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.
The most prominent symptoms are yellowness of the skin, eyes, and urine, owing to the deposit of the coloring matter of the bile in the blood. The appetite is impaired, the food is loathed, an uncomfortable feeling of a load at the pit of the stomach is felt. The stomach is sour, sometimes there is sickness and vomiting, a bitter taste in the mouth, a dull pain at the right side, sleepiness, and an uncomfortable feeling of lassitude at all times distresses the patient. The urine is heavily tinged with bile, and the stools clay colored. It is usually idiopathic, but may be a concomitant of other diseases. Torpidity of the liver is the chief cause, yet any functional disorder of the organs may cause it.
TREATMENT. -- If caused by inactivity of the liver, the organ should be aroused by a emetic and active antibilious purges. I can certainly advise no better cathartic for this purpose than my Renovating Pill. The liver should be further stimulated to action by the application of an irritating plaster over the region of the liver. Tonics, like quinine, poplar, and liriodendron, may be necessary in some cases. The diet should consist of fresh vegetables, and as much out-door exercise should be taken as the patient can bear.
The liver is the seat of many other diseases, but as they are more or less rare, of difficult detection, and treatment difficult, I deemed it prudent not to enter upon any consideration of them. The organ may hypertrophy or atrophy, its blood-vessels may become diseased, it may be affected by syphilitic taint, it may become fatty, it may degenerate into a waxy or albuminous mass; disease may change it into a pigment or nutmeg liver; it may be the seat of hydatids or parasites, tumors or cancer may assail it, and finally it may be the seat of tuberculous matter of a miliary character. The symptoms produced by these morbid conditions are so obscure, and many of them the common property of all, that none but a skilful physician is capable of recognizing the identity of the affection; and I advise all patients who are suffering from any liver disease that present phenomena, not recognizable in the simpler affections of the organ, to intrust his case to a competent physician.
I have devoted nearly a lifetime to the study of liver diseases, and I am ready to maintain that my success in their treatment is greater than by any other system of medication. I am daily consulted with reference to some chronic disease of the liver, both in person or by letter and patients under treatment are scattered in all sections of the country. Constant communication by correspondence enables me to treat such cases as satisfactorily as by personal interview, as is attested by the gratifying success achieved in all cases. (See page 490.)