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.
Homburg, in Prussia, about nine miles from Frankfort, pleasantly situated on the southern slope of the Taunus Mountains, six hundred feet above the sea, has a fresh and bracing climate even in the summer. The Elizabethbrunnen (the most-used spring) contains 75 gr. of chloride of sodium, the Kaiserbrunnen 55 gr., while both have also other alkaline chlorides, lime, magnesia, a little iron, and much carbonic acid, at a temperature of 50° F. (cold). The Ludwigsbrunnen contains only about half the amount of chlorides, and the Luisenbrunnen scarcely any calcium or magnesium.
The two springs first named are stronger than those of Kissingen, and are given in doses of two to four tumblerfuls in cases of dyspepsia and gastro-intestinal catarrh, constipation, strumous glandular enlargement, gout, obesity, hypochondriasis, etc. The Luisenbrunnen is "very suitable for anaemia and Indian cachexia."
Kissingen, about thirty miles from Wurzburg, and six hundred feet above the sea, in the pleasant valley of the Saale, is the main representative of cold, moderately strong gaseous salt springs, and is one of the most fashionable watering-places of Germany. The principal springs are the Ragoczi, the Pandur, and the Maxbrunnen; the latter is a very weak salt water; the other two are nearly equal in strength, containing more than 40 gr. of chloride of sodium with small quantities of other alkaline chlorides, 4 gr. of sulphate of magnesia, 2 gr. of lime, a trace of iron, and much carbonic acid (40 to 48 cub. in.); the temperature is 51° F. (cold). The Ragoczi is generally taken in the morning (three to six glasses); the Pandur, being somewhat milder, in the evening. They quicken the circulation, alter and stimulate the gastro-intestinal secretions, and are valuable in dyspepsia, with eructations, flatulence, and constipation, in some gouty and calculous cases, in moderate degree of hepatic and renal congestion, in strumous and tubercular enlargement of glands, etc.
In prescribing salt springs for cases of chronic dyspepsia, we should bear in mind that, as a rule, they are best taken cold, because a high temperature counteracts the intended irritant effects, and causes too rapid absorption of the salt. They are unsuitable for cases of excessive acidity which is increased by chlorides. The water should not be concentrated, and the dose should be small, and carbonic acid much assists its digestion. On the other hand, in some cases of gastric catarrh, the cold waters are not well borne, and then recourse is had to the warm spring of Wiesbaden. The strong salt bath of the Soolsprudel is much used, but Braun objects to the large amount of carbonic acid given off from it and inhaled by the lungs, as being apt to cause giddiness and dyspnoea.
Wiesbaden, capital of the former Duchy of Nassau, is three hundred and twenty-three feet above the sea, and is situated beautifully on the southern slope of the Taunus Mountains, five miles northwest of May-ence. The climate here is mild, in winter being one of the warmest in Germany; in spring and autumn usually fine; but at midsummer hot and relaxing. The season is from June till September. The principal spring is the Kochbrunnen, which rises like a boiling well at 150° F., emitting clouds of steam. Its constituents are similar to those of the Kissingen Ragoczi, viz., chloride of sodium (52 gr. in the pound), carbonate of lime (3 gr.), and traces of potash, magnesia, iron, etc. The amount of carbonic acid is much less (6 cub. in.); the temperature much higher. The amount of chloride is slightly greater than that at Kissingen, but yet larger doses of the water can be taken, and increased intestinal secretion less often occurs from it. Hence if the gastric condition does not especially need the stimulus of cold, the warm spring is to be preferred when the strong effect of salt on the blood is desired.
In cases of chronic inveterate gout which we can scarcely hope to cure, but which we can benefit by moderate increase of tissue-change while keeping up nutrition, these springs are most useful. They are useful, also, in chronic eruptions with hepatic and abdominal congestion, and in chronic rheumatism, in which disorder and in chronic paralyses the warm saline baths are specially indicated.
