The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 20 of 76

The immediate danger being now removed and the matrix returned to its natural place the remote cause must be got rid of. If she be of full habit of body open a vein, after preparing her with syrup of betony, calamint, hyssop and feverfew. Give a purge, and if the stomach be oppressed with any crude matter relieve it by emetics and by sudorifics of lignum sanctum and sassafras taken twenty days consecutively, which dry up the superfluous moisture, and consequently suppress the cause of the disease.

The air should be hot and dry, and her diet hot and attenuating. Let her abstain from dancing, jumping, sneezing, as well as from all mental and bodily emotions, eat sparingly, not drink much, and be moderate in her sleep.


Of the Inflammation of the Womb.

The phlegmon, or inflammation of the matrix, is a humour which affects the whole womb, and is accompanied by unnatural heat, by obstruction and by an accumulation of corrupt blood.


The cause of this affection is suppression of the courses, fullness of body, the immoderate use of sexual intercourse, frequent handling the genitals, difficult child-birth, violent motions of the body, falls, blows, to which may be added, the use of strong pessaries, whereby the womb is frequently inflamed, cupping glasses, also, fastened to the pubis and hypogastrium, draw the humours of the womb.


The signs are pains in the lower parts of the body and head, humours, sickness, coldness in the knees, throbbing in the neck, palpitation of the heart. Often, also, there is shortness of breath because of the heart which is close to the midriff, and the breasts sympathising with the swollen and painful womb. Besides this, if the front of the matrix be inflamed, the privates suffer, and the urine is suppressed, or only flows with difficulty. If the hinder part be inflamed, the loins and back suffer, and the bowels are very costive; if the right side be inflamed, the right hip suffers, and the right leg is heavy and moves slowly, so that at times she seems almost lame. If, however, the left side of the womb be inflamed, then the left hip suffers and the left leg is weaker than the right. If the neck of the womb is affected, by putting her finger in, the midwife feels that its mouth is contracted and closed up, and that it is hard round it.


In the cure, first of all, let the humours which flow to the womb be expelled. To effect this, after the bowels have been loosened by cooling clysters bleeding will be necessary. Therefore, open a vein in the arm, if she is not with child; the day after strike the saphena in both feet, fasten ligatures and cupping glasses to the arm, and rub the upper part. Purge gently with cassia, rhubarb, senna and myrobalan. Take one drachm of senna, a scruple of aniseed, myrobalan, half an ounce, with a sufficient quantity of barley water. Make a decoction and dissolve syrup of succory in it, and two ounces of rhubarb; pound half an ounce of cassia with a few drops of oil of aniseed and make a draught. At the commencement of the disease, anoint the private parts and loins with oil of roses and quinces: make plasters of plantain, linseed, barley meal, melilot, fenugreek, white of eggs, and if the pain be intense, a little laudanum; foment the genitals with a decoction of poppy-heads, purslace, knot-grass and water-lilies. Make injections of goat's milk, rose water, clarified whey and honey of roses. When the disease is on a decline, use injections of sage, linseed, mugwort, pennyroyal, horehound, fenugreek, and anoint the lower parts of the stomach with oil of camomiles and violets.

Take four ounces each of lily and mallow roots, a handful of dog's mercury, a handful and a half each of mugwort, feverfew, camomile flowers and melilot, bruise the herbs and roots, and boil them in a sufficient quantity of milk; then add two ounces each of fresh butter, oil of camomiles and lilies, with a sufficient quantity of bran, make two plasters, and apply one before and the other behind.

If the tumour cannot be removed, but seems inclined to suppurate, take three drachms each of fenugreek, mallow roots, boiled figs, linseed, barley meal, dove's dung and turpentine; half a drachm of deer's suet, half a scruple of opium and make a plaster of wax.

Take bay leaves, sage, hyssop, camomiles, and mugwort, and make an infusion in water.

Take half a handful of wormwood and betony and half a pint each of white wine and milk, boil them until reduced to half; then take four ounces of this decoction and make an injection, but you must be careful that the humours are not brought down into the womb. Take three drachms each of roast figs, and bruised dog's mercury; three drachms each of turpentine and duck's grease, and two grains of opium; make a pessary with wax.

The room must be kept cool, and all motions of the body, especially of the lower parts, must be prohibited. Wakefulness is to be recommended, for humours are carried inward by sleep, and thus inflammation is increased. Eat sparingly, and drink only barley water or clarified whey, and eat chickens and chicken broth, boiled with endive, succory, sorrel, bugloss and mallows.


Of Scirrhous Tumours, or Hardness of the Womb.

A scirrhus, or a hard unnatural swelling of the matrix is generally produced by neglected, or imperfectly cured phlegm, which, insensibly, hinders the functions of the womb, and predisposes the whole body to listlessness.


One cause of this disease may be ascribed to want of judgment on the part of the physician, as many empirics when attending to inflammation of the womb, chill the humour so much that it can neither pass backward nor forward, and hence, the matter being condensed, turns into a hard, stony substance. Other causes may be suppression of the menses, retention of the Lochein, commonly called the after purging; eating decayed meat, as in the disordered longing after the pleia to which pregnant women are often subject. It may, however, also proceed from obstructions and ulcers in the matrix or from some evil affections of the stomach or spleen.

If the bottom of the womb be affected, she feels, as it were, a heavy burden representing a mole, [7] yet differing from it, in that the breasts are attenuated, and the whole body grows less. If the neck of the womb be affected, no outward humours will appear; its mouth is retracted and feels hard to the touch, nor can the woman have sexual intercourse without great pain.


Confirmed scirrhus is incurable, and will turn to cancer or incurable dropsy, and when it ends in cancer it proves fatal, because as the innate heat of these parts is almost smothered, it can hardly be restored again.


Where there is repletion, bleeding is advisable, therefore open a vein in one arm and in both feet, more especially if the menses are suppressed.

Treat the humours with syrup of borage, succory made with a poultice, and then take the following pills, according to the patient's strength.

Hiera piera six drachms, two and a half drachms each of black hellebore and polypody; a drachm and a half each of agaric, lapis lazuli, sal Indiae, coloquintida, mix them and make two pills. After purging, mollify the hardness as follows:—the privy parts and the neck of the womb with an ointment of decalthea and agrippa; or take two drachms each of opopanax, bdellium, ammoniac and myrrh, and half a drachm of saffron; dissolve the gum in oil of lilies and sweet almond and make an ointment with wax and turpentine. Apply diacatholicon ferellia below the navel, and make infusions of figs, mugwort, mallows, pennyroyal, althea, fennel roots, melilot, fenugreek and the four mollifying herbs, with oil of dill, camomiles and lilies dissolved in it. Take three drachms of gum bdellium, put the stone pyrites on the coals, and let her take the fumes into her womb. Foment the privy parts with a decoction of the roots and leaves of dane wort. Take a drachm each of gum galbanum and opopanax, half an ounce each of juice of dane wort and mucilage of fenugreek, an ounce of calve's marrow, and a sufficient quantity of wax, and make a pessary. Or make a pessary of lead only, dip it in the above mentioned things, and put it up.

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