The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 44 of 76

If the womb be foul, which may easily be perceived by the impurity of the blood (which will then easily come away in clots or stinking, or if you suspect any of the after-burden to be left behind, which may sometimes happen), make her drink a feverfew, mugwort, pennyroyal and mother of thyme, boiled in white wine and sweetened with sugar.

Panado and new laid eggs are the best meat for her at first, of which she may eat often, but not too much at a time. And let her nurse use cinnamon in all her meats and drinks, for it generally strengthens the womb.

Let her stir as little as may be until after the fifth, sixth, or seventh day after her delivery, if she be weak; and let her talk as little as possible, for that weakens her very much.

If she goes not well to stool, give a clyster made only of the decoction of mallows and a little brown sugar.

When she hath lain in a week or more, let her use such things as close the womb, of which knot-grass and comfrey are very good, and to them you may add a little polypodium, for it will do her good, both leaves and root being bruised.

SECT. II.—How to remedy those Accidents which a Lying-in Woman is subject to.

I. The first common and usual accident that troubles women in their lying-in is after-pains. They proceed from cold and wind contained in the bowels, with which they are easily filled after labour, because then they have more room to dilate than when the child was in the womb, by which they were compressed; and also, because nourishment and matter, contained as well in them as in the stomach, have been so confusedly agitated from side to side during the pains of labour, by the throes which always must compress the belly, that they could not be well digested, whence the wind is afterwards generated and, by consequence, the gripes which the woman feels running into her belly from side to side, according as the wind moves more or less, and sometimes likewise from the womb, because of the compression and commotion which the bowels make. This being generally the case, let us now apply a suitable remedy.

1. Boil an egg soft, and pour out the yolk of it, with which mix a spoonful of cinnamon water, and let her drink it; and if you mix in it two grains of ambergris, it will be better; and yet vervain taken in anything she drinks, will be as effectual as the other.

2. Give a lying-in woman, immediately after delivery, oil of sweet almonds and syrup of maiden-hair mixed together. Some prefer oil of walnuts, provided it be made of nuts that are very good; but it tastes worse than the other at best. This will lenify the inside of the intestines by its unctuousness, and by that means bring away that which is contained in them more easily.

3. Take and boil onions well in water, then stamp them with oil of cinnamon, spread them on a cloth, and apply them to the region of the womb.

4. Let her be careful to keep her belly warm, and not to drink what is too cold; and if the pain prove violent, hot cloths from time to time must be laid on her belly, or a pancake fried in walnut oil may be applied to it, without swathing her belly too strait. And for the better evacuating the wind out of the intestines, give her a clyster, which may be repeated as often as necessity requires.

5. Take bay-berries, beat them to a powder, put the powder upon a chafing-dish of coals, and let her receive the smoke of them up her privities.

6. Take tar and bear's grease, of each an equal quantity, boil them together, and whilst it is boiling, add a little pigeon's dung to it. Spread some of this upon a linen cloth, and apply it to the veins of the back of her that is troubled with afterpains, and it will give her speedy ease.

Lastly, let her take half a drachm of bay-berries beaten into a powder, in a drachm of muscadel or teat.

II. Another accident to which women in child-bed are subject is haemorrhoids or piles, occasioned through the great straining in bringing the child into the world. To cure this,

1. Let her be let blood in the saphoena vein.

2. Let her use polypodium in her meat, and drink, bruised and boiled.

3. Take an onion, and having made a hole in the middle, of it, fill it full of oil, roast it and having bruised it all together, apply it to the fundament.

4. Take a dozen of snails without shells, if you can get them, or else so many shell snails, and pull them out, and having bruised them with a little oil, apply them warm as before.

5. If she go not well to stool, let her take an ounce of cassia fistula drawn at night, going to bed; she needs no change of diet after.

III. Retention of the menses is another accident happening to women in child-bed, and which is of so dangerous a consequence, that, if not timely remedied, it proves mortal. When this happens,

1. Let the woman take such medicines as strongly provoke the terms, such as dittany, betony, pennyroyal, feverfew, centaury, juniper-berries, peony roots.

2. Let her take two or three spoonfuls of briony water each morning.

3. Gentian roots beaten into a powder, and a drachm of it taken every morning in wine, are an extraordinary remedy.

4. The roots of birthwort, either long or round, so used and taken as the former, are very good.

5. Take twelve peony seeds, and beat them into a very fine powder, and let her drink them in a draught of hot cardus posset, and let her sweat after. And if the last medicine do not bring them down the first time she takes it, let her take as much more three hours after, and it seldom fails.

IV. Overflowing of the menses is another accident incidental to child-bed women. For which,

1. Take shepherd's purse, either boiled in any convenient liquor, or dried and beaten into a powder, and it will be an admirable remedy to stop them, this being especially appropriated to the privities.

2. The flower and leaves of brambles or either of them, being dried and beaten into a powder, and a drachm of them taken every morning in a spoonful of red wine, or in a decoction of leaves of the same (which, perhaps, is much better), is an admirable remedy for the immoderate flowing of the term in women.

V. Excoriations, bruises, and rents in the lower part of the womb are often occasioned by the violent distention and separation of the caruncles in a woman's labour. For the healing whereof,

As soon as the woman is laid, if there be only simple contusions and excoriations, then let the anodyne cataplasm, formerly directed, be applied to the lower parts to ease the pain, made of the yolks and whites of new laid eggs, and oil of roses, boiled a little over warm embers, continually stirring it until it be mixed, and then spread on a fine cloth; it must be applied very warm to the bearing place for five or six hours, and when it is taken away, lay some fine rags, dipped in oil of St. John's wort twice or thrice a day; also foment the parts with barley water and honey of roses, to cleanse them from the excrements which pass. When the woman makes water, let them be defended with fine rags, and thereby hinder the urine from causing smart or pain.

VI. The curding and clotting of the milk is another accident that happens to women in child-bed, for in the beginning of child-bed, the woman's milk is not purified because of the great commotions her body suffered during her labour, which affected all the parts, and it is then affected with many humours. Now this clotting of the milk does, for the most part, proceed from the breasts not being fully drawn, and that, either because she has too much milk, and that the infant is too small and weak to suck it all, or because she doth not desire to be a nurse, for the milk in those cases remaining in the breasts after concoction, without being drawn, loses its sweetness and the balsamic qualities it had, and by reason of the heat it requires, and the too long stay it makes there, is sours, curds and clots, in like manner as we see rennet put into ordinary milk to turn it into curds. The curding of the milk may also be caused by having taken a great cold, and not keeping the breasts well covered.

Free Learning Resources