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PART 5

Ptisans are to be made of the very best barley, and are to be well boiled, more especially if you do not intend to use them strained. For, besides the other virtues of ptisan, its lubricant quality prevents the barley that is swallowed from proving injurious, for it does not stick nor remain in the region of the breast; for that which is well boiled is very lubricant, excellent for quenching thirst, of very easy digestion, and very weak, all which qualities are wanted. If, then, one do not pay proper attention to the mode of administering the ptisan, much harm may be done; for when the food is shut up in the bowels, unless one procure some evacuation speedily, before administering the draught, the pain, if present, will be exasperated; and, if not present, it will be immediately created, and the respiration will become more frequent, which does mischief, for it dries the lungs, fatigues the hypochondria, the hypogastrium, and diaphragm. And moreover if, while the pain of the side persists, and does not yield to warm fomentations, and the sputa are not brought up, but are viscid and unconcocted, unless one get the pain resolved, either by loosening the bowels, or opening a vein, whichever of these may be proper;- if to persons so circumstanced ptisan be administered, their speedy death will be the result. For these reasons, and for others of a similar kind still more, those who use unstrained ptisan die on the seventh day, or still earlier, some[p. 65] being seized with delirium, and others dying suffocated with orthopnoee and riles. Such persons the ancients thought struck, for this reason more especially, that when dead the affected side was livid, like that of a person who had been struck. The cause of this is that they die before the pain is resolved, being seized with difficulty of respiration, and by large and rapid breathing, as has been already explained, the spittle becoming thick, acid, and unconcocted, cannot be brought up, but, being retained in the bronchi of the lungs, produces riles; and, when it has come to this, death, for the most part, is inevitable; for the sputa being retained prevent the breath from being drawn in, and force it speedily out, and thus the two conspire together to aggravate the sputa being retained renders the respiration frequent, while the respiration being frequent thickens the sputa, and prevents them from being evacuated. These symptoms supervene, not only if ptisan be administered unseasonably, but still more if any other food or drink worse than ptisan be given.

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