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Ptisan, then, appears to me to be justly preferred before all the other preparations from grain in these diseases, and I commend those who made this choice,1 for the mucilage of it is smooth, consistent, pleasant, lubricant, moderately diluent, quenches thirst if this be required, and has no astringency; gives no trouble nor swells up in the bowels, for in the boiling it swells up as much as it naturally can. Those, then, who make use of ptisan in such diseases, should never for a day allow their vessels to be empty of it, if I may say so, but should use it and not intermit, unless it be necessary to stop for a time, in order to administer medicine or a clyster. And to those who are accustomed to take two meals in the day it is to be given twice, and to those accustomed to live upon a single meal it is to be given once at first, and then, if the case permit, it is to be increased and given twice to them, if they appear to stand in need of it. At first it will be proper not to give a large quantity nor very thick, but in proportion to the quantity of food which one has been accustomed to take, and so as that the veins may not be much emptied. And, with regard to the augmentation of the dose, if the disease be of a drier nature than one had supposed, one must not give more of it, but should give before the draught of ptisan, either hydromel or wine, in as great quantity as may be proper; and what is proper in each case will be afterward stated by us. But if the mouth and the passages from the lungs be in a proper state as to moisture, the quantity of the draught is to be increased, as a general rule, for an early and abundant state of moisture indicates an early crisis, but a late and deficient moisture indicates a slower crisis. And these things are as I have stated for the most part; but many other things are omitted which are important to the prognosis, as will be explained afterwards. And the more [p. 64] that the patient is troubled with purging, in so much greater quantity is it to be given until the crisis, and moreover until two days beyond the crisis, in such cases as it appears to take place on the fifth, seventh, or ninth day, so as to have respect both for the odd and even day: after this the draught is to be given early in the day, and the other food in place is to be given in the evening. These things are proper, for the most part, to be given to those who, from the first, have used ptisan containing its whole substance; for the pains in pleuritic affections immediately cease of their own accord whenever the patients begin to expectorate anything worth mentioning, and the purgings become much better, and empyema much more seldom takes place, than if the patients used a different regimen, and the crises are more simple, occur earlier, and the cases are less subject to relapses.

1 Our author now enters upon the consideration of one of his principal objects in the preent work, namely, to describe the modes of preparing ptisan (orthe decoction of barley), and its uses in acute diseases. He is so full on this subject that the present treatise is quoted by Athenaeus (Deipnos. ii., 16), by the name of the work On the Ptisan. Galen states that, on the principle that diseases are to be cured by their contraries, as the essence of a febrile disease is combined of heat and dryness, the indication of a cure is to use means of a cooling and moistening nature, and that the ptisan fulfils both these objects.

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