Treatment of Scarlet Fever

September 11th, 2016

Rubbing the body with hogs’ lard or fat reduces the temperature of the skin. A celebrated German physician recommends to incorporate one or two grammes of carbolic acid, into one hundred grammes of lard, and with this to rub the whole body, excepting the head, two or three times a day. The acid operates to destroy the germs or spores of the disease, the lard softens the skin and reduces the temperature.

Source: The Housekeeper’s Friend: A Practical Cookbook

Ingredient: Roses

November 22nd, 2008

Certain curative properties are possessed both by the Briar, or wild Dog Rose of our country hedges, and by the cultivated varieties of this queen of flowers in our Roseries. The word Rose means red, from the Greek rodon, connected also with rota, a wheel, which resembles the outline of a Rose. The name Briar is from the Latin bruarium, the waste land on which it grows. The first Rose of a dark red colour, is held to have sprung from the blood of Adonis. The fruit of the wild Rose, which is so familiar to every admirer of our hedgerows in the summer, and which is the common progenitor of all Roses, is named Hips. “Heps maketh,” says Gerard, “most pleasant meats or banquetting dishes, as tarts and such like, the concoction whereof I commit to the cunning cook, and teeth to eat them in the rich man’s mouth.”

Hips, derived from the old Saxon, hiupa, jupe, signifies the Briar rather than its fruit. They are called in some parts, “choops,” or “hoops.” The woolly down which surrounds the seeds within the Hips serves admirably for dispelling round worms, on which it acts mechanically without irritating the mucous membrane which lines the bowels.

When fully ripe and softened by frost, the Hips, after removal of their hard seeds, and when plenty of sugar is added, make a very nice confection, which the Swiss and Germans eat at dessert, and which forms an agreeable substitute for tomato sauce. Apothecaries employ this conserve in the preparing of electuaries, and as a basis for pills. They also officinally use the petals of the Cabbage Rose (Centifolia) for making Rose water, and the petals of the Red Rose (Gallica) for a cooling infusion, the brilliant colour of which is much improved by adding some diluted sulphuric acid; and of these petals they further direct a syrup to be concocted.

Next in development to the Dog Rose, or Hound’s Rose, comes the Sweetbriar (Eglantine), with a delicate perfume contained under its glandular leaves. “Fragrantia ejus olei omnia alia odoramenta superest.” This (Rosa rubiginosa) grows chiefly on chalk as a bushy shrub. Its poetic title, Eglantine, is a corruption of the Latin aculeius, prickly. A legend tells that Christ’s crown of thorns was made from the Rose-briar, about which it has been beautifully said:–

“Men sow the thorns on Jesus’ brow,
But Angels saw the Roses.”

Pliny tells a remarkable story of a soldier of the Praetorian guard, who was cured of hydrophobia, against all hope, by taking an extract of the root of the Kunoroddon, Dog Rose, in obedience to the prayer of his mother, to whom the remedy was revealed in a dream; and he says further, that it likewise restored whoever tried it afterwards. Hence came the title Canina. “Parceque elle a longtemps été en vogue pour guerir de la rage.”

But the term, Dog Rose, is generally thought to merely signify a flower of lower quality than the nobler Roses of garden culture.

The five graceful fringed leaflets which form the special beauty of the Eglantine flower and bud, have given rise to the following Latin enigma (translated):–

“Of us five brothers at the same time born,
Two from our birthday always beards have worn:
On other two none ever have appeared,
While our fifth brother wears but half a beard.”

From Roses the Romans prepared wine and confections, also subtle scents, sweet-smelling oil, and medicines. The petals of the crimson French Rose, which is grown freely in our gardens, have been esteemed of signal efficacy in consumption of the lungs since the time of Avicenna, A.D. 1020, who states that he cured many patients by prescribing as much of the conserve as they could manage to swallow daily. It was combined with milk, or with some other light nutriment; and generally from thirty to forty pounds of this medicine had to be consumed before the cure was complete. Julius Caesar hid his baldness at the age of thirty with Roman Roses.

“Take,” says an old MS. recipe of Lady Somerset’s, “Red Rose buds, and clyp of the tops, and put them in a mortar with ye waight of double refined sugar; beat them very small together, then put it up; must rest three full months, stirring onces a day. This is good against the falling sickness.”

It is remarkable that while the blossoms of the Rose Order present various shades of yellow, white, and red, blue is altogether foreign to them, and unknown among them.

