In whooping cough more benefit may be derived from the use of emetics than from any other remedy. In violent cases an emetic should be given daily, or even two or three times a day. In those cases when violent paroxysms of coughing are observed to come on at certain periods, it is a good practice to place the patient under the influence of Lobelia, given even to the amount necessary to cause free vomiting previously to the time at which the paroxysms of coughing usually come on.
Emetics form an important part of the treatment for rheumatism, lumbago, gout, neuralgia, etc. No remedy under my observation produces so much relief in these forms of disease as active emetics; their efficacy will be greatly enhanced by the previous application of a vapor bath.
Of the various remedies that have been employed in the treatment of dyspepsia, emetics have proved the most successful. Even in cases where there is extreme tenderness at the pit of the stomach, an emetic after a vapor bath will afford more relief in general than any other remedy. In the early stage of dyspepsia, digestion, in most instances, may be restored by one or two active emetics, followed by the free use of Capsicum at meals.
Sick-headache depending upon a disordered condition of the stomach may be speedily relieved by a prompt emetic. Besides the speedy relief which the operation of emetics afford, they sometimes break up the disease altogether, the patient being freed from subsequent attacks.
Emetics are well adapted to the cure of every variety of colic, or cramp in the stomach. In diarrhoea, dysentery and cholera morbus, digestion is lost, and the stomach contains more or less foul matter, and its mucous surface is coated with thickened secretions, oppressing its functions, which increase the distress of the latter, and favor the disease. Hence to excite free vomiting is particularly indicated in the cure of such disorders. Besides relieving the stomach of foul matters, Thomsonian emetics exert a beneficial influence upon the secretions, cause a determination to the surface, restore capillary circulation, and aid the efforts of nature to restore healthy action in the mucous membrane of the bowels.
Epilepsy, or falling sickness, is in many instances occasioned by an oppressed or otherwise disordered state of the stomach, demanding the use of emetics. By exhibiting them just before the accession of the paroxysm, they will often prevent it, and even if they fail in this respect, they render it milder and of shorter duration. Nor is this all which they accomplish. By the strong and direct impression made on the stomach, the commencement in that organ of the wrong association constituting the disease, is broken, and afterwards it yields readily to tonics.
Nearly the same views may be taken of hysteria. Even admitting that the disease is mostly radiated in the uterus, it does unquestionably often proceed from gastric irritation, and demands to be treated accordingly. Whatever may be the immediate cause of the paroxysm, no remedy is so effectual as vomiting. It promptly allays the convulsive agitations of the nervous system, and produces a state of mental composure which invites to sleep.
The better way is to give an emetic during the paroxysm to cut it short and afterwards treat the cause which will usually be found to have its seat in the uterus. It may be an irritated or ulcerated womb, or something else, but it is always caused by the state of the womb and uterus, this affects the nervous system and brings on the paroxysm. Lobelia is of immense value in preventing the tension of the nervous system and the uterus must be, in the meantime, treated for the trouble.
Apoplexy brought on, as it often is, by a mass of undigested food in the stomach, calls for the free exhibition of emetics, of which the third preparation of Lobelia is the most appropriate. Lobelia should also be administered by injection and allowed to be retained in the bowels, to assist in exciting vomiting, relax the system, and equalize the nervous influence. Even if the seat of apoplexy is in the brain, and incurable, as it often proves to be, still the treatment can do no harm.
Mania is generally associated with, and most frequently dependent upon a disordered condition of the stomach. Many cases have been cured by free vomiting with stimulating emetics.
In long-continued dyspepsia, as in other forms of seated disease, the mucous membrane of the stomach becomes more or less coated with a false membrane; a general torpor then pervades the system, the nervous energy is prostrated, and the energies of the mind often greatly depressed. In such cases there is no plan of medical treatment which promises equal success with that of the frequent use of the steam bath and stimulating emetics. These means will prove the most effectual in restoring the secretions, and causing the detachment and removal of false membrane lining the stomach. Without effecting this the functions of the stomach cannot be restored. It has been observed on many occasions, that patients who had been long affected with dyspepsia, are very liable to experience severe pain under the operation of an emetic, and often complain of feeling worse about the time the disease is taking a favorable change.
Affections of the head in general proceed from derangement of the stomach, so that not only in sick-headache are emetics indicated, but the most violent neuralgic pains in the head, accompanied with extreme tenderness of the scalp, will sometimes be promptly relieved by free vomiting. Even genuine tic-doloreux, the neuralgia of some writers, has been cured, in several instances, by this same practice, and with such facility as to place it decidedly above all other modes of treating this most painful, and hitherto nearly unmanageable affection.
The operation of emetics in connection with the use of the vapor bath are applicable to cases of dropsy. Besides cleansing the stomach, placing the system under the relaxing influence of Lobelia promotes the action of the absorbent vessels, and consequently the use of this remedy is particularly well adapted to cases of dropsy.