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12 Below the throat is placed the stomach, in which there tend to occur many chronic complaints. For sometimes great heat affects it, sometimes flatulence, sometimes inflammation, sometimes ulceration; at times phlegm collects, at times bile; but the most frequent malady is that in which it undergoes paralysis, nor does anything else so affect it, or,[p. 399] through it, the whole body. As diverse as are its complaints, so are the remedies. When heated, it should be bathed externally at intervals with vinegar and rose oil, and road dust applied with oil, and those plasters which simultaneously repress and soothe. For drink, unless there is anything against it, lukewarm water is the best. If there is flatulence, it is beneficial to apply cups, but there is no need to incise the skin; dry and hot foments do good, but not the strongest kind. At intervals there should be enjoyed abstinence from food; a draught of wormwood or hyssop or of rue on an empty stomach is useful. Exercise at first should be light, then more is to be taken, especially such as moves the upper limbs; the kind most appropriate in all complaints of the stomach. After exercise there is need of anointing, rubbing, occasionally also the bath, yet less often than usual; now and then a clyster; later, food which is hot but not flatulent, and similarly hot drinks, first water and after the flatulence has subsided, dry wine. In all complaints of the stomach this also is to be prescribed, that each should adopt in health that regimen which has cured him; for his weakness will recur unless his health is protected by the same measures as those by which it was restored. But if there is inflammation of any kind, which is generally followed by swelling and pain, the primary remedies are rest, abstinence, a belt of sulphurated wool, and the wormwood draught upon an empty stomach. If a burning heat troubles the stomach, it should be fomented at intervals with vinegar and[p. 401] rose oil; next food should be given in moderation, external applications are also to be made which simultaneously both repress and soothe; next after that, when these are taken off, hot meal plasters are put on to disperse the remnants of the disease: now and again a clyster must be given, exercise must be taken, and a fuller diet. But if ulcers attack the stomach, generally the same treatment should be applied as has been prescribed in the case of an ulcerated throat (IV.9). Exercise, also rubbing of the lower extremities, is to be practised; bland and glutinous foods taken short of satiety; and all pungent and sharp food withdrawn. Sweet wine is to be used if there is no fever, or if that causes flatulence at any rate light wine, but neither very cold nor too hot. If the stomach becomes filled with phlegm an emetic is needed, sometimes on an empty stomach, sometimes after food: there is benefit in exercise, rocking, a sea-voyage, rubbing. Nothing should be eaten or drunk unless hot, whilst such things must be avoided as have tended to collect phlegm. There is worse trouble when the stomach is vitiated by bile. Patients who are troubled with this, vomit up bile at intervals of some days, and worst of all, vomit black bile. For such a clyster is appropriate, and draughts of wormwood should be given; rocking and a sea-voyage are necessary; vomiting when possible is induced by sea-sickness; indigestion must be avoided, the food should be such as is readily swallowed, and not repugnant to the stomach, the wine must be dry. But the commonest and worst complaint of the stomach is paralysis, when it does not retain food,[p. 403] and the nutrition of the body is wont to cease, and so it is consumed by wasting. In this sort of disease the bath is most harmful; reading aloud and exercise of the upper limbs are needed, as also anointing and rubbings; it is good for the patient to have cold water poured over him, and to swim in cold water, also to submit his stomach to jets of it, especially at the back of the stomach from the shoulder-blades downwards, to bathe in cold medicinal springs, such as those at Cutilia and Simbruvium. Food should be also taken cold, rather that which is digested with difficulty than that which readily decomposes. Hence many who can digest nothing else, digest beef, and therefore it may be inferred that neither poultry no venison, nor fish except the harder kinds, should be given. The most suitable drink is wine cold, or else undiluted and well heated, particularly Rhaetic or Allobrogic wine, or any other which is both dry and seasoned with resin; if there is none of the above at hand, then the harshest possible, especially Signine wine. If food is not retained, water must be given and a more copious vomit elicited, after which food is to be given again, and then cups are to be applied two fingers' breadth below the stomach, and they are to be kept on two or three hours. If simultaneously there is both vomiting and pain, there should be placed over the stomach unscoured wool or sponge soaked in vinegar, or a refrigerant plaster. The arms and legs too are to be rubbed sharply, but not for long, and to be kept warm. If pain is more severe, a cup is to be put on four fingers' breadth below the praecordia, and following that bread in cold vinegar and water is to be given; should this not be retained, after the vomiting,[p. 405] anything light or not unsuitable for the stomach can be given; if even that is not retained, give a cupful of wine every hour until the stomach settles down. Radish juice also is an active remedy; more active still is a mixture of the juice of sour and sweet pomegranates in equal parts, with the addition of endive and mint juice, the least quantity of the last; the whole of the above may be mixed thoroughly well with an equal quantity of cold water, which is better than wine for tightening up the stomach. Now, vomiting when spontaneous should be arrested; but if there is nausea, or if food turns acid inside, or decomposes, both of which are manifested by eructations, the food should be evacuated, and the stomach forthwith replenished by the taking of food of the kind just noted (§ 9). When immediate apprehension has been removed a return should be made to the prescriptions given above (§ 7).
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