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7 So much, then, for those classes of eye disease, for which medicaments are most successful; and now we pass to the ears, the use of which comes next to eye-[p. 229]sight as Nature's gift to us. But in the case of the ears still a somewhat greater danger; for whereas lesions of the eyes keep the mischief to themselves, inflammations and pains in the ears sometimes even serve to drive the patient to madness and death. The makes it more desirable to apply treatment at the very beginning, that there may be no opening for the greater discovering. As soon, therefore, as the pain is first felt, the patient should fast and keep quiet; the next day, if the pain is still severe, the head should be shaved, and after it has been anointed with hot iris unguent, covered up. But great pain with fever and sleeplessness require also that blood should be let; if anything prevents this, the bowels are to be moved. Hot poultices also, frequently changed, are of service, whether composed of fenugreek or linseed or other meal boiled in honey wine, and sponges also wrung out of hot water, applied at intervals, are appropriate. Then, when the pain is relieved, iris or cyprus unguent should be spread around the ears; in some cases, however, the rose unguent is more advantageous. If severe inflammation entirely prevents sleep, there should be added to the poultice half its quantity of toasted and pounded poppy-head rind, and this should be boiled down with the rest in diluted raisin wine. It is desirable also to pour some medicament into the ear, and this should always be made lukewarm beforehand; and is best dropped in from a strigil. When the ear is full, soft wool is applied over it to keep in the fluid. And these are the medicaments generally used for this purpose: but also there is rose oil and arundo-root juice and oil in which worms have been boiled, juice expressed from bitter almonds or [p. 231] from peach-kernels. But the compositions for relieving inflammation and pain generally employed are: castoreum and poppy-tears in equal amounts, pounded together; then to these there is added raisin wine. Or poppy-tears, saffron and myrrh in equal quantities pounded, while rose oil and raisin wine are dropped in by turns. Or the bitter part of the Egyptian bean pounded up with rose oil added; with these some mix a little myrrh or poppy-tears, or frankincense in woman's milk, or the juice of bitter almonds with rose oil. Or castoreum, myrrh and poppy-tears, equal parts, with raisin wine. Or saffron 1 gram; myrrh and shredded alum 0.66 gram of each; ;whilst this is being pounded there is slowly added to it 125 cc. of raisin wine, of honey rather less than 40 cc., and this is one of the best remedies. Or poppy-tears in vinegar. Themison's compound may also be used; it contains: castoreum, opopanax and poppy-tears 8 grams each, buckthorn scum 16 grams. These are pounded and made up in raisin wine, until they have the consistency of a wax salve and are so preserved. When required for use, this composition is again stirred with a probe whilst adding raisin wine. The rule is general, that when a composition has become too thick to be dropped into the ear, some of the fluid with which it was made up is added until it become sufficiently liquid.

If again the ears have pus in them as well, it is proper to pour in boxthorn juice by itself, or iris unguent or leek juice or the juice of a sweet pomegranate warmed in its rind, to which a little myrrh is added. It is useful to mix together myrrh of the sort called[p. 233] stacte 4 grams; the same amount of saffron; 25 bitter almonds; of honey 250 cc.; these are pounded together, and when they are to be used, are warmed in a pomegranate rind. The medicaments which are compounded for ulcerations of the mouth are equally healing for ulcerations of the ear. If the disease is of longer standing, and much matter is discharged, the composition said to have been invented by Erasistratus is suitable: pepper 0.66 gram; saffron 0.66 gram; myrrh and cooked antimony sulphide 4 grams each; roasted copper 8 grams. These are pounded up in wine, and when the mixture has become dry, 750 cc. of raisin wine are added, and are boiled up with it. When it is to be used, wine and honey are added to these ingredients. There is also the medicament of the surgeon Ptolemaeus, which contains: mastich 0.66 gram, oak galls 0.66 gram, omphacium 4 grams; and pomegranate juice. There is the very active remedy of Menophilus, which consists of: long pepper 4 grams; castoreum 8 grams; myrrh, saffron, poppy-tears, Syrian nard, frankincense, pomegranate rind, the embryo of an Egyptian bean, bitter almonds, and the best honey 16 grams each. These are pounded together with the addition of very sour vinegar until of the consistency of raisin wine. The prescription of Craton is the following: cinnamon and casia 0.66 grams, boxthorn juice, nard and myrrh 4 grams each, lign-aloes 8 grams, honey 125 cc., wine half a litre. The lycium is first boiled in the wine, and the rest added. But when there is much pus, and the odour bad, verdigris scrapings and frankincense 8 grams each, honey 85 cc.; vinegar 170 cc. are boiled together. For use, it is mixed with sweet[p. 235] wine. Or equal weights of shredded alum, poppy-tears and acacia juice are mixed together, and to these is added of hyoscyamus juice less than half the quantity of each one of the above; and these are pounded together and diluted with wine. Also hyoscyamus juice is sufficiently beneficial by itself.

A general remedy for all ear cases, and one approved by experience, was composed by Asclepiades. This contains: cinnamon and casia 4 grams each; flowers of round cyperus, castoreum, white pepper, long pepper, cardamomum and bennut, 8 grams each; male frankincense, Syrian nard, fatty myrrh, saffron, soda-scum, 12 grams each. These are pounded separately, then mixed with vinegar and again pounded, and so preserved; when for use they are diluted with vinegar. In the same way a general remedy for all ear disorders is the tablet of Polyidus, dissolved in sweet wine, the prescription for which is given in the last book. But if there is both a discharge of matter and a swelling, it is not unfitting to ash out the ear with diluted wine through an ear syringe, and then pour in dry wine mixed with rose oil, to which a little oxide of zinc has been added, or boxthorn juice with milk, or polygonum juice with rose oil, or pomegranate juice with a very little myrrh.

