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On Ulcers   


We must avoid wetting all sorts of ulcers except with wine, unless
the ulcer be situated in a joint. For, the dry is nearer to the sound,
and the wet to the unsound, since an ulcer is wet, but a sound part
is dry. And it is better to leave the part without a bandage unless
a unless a cataplasm be applied. Neither do certain ulcers admit of
cataplasms, and this is the case with the recent rather than the old,
and with those situated in joints. A spare diet and water agree with
all ulcers, and with the more recent rather than the older; and with
an ulcer which either is inflamed or is about to be so; and where
there is danger of gangrene; and with the ulcers an inflammation in
joints; and where there is danger of convulsion; and in wounds of
the belly; but most especially in fractures of the head and thigh,
or any other member in which a fracture may have occurred. In the
case of an ulcer, it is not expedient to stand; more especially if
the ulcer be situated in the leg; but neither, also, is it proper
to sit or walk. But quiet and rest are particularly expedient. Recent
ulcers, both the ulcers themselves and the surrounding parts, will
be least exposed to inflammation, if one shall bring them to a suppuration
as expeditiously as possible, and if the matter is not prevented from
escaping by the mouth of the sore; or, if one should restrain the
suppuration, so that only a small and necessary quantity of pus may
be formed, and the sore may be kept dry by a medicine which does not
create irritation. For the part becomes inflamed when rigor and throbbing
supervene; for ulcers then get inflamed when suppuration is about
to form. A sore suppurates when the blood is changed and becomes heated;
so that becoming putrid, it constitutes the pus of such ulcers. When
you seem to require a cataplasm, it is not the ulcer itself to which
you must apply the cataplasm, but to the surrounding parts, so that
the pus may escape and the hardened parts may become soft. Ulcers
formed either from the parts having been cut through by a sharp instrument,
or excised, admit of medicaments for bloody wounds ('enaima), and
which will prevent suppuration by being desiccant to a certain degree.
But, when the flesh has been contused and roughly cut by the weapon,
it is to be so treated that it may suppurate as quickly as possible;
for thus the inflammation is less, and it is necessary that the pieces
of flesh which are bruised and cut should melt away by becoming putrid,
being converted into pus, and that new flesh should then grow up.
In every recent ulcer, except in the belly, it is expedient to cause
blood to flow from it abundantly, and as may seem seasonable; for
thus will the wound and the adjacent parts be less attacked with inflammation.
And, in like manner, from old ulcers, especially if situated in the
leg, in a toe or finger, more than in any other part of the body.
For when the blood flows they become drier and less in size, as being
thus dried up. It is this (the blood?) especially which prevents such
ulcers from healing, by getting into a state of putrefaction and corruption.
But, it is expedient, after the flow of the blood, to bind over the
ulcer a thick and soft piece of sponge, rather dry than wet, and to
place above the sponge some slender leaves. Oil, and all things of
an emollient and oily nature, disagree with such ulcers, unless they
are getting nearly well. Neither does oil agree with wounds which
have been recently inflicted, nor yet do medicines formed with oil
or suet, more especially if the ulcer stands in need of more cleansing.
And, in a word, it is in summer and in winter that we are to smear
with oil these sores that require such medicines.


Gentle purging of the bowels agrees with most ulcers, and in wounds
of the head, belly, or joints, where there is danger of gangrene,
in such as require sutures, in phagedaenic, spreading and in otherwise
inveterate ulcers. And when you want to apply a bandage, no plasters
are to be used until you have rendered the sore dry, and then indeed

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