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9 Now in the case of pain in the teeth, which by itself also can be counted among the greatest of torments, wine must be entirely cut off. At first the patient must fast, then take sparingly of soft food, so as not to irritate the teeth when masticating; then externally steam from hot water is to be applied by a sponge, and an ointment put on made from cyprus or iris oil, with a woollen bandage over it, and the head must be wrapped up. For more severe pain a clyster is useful, with a hot poultice upon the cheeks, and hot water containing certain medicaments held in the mouth and frequently changed. For this purpose cinquefoil root may be boiled in diluted wine, and hyoscyamus root either in vinegar and water, or in wine, with the addition of a little salt, also poppy-head skins not too dry and mandragora root in the same condition. But with these three remedies, the patient should carefully avoid swallowing the fluid in the mouth. The bark of white poplar roots boiled in diluted wine may be[p. 249] appropriately used for the same purpose, and stag's horn shavings boiled in vinegar, and catmint together with a torch rich in resin and a fig equally rich boiled either in honey wine or in vinegar and honey. When the fig has been boiled down with these, this fluid is strained. Also a prove wrapped round with wool is dipped in hot oil, and the tooth itself fomented with this. Moreover, some applications, like poultices, are smeared on the tooth itself, and for this purpose the inside rind of an unripe dry pomegranate is pounded up with equal parts of oak-galls and pine bark, with which minium is mixed; and these when pounded together are made up with rain-water. Or equal quantities of all-heal, poppy-tears, sulphur wort, and black bryony berries without the seeds are pounded together. Or three parts of galbanum to one of poppy juice. Whatever is applied to the teeth directly, none the less the ointment mentioned above must also be put on the jaws and covered over with wool. Some rub up together myrrh and cardamoms, 4 grams each; saffron chamomile figs and broom 16 grams each; and mustard 32 grams; spread it on lint and apply to the shoulder on the side of the painful tooth; over the shoulder-blade, if it is an upper tooth; on the chest if a lower one; and this relieves the pain, and as soon as it has relieved it, must be at once taken off. When a tooth decays, there is no hurry to extract it, unless it cannot be helped, but rather to the various applications described above, we must add more active compositions for the relief of pain, such as that of heras. This has poppy juice 4 grams; pepper 8 grams; sory 40 grams, pounded, taken up in galbanum, and[p. 251] applied round the tooth; or that of Menemachus, especially for molar teeth, containing saffron 0.66 gram, cardamons, frankincense root, figs, broom and pellitory 16 grams each; mustard 32 grams. Again, some mix chamomile, pepper, elaterium and broom 4 grams each; shredded alum, poppy juice, black bryony berries, crude sulphur, bitumen, laurel berries and mustard 8 grams each. But if pain compels its removal, a peppercorn without the tegument, or an ivy berry without the tegument is inserted into the cavity of the tooth, which it splits, and the tooth falls out in bits. Also the tail spine of the flat fish which we call pastinaca, and the Greeks trygon, is roasted, pounded and taken up in resin, and this, when applied around the tooth, loosens it. Also shredded alum and . . . put into the cavity loosens the tooth. However, it is better to insert this wrapped up in a flake of wool, for it thus relieves the pain whilst preserving the tooth. These are the remedies recognized by medical practitioners, but country people have found out by experience that if a tooth aches, catmint should be pulled up with its roots, and put into a pot, and water poured over it, and placed beside the patient as he sits all covered by clothes; then red-hot stones are thrown in so as to be covered by the water; the patient inhales the steam with his mouth open, whilst, as stated above, he is completely covered over. For profuse sweating follows, and also a steady stream of phlegm flows from the mouth, and this ensures good health always for a year, and often for longer.
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