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.
Child-bed fever is a very fatal disease, and frequently follows parturition. Scrofulous women are peculiarly liable to it. The disease manifests itself in every degree of intensity. The usual symptoms are weight and soreness in the lower part of the abdomen, accompanied by lassitude and debility, capricious appetite, imperfect after-discharge, spongy condition of the gums, constipation, and scanty and high-colored urine. These symptoms continue for two or three days after delivery, when the patient will be seized with chills and rigors. These are soon followed by a hot and pungent skin, pain in the head, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. The pulse becomes hard and quick, respiration rapid, the secretions are arrested, and the pain centres in the lower part of the abdomen and becomes very severe. The bowels are bloated, and very tender, and the lochia or after-discharge is entirely suppressed. In many cases delirium is present, also agitation and a sense of impending death. The worst form inswhen it presents the appearance of malignant scarlet fever.
TREATMENT. -- The bowels should be freely opened with a purgative, after which opium should be administered in tolerably large doses. Warm slippery-elm emulsions should be frequently injected into the vagina, with a view to bring on the lochial discharge. The fever is to be controlled by aconite or veratrum. Tonic stimulants and carminatives should be used, according as the disease shows excitement or depression. In the low form, quinine and camphor are indicated. In the gangrenous form, put charcoal and yeast poultices to the abdomen, and give a decoction of wild indigo in wine and yeast four or five times a day.