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 very painful affection is most frequently brought on by exposure to wet and cold after violent and fatiguing exercise of the muscles. The acute form is characterized by high fever, with a full bounding pulse, furred tongue, and a profuse sweat which has a sour smell. The urine is scanty and high colored; the joints swell and are slightly red and very tender. The pain is agonizing when the patient attempts to move. If the affection changes from one part to another it is called metastatic, and is very dangerous, as it may suddenly seize the lining membrane of the heart, and prove fatal.
The chronic form may follow the acute form, but is more often an independent disease. It differs from the acute form in the absence of fever. The fingers and limbs may frequently be rendered useless by rheumatism, by the great distortion ensuing. It is due to the presence of lactic acid in the blood.
TREATMENT. -- The bowels should be evacuated by a purgative, and the tinctures of black cohosh and veratrum given until free perspiration is produced. The tincture of black cohosh, two parts, and tincture of colchicum, one part, in doses of from twenty to forty drops, is also a very valuable remedy. For articular rheumatism the alteratives should be given. My "Blood Purifier" is a sure and efficient cure, and the pain is almost instantly relieved by the application of the "Herbal Ointment" (see page 469).
Electricity may be resorted to in the chronic form. The treatment does not materially differ from that advised in the acute.
Fomentations of hops and cicuta, or stramonium leaves, placed upon the inflamed and swollen joints, will materially relieve the pain.
Rheumatism in the chronic form is often a very difficult disease to cure; but if properly treated, by purely chemical medication, the acid condition of the blood will be negatived, and the patient relieved of his painful malady. Of the thousands of cases that have been under my care, I do not recall one failure.