The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 17 of 76

The air should be cold and dry, and all motion of the body should be prohibited. Her diet should consist of pheasants, partridges, grouse, rabbits, calves' feet, etc., and her drink should be mixed with the juice of pomegranates and quinces.


Of the Weeping of the Womb.

The weeping of the womb is an unnatural flow of blood, coming from it in drops, like tears, and causing violent pains in it, and occurring at no fixed period or time. By some it is supposed to be produced by the excessive flow of the courses, as they flow copiously and freely; this is continued, though only little at a time, and accompanied by great pain and difficulty of passing it, and on this account it is compared to the strangury.

The cause is in the power, instrument or matter; in the power, on account of its being enfeebled so that it cannot expel the blood, and which, remaining there, makes that part of the womb grow hard, and distends the vessels, and from that, pains in the womb arise. In the instrument, from the narrowness of the passage. Lastly, it may be the matter of the blood which is at fault, and which may be in too great quantities; or the quality may be bad, so that it is thick and gross and cannot flow out as it ought to do, but only in drops. The signs will best be ascertained by the patient's own account, but there will be pains in the head, stomach and back, with inflammation, difficulty of breathing and excoriation of the matrix. If the patient's strength will permit it, first open a vein in the arm, rub the upper parts and let a cord be fastened tightly round the arm, so that the force of the blood may be carried backward; then apply such things as may relax the womb, and assuage the heat of the blood, as poultices made of bran, linseed, mallows, dog's mercury and artiplex. If the blood be viscous and thick, add mugwort, calamint, dictain and betony to it, and let the patient take about the size of a nutmeg of Venic treacle, and syrup of mugwort every morning; make an injection of aloes, dog's mercury, linseed, groundsel, mugwort, fenugreek, with sweet almond oil.

Sometimes it is caused by wind, and then bleeding must not be had recourse to, but instead take one ounce of syrup of feverfew; half an ounce each of honey, syrup of roses, syrup of stachus; an ounce each of calamint water, mugwort, betony and hyssop, and make a julep. If the pain continues, use this purge:—Take a drachm of spec. Hitrae, half an ounce of diacatholicon, one ounce of syrup of roses and laxative, and make a draught with a decoction of mugwort and the four cordial flowers. If it proceeds from weakness, she must be strengthened, but if from grossness of blood, let the quality of it be altered, as I have shown in the preceding chapter. Lastly, if her bowels are confined, move them by an injection of a decoction of camomiles, betony, feverfew, mallows, linseed, juniper-berries, cumminseed, aniseed, melilot, and add to it half an ounce of diacatholicon; two drachms of hiera piera, an ounce each of honey and oil and a drachm and a half of sol. nitre. The patient must abstain from salt, acid and windy food.


The false Courses, or Whites.

From the womb, not only the menstruous blood proceeds, but many evacuations, which were summed up by the ancients under the title of rhoos gunaikeios, [6] which is the distillation of a variety of corrupt humours through the womb, which flow from the whole body or a part of it, varying both in courses and colour.


The cause is either promiscuously in the whole body, by a cacochymia; or weakness of it, or in some of its parts, as in the liver, which by a weakness of the blood producing powers, cause a production of corrupt blood, which then is reddish. Sometimes, when the fall is sluggish in its action, and does not get rid of those superfluities engendered in the liver, the matter is yellowish. Sometimes it is in the spleen when it does not cleanse the blood of the dregs and rejected particles, and then the matter which flows forth is blackish. It may also come from a cold in the head, or from any other decayed or corrupted member, but if the discharge be white, the cause lies either in the stomach or loins. In the stomach, by some crude substance there, and vitiated by grief, melancholy or some other mental disturbance; for otherwise, if the matter were only crude phlegm and noways corrupt, being taken into the liver it might be converted into the blood; for phlegm in the ventricle is called nourishment half digested; but being corrupt, though sent into the liver it cannot be turned into nutriment, for the second decoction in the stomach cannot correct that which the first corrupted; and therefore the liver sends it to the womb, which can neither digest nor reject it, and so it is voided out with the same colour which it had in the ventricle. The cause may also be in the veins being overheated whereby the spermatical matter flows out because of its thinness. The external causes may be moistness of the air, eating bad food, anger, grief, sloth, too much sleep, costiveness.

The signs are bodily disturbances, shortness of breathing, and foul breath, a distaste for food, swollen eyes and feet, and low spirits; discharges of different colours, as red, black, green, yellow and white from the womb. It differs from the flowing of the courses and from too abundant menstruation, in so far as it keeps no certain period, and is of many colours, all of which spring from blood.

If the flux be phlegmatic, it will last long and be hard to cure, but if sickness or diarrhoea supervene, it carries off the humour and cures the disease. If it is abundant it does not last so long, but it is more dangerous, for it will cause a cleft in the neck of the womb, and sometimes also an excoriation of the matrix; if melancholy, it must be dangerous and obstinate. The flux of the haemorrhoids, however, assists the cure.

If the matter which flows out be reddish, open a vein in the arm; if not, apply ligatures to the arms and shoulders. Galen boasts that he cured the wife of Brutus, who was suffering from this disease, by rubbing the upper part with honey.

If it is caused by the brain, take syrup of betony and marjoram. Give as a purgative Pill. coch. or Agaric; make nasalia of sage, or hyssop juice, betony, flagella, with one drop of oil of Elect. Dianth. Rosat. Diambrae, diamosci dulus, one drachm of each, and make lozenges to be taken every morning and evening. Auri Alexandrina, half a drachm at night on going to bed. If these things have no effect, try suffumigation and plasters, as they are prescribed above.

If it arises from crudities of the stomach or from a cold, disordered liver, take a decoction of lignum sanctum every morning, purge with pill de agaric, de hermadact, de hiera, diacolinthis, foetid-agrigatio; take two drachms of elect. aromet-roses, one scruple each of dried citron peel, nutmeg, long pepper; one drachm of draglanga; half a scruple each of fantalum album, ling, aloes; six ounces of sugar, with mint water: make lozenges of it, and take them before meals. If there be repletion besides the rigidity of the liver, purging by means of an emetic is to be recommended, for which take three drachms of the electuary diasatu. Galen allows diuretical remedies, such as aqua petrofolma.

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