Regimen speciale

As I mentioned in “A kingly rule of health,” Arnald included a chapter specially for James II on hemorrhoids, which the king suffered from.  Arnald advised the king to follow a moderate and healthy diet, staying away from foods that were too salty or sweet, since those foods could cause flare-ups.


Folio 26r. Arnald of Villanova’s Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum. 14th century (Spain or southern France). Call no. 10a 210.


Noted in a pastedown at the back of 10a 210, written by late scholar Miguel Batllori, is “The chapter de hemorrhoidis (here ff. 22b-26a) is very characteristic of the Regimen to James II of Aragon and does not appear in the other similar works to King Robert II of Naples and to Pope Clement V.”

Batllori also made a note about the special text at the end of the volume: “Regimen speciale is more rare in mss. and editions.  It seems to be addressed also to King James II of Aragon.”  Regimen speciale starts off with advice about exercising (“Every day, exercise by walking on an empty stomach…”); the rest seems to be medicinal recipes which make use of spices and herbs.  I notice a lot of recipes which include cinnamon, cardamom and galangal.  These spices were commonly used in sort of cure-alls known as theriaca (which also consisted of a thick and sweet ingredient like honey).  All three spices also seem to have been used for gastrointestinal disorders.  Perhaps James II was plagued not only by hemorrhoids, but frequent indigestion as well?



Kidd, Peter.  A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts in the Library of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia. 2015.

 Ziment, Irwin, Curator.  Spices: Exotic Flavors and Medicines.  Exhibit.  History & Special Collections department, UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.  Los Angeles, California.  2002.