Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Camphor A Cure for Cholera

From Houghtaling's Handbook ©1887

Camphor a Cure for Cholera

The following simple remedy was issued in handbill form by the Hibernia Printing Office, Dublin Ireland, during the severe visitiation of the cholera in 1836, and was the means of saving thousands of lives. It was also used with valuable effect in 1848, and we would advise its use again should that epidemic visit our shores. In any case, however, no hard could be done by having it in the house during the warm months:

Dissolve one ounce of camphor in six ounces of spirits of wine and give a small bottle of it to any intelligent person in your neighborhood who will undertake to administer it to his poor neighbors when they are seized with cholera or any of its symptoms, withou deviating in the slightest degree from the following instructions:

When any person is seized with symptoms of cholera, such as vomiting, purging, sudden weakness, coldness, cramps or spasms, do not give them brandy or whiskey or any kind of medicine whatever, but put them to bed at once, covering them warmly, not overloading them with bed clothes, and as soon as you possibly can let the patient take two drops (not more) of the camphor mixture on a little pounded sugar in a spoonful of cold or iced water. In five minutes after let him take a second dose of two drops in the same way, and in five minutes repeat the same thing. He is then to wait ten or fifteen minutes to see wether or not there is a sense of returning warmth, with a disposition toward perspiration and manifest decrease of sickness, cramps, etc., when, if necessary, he must take two drops, as before, and repeat the dose every five minutes until twelve or fourteen drops have been taken. In administering this remedy you must particularly observe that if the patient takes anything of any sort or kind, except cold or iced water while the medicine is intended to operate, its whole effects will be destroyed, for the least foreign medicine will neutralize the camphor, which is given to check vomiting and to produce a free, warm perspiration. The use of the cold or iced water is given on the advice of the late celebrated and successful Dr. Paddock, of London, who always allowed his patients to drink cold or iced water, as it tends to promote free perspiration, and also abundant discharge of yellow bile.

The patient must not be allowed to rise and expose him or herself to the slightest degree of cold, and should not be tormented with baths, steamings or rubbing of any kind, but permitted to lie still, as he will fall asleep when perspiration comes on, and after some hours will, with God's assistance, awake well, though weak and languid and perhaps a little feverish in which case he may get a dose, say a teaspoonful of Gregory's powder or rhubarb and magnesia, with a little peppermint water or weak sal volatile and water to wash it down, but must be kept quiet, taking only a little soup, broth or gruel for a day or two.

Lord Ponsonby writing to his brother, the Bishop of Derry, stated that to his knowledge these camphor drops had proved to be a certain cure for cholera, both in France and Germany, whenever taken in time, and the cure is generally effected before it is possible to procure a physician-that is less than in an hour.

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