Thomsonian emetics constitute the most effectual remedy employed in the treatment of disease. There is scarcely a form or variety of disease in which the use of emetics will not prove beneficial, and in many instances they are indispensably necessary to the recovery of the patient.
Previous to the discovery of the medical properties of Lobelia by Samuel Thomson, poisonous articles were employed almost exclusively as emetics. Even now the medical profession continues to prescribe the same deleterious articles, notwithstanding the evidence afforded of the efficiency of Lobelia emetics in cleansing the stomach, and likewise knowing as they do that it possesses no deleterious qualities.
In some cases of slight or sudden attacks of disease, all that is required by the operation of an emetic is merely to throw off the foul contents of the stomach, which had oppressed and distended its functions. But where disease has become seated, other important objects are obtained by the operation of Thomsonian emetics. They relax the system, and in this way overcome obstructions, equalize the circulation of the blood and of the nervous influence; invigorate the energies of the stomach, and remove morbid secretions from its mucous surface; restore the secretions, and in fact, assist the constitution in resisting disease, and thus aid her efforts in restoring to health.
Whenever there is a general fever pervading the body, it is evidence of a diseased condition of the stomach; and hence in fever, the use of emetics are particularly indicated. Whether a fever arises from the cause of undigested food in the stomach, worms in the intestines, its energies sunken or its functions prostrated by the poisonous influence of Marsh Effluvia, or from previous exposure to cold, Thom-sonian emetics are indicated.
In measles, scarlet fever, and small-pox the disease will be rendered more mild in its character, less dangerous, and sometimes of shorter duration by the early administration of a Thomsonian emetic.
In disease of children, emetics constitute by far the most efficient remedy. Vomiting is nature's method of relieving the stomach of infancy. If a child does not vomit at any time, it can be set down as an absolute sign that the child will not live for any length of time. We can scarcely do wrong in giving emetics to sick children, more especially at an early stage of disease. In cases of sudden attacks of fever, croup, convulsions, etc., Lobelia should be given freely, either in powder in warm teas, or in simple warm water, the tincture, or the third preparation. The latter is particularly adapted to cases of spasms, and in cases where the heat of the system is very low, and in the advanced stages of disease. No danger need be apprehended from vomiting a child too much in croup, nor in any other violent attack of disease; nor of relaxing the system too much with Lobelia, especially if a few grains of Capsicum be given with the Lobelia. This might well be called an Elixir of Life.
In protracted chills, where the patient is in a stupor, the third preparation of Lobelia should be freely given, with the application of external warmth and friction to the surface with a view of bringing on a reaction.
Emetics administered in the early period of scarlet fever will sometimes exert a powerful influence in moderating the violence, and in shortening the duration of the disease.
In cases of bleeding from the lungs the effect of the operation of emetics is to attract blood from the lungs and diffuse it through the system by which the bleeding will be checked. Warm foot baths, or the vapor bath should be employed to aid in restoring the natural equilibrium of the circulation of the blood.
In bleeding from the stomach, in which case blood will be raised by vomiting, the employment of active emetics are indicated, not only for dislodging accumulations of blood in the stomach, which may have oppressed its energies, but to cause a distribution of blood throughout the system, and to strengthen the weakened capillary vessels of the mucous membrane of the stomach. The third preparation of Lobelia given freely, together with the application of the vapor bath, is successful in the treatment of bleeding from the stomach, and it is not known to have ever failed in checking the hemorrhage.
In uterine hemorrhage the flow of blood may in general be controlled by active emetics, aided by the use of injections of Geranium directly to the parts, or packing with cotton which has been made wet with tincture of Geranium. Nothing is equal to this.
In severe colds and sore throat, either from inflammation or the existence of ulcers, emetics are of great utility.
Emetics are more effectual than any other remedy in the cure of consumption, bronchitis, and other forms of disease of the chest. I never do without a tablet composed of Lobelia and Capsicum in the treatment of these diseases and always give a tablet containing two grains of Lobelia and eight grains of Capsicum before meals. This acts as a powerful tonic and there is no reaction.
The most severe paroxysms of asthma may be overcome by a thorough emetic, more especially when the emetic is preceded by the application of a vapor bath, rendering the system more sensitive to the impression of medicine.
In pleurisy and inflammation of the lungs, emetics may be employed with great advantage, more especially in the early period of the disease. I have never observed the act of vomiting to be attended with much pain or difficulty in the most violent cases of pleurisy and inflammation of the lungs. As a patient sickens the system becomes relaxed, which affords an explanation why a patient may vomit with so little pain or difficulty when there is active inflammation in the pleura or lungs.
In their wide and pervading operation, emetics subdue or have a tendency to subdue vascular action, to remove cutaneous constriction, promote absorption from the lungs, facilitate expectoration, lessen dyspnoea, cough and saguineous discharge, to calm the system by equalizing excitement, and thus reestablishing that just balance in the distribution of the blood, on which the restoration and maintenance of health so materially depends.