(From furo, to rage; from the violence of the heat and inflammation previous to suppuration,) called dothein; and by Paracelsus, chiadus, chioli; a boil, is a phlegmonous tumour which commonly terminates in a suppuration of a peculiar kind. It is a variety of the phlogosis phlegmone(culleni), distinguished on account of the form in which it appears. A boil is a small circumscribed inflammation, arising in the external parts, and terminating in an acute tubercle, about the size of a pigeon's egg, attended with redness and pain, and sometimes with a violent burning heat. These inflammations cannot be discussed; but for the most part suppurate spontaneously, but slowly, and break at first on their top, or the most pointed part, when some drops of pus, as from an abscess, come out. The germ, or what is commonly called the core, is next seen: it is a purulent substance, but so thick and tenacious that it appears like a solid body, which may be drawn out in the shape of a cylinder, like the pitch of an elder branch, sometimes to the length of an inch. The separation of this core is usually followed by the discharge of some liquid matter, spread through the bottom of the sore. As soon as this is discharged, the pain entirely ceases, and the opening heals spontaneously: if it should not, the cure may be effected by a small quantity of Peruvian balsam.
Suppuration is the best method of removing this kind of tumour; for if repelled, it almost as certainly returns on some other part: but indeed the surgeon is seldom applied to on account of it, the common method of applying a poultice of flour and honey, sometimes a plaster of shoemaker's wax, answering every purpose. If, however, they do not come forward to suppuration, this process should be assisted by fomentations, a gum plaster, or any warm application. In other circumstances, emollient cataplasms, mixed occasionally, if the pain is violent, with extract of hemlock, or with opium, are useful. The root of the white lily is supposed to unite a stimulus with its emollient property.
These complaints are seldom attended with any danger; they are more frequently signs of a strong constitution, capable of throwing some morbid matter out of the habit. They have been considered sometimes habitual; then alterative medicines are necessary. Rosemary has been recommended: and the burdock root has been even considered as a specific. See London Medical Journal, vol. i. p. 332. Pearson's Principles of Surgery, vol. i. p. 66, etc. White's Surgery, p. 17. See Abscess.