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It's wonderful success, in preventing and mitigating that distemper, (a) would incline one to suspect that tar-water is such a specific, especially since I have found it of sovereign use as well during the small pox as before it. Some think an Erysipelas and the Plague differ only in degree. If so, tar-water should be useful in the Plague, for I have known it cure an Erysipelas.
84. Tar-water, as cleansing, healing, and balfamic, is good in all disorders of the urinary palfages, whether obstructed or ulcerated. Doctor Lister supposeth, indeed, that turpentines act by a caustic quality, which irritates the coats of the urinary ducts to expel sand or gravel. But, it should seem, this expelling diuretic virtue consisted rather in the salts than the resin, and consequently resides in the tar-water, gently stimulating by it's falts, without the dangerous force of a caustic. The violent operation of Ipecacuanha lies in it's resin, but the faline extract is a gentle purge and diuretic, by the stimulus of it's salts.
85. That which acts as a mild cordial, (b) neither hurting the capillary vessels as a caustic, nor affecting the nerves, nor coagulating the juices, must in all cases be a friend to nature, and assist the vis vitæ in it's struggle against all kinds of contagion. And from what I have observed, tar-water appears to me an useful preservative in all epidemical disorders, and against all other infection whatsoever, as well as that of the small-pox. What effects the animi pathemata have in human maladies, is well known, and consequently the general benefit of such a cardiac may be reasonably supposed.
86. As the body is said to clothe the soul, so the nerves may be said to constitute her inner garment. And as the soul animates the whole, what : (a) 2, 3. : (6) 66.
neatly touches the soul relates to all. Therefore the asperity of tartarous falts, and the fiery 'acrimony of alcaline falts, irritating and wounding the nerves, produce nascent passions and anxieties in the soul; which both aggravate distempers, and render mens lives restless and wretched, even when they are afflicted with no apparent diftemper. This is the latent spring of much woe, fpleen, and tædium vitæ. Small imperceptible irritations of the minuteft fibres or filaments, caufed by the pungent sålts of wines and fauces, do so shake and disturb the microcosms of high livers, as often to raise tempefts in courts and fenates. Whereas the gentle vibrations that are raised in the nerves, by a fine subtile acid, sheathed in a smooth volatile oil (a), softly stimulating and bracing the nervous vesels and fibres, promotes a due circulation and secretion of the animal juices, and creates a calm satisfied sense of health. And accordingly I have often known tar-water procure sleep and compose the spirits in cruel vigils, occafioned either by sickness or by too intense applicacion of mind.
87. In diseases sometimes accidents happen from without by mismanagement, sometimes latent causes operate within, jointly with the specific taint or peculiar cause of the malady. The causes of distempers are often complicated, and there may be something in the idiosyncrasy of the patient that puzzles the physician. It may therefore be presumed that no medicine is infallible, not even in any one disorder. But as tar-water possesseth the virtues of fortifying the stomach, as well as purifying and invigorating the blood, beyond any medicine that I know, it may be presumed of great
(a) 59, 6 los
and general efficacy in all those numerous illnesses, which take their rise from foul or vapid blood, or from a bad digestion. The animal spirits are elaborated from the blood. Such therefore as the blood is, such will be the animal spirit, more or less, weaker or stronger, This Theweth the usefulness of tar-water in all hysteric and hypochondriac cases; which together with the maladies from indigestion comprise almost the whole tribe of chronical diseases.
88. The fcurvy may be reckoned in these climates an universal malady, as people in general are subject to it, and as ic mixes more or less in almost all diseases. Whether this proceeds from want of elasticity in our air, upon which the tone of the vessels depends, and upon that the several fecretions ; or whether it proceeds from the moisture of our climate, or the grossness of our food, or the salts in our atmofphere, or from all these together ; thus much at least seems not absurd to suppose, that, as physicians in Spain and Italy are apt to suspect the venereal taint to be a Jatent principle, and bear a part in every illness, so for as good reason the fcurvy should be confidered by our physicians, as having some share in most disorders and constitutions that fall in their way. It is certain our perspiration is not so free as in clearer air and warmer climates. Perspirable humours not discharged will stagnate and putrify. A diet of animal food will be apt to render the juices of our bodies alcalescent. Hence ichorous and corrosive humours and many disorders, Moist air makes viscid blood; and salinę air inflames this viscid blood. Hence broken capillaries, extravaLated blood, spots, and ulcers, and other scorbutic symptoms. The body of a man attracts and imbibes che moisture and salts of the air, and what
ever Aloats in the atmosphere, which, as it is common to all, so it affects all more or less. ': .89. Doctor Musgrave thinks the Devonshire scurvy à relique of the leprosy, and that it is not owing to the qualities of the air. · But as these infúlars in general live in a gross faline air, and their verfels being less elastic, are consequently less able to fubdue and cast off what their bodies as sponges draw in, one would be tempted to suspect the air hot a little concerned, especially in such a situation as that of Devonshire. In all these British islands we enjoy a great mediocrity of climate, the effect whereof is, that we have neither heat enough to exalt and diffipate the gross vapours, as in Italy, nor cold enough to condense and precipitate them, as in Sweden. So they are left floating in the air, which we constantly breath, and imbibe through the whole surface of our bodies. And this together with exhalations from coal fires, and the various foffils wherein we abound, doth greatly contribute to render us fcorbutic'and hypochondriac.
90. There are some who derive all diseases from the scurvy, which indeed must be allowed to create or mimic most other maladies. Boerhaave tells us, it produceth pleuritic, colic, nephritic, hepatic pains, various fevers, hot, malignant, intermitting, dysen. teries, faintings, anxieties, dropsies, consumptions, convulfions, palsies, Auxes of blood. In a word, it may be said to contain the seeds and origin of almost all distempers. Insomuch that a medicine which cures all sorts of scurvy, may be presumed good for most other maladies.
91. The scurvy doth not only in variety of symptoms imitate most distempers, but also when come to a height, in degree of virulence equal the most malignant. Of this we have a remarkable proof, in that horrible description of the scorbutic
dok fires. And this chrow.cair,
patients in the hospitals of Paris, given by-monsieur Poupart, in the Memoirs of the royal aca. demy of sciences, for the year, one thousand, fix hundred and ninety-nine. That author thinks he saw some resemblance in it to the plague of Athens, It is hard to imagine any thing more dreadful than the case of those men, rotting alive by the scurvy in it's supreme degree. To obviate such putrefaction, I believe the most effectual method would be, to embalm (if one may so fay) the living body with tar-water copiously drunk; and this belief is not without experience.
92. It is the received opinion that the animal fales of a sound body are of a neutral, bland and benign nature : that is, the salts in the juices past the primæ viæ, are neither acid nor alcaline, hav. ing been subdued by the constitution, and changed into a third nature. Where the constitution wants force to do this, the aliment is not duly afsimulated ; and so far as the sales retain their pristine qualities, sickly symptoms ensue, acids and alkalies not perfectly subdued, producing weak ferments in the juices. Hence scurvy, cachexy, and a long train of ills,
93. A cachexy or ill habit is much of the same kind with the scurvy, proceeds from the same cau. fes and is attended with like symptoms, which are so manifold and various, that the scurvy may well be looked on as a general cachexy, infecting the whole habit and vițiating all the digestions, Some have reckoned as many sorts of the scurvy, as there are different taints of the blood. Others have fupposed it a collection of all illnesses together. Some suppose it an accuinulation of several diseases in fieri. Others take it for an assemblage of the reļiques of old distemperş.