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 common disorder is characterized by frequent and urgent demands to evacuate the bowels. It is usually preceded by a sense of indigestion, fulness of stomach, flatulency, and more or less colic pains. The pain generally subsides after an evacuation, and returns as an indication of another discharge. The discharges may be thick, consisting of ingesta, or they may be serous, or of a rice-water appearance. Sometimes they consist of distintegrated mucous membranes, blood, and bile. There is usually a disagreeable sinking sensation in the abdomen along with the discharge, with exhaustion, a cool skin, and a feeble irregular pulse. It may be attended with fever, indicating extensive irritation of the mucous coat. The urine is usually scanty. When the discharges are composed of serum, and highly colored with either yellow or green bile, it is called bilious diarrhoea; when composed principally of mucus, it is known as mucous diarrhoea, and when of a thin, watery character, the name of serous diarrhoea is given to it. The disease may become chronic.
TREATMENT. -- If it occurs in children, a little paregoric, or essence of peppermint or spearmint, usually cures in a short time. Opium in combination with ipecac, as in the Dover's powder, is an excellent remedy. The astringents are all indicated. Starch injections, as advised in dysentery, should also be resorted to, and counter-irritation of the abdomen is also serviceable. In the chronic form the tonics should be combined with the astringents. I cannot recommend my "Restorative Assimilant" (see page 469) too strongly. It is certainly an admirable remedy for this complaint, relieving it most instantly.
Chronic diarrhoea may often be so dependent upon a vitiated condition of the system that it becomes quite difficult to cure. In such cases the most careful treatment is necessary to overcome the disease. During the war, and also afterwards, the author was consulted for this affection by those who contracted it in the army in thousands of cases; but under proper treatment all recovered.