As the Thistle is symbolical of Scotland, the Leek of Wales, and the Shamrock of Ireland: so the sweet, pure, simple, honest Rose of our woods is the apt-chosen emblem of Saint George, and the frank, bonny, blushing badge of Merrie England.

The petals of the Cabbage Rose (Centifolia), which are closely folded over each other like the leaves of a cabbage, have a slight laxative action, and are used for making Rose-water by distillation, whether when fresh, or after being preserved by admixture with common salt. This perfumed water has long enjoyed a reputation for the cure of inflamed eyes, more commonly when combined with zinc, or with sugar of lead. Hahnemann quotes the same established practice as a tacit avowal that there exists in the leaves of the Rose some healing power for certain diseased conditions of the eyes, which virtue is really founded on the homoeopathic property possessed by the Rose, of exciting a species of ophthalmia in healthy persons; as was observed by Echtius, Ledelius, and Rau.

It is recorded also in his Organon of Medicine, that persons are sometimes found to faint at the smell of Roses (or, as Pope puts it, to “die of a rose in aromatic pain”); whereas the Princess Maria, cured her brother, the Emperor Alexius, who suffered from faintings, by sprinkling him with Rose-water, in the presence of his aunt Eudoxia.

The wealthy Greeks and Romans strewed Roses on the tombs of departed friends, whilst poorer persona could only afford a tablet at the grave bearing the prayer:

“Sparge, precor, rosas super mea busta, viator.”

“Scatter Roses, I beseech you, over my ashes, O pitiful passer-by.”

But nowadays many persons have an aversion to throwing a Rose into a grave, or even letting one fall in.

Roses and reticence of speech have been linked together since the time of Harpocrates, whom Cupid bribed to silence by the gift of a golden Rose-bud; and therefore it became customary at Roman feasts to suspend over the table a flower of this kind as a hint that the convivial sayings which were then interchanged wore not to be talked of outside. What was spoken “sub vino” was not to be published “sub divo”:

“Est rosa flos veneris, cujus quo facta laterent
Harpocrati, matris dona, dicavit amor:
Inde rosam mensis hospes suspendid amicis,
Conviva ut sub eâ dicta tacenda sciat.”

For the same reason the Rose is found sculptured on the ceilings of banqueting rooms; and in 1526 it began to be placed over Confessionals. Thus it has come about that the Rose is held to be the symbol of secrecy, as well as the flower of love, and the emblem of beauty: so that the significant phrase “sub rosa,”–under the Rose,– conveys a recognised meaning, understood, and respected by everyone. The bed of Roses is not altogether a poetic fiction. In old days the Sybarites slept upon mattresses which were stuffed with Rose petals: and the like are now made for persons of rank on the Nile.

A memorial brass over the tomb of Abbot Kirton, in Westminster Abbey, bears testimony to the high value he attached during life to Roses curatively:–

“Sis, Rosa, flos florum, morbis medicina meoium.”

Many country persons believe, that if Roses and Violets are plentiful in the autumn, some epidemic may be expected presently. But this conclusion must be founded like that which says, “a green winter makes a fat churchyard,” on the fact that humid warmth continued on late in the year tends to engender putrid ferments, and to weaken the bodily vigour.

Attar of Roses is a costly product, because consisting of the comparatively few oil globules found floating on the surface of a considerable volume of Rose water thrice distilled. It takes five hundredweight of Rose petals to produce one drachm by weight of the finest Attar, which is preserved in small bottles made of rock crystal. The scent of the minutest particle of the genuine essence is very powerful and enduring:–

“You may break, you may ruin, the vase if you will,
But the scent of the Roses will hang round it still.”

The inscription, Rosamundi, non Rosa munda, was graven on the tomb of fair Rosamund, the inamorata of Henry the Seventh:–

“Hic jacet in tombâ Rosa Mundi, non Rosa munda;
Non redolet, sed olet quae redolere solet.”

“Here Rose the graced, not Rose the chaste, reposes;
The smell that rises is no smell of Roses.”

In Sussex, the peculiar excrescence which is often found on the Briar, as caused by the puncture of an insect, and which is known as the canker, or “robin redbreast’s cushion,” is frequently worn round the neck as a protective amulet against whooping cough. This was called in the old Pharmacopeias “Bedeguar,” and was famous for its astringent properties. Hans Andersen names it the “Rose King’s beard.”

