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18 From the viscera we proceed to the intestines, which are subject to diseases, both acute and chronic.[p. 421] And in the first place mention is to be made of cholera, because it appears to be a complaint common to the stomach and intestines: for there occur simultaneously diarrhoea and vomiting, and in addition flatulence. The intestines are griped, bile bursts upwards and downwards; first it is watery, then like water in which fresh meat has been washed; at times it is white in colour, at other times black or variously coloured. Hence the Greeks term this affection by the name of cholera. Besides those symptoms which are mentioned above, often the legs and arms are also contracted, there is urgent thirst, and fainting; when such things occur together, it is not to be wondered at if the patient dies suddenly, and yet in no other disease is there less time for affording relief. Therefore immediately upon the commencement of the above signs, the patient should drink as much as he can of tepid water, and vomit. Vomiting hardly ever fails to follow; but even if it does not occur, nevertheless it is advantageous to have mixed fresh material with that which is decomposed; the cessation of vomiting is a step towards recovery. If this happens, the patient should abstain forthwith from all drink; if there are still gripings, the stomach should be treated with cold and moist foments, or if there is pain in the belly, these should be lukewarm, so that the belly itself is relieved by moderately warm applications. But if vomiting, diarrhoea and thirst give rise to severe distress, and the vomit still contains undigested food, it is not yet a fitting time for wine: water should be given, not cold but rather lukewarm: pennyroyal[p. 423] in vinegar should be applied to the nostrils, or wine sprinkled with polenta, or mint in its natural state. But when the indigestion has been relieved, there is then greater apprehension of fainting. Recourse therefore should then be had to wine. The wine taken should be thin, aromatic, mixed with cold water, adding either polenta or crumbled bread, and bread by itself ought also to be taken, and as often as either the stomach or intestines discharge their contents, so often should the patient recruit his strength by these means. Erasistratus said that a draught should have mixed with it at first three or five drops of wine, subsequently gradual additions of undiluted wine. If Erasistratus both gave wine at the beginning and was influenced by fear of causing indigestion, he acted not without reason; if he thought that severe weakness could be relieved by three drops of wine, he erred. But if the patient is empty and his legs are contracted, a draught of wormwood should be given at intervals. If the extremities become cold, they should be anointed with hot oil to which a little wax has been added, and stimulated by hot foments. If there is no relief even from the above remedies, outside over the actual stomach cups should be applied, or mustard laid upon it. When he has settled down, he should go to sleep. On the next day he should be sure to abstain from drinking, on the third day he should go to the bath, gradually recruit himself with food. Whoever easily gets to sleep is quickly restored; the trouble is brought back by indigestion and also by fatigue and cold. If, after the suppression of the cholera, slight fever persists, there is need for a clyster, and then to take food and wine.
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