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.
To prevent a reproduction of the worms, when the canal is once cleared of them, it is necessary to attend to the food and drink of the patient, and, if the digestion is feeble, to assist it by means of tonic medicines, and suitable food and exercise. Indigestible substances, and unwholesome food of all kinds, and bad water are to be avoided. As tonics, Infusion of Gentian, Cascarilla or Calumba, or of all these combined, with the addition of Bitter Orange Peel and a little sugar, will be a useful preparation, or the patient may take the Tonic Mixture, No. 11. Acetate of Iron, with infusion of Peruvian Bark, will also be useful. It is well to add half a teaspoonful of bruised Carraway Seeds to the Senna and Pink Root to prevent griping. A little Milk of Sulphur taken every morning fasting for three or four mornings, is said to be very useful as a remedy for the thread worm. The long thread worm was formerly supposed to be very rare, but this has been since found to be a mistake; the fact being that, on account of its small size, it was frequently overlooked. It is stated that in the London Hospital during one winter, this worm was found in almost all the bodies carefully examined, both of persons destroyed by injuries, and of those who died of disease.
The broad tape worm is said to be found only amongst the inhabitants of Switzerland, Poland, and Russia, or in persons who have been in those countries; the common tape worm is met with everywhere. They occur in childhood, but more frequently after puberty, and are very rare in old age. Females are more subject to them than males. They are not very common in Canada. Tape worms often exist in large and tangled bunches, so as to interfere mechanically with the proper performance of the actions of the intestines. It is said that the tape worms cannot propagate in the human intestines through their eggs, and require to be transplanted to another animal, in order to become reproductive; so that, if the worm can be wholly expelled, there is no danger of an increase from its eggs deposited in the bowels.
In some cases the tape worm has long existed in the bowels without producing any prominent symptoms; but it generally occasions great discomfort, and sometimes materially damages the health. Professor Wawruch of Vienna, who, during a period of twenty years, had witnessed 206 cases of tape worm, gives the following account of the symptoms:-Dull pain in the forehead; giddiness; buzzing in the ears; dullness of the eyes, which are surrounded by dark circles; swelling eyelids; dilated pupils; frequent and spasmodic movements of the eyes; alternate paleness and flushings of the face; paleness of the lips; peculiar movements of the nose and mouth; emaciation; alternate loss and excess of appetite; cravings for particular articles of food; offensive breath; furred tongue; grinding of the teeth, especially during sleep; swelling of the belly; shooting pains; a feeling in the morning as of a foreign body moving in the bowels; melioration of all the symptoms under the use of farinaceous food, hot bread, and coffee. The most certain sign is the discharge of joints of the worm, which are either passed alone or with the stools. These joints usually exhibit signs of life when they first appear.
Tape worms have the power of retaining their place very tenaciously in the bowels, possibly in consequence of holding on to the mucous coat, by means of suction. They often continue for years to harass the patient, who passes from time to time separated joints, or even large portions of the worm, without getting entirely rid of the troublesome animal. The duration of the affection, according to the observations of Wawruch, varies from a few months to thirty-five years. It is considered important that the head of the worm should be expelled, as until this happens, there is no certainty that the evil has ceased. "Whatever method of cure is followed, much pain is often experienced by the patient just before the expulsion of the worm, which is ascribed to the violent movements of the animal under the influence of the medicine. It is deemed best to prepare the patient by a somewhat restricted diet upon the day preceding the use of the medicine, which should be given in the morning upon an empty stomach.
The medicine most relied on for the cure of tape worm is oil of turpentine. Some practitioners have given it in very large doses -from half a fluid ounce to two fluid ounces, followed in two or three hours by a full dose of castor oil. Dr. Know, who had the opportunity of treating numerous cases of tape worm among the British troops at the Cape of Good Hope, states that such large doses of turpentine are not necessary. He found that a dram or two of the oil, given with a little water, morning and evening, for three days successively, was generally sufficient to destroy the worm, even in the most obstinate cases, and without the use of purgatives, though it was considered advisable to give a little castor oil each day about noon.
Castor oil, although a useful and very valuable medicine, is one that many people have a great dislike to. By mixing castor oil with the yolk of a fresh egg-say the yolk of one egg to an ounce of oil-it may be afterwards mixed with water to any extent desired; the addition of a little sugar and a little grated nutmeg will make a mixture so pleasant that no child will object to it.
Another great remedy for the cure of tape worm is the bark of the Pomegranate root. This remedy has been long in use, particularly in India. If given in too large doses it will sometimes produce giddiness and faintness, but it is usually effective in expelling the worm. Two ounces of the bruised bark may be soaked in two pints of water for twenty-four hours, and then the liquid boiled down to a pint. Of this a wineglassfull may be taken every two or three hours till the worm is expelled. This is the dose for a grown person. It is advisable to take a dose of castor oil the day before the use of the Pomegranate.