide to Health & Longer Life. Considering that the life expectancy of a man in Hill’s time was about half of what it is now, his guide is an amusing, antiquated little read; but at the same time, one cannot help but want to agree with some of his advice such as:

“Let the hasty old man cool himself by physic and a low diet; and let him who is melancholy and gloomy banish the everlasting fear of death by warmer foods, cordial medicines, and the best of cordials, wine.”

My guess is that cordial advice will resonate with any old man in 2050. Hill’s longevity guide refers to phrases like “regulation of the temper and the passions” and “the first sign of sharp humours”. From the opening leaf of Hill’s Old man’s Guide…”To the reader, Healthful old age is the most valuable and happy period of human life.”

From the Four Humours or Temperaments of Greco-Roman medicine to today’s talk about detoxification and anti-aging, my how an age-old need for a guide survives!






Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *