Ganze Seite: Text und MiniaturenFederzeichnung in Braun, aquarelliert. Cod. 2396, f. 4r: Tacuinum Sanitatis.
Pen drawing in brown with watercolour. From Verona, Italy, 1380-1399. Holding Institution: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
The Tacuinum (sometimes Taccuinum) Sanitatis is a medieval handbook mainly on health, based on the Taqwīm as‑siḥḥah تقويم الصحة ("Maintenance of Health"), an eleventh-century Arab medical treatise by Ibn Butlan of Baghdad. Aimed at a cultured lay audience, the text exists in several variant Latin versions, the manuscripts of which are characteristically so profusely illustrated that one student called the Tacuinum "a trecento picture book," only "nominally a medical text".
Though describing in detail the beneficial and harmful properties of foods and plants, it is far more than an herbal. Listing its contents organically rather than alphabetically, it sets forth the six essential elements for well-being:
sufficient food and drink in moderation, fresh air, alternations of activity and rest, alternations of sleep and wakefulness, secretions and excretions of humours, and finally the effects of states of mind. Tacuinum Sanitatis says that illnesses result from an imbalance of these elements.