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.
Syphilis is occasioned by a specific poison which is conveyed by contagion or actual contact. It first shows itself upon the genital organs in the form of a small yellowish pimple, or pimples, the presence of which is at first made manifest by itching and slight soreness. The pimples (called chancres) break, and gradually change into a red, hard-edged shallow ulcer. This ulcer is circular or oval in form, and is surrounded by a ragged border. The skin and tissue in the immediate vicinity become inflamed, and, unless proper remedies be immediately applied, the virus is absorbed into the system, and the consequences are of the most deplorable character. There are many kinds of chancre, viz.:--inflammatory, indurated or hard, sloughing or perishing, phagedenic or eating, and gangrenous or likely to mortify. Next in order, if stringent curative measures be not adopted, is the bubo, which is a swelling of the glands of the groin, caused by the absorption of the poison. The bubo will usually make its appearance in about a fortnight after the sore is discovered. It advances to suppuration, and also becomes a sore, when it receives the name of "glandular chancre." Sometimes growths resembling certain vegetables appear, in the male, upon the organ and on the membrane lining of the foreskin. In the female, they will be found in and at the entrance of the vagina, and sometimes on the neck of the womb. These are primary symptoms, and, if quickly but radically exterpated or cured, will not result in any very serious constitutional derangement; but if neglected, the virus is absorbed into the blood, and the infection reaches the entire system. When the disease becomes constitutional, the results are most deplorable. The syphilitic ulcer then appears at various parts of the body, more usually upon the arm and forearm, forehead, shin and chest. These ulcers are quite characteristic, so that the experienced surgeon at once knows their specific nature upon sight. The affections of the skin and mucous membrane are called secondary, those appearing upon the bones, etc. are tertiary. In these advanced stages of the disease the gravity is such as should urge each affected person to employ competent surgical or medical aid, and not longer to postpone such active treatment as is required. Neglect of so important a duty on the part of the patient will result seriously to him, as the progress of the disease is unerringly from bad to worse in every case.
TREATMENT. -- In primary syphilis, the chancre should be destroyed effectually by nitrate of silver, nitric acid, or caustic potash, and heal the parts by mild dressing. If this is effectually done, with proper constitutional treatment, no secondary symptoms will supervene.
In secondary and tertiary syphilis the treatment is very important, and must be correct in order to eliminate the disorganizing taint.
The treatment is necessarily alterative and tonic. The following may each be specifically employed, either singly or judiciously combined: -- Phytolaccin, corydalin, chimaphilia, tincture of kalmia, menispermin, ceanothus americanus, sarsaparilla, stillingia, and by some iodide of potassium, but never mercury. Mercury in any form is not a specific, and in effect most pernicious. When buboes appear, they should be discussed by a mixture of tincture of iodine, 3ij; tincture of arnica, 3ij; tincture of scrophularia, 3ij. This should be applied by wetting pads of linen with it and securing them by adhesive strips. If suppuration has taken place, the treatment of abscess is to be employed.
During treatment, the patient should abstain from all fat meats, spiritous liquors, and excesses of every kind.
If any person is conscious that he or she is affected with a syphilitic taint they should never marry, for the offspring will surely be miserable objects of pity, and conjugal bliss very uncertain. The taint must be thoroughly eradicated, so that not a vestige remains, before a marriage, physically pure, can occur.
If rightly treated, syphilis is not a formidable disease to cure, yet how many suffer hopelessly on, after having for years been subjected to mercurial treatment. Purely chemical herbal treatment will only remove the serious disorder from the system, as attested by the thousands of cases under my treatment, in which every trace of the disease has been obliterated from the economy.