This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
This is a condition in which all the functions of animal life are suddenly stopped, except the pulse and the breathing. There is neither thought nor feeling, nor voluntary motion; and the patient suddenly falls down, and lies as if in a deep sleep. The disease assails in three different ways. The first form of attack is a sudden falling down into a state of insensibility and apparently deep sleep, the face being generally flushed, the breathing stertorous, or snoring, the pulse full and not frequent, with occasional convulsions. From this mode of attack death often occurs immediately, but in some cases recovery occurs, with the exception of paralysis of one side, or the loss of speech, or some of the senses. The second mode of attack begins with sudden pain in the head, and the patient becomes pale, faint, sick, and vomits. His pulse is feeble, has a cold skin, and occasionally some convulsions. He may fall down, or be only a little confused, but soon recovers from all the symptoms, except the headache; this will continue, and the patient will sooner or later become heavy, forgetful, unable to connect ideas, and finally sink into insensibility from which he never rises. This mode of invasion, though not so frightful as the first, is of much more serious import.
The third form of attack is where consciousness is retained, but power on one side of the body is suddenly lost. The patient retains his mind, and answers questions rationally, either by signs or words. He may either die soon, or live for years, with imperfect speech, or a leg dragging after him, or an arm hanging uselessly by his side.
Those persons who have large heads, red faces, short and thick necks, and a short, stout, square build, are more predisposed to this disease, than thin, pale and tall persons. Literary men, especially editors, lawyers, doctors, etc., are subject to this disease, owing to mental overwork.
The symptoms preceding an apoplectic attack are headache, vertigo, double vision, faltering speech, inability to remember certain words, sometimes forgetfulness of one's own name, a frequent losing of a train of ideas, and occasionally an unaccountable dread. It is caused by whatever hurries the circulation as strong bodily exercise, emotional excitement, exposure to the sun or severe cold, tight cravats, etc.
TREATMENT. -- If the face is turgescent and red, and the temporal arteries throb, and the pulse full and hard, the patient should be placed in a semi-recumbent position, with his head raised, his clothes loosened, particularly his neck-band and shirt collar, and then quickly as possible, cold water or ice should be applied to the head, leeches to the nape of the neck, and mustard plasters to the calves of the leg. Tight ligatures may also be tied around the thighs, sufficiently tight to arrest the venous circulation; they should be removed gradually as consciousness returns. Administer a stimulating purgative, as a few drops of croton oil. Injections may also be given. If the patient is old, and the pulse feeble, the ice applications, ligature, etc., may be omittted, and instead apply warm flannels and warm bricks to the body, and administer camphor. To prevent future attacks, gentle tonics should be given, and the skin kept healthy by daily bathing and friction. The bowels must not be permitted to become costive. The diet should be well regulated. The mind should be kept cheerful and hopeful, and free from all excitement. Intoxicating drinks should be totally avoided, and sexual congress should be of rare occurrence. In fact every thing that might provoke an attack should be avoided.