[Nonnius, 'dietetics' and oenology]

Verh K Acad Geneeskd Belg. 1996;58(3):301-17.
[Article in Dutch]


In a short historical perspective we restrain the meaning of the concept oenology to the importance of wine as a treatment of well defined internal diseases, with special attention to the 16th and 17th centuries and to the personality of Nonnius. Hippocrates was the first physician who ascertained the healing value of wine. He recommended white wine in cases of dropsy and red wine in order to stimulate hunger and to nourish the body. The opinion of the Ancients concerning wine remained almost unchanged during the Middle Ages. Eight chapters of Nonnius' "Diaeteticon" are dedicated to wine. The Antwerp scholar agrees with Galen, who teaches that "dark and sweet wines produce much blood, while white and light ones produce but little blood, so that the first ones are proper to feed the body and the other ones to get rid of liquids through the urine.' Nonnius further discusses honey-wine and 'mulsa' or hydromel. But it is not before the latest half century that oenology has made enormous progress due to the use of new techniques and as a result of the practice of oenotherapy by conscientious researchers, based upon serious scientific research. However, two fundamental remarks have to be made: the daily quantity shall not exceed four glasses, divided over the two principal meals, and wine shall always be drunk with food. Recent research proves that wine may be a helpful adjuvant, when the blood circulation is at stake.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • English Abstract
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Dietetics / history*
  • Europe
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Wine / history*

Personal name as subject

  • L Nonnius