This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
This complaint is marked by a gradual wasting of the body, attended with a fever of a slow, remitting kind, loss of appetite, and impaired digestion, depression of spirits and general languor. The general causes of this disease in adults, are, mental uneasiness, defective nutriment, long-continued intemperance, excessive sensual indulgences, impaired digestion, and among women the whites, and continuing to suckle too long. Among children: unwholesome air, poor diet, scanty clothing, severe evacuations, difficult dentition, great confinement within doors, worms in the stomach or bowels, bad digestion, and a scrofulous constitution; but the last is the most general cause. Occasionally it takes place without any evident cause.
Young persons of both sexes, who are of a delicate make, and who grow very fast, are apt to be attacked with this complaint before the age of puberty. It is particularly prevalent in large cities, where children have little opportunity of breathing pure country air, or where they are confined in crowded schoolrooms.
Children also, who are employed in factories are very apt to be attacked with it.
Sluggishness, lassitude on the slightest exertion, depravity and loss of appetite, wasting of the muscular flesh, paleness of the countenance, with bloating, swelling, and prominence of the belly, swelling of the feet and legs, an irregular and generally costive state of the bowels, a change in the colour and smell of the stools, and a foetid breath, are early symptoms. These are followed by alternate paleness and flushing of the countenance, heat and dryness of the skin, a constant picking of the lips, face, and fingers; a feeble and quick pulse, thirst, fretfulness, great debility, and disturbed sleep. Atrophy, from whatever cause it may arise, is difficult to cure, and requires great care, patience, and perseverance to accomplish.
Pure air, warm clothing, a diet of good, nourishing, easily-digestible food are absolutely necessary. No tough beef-steaks or hard pork, or salt meats are admissible.
If the patient is young, under fifteen, he may take alterative doses (according to the tables of doses) of Gray Powder combined with powdered Rhubarb, every night at bedtime, and during the daysman doses of the Iron Mixture. If there is any suspicion of Worms, a few doses of one of the Vermifuges recommended under the head of worms, may be taken.
When the complaint has been caused by suckling, the cause must be removed, and the child must be weaned; and with good nourishing diet, with perhaps wine, and proper attention to the digestive organs, the patient may in time recover her strength, with the assistance of tonics, of which the Iron Mixture, Wine of Iron, and Citrate of Iron and Quinine, will be the most serviceable.
If the patient should be feverish, she may take one of the Fever Mixtures prescribed in this work.