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94. But thus much is certain, the cure of the scurvy is no more to be attempted by strongly active medicines than ( to use the similitude of an ingenious writer ) a thorn in the flesh, or pitch on silk to be removed by force. The viscid humour must be gently resolved and diluted, the tone of the vessels recovered by a moderate stimulation and the tender fibres and capillary vessels gradually cleared from the concreted stuff, that adheres and obstructs them. All which is in the aptest manner performed by a watery diluent, containing a fine vegetable soap. And although a compleat cure by alteratives, operating on the small capillaries, and by insensible discharges, must require length of time, yet the good effect of this medicine on cachectic and scorbutic persons, is soon perceived, by the change it produceth in their pale discoloured looks, giving a florid healthy countenance in less time than perhaps any other medicine.
95. It is supposed by physicians, that the immediate cause of the scurvy dies in the blood, the fibrous part of which is too thick and the serum too thin and sharp: and that hence ariseth the great disficulty in the cure, because in the correcting of one part, regard must be had to the other. It is well known how extemely disficult it is to cure an inveterate scurvy: how many scorbutic patients have grown worse by an injudicious course of evacuations: how many are even rendered incurable by the treatment of inconsiderate physicians: and how difficult, tedious and uncertain the cure is in the hands even of the best, who are obliged to use such variety and change of medicines, in the different stages of that malady: which nevertheless may be cured (if I may judge by what I have experienced) by the sole, regular, constant, copious use of tar-water,
g6. Tar-water moderately inspissates with it's balfamic virtue, and renders mild the thin and sharp part of the blood. The fame, as a soapy medicine, dissolves the grumous concretions of the fibrous part. As a balfam it destroys the ulcerous acrimony of the humours, and as a deobstruent it opens and cleans the vesiels, restores their tone, and strenghtens the digestion, whose desects are the principal cause of feuivy and cachexy.
97. In the cure ot the scurvy, the principal aim is to subdue the acrimony of the blood and juices. But as this acrimony proceeds f rom different causes, or even opposite, as acid and alkaline, wlm is good in one fort of scurvy proves dangerous, or even mortal, in another. It is well known, that hot antiscorbutics, where the juices of the body are alcalescent, increase the disease. And sour fruits and vegetables produce a like efsect in the scurvy, caused by an acid acrimony. Hence fatal blunders are committed by unwary practitioners, whp, not distinguishing the nature of the disease, do frequently aggravate, instead of curing it. If I may trust what tryals I have been able to make, this water is good in the several kinds of scurvy, acid, alcaline, and muriatic, and I believe it the ordy medicine that cures them all without doing hurtjn any. As it contains a volatil acid (a) with a fine volatile oyl, why may not a medicine cool in, ope part and warm in another be a remedy to e.fther-extreme (b)? I have observed it to produce a,.kindly genial warmth without heat, a thing to be^ajmed at in all sorts of scurvy. Besides the bjtllam . in tar-water sheaths all scorbutic falts alike.: and its great virtues as a digester and deob3J.fl// v<i
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. ftruent struent are os general use in all scorbutic, and, I may add, in all chronical cases whatsoever.a discharge Of scorbutic falts by urine and by perspiration, the efsect of which last, though not so sensible, may yet be greater than that of falivation; especially if it be true, that in common lise insensible perspiration is to nutrition, and all sen* sible excretions, as five to three.
98. I cannot be sure that I have tried it in a scrophulous case, though 1 have tried it successfully in one that I suspected to be so. And I apprehend it would be very serviceable in such disorders. For although Doctor Gibbs in his treatise of the King's Evil derives that disease from a coagulating acid, which is also agreeable to the opinion of some other physicians, and although tar-water contain an acid, yet as it is a soap (a), it resolves instead of coagulating the juices of the body.
99. For hysterical and hypocondriacal disorders so frequent among us, it is commonly supposed that all acids are bad. Buc I will venture to except the acid soap of tar-water, having found by my own experience and that of many others, that it raiscth the spirits, and is an excellent antihysteric, nor less innocent than potent, which cannot be said of those others in common use, that often leave people worse than they found them.
100. In a high degree of scurvy a mercurial falivation is looked on by many as the only cure. "Which, by the vehement shock it gives the -whole frame, and the sensible secretion it produceth, may be thought to be more adequate to such an effect. But the disorder occasioned by that violent process, it is to be seared, may never be got over. The immediate danger, the frequent bad effects, the extreme trouble and nice care attending such a course do very deservedly make people afraid of it. And though the sensible secretion therein be so great, yet in a longer tract of time the use of tar-water may produce as great
101. Many hysteric and scorbutic ailments, many taints contracted by themselves, or inherited from their ancestors, afflict the people of condition in these isiands, often rendering them, upon the whole, much more unhappy than those whom poverty and labour have ranked in the lowest lot of lise -, which ailments might be fasely removed or relieved by the sole use of tar-water; And those livej which seem hardly worth living for bad appetite, low spirits, restless nights, wasting pains and anxieties, be rendered easy and comfortable.
102. As the nerves are instruments of senfation, it follows that spasms in the nerves may produce all symptoms, and therefore a disorder in the nervous system shall imitate all distempers, and occasion, in appearance, an asthma for instance, a pleurisy, or a fit of the stone. Now whatever is good for the nerves in general, is good against all such symptoms. But tar-water, as it includes in an eminent degree the virtues of warm gums and resins, is of great use for comforting and strengthening the nerves (a), curing twitches in the nervous fibres, cramps also, and numbness in the limbs, removing anxieties and promoting steep, in all which cases I have known it very successful.
103. This fase and cheap medicine suits all circumstances and all constitutions, operating easily, curing without disturbing, raising the spirits without depressing them, a circumstance that deserves
repeated attention, especially in these climates, where strong liquors so fatally and so frequently pror duce those very distresses they are designed to remedy; and, if I am not misinformed, even among the Ladies themselves, who are truly much to be pitied. Their condition of lise makes them a prey to imaginary woes, which never fail so grow up in minds unexercised and unemployed. To gee rid of these, it is faid, there are who betake themselves to distilled spirits. And it is not improbable, they are led gradually to the use of those poisons by a certain complaifant pharmacy, too much used in the modern practice, palsy drops, poppy cordial, plague water, and such like, which being in truth nothing but drams disguised, yet coming from the apothecaries, are considered only as medicines.
104. The foul of man was supposed by manyancient siges, to be thrust into the human body as into a prison, for punishment of past offences. But the worst prison is the body of an indolent Epicure, whose blood is inflamed by sermented liquors (a) and high fauces, or render'd putrid, sharp, and corrosive, by a stagnation of the animal jtiices through sloth and indolence; whose membranes are irritated by pungent salts, whose mind is agitated by painsul oscillations of the nervous (b) system, and whose nerves are mutually affected by the irregular passions of his mind. This ferment in the animal ceconomy darkens and confounds the intellect. It produceth vain terrours and vain conceits, and stimulates the soul with mad desires, which, not being natural, nothing in na-' tur.e can fatisfy. No wonder, therefore, there are so many sine persons of both sexes, shining themselves, and shone on by fortune, who are inwardly miserable and sick of lise.
(») 66. (i) 86.
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