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 a very insidious disease, its commencement being scarcely perceptible. The patient has a sense of indisposition, but is unable to describe his condition. He feels slight debility, a dull and heavy feeling in the head, which increases and terminates in violent frontal headache. At full development of the disease, the limbs are weak, accompanied by lameness, and sometimes rheumatic pain. The bowels may at first be constipated, but in a few days the tendency is to diarrhoea. The pulse is quickened, a creeping, chilly sensation is felt, and the skin is dry and warm. The tongue is but slightly coated, and the appetite often remains until the disease is fully developed. After the full development, a number of small vesicles, called sudaminae, may be observed on the abdomen. They are small, and may escape notice unless carefully observed. On the fifth day after the occurrence of these, another eruption occurs, which consists of small red or purple spots, resembling flea-bites. These spots are called petechiae. If these are observed, the disease is unmistakably typhoid fever. When the abdomen is percussed, it yields a drum-like resonance, and a gurgling may be heard on the right side, a little below the navel. Nervous symptoms arise, frequently delirium, great pain in different parts of the body, stupor, and a buzzing noise in the head are often complained of. The tongue becomes red, and is protruded with much difficulty, pulse increases, eyes have a watery appearance, and remain partly open when asleep. The breathing becomes difficult, mouth half open; and a black substance (sordes) collects on the teeth. The urine becomes nearly suppressed, and has a dark-red appearance. The bowels bloat, and evacuations of frothy and watery excrement are frequent. If the disease is about to terminate unfavorably, the patient becomes stupid, with low, muttering delirium, his muscles jerk, hiccoughs, picks at bed-clothes, and labors under profound coma. The anatomical character of this disease is ulceration of certain glands, called Peyerian, of the intestines, which are sometimes perforated by the process, when, of course, death inevitably follows. The course of the disease is from 11 to 21 days.
TREATMENT. -- If the disease is suspected, the patient should be placed in bed, and his bowels evacuated by warm-water injections, if costive. If indigestible food is contained in his stomach, an emetic of lobelia should be administered. Rice-gruel should then be given. The tincture of American Hellebore should, on the approach of the febrile paroxysm, be given until the pulse becomes less frequent, and perspiration ensues. Lye and slippery-elm poultices should be applied to the abdomen as long as bowel symptoms prove troublesome. Quinine and Hydrastin should be exhibited, with a view to overcome the periodicity of the fever. At the same time a cold infusion of marsh mallow, acacia, and flax-seed, should be taken. Apply cold water to the head, and keep the feet warm. Control the fever throughout its whole course with the veratrum or aconite. If the patient is restless and unable to sleep, give a little morphine in a decoction of Ladies'-slipper. If the diarrhoea is persistent, let the patient take a decoction of rhus and cranes-bill. When the red tongue is noticed, administer the spirits of turpentine, in from six to ten drop doses, three or four times a day. Beef-tea, brandy, etc., should be given to support the strength through the course of the disease. During convalescence care should be taken that the patient does not eat hearty food. Convalescence should be assisted by golden-seal and other tonics. The danger in the treatment of this disease is over-medication, and hence only such agents as are chemically called for should be given, and the patient's strength well supported throughout the course of the fever.