Liver, the largest and most ponderous of the abdominal viscera, which, in adults, weighs about 3lb. It is situated under, and connected with the diaphragm, by means of the suspensory and other ligaments; extends over the right side of the stomach, and serves to purify the blood, by secreting the bile.
The liver of animals affords neither wholesome nor palatable food. The blood-vessels and biliary matters connected with this organ, render it still more objectionable, especially to plethoric persons. From it3 dry and earthy nature, it corrupts the chyle, and obstructs the vessels : hence it requires a great quantity of drink, and ought to be eaten only by the robust, whose powers of digestion are unimpaired.
Obstruction of the Liver, a disease in which the blood is apt to stagnate, and form congestions in that viscus.- Its symptoms are, difficulty of breathing, an irregular heat in the whole body, dry cough, Joss of appetite, and a straightness about the region of the heart: the urine is at first thin and limpid; but, as the hectic fever increases, it assumes a deep orange-colour, and, at length, deposits a thick sediment. This complaint chiefly affec-ts persons of sedentary occupations, or those whose natural discharges are suddenly obstructed, and Such as use too gross a diet, or indulge in too long repose on feather-beds.
Cure: Blisters applied to the region of the liver; emetics; mercury, used both externally and internally.—Considerable benefit has also been derived from the use of gum ammoniac, in the form of an ointment, with oxymel of squills, and the application of emollient clysters ; from the extract of the Common Hemlock, prescribed according to circumstances, and like-wise from the Bath-waters.- The patient's diet should be light and nourishing.
Inflammation of the LiVer, or Hepatitis, a most dangerous and frequent disorder in hot climates it is accompanied with tension and pain in the right side, under the false ribs ; a difficulty of breathing and lying on the left side; dry cough, vomiting, hiccough, and loathing of food.
The more immediate causes of this affection are, indurations, or hard tumors of the liver; too great fatness in the amentum or caul j sudden exposure to cold air, or the drinking of cold water, when the body is over-heated; violent concussions occasioned by too pow-erful emetics, etc.
In this, as in other inflammations of the viscera, recourse must be first had to blood-letting, which, should be repeated according to the nature of the case; a blister is then to be applied to the part affected ; mercurial purgatives, together with emollient and attenuating clysters, are next to be administered; The abdomen and legs ought also to be frequently bathed in warm water.— Lately, the nitrous acid, largely diluted with water and mucilage, or syrup, has proved almost a specific in chronical affections of the liver, in the East Indies 5 but this medicine cannot safely be taken, without medical advice. The diet and regimen to be observed by such patients, we have already stated (p. 12) under the article Inflammatory Fever.