At Wiesbaden there are also hydropathic establishments, and the ophthalmic hospital of Dr. Pagenstecher.
Baden-Baden, six hundred and sixteen feet above the sea, is situated in a beautiful valley of the Black Forest, six miles from the Rhine. The air is pure and mild, so that baths can be taken late in the autumn, and the season is from the beginning of May until October. The general arrangements are agreeable, and the influx of visitors very large. Of the numerous springs, only the Ursprungquelle need be mentioned. It contains 18 gr. of chloride of sodium, and 2 1/2 gr. of lime sulphate, with traces of iron carbonate, but very little free carbonic acid.
Gout and rheumatism of only moderate severity, dyspepsia, and impaired nerve-condition from overwork, etc., various manifestations of the scrofulous diathesis, are all favorably influenced by the waters of Baden-Baden, which are taken internally and used as baths.
Soden, in Nassau, near Frankfort, four hundred and forty feet above the sea, contains many tepid salt springs varying in their proportion of chloride from 18 to 109 gr. The amount of carbonic acid is rather large.
The climate is mild, equable, and moist, but very hot in summer. Besides being suitable for the class of cases already mentioned, Soden has a special reputation in chronic catarrhal conditions, with or without tendency to phthisis. Near at hand, at Kronthal, are good chalybeate springs, and the bracing health-resort of Falkenstein, which is seventeen hundred feet above the sea, well wooded and sheltered from excessive sun and wind, and forming a good residence both in winter and summer for the earlier stages of phthisis.
Reichenhall, in Bavaria, lies in a sheltered position, near fine Alpine scenery, and has a mild climate, at its best in May and autumn - rainy in the summer. Of its salt springs, the Edelquelle is one of the strongest in
Europe, containing 23 per cent. chloride of sodium, temperature 57° F. The waters are used in warm, tepid, douche, and wave-bath, and also by inhalation, patients walking between large hedges, forty feet high, made of twigs, on which the salt water trickles and evaporates: the air of a large room is also kept impregnated with salt spray; and the breathing of such air for a limited period daily is found useful in catarrhal conditions of the chest and stomach (Burdon Sanderson: Practitioner, vol. i.). There are similar chambers at Kreuznach, Rehme, and a few other places.
Kreuznach, in Rhenish Prussia, pleasantly situated in the Nahe Valley, two hundred and eighty-six feet above the sea, "is the chief of sool-baths" (Braun).
The climate is mild in the early spring and late autumn, hot in the summer. The season extends from the end of April until the beginning of October. The Elisenquelle, or Elizabethbrunnen, contains 73 gr. of chloride of sodium, 13 gr. chloride of calcium, 4 gr. chloride of magnesium traces of potassium, lithium, iron, and minute quantities of bromide and iodide of magnesium. There is some carbonate of lime but no sulphate; no carbonic acid. Temperature, 54.5° F.
The water of the Carlshalle, and Theodorshalle is weaker, the chloride of sodium being 59 gr. and 57 gr. respectively, while the Oranienquelle has 108 gr. of the sodium salt, and 22 gr. of chloride of calcium. The waters, which are bitter and rather nauseous, should be commenced in small doses, and are often taken with hot milk. The Elisenquelle readily acts on the bowels.
The warm baths at Kreuznach are used particularly strong, concentrated brine, or "mother-lye," being often added to the natural water, and the bath being prolonged for half an hour or an hour. This "mother-lye," according to the degree of its inspissation, contains in each pound, from 100 gr. to more than 200 gr. of chloride of sodium, from 1,000 to 2,000 gr. of chloride of calcium, from 200 to 300 gr. chloride of magnesium, 130 to 160 gr. chloride of potassium, some iodide of sodium, chlorides of lithium and aluminum, and about 60 gr. of bromide of sodium.
