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 also known as bloody flux, and consists of an inflammation of the membrane of the colon and rectum, and characterized by small mucous or bloody evacuations, griping, and straining. The disease comes on with loss of appetite, costiveness, lassitude, shivering, heat of skin and quick pulse. These are followed by griping pain in the bowels and a constant desire to go to stool. The passages are mostly small in quantity, and composed of mucus mixed with blood. These passages are attended with severe griping and straining, technically known as tormina and tenesmus. Nausea and vomiting sometimes attend the early stages. When the natural faeces pass off, they are usually formed in round compact balls, called scybala. Fever is commonly present, with a feeble, almost thread-like pulse. The discharges have but little odor at first, but become exceedingly offensive as the disease advances. The chronic form is characterized by frequent small evacuations consisting mostly of mucus, but sometimes mixed with pus, bile, faeces and blood. The symptoms are the same, but less intense than in the acute form. Emaciation, debility, dropsy, and consumption result, if not arrested. When the liver and stomach become disordered at the commencement, it is called bilious dysentery. Various forms of the disease are known as adynamic, intermittent and remittent, typhous, rheumatic and epidemic dysentery; but it is not necessary to classify the disease under these heads.
TREATMENT. -- A free lobelia emetic may be given at the outset, and the bowels evacuated by a purge; castor-oil with laudanum is the best for this purpose. After the purge, take twenty grains of quinine and one drachm of leptandrin, divide into six powders and take one every hour until all are taken. The tenesmus should be relieved by injecting into the rectum five or six ounces of starch water, containing about twenty drops of laudanum, as often as is necessary. Ipecacuanha is a superior remedy. Gelsemium may be given afterwards, and if required the fever should be controlled by veratrum. The patient should lie quietly in bed, and his diet should consist of grapes, baked apples, flour porridge, bread, rice, coffee, beef-tea and ripe fruit. The astringents are of course necessary, and for this purpose tannic and gallic acids kino, rhatany, opium, capsicum, cranesbill, etc., can be given. Tonics should be combined when the patient is weak, and if the debility is very great the alcoholic stimulants should be administered. I can with safety recommend my "Restorative Assimilant" as a sure cure for both acute and chronic dysentery, as well as for all bowel complaints. The Herbal Ointment should be rubbed externally on the whole abdomen to relieve the inflammtion. In the chronic form, the astringents, with such other remedies as may be indicated by the symptoms, are all that is necessary.