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, when severe, is a very ugly-looking complaint. The body is frequently covered with spots and patches of a dark purple colour,-whence its name,-and it evidently arises from a sluggish and disordered state of the system. The appearance of the spots is sometimes preceded by various symptoms indicative of deranged health, such as languor, general uneasiness, indisposition to active exercise, weakness, paleness or sallowness of the complexion, pains in the back, limbs, or abdomen, headache, loss of appetite. Sometimes some of these symptoms are wanting, sometimes others, and occasionally no notice is taken of a child's being out of health, till the spots make their appearance. Much debility often attends the complaint, and some patients are liable to frequent attacks of faintness, or to positive fainting fits. In long-continued cases, the face becomes of a dingy paleness, and great emaciation often takes place. The duration of the disease varies according to the severity of the case and the nature of the treatment. Slight cases of simple Purpura are without danger, and even severe cases will recover with proper treatment. The causes of the disease are not very plain; sometimes the disease appears to arise from causes of a debilitating nature, calculated to impair the efficiency of the process of bloodmaking, while at the same time there is a want of due material out of which the blood is to be made. Hence unwholesome, indigestible, and scanty food, confined and impure air, indolent or sedentary habits, depressing emotions, continued fatigue, and the debility produced by various diseases, as smallpox, measles, and scarlet fever, have been classed among the causes of Purpura.
Many different modes of treatment have been tried in this complaint, but the most successful I have witnessed was the following: the patient, a girl, about twelve years of age, was sallow, much emaciated, and covered with numerous spots both large and small, of a dark purple colour. The girl was weak, and in bed when seen. Notwithstanding the debility, she was ordered a brisk cathartic of Jalap and Cream of Tartar, every day, for three days; and during the day-time two tablespoonfuls of the following mixture every four hours:
Carbonate of Potash...........................Two drams.
Citric Acid.......................................A dram and a half.
Compound Tincture of Cardamoms........Half an ounce.
Syrup..............................................Half an ounce.
Water, sufficient to make half a pint.
By the end of the third day, the countenance looked brighter, the skin began to get clearer, the spots to fade away, and, notwithstanding the purgatives, the patient felt stronger; the purgative was now given only every third day, and some bitter tonic tincture was added to the mixture. The girl soon got quite well. The strength was supported by nourishing diet; bread and rice puddings, beef tea, mutton broth, boiled mutton, and similar things.