This section is from the book "The Lady's Assistant: Family Physician", by P. Davey and B. Law.
This, in general, is a very laborious and difficult breathing, with wheesing, attended with unutterable anxiety, and a straitness of the breast. A moist asthma is attended with a cough, which forces up phlegm, or a pituitous matter, wherewith the lungs are fluffed, hindering the free ingress and egress of the air. The dry spasmodic asthma is a convulsive contraction of the parts designed for breathing, and may be owing to various causes, both within, and without the body.
In the fit of moist asthma, bleed first of all, afterwards give the following bolus. "Take fifteen grains of sper-maceti, ten grains of gum ammoniac, seven grains of "salt of hartshorn, and make them into a bolus, with "syrup of sugar. "Or a spoonful of oxymel of squills may be given every hour, for three or four times. Like-wise bathing the feet in warm water, will often give great relief. Out of the fit, let the patient be purged every third day, with rhubarb or manna, for three times. On the days in which purging is omitted, give the powder of aniseed made into pills, with Lucatelli's balsam, in the morning and at five in the afternoon : half a dram is a doze. If the symptoms still continue, repeat the same method over again. Instead of the pills, the patient may take from three drops to ten of the anisated balsam of sulphur, or the following pills: "Take three drams of gum ammoniac, "three drams of Castile soap, one dram of powder of "squills, and make them into pills with white sugar. "Make ten pills out of every dram, and then three is "a dose."
In the fit of a dry convulsive or spasmodic asthma, if the breathing is very difficult, bleeding will be necessary, and then give the following potion : "Take two drams of "gum ammoniac, and dissolve it in four ounces of fennel "water, then add two ounces of Rhenish wine, and for-"ty drops of liquid laudanum. Give two or three spoon-"fuls every hour, till the difficulty of breathing remits." The feet must likewise be rub'd hard, or put into warm water. Out of the fit, if the disease is owing to fullness of blood in the breast, bleed in the soot; if to the sup-pression of the bleeding piles, apply leeches to the fundament; likewise use exercise and a slender diet. If to the suppression of the menses, go to Bath. When there are symptoms of the hypochondriac disease, keep the body open with manna, or Epsom salt, and order laxative clysters. When impure matter is drove back from the skin, or old ulcers have been injudiciouliy healed, use medicines that promote a gentle sweat, and laxatives. When the matter of the gout has left the feet, bathing them in warm water will bring it back.
Astringents contract and strengthen the fibres, thicken the fluids, lessen the diameter of the vessels, and straiten the pores; whence they are consolidating and con-glutinating. When they are given injudiciously in hemorrhages and fluxes, they do a great deal of mischief, and bring on slow fevers, cachexies, dropsical tumours, the colic, spasmodic, and hypochondriacal disorders. They are best given in small doses in a sufficient quantity of liquid, using exercise, if possible, at the same time. Enormous vomiting, bloody urine, haemorrhages of the note, over-flowing of the monthly courses, an excessive flux of the piles, should never be attempted to be cured by astrin-gents, before the spasms are allayed that occassion them, diverting the humours at the same time to other parts. Astringents are of great use in consumptions of the lungs, the scurvy, cachexy, and gravel, when the tone of the glands and bowels is weakened by a stagnation of humours, unless the vessels are obstructed, the fibres con-stringed, and the lungs are beset with tubercles.