The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 21 of 76

The atmosphere must be kept temperate, and gross and salt meats such as pork, bull beef, fish and old cheese, must be prohibited.



Mole: "A somewhat shapeless, compact fleshy mass occurring in the uterus, due to the retention and continued life of the whole or a part of the foetal envelopes, after the death of the foetus (a maternal or true mole); or being some other body liable to be mistaken for this, or perhaps a polypus or false mole." (Whitney's Century Dictionary.)


Of Dropsy of the Womb.

Uterine dropsy is an unnatural swelling, caused by the collection of wind or phlegm in the cavity, membranes or substance of the womb, on account of the want of innate heat and of sufficient alimentation, and so it turns into an excrescence. The causes are, too much cold and moisture of the milt and liver, immoderate drinking, eating insufficiently cooked meat, all of which by causing repletion, overpower the natural heat. It may likewise be caused by undue menstruation, or by any other immoderate evacuation. To these may be added abortions, subcutaneous inflammations and a hardened swelling of the womb.


The signs of this affection are as follows:—The lower parts of the stomach, with the genitals, are swollen and painful; the feet swell, the natural colour of the face is lost, the appetite becomes depraved, and there is a consequent heaviness of the whole body. If the woman turns over in bed a noise like flowing water is heard, and sometimes water is discharged from the womb. If the swelling is caused by wind and the stomach feels hot, it sounds like a drum; the bowels rumble, and the wind escapes through the neck of the womb with a murmuring noise. This affection may be distinguished from true conception in many ways, as will be shown in the chapter on conception. It is distinguished from common dropsy, by the lower parts of the stomach being most swollen. Again, it does not appear so injurious in this blood-producing capability, nor is the urine so pale, nor the face so altered. The upper parts are also not so reduced, as in usual dropsy.


This affection foretells the ruin of the natural functions, by that peculiar sympathy it has with the liver, and that, therefore, kathydria, or general dropsy will follow.


In the cure of this disease, imitate the practice of Hippocrates, and first mitigate the pain with fomentations of melilot, dog's mercury, mallows, linseed, camomiles and althoea. Then let the womb be prepared with syrup of stoebis, hyssop, calamint, mugwort, with distilled water, a decoction of elder, marjoram, sage, origan, spearage, pennyroyal, and betony. Purge with senna, agaric, rhubarb, and claterium. Take spicierum hier, a scruple each of rhubarb, agaric lozenges, and make into pills with iris juice.

When diseases arise from moistness, purge with pills, and in those affections which are caused by emptiness or dryness, purge by means of a draught. Apply cupping glasses to the stomach and also to the navel, especially if the swelling be flatulent. Put a seton on to the inside of each leg, the width of a hand below the knee. Take two drachms each of sparganium, diambrae, diamolet, diacaliminti, diacinamoni, myrrh lozenges, and a pound of sugar; make these into lozenges with betony water, and take them two hours before meals. Apply a little bag of camomiles, cummin and melilot boiled in oil of rue, to the bottom of the stomach as hot as it can be borne; anoint the stomach and the privates with unguent agripp, and unguent aragon. Mix iris oil with it, and cover the lower part of the stomach with a plaster of bay berries, or a cataplasm made of cummin, camomiles, briony root, adding cows' and goats' dung.

Our modern medical writers ascribe great virtues to tobacco-water, injected into the womb by means of a clyster. Take a handful each of balm of southernwood, origanum, wormwood, calamint, bay berries and marjoram, and four drachms of juniper berries; make a decoction of these in water, and use this for fomentations and infusions. Make pessaries of storax, aloes, with the roots of dictam, aristolochia and gentian, but instead of this you may use the pessary prescribed at the end of Chapter XVII. Let her take aromatic electuary, disatyrion and candied eringo roots, every morning.

The air must be hot and dry, moderate exercise is to be taken and too much sleep prohibited. She may eat the flesh of partridges, larks, grouse, hares, rabbits, etc., and let her drink diluted urine.


Of Moles [8] and False Conceptions.

This disease may be defined as an inarticulate shapeless piece of flesh, begotten in the womb as if it were true conception. In this definition we must note two things: (1) because a mole is said to be inarticulate or jointless, and without shape, it differs from monstrosities which are both formata and articulata; (2) it is said to be, as it were a true conception, which makes a difference between a true conception, and a mole, and this difference holds good in three ways. First, in its genus, because a mole cannot be said to be an animal: secondly, in the species, because it has not a human figure and has not the character of a man; thirdly, in the individual, for it has no affinity to the parent, either in the whole body, or in any particular part of it.


There is a great difference of opinion amongst learned writers as to the cause of this affection. Some think, that if the woman's seed goes into the womb, and not the man's, that the mole is produced thereby. Others declare that it springs from the menstruous blood, but if these two things were granted, then virgins, by having their courses or through nocturnal pollutions, might be liable to the same things, which none have ever been yet. The true cause of this fleshy mole is due both to the man and from the menstruous blood in the woman both mixing together in the cavity of the womb. Nature finding herself weak there (and yet wishing to propagate her species), labours to bring forth a defective conception rather than nothing and instead of a living creature produces a lump of flesh.


The signs of a mole are these. The menses are suppressed, the appetite becomes depraved, the breasts swell and the stomach becomes inflated and hard. So far the symptoms in a pregnant woman and in one that has a mole are the same, but now this is how they differ. The first sign of difference is in the movements of a mole. It may be felt moving in the womb before the third month, whereas an infant cannot be so felt; yet this motion cannot proceed from any intelligent power in the mole, but from the capabilities of the womb, and of the seminal vigour, distributed through the substance of the mole, for it does not live an animal, but a vegetable life, like a plant. Secondly, in a mole the stomach swells suddenly, but in true conception it is first contracted, and then rises by degrees. Thirdly, if the stomach is pressed with the hand, the mole gives way, and returns to its former position as soon as the hand is removed. But a child in the womb does not move immediately though pressed with the hand, and when the hand is removed it returns slowly or not at all. Lastly, no child continues in the womb more than eleven months, but a mole continues for four or five years, more or less, sometimes according as it is fastened to the matrix; and I have known a mole pass away in four or five months. If, however, it remains until the eleventh month, the woman's legs grow weak and the whole body wastes away, but the stomach still increases, which makes some women think that they are dropsical, though there is no reason for it, for in dropsy the legs swell and grow big, but in a mole they wither and fall away.


Free Learning Resources