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19 Old-standing ulcerations of the fingers are most suitably treated by buckthorn juice, or by boiled olive lees, in either case with the addition of wine. In the same parts a small piece of flesh sometimes grows out from the nail, causing great pain; the Greeks call it pterygium. Round alum from Melos should be dissolved in water to the consistency of honey; the same quantity of honey as there was of dry alum is then poured in, and the mixture is stirred with a rod until it is of a saffron colour, and then smeared on. Some prefer to boil up the same ingredients together for the same purpose after mixing equal quantities of dry alum and honey. If the whitlow is not removed by this treatment, it should be cut away; next the finger is bathed in a decoction of vervains, and over it is then put the following composition: copper ore, pomegranate rind, and copper scales, mixed with ripe figs, lightly boiled in honey; or burnt papyrus, orpiment, and crude sulphur in equal parts may be mixed with a cerate containing myrtle oil; or scraped verdigris 4 grams, copper scales 8 grams, mixed together in 42 cc. of honey; or equal parts of limestone, copper ore and orpiment are mixed together. Whichever of these is applied, it is covered over by linen wetted with water. On the third day the finger is dressed again, any dried part is[p. 291] removed, and similar treatment continued. When this does not succeed, the whitlow is cleaned by means of a scalpel, and the place burnt with a fine cautery, followed by the dressing usual after cauterization. And when nails are scabrous, they must be loosened all round, where they are in contact with the flesh; next some of the following composition is put on them: sandarach and sulphur 8 grams each; soda and orpiment 16 grams each; liquid resin 32 grams. The finger is dressed again on the third day. Under this medicament, diseased nails fall off and in their stead better ones grow.
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