This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
Vichy, in central France, seven hundred and eighty feet above the sea, is situated on the River Allier, in a large open valley surrounded by vine-clad hills; the climate is mild, the season is from the middle of May to mid-September. The arrangements are on a magnificent scale, and the Spa is the most frequented in Europe (Braun).
The springs used are nine in number, all clear, warm, and tasting more or less like soda water; they contain from 36 to 39 gr. of bicarbonate of soda in each pound (16 oz.), from 12 to 14 cub. in. of carbonic acid, and small quantities of chloride of sodium (4 gr.), of bicarbonate of potash, and of magnesia, and arseniate of soda.
They may be used in any case in which strong alkaline waters are indicated, and either for bathing or drinking, or both. The Grande Grille, which has a temperature of 113° F. is in most repute, especially for hepatic disorders, the Celestins for urinary maladies, and the Hopital for abdominal stasis, chronic enteritis, etc. The Hauterive is cold, and contains an unusually large amount of carbonic acid.
The most suitable cases for Vichy are those of uric acid gravel and calculus, gout, vesical catarrh, and diabetes of the slow and less pronounced kind. But besides these, a large number of other maladies are treated there with more or less success - such as dyspepsia, gastric catarrh, enlargement of liver and spleen, abdominal congestions, chronic metritis, and chronic rheumatism. The dose of the water is from half a pint to two pints daily.
Vals, in the southeast of France (Department Ardeche), is an important Spa with cold alkaline springs, similar in composition to the waters of Vichy. The principal ones, Precieuse, Desiree, Madeleine, and Rigolette, contain rather more bicarbonate of soda and carbonic acid and iron. The two former, slightly laxative, are employed in gouty and renal disorders; the two latter are more roborant. St. Jean is less alkaline, and is ordered for dyspepsia; Dominique is arsenical. The waters of Vals and Vichy are largely exported.
Neuenahr, in Rhenish Prussia, three hundred feet above the sea, in the mild and beautifully wooded valley of the Ahr, is easily reached from Cologne. It has excellent buildings and public gardens, and is rising in estimation. It possesses a cold spring rich in carbonic acid, and four warm springs - 93° to 104° F. - each containing about 9 gr. in the pound of bicarbonate of soda, with a small proportion of lime and magnesia, much carbonic acid, very little chloride of sodium or iron.
Bilin, in Bohemia, and Fachingen, in the valley of the Lahn, contain strong soda springs, which, however, are but little used on the spot, though they are exported in large quantities. The water of Bilin contains 33 gr. of bicarbonate in the pound, with chloride 2 gr., and sulphate 6 gr., lime 4 gr., a trace of iron, and much carbonic acid, at a temperature of 53° F., and generally requires to be heated. That of Fachingen is very similar, but somewhat weaker. Both are used for severe cases of gravel, gout, and vesical catarrh.
The water of Gieshubel, near Carlsbad, contains a small proportion (10 gr. to the pound) of bicarbonate of soda, with a large amount (55 cub. in. to the pound) of carbonic acid. It is pleasant and refreshing, and exerts a moderate antacid effect.
Apollinaris water, from a spring of that name, situated near Neuenahr, in the valley of the Ahr, contains about 10 gr. of bicarbonate of soda, 3 gr. of chloride, 2 gr. of sulphate, and 3 gr. of magnesian carbonate, with a large amount of carbonic acid to the pound, so that it may be warmed without losing its pungency.
It is useful as a table water in irritable conditions of the stomach, and as a medicinal water in the lithic acid diathesis and gout; also in bronchial catarrh and tendency to gall-stone.
Salzbrunn, in Silesia, near Freiburg, situated in a wooded valley twelve hundred feet above the sea, has a fresh bracing climate, and has soda waters with about 18 gr. of bicarbonate in the pound (16 oz.). It has been called "the cold Ems," and has been especially recommended in bronchial catarrh and in early stages of consumption when Ems is not suitable. A much frequented establishment for the "whey-cure" and "moor-baths" is also to be found at Salzbrunn.
Mont Dore lies in a charming valley of the Auvergne Mountains, thirty-three hundred feet above the sea, and possesses a cold and several warm soda springs (106° to 108° F.). They contain only about 5 gr. of bicarbonate to the pound, but more chloride of sodium than those yet mentioned, also an excess of carbonic acid. The Madeleine is also arsenical. The Spa is well provided with appliances for separate baths, douches, sprays, and inhalations, and has a reputation in chronic pulmonary catarrh and asthma, and in chronic hepatic congestion and rheumatism. "Most invalids employ warm bathing, the effect of which is to increase perspiration, and after some days to induce a ' bath fever,' with lassitude, constipation, etc., but this soon passes off." It has a reputation for benefiting and often curing emaciated broken-winded horses with bad coughs. It has been recently proposed to introduce all the resources of Mont Dore into an English establishment at Bournemouth.