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 known as "King's Evil," and derives its name from the Latin scrofa, a sow, because it was supposed that it also affects swine. It is most apt to occur in persons of sanguine temperament, with thick upper lip. When fully developed, it gives rise to a deposit of tuberculous matter. It is characterized by a morbid state of the system, manifested by glandular swellings, chiefly in the neck, suppurating slowly, and healing with difficulty. At first there appear small, hard, movable kernels about the neck, just under the skin. These are the affected lymphatic glands. No redness or soreness is perceptible at first, but when in course of time they reach the size from a filbert to a hen's egg, or even larger, they come to a head and break, discharging a watery fluid, or a mixture like whey and curd. No great pain is seldom if ever felt. When the ulcers heal, they are apt to leave a puckered condition of the skin, and ugly scars. There is scarcely any tissue or organ in the body that scrofula does not assail, and it forms the basis, in many cases of disease, of all their virulence and stubbornness. Strumous habits are very common, being mostly hereditary; but they may also be contracted by bad habits, or be the sequel to low vitality or prostrating diseases. The taint is apt to become universal if in marriage the health of either party is not considered of equal importance with affection, etc., etc. It impairs the functions of all the organs; it renders the mental faculties more or less imbecile; it gives to the patient a heavy, sullen, and forbidding appearance, and is destructive of all beauty of form or sprightliness of character. It is so serious a disease that no one affected with the taint, however slight it may be, should defer such rational treatment as will cure him of one of the grestest enemies of mankind.
TREATMENT. -- How lamentable it is that we have no Kings now-a-days, whose "sacred touch" will cure the prevalent scrofula. In olden times persons believed that if the scrofulous patient could get into the presence of the King, and be touched by his royal hand, his disease would vanish in nothingness. Hence the name of "King's Evil." This folly reached its height in the reign of Charles II, and after the Restoration; the number who flocked to the royal palaces to receive the "touch" is said to have been immense--no less than ninety-two thousand in twelve years. If Kings are no longer divine, and whose sacred touch no longer cures, we are not left hopeless, for the products made by a divine hand as manifested in the herbal world afford us abundant agents of cure, if we but have the wisdom not to ignore them, and the intelligence to use them properly.
Rational treatment should be preventive and curative. The preventive treatment consists in regulating the diet and to supply all the chemical material lacking in the histogenic character of the tissues. The habits should be conformed to well-established hygienic laws, and the digestive and assimilative organs should especially be elevated in tonicity and healthfulness. Exercise and bathing are very important, and must not be neglected. When it manifests itself by its characteristic features, tumors, ulcers, etc., the herbal alteratives alone will effect the cure. The best of these are rock rose, stillingia, corydalis formosa, yellow-dock, fig-wort, sarsaparilla, etc. If the system is debilitated the tonics should also be given to give tone to the various organs of the body. The ulcers should be treated as all chronic indolent ulcers--the best application to them being my "Herbal Ointment." My "Blood Purifier" (see page 469) is composed of the choicest alteratives known, and acts specifically in the cure of this disease, and ever since it has been given to the public, its success was asserted in every case in which it received a competent trial.
Certain cases of scrofula, in which nearly all the tissues and organs are involved, and where the vitality of the system is at a low point, energetic special treatment is necessary. In such cases the author can be consulted, according to directions given on page 390.