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15 Further a disease of another of the viscera, the liver, is also sometimes chronic, sometimes acute: the Greeks call it hepaticon. There is severe pain in the right part under the praecordia, which spreads to the right side, to the clavicle and arm of that side; at times there is also pain in the right hand, there is hot shivering. In a grave case there is vomiting of bile; sometimes the patient is nearly choked by hiccough. Such are the signs when acute; but in a more chronic case, where there is suppuration within the liver, the praecordia on the right side become hard and swollen; after a meal there is greater difficulty in breathing; then supervenes a sort of paralysis of the lower jaws. When the disease has become inveterate, the abdomen and legs and feet swell; there is wasting of the chest and arms and about the clavicle on both sides. It is best to begin by letting blood; then the bowel is to be moved, if nothing else takes effect, by black hellebore. Externally plasters are to be applied, first repressants, then hot ones to disperse; appropriate additions are iris or wormwood unguents; after these emollients. Gruels, moreover are to be given, all food hot and not too nourishing, generally that kind which is also suitable to pleurisy (IV.13, 4), and in addition such food and drink as promote urination. Beneficial in this disease are: thyme, savory, hyssop, catmint, starch, sesamum[p. 415] seeds, laurel berries, young pine-cone tips, knotgrass, mint, quince pulp, the fresh raw liver of a pigeon. Some of the above may be eaten alone, some can be added to the gruel or draughts, so long as they are taken sparingly. There is no objection to wormwood rubbed up in honey and pepper, of which a dose is taken daily. All cold things must be especially avoided; for nothing is more harmful to the liver. Rubbings of the extremities should be employed; all manual work should be avoided, and all more active movement; the patient should never even hold his breath for long together. Anger, hurry, weight-lifting, boxing, running are harmful. A copious affusion of the body with water, hot in winter, tepid in summer, is beneficial, also free anointing and sweating at the bath. But if the liver suffers from an abscess, the same is to be done as in other internal suppurations. Some even with a scalpel make an incision over the liver, and burn through into the actual abscess with the cautery.
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