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 commonly called Fever and Ague, or Chills and Fever. As the name implies, the fever is not constant, as in the continual fevers, but intermits, so that in its career there are well-marked periods of absence of febrile symptoms. It is a fever characterized by a succession of attacks, with equal intervals and intermissions, that are complete, but irregular, owing to the paroxysms being of uncertain duration. By interval is meant the time from the beginning of one paroxysm to the beginning of the next, and by intermission the period of time between the close of one parosysm to the beginning of the next. The length of the interval determines the the variety of ague. When the interval is twenty-four hours, it is called quotidian; thirty-six hours, tertian; and when seventy-two hours, it is called quartan. These varieties duplicate, and are then called double quotidian, etc.
The disease is announced by a proxysm which has three stages, the cold, the hot, and the sweating. The cold stage is well marked; the patient yawns, has a feeling of weakness, stretches, no appetite, and no inclination to move. Paleness is observed in the face and extremities; the patient shakes, the teeth chatter, and the skin shrinks, causing horripilation or "goose'flesh."
When this stage declines, the hot stage comes on, which is characterized by a high fever. This is followed by the sweating stage, which increases from a mere moisture at first to a profuse perspiration. After this the body returns to its natural temperature, and apparent health returns.
During the cold stage the circulation is thrown upon the internal organs, the spleen becomes congested, which organ is enlarged, causing what is known as the ague cake.
A quotidian begins generally in the morning, a tertian at noon, and a quartan in the afternoon. The cold stage is shortest in the quotidian, and longest in the quartan. Intermittent fever is more common in the spring and autumn than at other seasons of the year, and in fall more severe and dangerous.
TREATMENT. -- Commence treatment with a cathartic, as senna or the Renovating Pill. In the cold stage give hot drinks, and even stimulants may be of service. Induce warmth and comfort by extra covering, foot-baths, bottles filled with hot water applied to the surface, etc. In the hot stage, cooling drinks and anything that mollifies febrile action.
When an intermission ensues, administer Peruvian bark, or, preferably, one of its active principles, quinine. This can be given in a large dose, or smaller doses repeated. Fifteen grains may be given at once or in successive doses. It may be taken in pills or in solution with elixir of vitriol. Quinine is a specific in this disease, and it rarely ever fails in curing every case, if the patient be placed under its influence. Peculiar head symptoms and buzzing in the ears denote the influence of this admirable remedy. My experience has not taught me that there is much danger in an overdose, and I consider it more or less harmless; yet, like every other remedy, it must be judiciously and intelligently administered. The web of the black spider rolled up in five-grain pills, and taken, one pill at a time every two hours, is a valuable domestic remedy. Decoctions of dogwood bark are successful in many cases, so also of the bark of the tulip tree.