The justly esteemed Kreuznach system of treatment combines the use of these strong baths with injections, douches, etc., and drinking of the water - in small quantities, if a generally stimulating effect is desired, but in large doses for the absorption of scrofulous and other exudations. I have seen much advantage from it in congestion and chronic inflammation of the uterine system, in hypertrophy and induration of the uterus itself, and of the mammary gland, and in painful irregular menstruation connected with ovarian hyperaemia. It relieves, also, the local congestion and oedema commonly associated with uterine fibroma, and I believe that it even procures, sometimes, the absorption of such growths to some extent (v. p. 119).
Chronic eruptions and scrofulous ulcerations also receive benefit from Kreuznach water, and the local use of the "mother-lye" to distorted gouty joints has sometimes given me good results.
Braun compares with Kreuznach the more recent Spa of Rehme (CEyn-hausen), which is situated one hundred and thirty-four feet above the sea, "in a broad and fertile valley watered by the Weser and the Werre," on the railway between Minden and Cologne. The climate is fresh but mild, and is less changeable than that of many other places; the water is very rich in chloride (240 gr.), and contains also sulphate; it is used principally in the form of warm bath, and differs from the Kreuznach bath mainly in the large amount of carbonic acid it contains. There are also carbonic acid baths (v. p. 187), a "wave-bath" in the river under the mill, and a large chamber filled with salt spray for inhalation.
Rehme is suitable for the same kind of cases as are sent to Kreuznach, but in a less advanced stage, and when the subjects are weaker, and too delicate for the stronger methods of the latter Spa. Benefit is said to be obtained from the baths specially in retarded convalescence after fever, fractures, etc., in general debility, anaemia, tabes dorsalis, spinal irritation, and even in spinal meningitis and paralysis. The spray is useful in catarrhal conditions of the respiratory tract.
Kreuth should be mentioned as an example of a high-situated salt Spa, being nearly three thousand feet above the sea, amid Alpine scenery, between Munich and Salzburg. It is sheltered and possesses a pure, rather moist, and particularly still atmosphere.
There are here a large "Kurhaus," a "whey-cure," and strong salt baths. The drinking springs contain mainly sulphates, or sulphur. Cases of irritable mucous membranes of scrofulous or tuberculous character are often benefited at this place.
Droitwich is a small salt-manufacturing town, six miles north of Worcester, and fourteen from Malvern. The climate is mild and equable, rather relaxing, and though the place itself is uninviting, there is fine open country in the immediate neighborhood. There is now good accommodation for bathing, and an establishment close to the waters under the direction of Mr. Bainbrigge.
The proportion of saline ingredient is very high - far higher indeed than at any other known spring, there being about 2,500 gr. chloride of sodium, 38 gr. lime sulphate, and 39 gr. soda sulphate in each pound (D. T. Taylor). Used for bathing at about 95° to 112° F., these waters are stimulating and absorbent, and are very serviceable in relieving pain and exudations, and impaired power connected with chronic rheumatic and gouty conditions; also in lumbago and sciatica, in some chronic skin-eruptions, as psoriasis, in glandular scrofulosis, general debility after illness, etc., especially when this is associated with slow circulation and mental depression; serous effusions are also absorbed under their use, and they are said to have proved a powerful stimulant and restorative during the cholera epidemic of 1831. Strong brine baths can be used at a high temperature without the exhaustion and debility that follow an ordinary hot bath.
Woodhall Spa, near Horncastle, in Lincolnshire, has a dry and bracing climate, and is sheltered from north and east winds. The water contains a good proportion of sodium chloride (120 gr. in the pound), 21 gr. of calcic and other chlorides, and also about 1/2 gr. of bromide, and 1/4 gr. iodide of sodium.
It is used in scrofulosis, and sometimes in chronic gout and rheumatism. Half a pint of it acts as a mild aperient.
There is a saline spring at Harrogate, somewhat similar to one at Kissingen, and called the "Kissingen water." It has more lime and less carbonic acid, and is moderately aperient. Most of the sulphur waters also contain a large proportion of chloride.