Headaches in Childhood

January 28th, 2008

Headaches in childhood should always be looked upon as a matter for serious inquiry and care; for they may be excited by very many causes. Even the headaches of children are divided into various classes; thus there is the school headache, the headache which is peculiar to periods of rapid growth, the headache which is caused by bloodlessness and nervous exhaustion, and that which is peculiar to any strain. The exciting causes are generally excessive fatigue, exhaustion of mind or nerve, digestive disorder, changes in the weather, badly heated and ill-ventilated rooms, want of exercise, poverty of the blood, or disorder of the blood by various impurities developed in the system, over-work, excitement, undue exposure to heat or cold, colds in the nose and back of the throat, or decayed teeth.

Headaches caused by bloodlessness should give rise to careful investigation of the diet, and lead one as a rule to decide that plenty of blood-making food, such as meat broths, green vegetables, and iron tonics are required, while a great deal of outdoor exercise is needed. It must be remembered that not every pale-faced child is suffering from poverty of the blood, and that some who are well supplied with fat may have poor blood. If the child is really suffering in this way, the insides of the eyelids and gums are invariably of a pale yellowish colour; the colour of the lips and cheeks does not afford so good a test.

When a child complains of headache after study, or using the eyes over close work, such as writing, drawing, or sewing, it should certainly be taken to an oculist, for very often the use of glasses is imperative, owing to some defect in the eyes, which, not uncommonly, is that the sight of one eye is different to that of the other.

Children who indulge in over-eating or careless eating may be relieved either by spontaneous vomiting, or the mother should give an emetic or aperient. Headaches caused by chronic cold are, of course, only to be removed by treatment of this complaint, and the same may be said of those due to decayed teeth, or to the pressure on the nerves by over-crowding of the jaw.

Nervous headaches in the children of parents who suffer from rheumatism or gout depend much on the weather, and yield to anti-rheumatic treatment, especially warmth and warm bathing with the use of sulphur.

For headaches caused by dyspepsia, is is often desirable to peptonise the food, and to assist the stomach by small doses of camomile or calumba infusion before meals. Hysterical and imitative headaches are sometimes found in children of parents who suffer in a similar way, and in those accustomed to associate with people complaining of headache. In these cases the treatment is, of course, mainly moral; but the patient often also requires tonics, good food, gymnastics, bathing and outdoor exercise.

For the external treatment of headaches of most kinds hot foot baths, or mustard foot baths are of great service, with the application of a mustard plaster for a few minutes to the back of the neck; while to the seat of the pain menthol or chloral and camphor may be applied; and either hot or cold applications or gentle rubbing of the head, also often give immense relief.

Source: Home Notes, January 1895

Tonic Drink

January 21st, 2008

Time, twenty-four hours.

A quarter of an ounce of camomile flowers; a quarter of an ounce of sliced gentian root; a quarter of an ounce of bruised columba; a quarter of an ounce of dried orange peel; fifty cloves bruised; a pint and a quarter of cold spring water.

Put these ingredients into a jug, and pour upon them rather more than a pint of cold spring water; let it stand twenty-four hours, then pour off the clear liquor. Take three tablespoonfuls for a dose, fasting every morning.

Source: Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book, Mary Jewry

Techniques: To Powder Substances

January 9th, 2008

Place the substance in the mortar, and strike it gently with direct perpendicular blows of the pestle, until it separates into several pieces, then remove all but a small portion, which bruise gently at first, and rub the pestle round and round the mortar, observing that the circles described by the pestle should gradually decrease in diameter, and then increase again, because by this means every part of the powder is subjected to the process of pulverization.

Some substances require to be prepared in a particular manner before they can be powdered, or to be assisted by adding some other body. For example, camphor powders more easily when a few drops of spirits of wine are added to it; mace, nutmeg and such oily aromatic substances are better for the addition of a little white sugar; resins and gum-resins should be powdered in a cold place, and if they are intended to be dissolved, a little fine well-washed white sand mixed with them assists the process of powdering. Tough roots, like gentian and calumba, should be cut into thin slices; and fibrous roots like ginger, cut slanting, otherwise the powder will be full of small fibres. Vegetable matter, such as peppermint, loosestrife, senna, &c., requires to be dried before it is powdered.

Be careful not to pound too hard in glass, porcelain or Wedgwoodware mortars; they are intended only for substances that pulverize easily, and for the purpose of mixing or incorporating medicines. Never use acids in a marble mortar, and be sure that you do not powder galls or any other astringent substance in any but a brass mortar.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything

A Tonic

January 4th, 2008

Mix one teaspoonful of powdered rhubarb with the same quantity of dried bicarbonate of soda, then add two teaspoonfuls of powdered calumba root. Dose, from ten to twenty grains as a tonic, after fevers, in all cases of debility and dyspepsia attended with acidity.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything

Techniques: Infusion

January 1st, 2008

Infusion is one of the most frequent operations required in making up medicines, its object being to extract the aromatic and volatile principles of substances, that would be lost by decoction or digestion; and to extract the soluble from the insoluble parts of bodies. Infusions such as calumba and quassia may be made with cold water, in which case they are weaker, but more pleasant. The general method employed consists in slicing, bruising or rasping the ingredients first, then placing them in a common jug (which should be as globular as possible), and pouring boiling water over them. Cover the jug with a cloth folded six or eight times, but if there be a lid to the jug so much the better. When the infusion has stood the time directed, hold a piece of very coarse linen over the spout, and pour the liquid through it into another jug.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything.