The season has come which is so unrelentingly severe on the very young, the old, and the weak. Concerning the first class it behooves us to study well the remedies particularly adapted to their ailments, which are provoked or aggravated by heat. Prominent among such affections are bowel complaints.
Well-tried remedies, such as Aconite, Bryonia, Sulphur, Ipecac, Arsenic, Carbo. Veg, Podophyl, Veratrum Alb etc, should be uppermost in our armamentarium, for they will be most frequently needed; but there are several newly added drugs which must not be forgotten in the limited number of cases calling for them. We subjoin a few.
Oenothera Biennis, or the Evening Primrose common in fields and waste places, is an invaluable remedy in exhausting, watery diarrhea. It does not act, as has been suggested, as an astringent, by its tannic acid, but is a genuine Homoeopathic remedy, producing and curing diarrhea. The evacuations are without effort, and are accompanied by nervous exhaustion, and even with incipient hydrocephaloid.
Gnaphalium causes watery, offensive, morning diarrhea, which repeats itself often during the day. The provers were children, and well have they portrayed a very common group of cholera infantum symptoms. They had rumbling in the bowels, colicky pains, and were, at the same time, cross and irritable. The urine was scanty, and the appetite and taste were lost. A writer in the “Homoeopathy” used this drug very successfully last summer, and Dr. Hale refers to it in his Therapeutics.
Geranium Maculatum is also a successful baby’s remedy. Dr. Hale devotes eight pages to Geranium and other astringents, dividing their actions according to his rule of primary and secondary symptoms, and deducing thence two propositions for use in practice. The provings, brief enough they are, help us in the choice of the drug, viz., “Constant desire to go to stool, with inability for sometime to pass any fecal matter when the bowels move without pain or effort. Mouth dry, tip of tongue burning.” Allopaths use it as an astringent.
Paullinia Sorbilis has been suggested for diarrhea, which is green and profuse, but odorless.
Opuntia comes to us recommended by so careful an observer,— Dr. Burdick— that although we have not used it, we do not hesitate to present it anew: “Nausea from stomach to bowels; feels as if the bowels were settled down into the lower abdomen.” Confirmed in adults. In infants we may perhaps look to this drug when the lower part of the abdomen is the seat of disease, as this seems to be its characteristic seat of attack.
Nuphar Luteum causes yellow diarrhea, worse in the morning, either with colic or painless. It has been employed for diarrhea during typhoid, and indeed seems to cause nervous weakness. Whether it will be of service for infants remains to be seen. We should look into it when Gamboge, Chelidon., etc fail and when exhaustion is a prominent attendant.
Kali Bromatum has been several times given successfully in cholera infantum when there were great prostration, cool surface, and symptoms of hydrocephaloid. Compare Cinchona (incipient hydrocephaloid, following prolonged or oft-repeated diarrhoeic discharges), Calcarea phos., Carbo Veg., Veratrum Alb., Camph, etc.
Among dietic adjuvants, Koumiss and Lactopeptin are comparatively new.