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 caused by inflammation of the crural veins, hence called crural phlebitis. The inflammation is owing to the pressure of the gravid womb. The popular idea that in this disease, the woman's milk has fallen into her leg, and which has inflamed, is absurd. The disease begins in from two to seven weeks after delivery, with pain in the lower bowel, groin, or thigh. In several days the pain diminishes, and the limb begins to swell, in the calf first most frequently, and from thence extending upward. The skin becoms entirely white, smooth, and glossy, does not pit when pressed, is painful to the touch, and is hotter than the skin of the other limb. Fever is always present.
TREATMENT. -- The patient should lie upon her back, with the swelled limb placed upon pillows, or a bolster, raised so that the foot shall be a little higher than the hip, and she should by no means endeavor to walk until the leg is nearly well. A narrow blister can be applied along the course of the vein, and digitalis may be carefully administered. Take an old flannel petticoat, with the hem cut off, and the gathers let out, and dip it in vinegar and hot water, equal parts, wring it out, and cover the whole limb with it. A blanket or oiled silk may be placed underneath to keep it from wetting the bed. Repeat this and keep it up for six hours, and when it becomes tedious to the patient, it should be removed, and the limb bathed with warm sweet oil, two parts, and laudanum, one part, and then covered with flannel. In two or three hours return to the hot water and vinegar, keep up for five or six hours, then resume the warm sweet oil and laudanum, and in this way alternate until the inflammation is subdued, or until the calf of the limb can be shaken. The bowels should be gently moved, and the diuretics administered, and in cases where the inflammation lasts, and the fever is considerable, veratrum should be given. If recovery does not take place after the active inflammation has subsided, the limb should be entirely enveloped by a spiral bandage, or, what is much better, the full-length elastic stocking, represented on the foregoing page should be worn. This gives immediate relief, reduces the leg to natural size, and permits the patient to exercise without any injurious results following. Those desiring this indispensable article are requested to correspond with the author.