A boil or an ulcer has its seat generally in one of the eight following components or principles of the body such as, the bone, the skin, the flesh, the veins, the ligaments, the joints, the viscera and the Marmas (vital parts of the body). A boil or an ulcer of any type may crop up or appear in any one of the above mentioned localities.
A boil or an ulcer, which is confined only to the skin, readily yields to medical treatment, while the remaining types, as well as those, which spontaneously suppurate and burst, are hard to cure. A boil or an ulcer usually assumes a shape which is either diffused, rectangular, spheroidal or triangular; while those, which are irregular or indefinite in shape, (or have forms other than the preceding ones , should be looked upon as belonging to types which can be cured only with the utmost difficulty. Any Vrana (burst or incised abscess) in a patient, who observes a strict regimen, and who, from the outset, is placed under the medical treatment of an experienced physician (surgeon), will be speedily healed; while an ulcer, affecting a person of irregular habits and treated by a quack or an ignorant physician, will develop into one of a malignant type, which can be healed only with the greatest difficulty, on account of it becoming aggravated by the deranged bodily humours involved therein.
Malignant ulcers (Dushta Vranas) are known by the following indications: - They are either too narrow or too wide-mouthed. They feel either extremely hard or soft to the touch and present either a raised elevated) or a depressed aspect. They are of either a black or red, yellow or white colour, and are characterised by extremes of temperature. Exhibiting strange and unusual features, they are checkered with networks of veins, ligaments, etc., and are filled with putrid and sloughing flesh and fetid pus. Indefinite and irregular in shape, they are found to exude a sort of dirty, fetid pus, which runs into fissures and cavities, following an oblique or upward course. They have a cadaverous look and smell and are characterised by extreme pain and burning sensation, attended with swelling, redness, itching and suppuration. Pustules crop up round these ulcers, which largely secrete vitiated blood, and linger unhealed for an inordinate length of time.
These ulcers may be divided into six classes [according as, they are severally caused by the deranged bodily humours (Vayu, Pittam and Kapham), or are due to their concerted action (Sannipata), or to the effects of a blow (traumatic) or to vitiated blood.], and should be medically treated according to the nature of their respective exciting factors.
Now we shall describe the characteristic secretions from all types of ulcers. Secretions from a contused or lacerated skin, as well as from an ulcer confined only to it), whether spontaneously bursting or surgically opened, are thin and watery in their consistency. They are characterised by a raw (fleshy) smell and a yellowish colour. An ulcer, affecting the flesh, exudes a slimy, thick and white secretion like clarified-butter. A copious quantity of blood flows out of a vein recently cut, while the incidental ulcer, in its suppurating stage, secretes a copious secretion, like water flowing out of a hydrant, which is moreover detached, thin, pendent (ropy), and slimy in its character and has a brown or frosty hue. An ulcer, confined only to a ligament, secretes a sort of cold and thick secretion, like expectorated mucous, though sometimes marked with streaks of blood.
A bone, injured, fractured, or suddenly cracked by idiopathic causes (derangement of the bodily humours), loses its internal marrow and appears as if washed (loses its natural gloss). It assumes the colour of an oyster shell, whereas the secretions from an ulcer, which is seated in a bone, are cold and marked by streaks of blood and lumps of marrow. An ulcer,'situated in any of the bone-joints, does not exude any secretion under pressure, but secretes a sort of slimy, pendent, frothy and blood-streaked pus, when the affected limb or part is flexed, expanded, raised or lowered, as in running (moving about), sitting or standing erect, or at defecation.
An ulcer, seated in the abdominal cavity (Koshtha), exudes a secretion, which is mixed with urine, fecal matter, pus or blood, and a thin or watery (serous) fluid. The secretions from an ulcer, affecting any vital part of the body, need not be separately described, as such a part naturally involves the organic principles of skin, flesh, etc.; and hence an ulcer, invading it, must necessarily exude a secretion, which is peculiar to any of the aforesaid bodily principles (skin, flesh, etc.) that has become affected.
The deranged Vayu makes the secretions from an ulcer, seated in any of the seven abovesaid principles such as, the skin, flesh, veins, ligaments, bones, joints and the abdomen, respectively coarse, and rough to the touch, brown, grey, frosty, or white like the cream of curd, and coloured like the washings of an alkali, like that of meat or paddy husks. Similarly, the action of the deranged Pittam should be inferred from the secretions assuming the colours of a Gomedha (a species of bluish yellow agate), or that of the urine of a cow, or that of water saturated with the burnt ashes of couch-shells or that of Kashaya water or that of the wine known as the Madhvika or that of oil, according as the skin, flesh, etc. are respectively affected. The action of the deranged blood, in changing the nature of the secretions of ulcers in the seven above-sa.id locations, is identical with that of the deranged Pittam with the exception, that the secretions are characterised by an extremely fishy smell.
In an epidermic (confined only to the epidermis of a part) or superficial ulcer the action of the deranged Kapham manifests itself by imparting a butter-like or a Kasisha (sulphate of iron) colour to the secretions. They have lard-like hue or a colour like that of rice paste, or that of water tinged with sesamum, or a colour like that of the internal juice or water of a cocoanut, or a colour like that of hog's lard, according as the flesh, a vein, a ligament, a bone or a joint is attacked. On the other hand, through the combined action of all the three deranged humours of the body (Sannipata), those secretions become coloured like the water tinged with the soakings of sesamum seeds, or the internal sap or water of a cocoanut, or the juice of the Ervaruka or the transparent surface layer of rice gruel, or the washings of the Aruka fruit, or the water tinged with the fruits of the Priyangu, or like the liver or the Mudga pulse.
An ulcer, situated in the cavity of the abdomen and secreting an exudation resembling paddy husks in colour, as well as one located in the viscera of blood (spleen or liver - Raktashayam) and exuding a secretion like alkaline water, should be deemed incurable. Similarly, an ulcer having its seat in the cavity of the stomach (Amashaya), or in the region of the Trika, (articulation of the clavicle with the intraclavicular notch) and exuding a thin, watery secretion, coloured like the washings of Kalaya pulse, should be regarded as belonging to the same type (incurable). A physician should only take in hand the treatment of an ulcer-patient after having examined the abovesaid nature of the discharges.