Examination, Etc. Of Milk

The breast-milk of a nurse or a mother should be tested by casting it in water. The milk which is thin, cold, clear, and tinged like the hue of a conch-shell, is found to be easily miscibre with water, does not give rise to froths and shreds, and neither floats nor sinks in water, should be regarded as pure and healthy. A child fed on such milk is sure to thrive and gain in strentgh and health. A child should not be allowed to take the breast of a hungry, aggrieved, fatigued, too thin, too corpulent, fevered, or a pregnant woman, nor of one in whom the assimilated food is followed by an acid reaction, or of one who is fond of incongenial and unhealthy dietary, or whose fundamental principles are vitiated. A child should not be given the breast until an administered medicine is assimilated in its organism, lest this should give rise to a violent aggravation of the pharmacological action of the medicine, as well as of the deranged Doshas (Váyu, Pitta, etc.),and the refuse matters (Malas) of its body. 25.

Memorable Verses

The Doshas (Váyu, Pitta and Kapha) of a wet-nurse arc aggravated by ingestion of indigestible or incompatible food, or of those articles which tend to derange the Doshas of the body, and hence her milk may be vitiated. A child, fed on the vitiated milk of a woman, vitiated by the deranged Doshas owing to injudicious and intemperate eating and living, falls an easy prey to physical disease, An intelligent physician in such a case should devise means for the purification of the milk as well as of the deranged Doshas which account for such vitiation (inasmuch as the medication of the child alone will not produce any satisfactory effect) 26-27.

Infantile Diseases And Their Diagnosis

A child constantly couches its diseased part or organ and cries for the least touch (by another of that part of its body). If the seat of disease be its head, the child cannot raise nor move that organ and remains with its eyes closely shut. A disease seated in its bladder gives rise to retention of urine, thirst, pain and occasional fainting fits. A retention of urine and stool, discolouring of complexion, vomiting, distention of the abdomen, and gurgling in the intestines indicate the seat of the disease to be its Koshtha (colon). A constant crying (and the child's refusal to be consoled) would signify that the diseased principle (morbiferous diathesis) extends all through its organism, 28.

Treatment Of Infants

Medicines laid down under the head of a particular disease should likewise be prescribed in the case of its appearance in a child or an infant; but then only the remedies of mild potency and those which do not tend to disintegrate the bodily fat and Kapha should be given in adequate doses (according to age, etc.) as mentioned hereafter and administered through the vehicle of milk and clarified butter, to a child living on milk alone, while the nurse also is to take the same medicines as well. * In the case of a child fed both on milk and (boiled) rice (Kshiránnada, i.e., living on both solid and liquid food) the medicine should be administered both to the child and its wet-nurse. In the case of a child living on solid food only, decoctions (Kashaya) etc. should be given to the child and not to the nurse. Medicines to the quantity of a small pinchful may be prescribed for a suckling who has completed its first month of life. Kalkas (medicated pastes) should be given to a child fed on both milk and rice to the size of a stone of a plum-fruit (Kola), and the dose for a child fed on rice (solid food) only being to the size of a plum (Kola). † 29.

* Milk and clarified butter being congenial to the constitution of infants should be used as vehicles for drugs in their cases but, these are not necessary in the case of the nurse.

† According to several other authorities, the dosage in the case of children is to be regulated as follows: -

In the case of a child, one month old, drugs should be given in the form of an electuary through the vehicle of milk, honey, syrup, clarified butter, etc. - the dose being one Rati (about two grains) at first, and gradually increased by a Rati a month, till it completes one year. After this time the dose is to be one Máshá (about twenty grains) for each year of age till he is fifteen.

This dosage, however, does not apply in the present age. - Ed.

Metrical Texts

In the case of any disease of a child nursed at the breast, the breasts of the nurse should be plastered with the pastes of drugs recommended by physicians for the particular malady (instead of giving the drugs to the child), and the child made to suck the same. The use of clarified butter is not beneficial to a child on the first day of an attack of Váta-jvara (fever due to the derangement of the bodily Váyu), within the first two days of an attack of Pittaja fever, and within the first three days of that of Kaphaja fever. But the use of clarified butter may be prescribed for an infant fed on milk and boiled rice, or on boiled rice alone, according to requirements. 30-31.

In case of fever a child should be given no suck at all, lest the symptoms of thirst might develop. Purgatives, Vastis, or emetics are forbidden in the disease of children, unless the disease threatens to take a fatal course. 32.

If the local Váyu aggravated by the waste of brain-materials (Mastulunga), bends down the palate bone of a child attended with an excessive thirst and agony, clarified butter boiled with (the decoction and Kalka of) the drugs of the Madhura Gana, should be used both internally and externally, and the patient should as well be treated with spray of cold water (to stimulate him). The disease in which the navel of a child becomes swollen and painful, is called Tundi. It should be remedied by applying fomentations, medicated oils, Upanáhas, etc., possessed of the virtue of subduing the Váyu. A suppuration of the anal region (Guda-páka) of a child should be treated with Pittaghna (Pitta-destroying) measures and medicines. Rasánjana used internally and externally (as an unguent) proves very efficacious in these cases. 33-35.