( sponge; from their spongy contexture). , Toadstool, besacher; is the lowest, and a very imperfect vegetable genus, having neither visible seeds, flowers, leaf, nor the structure of a plant. Most of them spring up from, and are soon dissolved into, mucous matter. See Ray's Synopsis, and Amanita.
Fungus, in surgery, is a spongy excrescence, which arises in wounds and ulcers, commonly called, though often improperly, proud flesh. In general, dry lint is the best application. A spongy lax flesh, rising from the bottom of ulcers, differs much from the fungus in healing wounds, and often requires the knife, or a caustic: the former is in one mass, but the fungus in healing wounds in many little protuberances. When this ill-conditioned spongy flesh arises, it is of very little use to attempt its destruction before the general habit is improved ; and when this is effected, dry lint, or other gentle means, will be generally sufficient. The fungus over a carious bone cannot be removed before the caries is stopped, and the exfoliation completed: the fun-gus then disappears spontaneously.
If fungous excrescences arise from the brain after trepanning, they may be cut away with a knife, or suppressed with lint dipped in rectified spirit of wine, and gentle pressure.
If the tumour appear to increase internally, a circumstance known by symptoms of compression on the brain, it has been sometimes advised to enlarge the opening of the bone; a precarious measure, often attended with dangerous haemorrhage. Pressure in this case is inadmissible; but Mr. Abernethy suggests the application of vegetable astringents. Some benefit has, it is said, resulted from sprinkling these tumours with equal parts of myrrh and lapis calaminaris.
White swellings are called fungi by some authors. In Vogel's Nosology it signifies a soft oedematous tumour of the joints. Dr. Gottlieb Richter observes, that in consequence of external bruises, sometimes after catching cold, and often spontaneously, a round, pretty regularly circumscribed swelling arises round the patella: it is not painful, and a fluctuation is obvious. It sometimes occupies both sides of the patella, is sometimes confined to its ligament, and frequently surrounds the whole knee pan. The patient feels no complaint, except some degree of stiffness in the motion of the knee joint. This tumour must not be opened; and he recommends the following plaster, taking also tartar emetic in small doses, and rubbing the knee with the volatile liniment. Gum. ammon . solv. in aceti scillitici, q. s. ad. consistentiam unguenti tenuioris. This must be spread thick upon leather, applied over the whole knee. Similar tumours on the joints of the elbow have been observed.