Dropsy, a soft, unelastic swelling of the whole or part of the body : in other words, a collection of water under the whole skin, or in the brain, chest, abdomen, etc.

This complaint may originate from various causes, of which the following are the principal : - 1. Obstructions in the intestines of the lower belly, especially after agues.

2. Suppressions of natural and periodical fluxes ; polypous and other concretions in the blood-vessels.

3. Obstipations of the lymphatics, arising chiefly from a free use of spirituous liquors. 4. Great relaxation of the vascular parts, in consequence of poor, watery and viscid nutriment, impure damp air, etc. 5. A general acrimony of the fluids, after repelled eruptions, or from an accumulation of acrid, gouty, bilious, and other humours. 6. General debility consequent to copious evacuations, or convulsive diseases, which have reduced the whole nervous system : - the operation of all these causes is often pro-moted by an hereditary disposition of the individual.

Regimen. Drinking was formerly considered as very injurious to dropsical patients, so that physicians often prohibited the use of all liquid food. Later experience, however, has evinced the fallacy of this rule; for, in many cases, the disease has been cured merely by abundant dilution; especially in those constitutions which are not naturally phlegmatic. Hence it has been found, that the copious use of mineral waters (see Diuretics) has frequently been attended with the best effects. - Vegetable acids, such as vinegar, the juice of lemons, oranges, etc. diluted with water, should be drunk in preference to wines or spirits, either of which are generally hurtful. The aged and emaciated, however, may occasionally take a glass of wine, or, with equal advantage, mustard whey, or ginger-tea. - Their diet ought to consist of nou-rishing and stimulating dishes, but of easy digestion, and to be taken in moderation. Whit * meat, fowls, and even game properly roasted or stewed, may be eaten with toasted bread or biscuits. Horse-radish, onions, and garlic, may be used instead of foreign spices, and in large proportions. But tea, coffee, and punch, are alike improper for irritable and nervous habits.

Muscular exercise and gentle, but often repeated friction of the parts affected, are two primary objects which deserve attention.— The patient ought to live in a warm, dry place, not expose him-self to cold or damp air, and wear flannel next the skin, to promote perspiration. - The tepid bath has often procured considerable relief.

Medicine. In the beginning of the disease, brisk laxatives, consisting of rhubarb and cream of tartar, may be of immediate service to the young and robust, but to aged or debilitated patients, we cannot with safety recommend either purgatives or emetics ; as the latter in particular, may be attended with serious consequences. In such cases, medical advice should not be neglected. In general, however, small doses of cream of tartar, namely, half a dram, six or eight times a-day ; and from six to ten grains of salt-petre, with three or four grains of powdered squill, every morning and evening, may imay be taken without risk, if pro-fessional assistance cannot be easily-obtained. - All other drugs, forin-stance, bark, tartar emetic, camphor, opium, etc. are powerful remedies, which ought to be pre-scribed by those only who possess the ability of ascertaining the nature and cause of the disease. For similar reasons, we cannot implicitly approve of the external application of oil, nor the swallowing of a table spoonful of common sand every day: this is a curious, but cheap remedy, which has lately been announced by Dr. Guthrie, of St. Petersburgh, who informs us that it was found "to purge the patient pretty briskly, and to procure a relief of all the symptoms."