If there is also foul ulceration, it is better to wash out with honey wine, and then pour in some one of the compositions described above which contain honey. If there is a great discharge of pus the head is to be shaved, and hot water poured freely over it, also the patient should gargle with the same, walk until tired, and take food sparingly. If there is bleeding from the ulcerations, boxthorn[p. 237] juice should be poured in mixed with milk, or with water in which rose leaves have been boiled, with polygonum juice or that of acacia added. If flesh has formed over the ulcerations and there is a malodorous discharge, the ear should be washed out with tepid water, then that composition poured in which contains frankincense, verdigris, vinegar and honey; or honey boiled with verdigris. Copper scales also pounded up with sandarach may be instilled through a tube with advantage.

When maggots have appeared, if they are near the surface, they must be extracted by an ear scoop; if further in they must be killed by medicaments, and afterwards care taken that they do not breed. White veratrum pounded up in vinegar serves for both these purposes. The ear should also be washed out with a decoction of horehound in wine. By this procedure dead maggots will be driven forwards into the outer part of the ear, whence they can be readily withdrawn.

But if the ear-passage has been narrowed and thick matter collects within, honey of the best ought to be introduced. If this does not help, there must be added to 65 cc. of honey 8 grams of verdigris scrapings; they must be boiled together and so used. Iris root with honey has the same efficacy. So also has galbanum 8 grams, myrrh and ox bile 1.33 grams each, and of wine a sufficient quantity to dissolve the myrrh.

When a man is becoming dull of hearing, which happens most often after prolonged headaches, in the first place, the ear itself should be inspected: for there will be found either a crust such as comes upon the surface of ulcerations, or concretions of wax.[p. 239] If a crust, hot oil is poured in, or verdigris mixed with honey or leek juice or a little soda in honey wine. And when the crust has been separated from the ulceration, the ear is irrigated with tepid water, to make it easier for the crusts now disengaged to be withdrawn by the ear scoop. If it be wax, and if it be soft, it can be extracted in the same way by the ear scoop; but if hard, vinegar containing a little soda is introduced; and when the wax has softened, the ear is washed out and cleared as above. When the heaviness of the head persists it should be shaved; the head rubbed over gently and for some time with castoreum to which either iris or laurel oil has been added with either of which a little vinegar has been mixed; then the patient must take a long walk, and after the rubbing his head is to be fomented with hot water. And the food should be of the lightest and of the middle class, and the drinks especially diluted; he should occasionally gargle. Further, the ear should be syringed with castoreum mixed with vinegar and laurel oil and the juice of young radish rind, or with cucumber juice, mixed with crushed rose leaves. The dropping in of the juice of unripe grapes mixed with rose oil is also fairly efficacious against deafness.

Another class of lesion is that in which the ears produce a ringing noise within themselves: and this also prevents them from perceiving sounds from without. This is least serious when due to cold in the head; worse when occasioned by diseases or prolonged pains of the head; worst of all when it precedes the onset of serious maladies, and especially epilepsy.

If it is due to a cold, the ear should be cleaned [p. 241] and the breath held until some humour froths out from it. If it arises from disease and pain in the head, the prescriptions as to exercise, rubbing, affusion and gargling should be carried out. Only foods that make thin are to be used. Into the ear radish juice should be dropped with oil of roses or with the juice of wild cucumber root; or castoreum with vinegar and laurel oil. Also veratrum is pounded up for this purpose in vinegar, then mixed with boiled honey, and a slave made of it and introduced into the ear.

If the noise begins without these reasons and so causes dread of some new danger, there should be inserted into the ear castoreum in vinegar or with either iris oil or laurel oil; or castoreum is mixed with this together with the juice of bitter almonds; or myrrh and soda with rose oil and vinegar But in this case also, there is more benefit from regulation of the diet, and the same is to be done as was prescribed above, with even greater care. And, besides, until the noise has ceased the patient must abstain from wine. But if there is at the same time both ringing and inflammation, laurel oil should be freely inserted, or the oil expressed from bitter almonds with which some mix myrrh or castoreum.

It happens also occasionally that something slips into the ear, such as a small stone, or some living thing. If a flea has got in, a little wool is introduced in which it becomes engaged and so is extracted. If it does not come out, or if it is some other creature, a probe is wrapped round with a little wool, soaked in very sticky resin, especially turpentine resin, which after being passed in the ear is there twisted[p. 243] round; for that will certainly catch it. If it is some inanimate object, it is to be withdrawn by an ear scoop or by a small blunt hook slightly bent. If these are ineffectual it is possible to extract it by means of resin as above. Also if a sneezing fit is induced, this easily moves it away or a forcible injection of water through an ear syringe. Again, a plank may be arranged, having its middle supported and the ends unsupported. Upon this the patient is tied down, with the affected ear downwards, so that the ear projects beyond the end of the plank. Then the end of the plank at the patient's feet is struck with a mallet, and the ear being so jarred what is within drops out.

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