Habana: Imprenta del Tiempo, 1860. 31pp. Disbound. Later marbled wrappers, spine perished. Contemporary private library ink stamps on title page and final leaf plus two internal leaves. Light dampstaining to initial and final leaves; some foxing and toning throughout. Good. Item #4685
An unrecorded, semi-scientific analysis of the properties of the mineral waters at La Paila in Madrugo, Cuba, located inland between Havana and Matanzas. The aquifer near Madruga has long been held to have curative powers in Cuba, stemming from the legend of an 18th-century slave who supposedly drank its waters and was cured of his pervasive skin ulcers. Even more recently, the pool was reportedly under development by the Cuban government to be an attraction as a medical spa. The author of the present work, Antonio Caro, was a "doctor of medical sciences" at the island's Royal University. The majority of his treatise comprises a chemical analysis of the water at La Paila and a comparison to other sources in the area. Several lengthy sections and detailed charts tease out the chemical composition of the water, with a particular interest in sulfuric and carbonic acids, as well as several other minerals relevant to medical theories and treatments of the time. The conclusion that La Paila contains these pertinent acids and minerals in quantities unlike any other local sources leads to the second, more speculative (to the modern reader) section on potential medical benefits of taking the waters in Madruga. A paragraph each describes the potential benefits of the water for scrofula, psoriasis, other skin afflictions, gout, intestinal and liver diseases, metritis, anemia, diabetes, and syphilis, amongst others. A fascinating product of 19th-century medical beliefs regarding mineral waters and their curative properties. Not in OCLC.