The Rosary was introduced by St. Dominick to commemorate his having been shown a chaplet of Roses by the Blessed Virgin. It consisted formerly of a string of beads made of Rose leaves tightly pressed into round moulds and strung together, when real Roses could not be had. The use of a chaplet of beads for recording the number of prayers recited is of Eastern origin from the time of the Egyptian Anchorites.

The Rock Rose (a Cistus), grows commonly in our hilly pastures on a soil of chalk, or gravel, bearing clusters of large, bright, yellow flowers, from a small branching shrub. These flowers expand only in the sunshine, and have stamens which, if lightly touched, spread out, and lie down on the petals. The plant proves medicinally useful, particularly if grown in a soil containing magnesia. A tincture is prepared (H.) from the whole plant, English or Canadian, which is useful for curing shingles, on the principle of its producing, when taken by healthy provers in doses of various potencies, a cutaneous outbreak on the trunk of the body closely resembling the characteristic symptoms of shingles, whilst attended with nervous distress, and with much burning of the affected skin. The plant has likewise a popular reputation for healing scrofula, and its tincture is beneficial for reducing enlarged glands, as of the neck and throat; also for strumous swelling of the knee joint, as well as of other joints. It is a “helianthemum” of the Sunflower tribe.

The Canadian Rock Rose is called Frostwort and Frostweed, because crystals of ice shoot from the cracked bark below the stem during freezing weather in the autumn.

A decoction of our plant has proved useful in prurigo (itching), and as a gargle for the sore throat of scarlet fever. For shingles, from five to ten drops of the tincture, third decimal strength, should be given with a spoonful of water three times a day.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie

Ingredients: Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade)

November 8th, 2008

This is a Solanaceous plant found native in Great Britain, and growing generally on chalky soil under hedges, or about waste grounds. It bears the botanical name of Atropa, being so called from one of the classic Fates,–she who held the shears to cut the thread of human life:–

“Clotho velum retinet, Lachesis net, et atropos occit.”

Its second title, Belladonna, was bestowed because the Spanish ladies made use of the plant to dilate the pupils of their brilliant black eyes. In this way their orbs appeared more attractively lustrous: and the donna became bella (beautiful). The plant is distinguished by a large leaf growing beside a small one about its stems, whilst the solitary flowers, which droop, have a dark full purple border, being paler downwards, and without scent. The berries (in size like small cherries) are of a rich purplish black hue, and possess most dangerously narcotic properties. They are medicinally useful, but so deadly that only the skilled hands of the apothecary should attempt to manipulate them; and they should not be prescribed for a patient except by the competent physician. When taken by accident their mischievous effects may be prevented by swallowing as soon as possible a large glass of warm vinegar.

A tincture of allied berries was used of old by ladies of fashion in the land of the Pharaohs, as discovered among the mummy graves by Professor Baeyer, of Munich. This had the property of imparting a verdant sheen to the human iris; and, perhaps by the quaint colour-effect it produced on the transparent cornea of some wily Egyptian belle, it gave rise to the saying, “Do you see any green in the white of my eye?”

At one time Belladonna leaves were held to be curative of cancer when applied externally as a poultice, either fresh, or dried, and powdered. It is remarkable that sheep, rabbits, goats, and swine can eat these leaves with impunity, though (as Boerhaave tells) a single berry has been known to prove fatal to the human subject; and a gardener was once hanged for neglecting to remove plants of the deadly Night Shade from certain grounds which he knew. A peculiar symptom in those poisoned by Belladonna berries is the complete loss of voice, together with frequent bending forward of the trunk, and continual movements of the hands and fingers. The Scotch under Macbeth sent bread and wine treacherously impregnated with this poison to the troops of Sweno.

The plant bears other titles, as “Dwale” (death’s herb), “Great Morel,” and “Naughty Man’s Cherry.” The term “Morel” is applied to the plant as a diminutive of mora, a Moor, on account of the black-skinned berries. The Belladonna grows especially near the ruins of monasteries, and is so abundant around Furness Abbey that this locality has been styled the “Vale of Night Shade.”

Hahnemann taught that, acting on the law of similars, Belladonna given in very small doses of its tincture will protect from the infection of scarlet fever. He confirmed this fact by experiments on one hundred and sixty children. When taken by provers in actual toxic doses the tincture, or the fresh juice, has induced sore throat, feverishness, and a dry, red, hot skin, just as if symptomatic of scarlet fever. The plant yields atropine and hyoscyamine from all its parts. As a drug it specially affects the brain and the bladder. The berries are known in Buckinghamshire as “Devil’s cherries.”

