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Table of Contents
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.