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.
In this disease the skin bears a leaden or purple tinge over the whole body. There is a reduction of warmth, and labored breathing. It is due to the admixture of blue or venous blood with arterial or red blood, and caused by the right and left sides of the heart remaining open after birth, or by obstruction of the pulmonary artery, thereby withholding the blood from the lungs and preventing arterialization. It is a disease confined to infants, and is almost necessarily fatal.
TREATMENT. -- The circulation must be sedated by allowing the child complete rest, or by the careful administration of veratrum; good food, fresh air, and protection from extremes of heat and cold are necessary. Apply friction to the head and body by some soft cloth. If syncope occurs, the child should be placed in a warm bath, and camphor applied to its nostrils.
The heart is liable to be assailed by other diseases. Softening of the heart may take place without inflammation; it may result in rupture of the heart. Various indurations of the heart may occur, as of the fibrous, cartilaginous and osseous character. Fatty degeneration is a rare disease. Tubercle, cancer, and polypi are also noticed.
The heart is the most important organ in the body; hence its diseases to the physician are full of interest. Nothing gives to a person greater anxiety than the suspicion or knowledge that he is affected with heart disease. The dread of sudden death is universal, and so it generally occurs in cardiac diseases. The most important requisite in the treatment is its early application, as most of the diseases can be cured if treatment is bestowed in time, and hence it behooves every one who feels some abnormal action or uneasiness about the heart to engage treatment, or seek competent medical aid as soon as possible. Those who desire to consult me are referred to page 390. My experience in the treatment of heart diseases has been in extent second to none in this country, and the success has been most gratifying.