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie

Ingredients: Capsicum (Cayenne)

April 21st, 2008

The Capsicum, or Bird Pepper, or Guinea Pepper, is a native of tropical countries; but it has been cultivated throughout Great Britain as a stove plant for so many years (since the time of Gerard, 1636) as to have become practically indigenous. Moreover, its fruit-pods are so highly useful, whether as a condiment, or as a medicine, no apology is needed for including it among serviceable Herbal Simples. The Cayenne pepper of our tables is the powdered fruit of Bird Pepper, a variety of the Capsicum plant, and belonging likewise to the order of Solanums; whilst the customary “hot” pickle which we take with our cold meats is prepared from another variety of the Capsicum plant called “Chilies.” This plant — the Bird Pepper — exercises an important medicinal action, which has only been recently recognized by doctors. The remarkable success which has attended the use of Cayenne pepper as a substitute for alcohol with hard drinkers, and as a valuable drug in delirium tremens, has lately led physicians to regard the Capsicum as a highly useful, stimulating, and restorative medicine. For an intemperate person, who really desires to wean himself from taking spirituous liquors, and yet feels to need a substitute at first, a mixture of tincture of Capsicum with tincture of orange peel and water will answer very effectually, the doses being reduced in strength and frequency from day to day. In delirium tremens, if the tincture of Capsicum be given in doses of half-a-dram well diluted with water, it will reduce the tremor and agitation in a few hours, inducing presently a calm prolonged sleep. At the same time the skin will become warm, and will perspire naturally; the pulse will fall in quickness, but whilst regaining fulness and volume; and the kidneys, together with the bowels, will act freely.

Chemically the plant furnishes an essential oil with a crystalline principle, “capsicin,” of great power. This oil may be taken remedially in doses of from half to one drop rubbed up with some powdered white sugar, and mixed with a wineglassful of hot water.

The medicinal tincture is made with sixteen grains of the powdered Capsicum to a fluid ounce of spirit of wine; and the dose of this tincture is from five to twenty drops with one or two tablespoonfuls of water. In the smaller doses it serves admirably to relieve pains in the loins when depending on a sluggish inactivity of the kidneys. Unbroken chilblains may be readily cured by rubbing them once a day with a piece of sponge saturated with the tincture of Capsicum until a strong tingling is induced. In the early part of the present century, a medicine of Capsicum with salt was famous for curing severe influenza with putrid sore throat. Two dessert spoonfuls of small red pepper; or three of ordinary cayenne pepper, were beaten together with two of fine salt, into a paste, and with half-a-pint of boiling water added thereto. Then the liquor was strained off when cold, and half-a-pint of very sharp vinegar was mixed with it, a tablespoonful of the united mixture being given to an adult every half, or full hour, diluted with water if too strong. For inflammation of the eyes, with a relaxed state of the membranes covering the eyeballs and lining the lids, the diluted juice of the Capsicum is a sovereign remedy. Again, for toothache from a decayed molar, a small quantity of cayenne pepper introduced into the cavity will often give immediate relief. The tincture or infusion given in small doses has proved useful to determine outwardly the eruption of measles and scarlet fever, when imperfectly developed because of weakness. Also for a scrofulous discharge of matter from the ears, Capsicum tincture, of a weak strength, four drops with a tablespoonful of cold water three times a day, to a child, will prove curative.

A Capsicum ointment, or “Chili paste,” scarcely ever fails to relieve chronic rheumatism when rubbed in topically for ten minutes at a time with a gloved hand; and an application afterwards of dry heat will increase the redness and warmth, which persist for some while, and are renewed by walking. This ointment, or paste, is made of the Oleo-resin — Capsicin — half-an-ounce, and Lanolin five ounces, the unguent being melted, and, after adding the Capsicin, letting them be stirred together until cold. The powder or tincture of Capsicum will give energy to a languid digestion, and will correct the flatulency often incidental to a vegetable diet. Again, a gargle containing Capsicum in a proper measure will afford prompt relief in many forms of sore throat, both by its stimulating action, and by virtue of its special affinities (H.); this particularly holds good for a relaxed state of the throat, the uvula, and the tonsils. Cayenne pepper is employed in the adulteration of gin.

The “Peter Piper” of our young memories took pickled pepper by the peck. He must have been a Homoeopathic prover with a vengeance; but has left no useful record of his experiments — the more’s the pity — for our guidance when prescribing its diluted forms.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie