This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Enteric or Typhoid Fever. Though the oil may be of some use as a mere stimulant in this disease, it is, in that respect, of but comparatively little value, and cannot be depended on to the exclusion of wine-whey, carbonate of ammonia, and nutritious aliment, in low conditions of the fever. But the oil will accomplish what these cannot. It acts most happily in stimulating the diseased patches of Peyer's glands, and the isolated glands of the same kind, whereby the softened and disorganized matter is more readily thrown off, and the ulcerated surfaces disposed to heal, when they might otherwise be unable to do so. The remedy. therefore, is to be given at the period during which the discharge of the softened matter is going on, and ulcers are forming, or in existence. This is usually, I believe, about the middle, or towards the close of the second week. Before this time I count upon no material service from the oil. It is now that the tongue becomes dry; and the occurrence of this dry state of the tongue, in a decided degree, is the signal for commencing with the use of the remedy. I give it usually in doses of ten drops every two hours, but sometimes increase to fifteen or twenty drops. At the end of twenty-four, or at the furthest of forty-eight hours, there may very generally be seen a return of moisture with a white fur on the surface of the tongue at the sides, for its whole length, leaving the surface in the middle still dry and often cracked. With this amendment, there is often also a diminution of the tympanites, a cooler and moister skin, and a less frequent pulse. The same change goes on till the whole tongue becomes moist, and covered usually with a whitish fur, which then gradually disappears, commencing from the tip and edges. Sometimes, even when there has been no dryness of the tongue in the case, I have found the oil to act favourably in ameliorating the symptoms; and frequently, when the disease has appeared to linger in its advanced stages. and, though not severe, to show a perverse disposition to hang on to the patient, I have seen it almost immediately enter into convalescence under the use of the remedy. Again, when the case is marked in its progress by the cleaning of the tongue by flakes or in patches, leaving a red and smooth surface, as if deprived of the outer layer of the epithelium and papillae, and when the surface of the tongue, whether completely or only partially cleared, instead of remaining moist, as it does in favourable cases, becomes very dry, with an aggravation of the general symptoms, I take it for granted that there has been a corresponding unfavourable change in the intestinal ulceration, indicating the use of the oil. It is precisely under these circumstances that, previously to my original use of the oil, I had seen a majority of the cases that came under my notice prove fatal: and, since the use of it, only two. I do not claim for the oil any specific power over typhoid fever. It will not prevent death from intercurrent pneumonia, or meningitis, or various other sources of mischief; but I do think, as the result, too, of great experience in the disease, that so far as the mere affection of the intestinal glands and its direct consequences are concerned, it will vastly diminish the chances of a fatal issue. The reason why, in the special condition of the tongue last described, the favourable effects of the remedy may be almost certainly calculated on, is that, at the commencement of the cleaning process, the proper idiopathic disease has about run its course, and would almost certainly end well, but for an unfavourable change in the condition of the ulcerated surfaces; and whatever, therefore, will favour the healing of these, will in all probability secure a favourable termination. I have been more particular in this account of the use of oil of turpentine in enteric fever, because I have great confidence in the efficiency of the remedy myself, and wish to prevail on others to use it by showing the grounds of this confidence, and pointing out the precise circumstances under which, according to my experience, it should be employed.
Scarlet Fever. In the advanced stage of this complaint, a troublesome diarrhoea not unfrequently supervenes, which is sometimes, I believe, sustained by ulcers in the small intestines. It is not uncommon for this condition to be attended by a dry tongue, as in enteric or typhoid fever. Under these circumstances, I have prescribed the oil of turpentine with apparent benefit.
Dysentery and Diarrhoea. Whenever, in the course of these complaints, whether acute or chronic, the tongue exhibits a smooth surface, as if deprived of its papillary structure, and at the same time becomes perfectly dry, I always unhesitatingly employ the oil of turpentine, believing that this aridity indicates a deficiency of the vital forces, which calls for the stimulating property of the oil, while the probable existence of ulcers in the bowels requires its alterative action. In chronic dysentery, particularly. I have repeatedly seen the happiest changes effected by the remedy, under the precise circumstances mentioned, and would strongly urge upon the reader a trial of it. One instance occurs to me, in which the patient had been very long ill, and was reduced to the lowest condition compatible with life. No one who saw the case had any hope of a cure. But the same favourable change took place, under the use of the oil, as in the analogous condition in enteric fever, and the patient recovered. I seldom fail, in such cases, in restoring moisture, and an otherwise favourable condition to the tongue, even though the disease may prove ultimately fatal. The oil should be combined with a little laudanum in these cases.
Gastritis and Yellow Fever. In the last stage of inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane, when the skin has become damp with cool sweats, hiccough has set in, and the patient vomits dark matter; in short, when symptoms of threatened gangrene appear, the oil of turpentine with laudanum sometimes offers a last chance for safety. It acts as a stimulant and alterative to the diseased surface, while it somewhat stimulates the system. I have seen at least one apparently desperate recover from such a condition under the use of it. Now this condition is very frequently presented in the second stage of yellow fever, anticipatory or attendant on black vomit. The oil has been highly recom-mended under these circumstances, being commenced with after the subsidence of the primary fever. Some have even employed it throughout the disease; but in the early stage, when the gastritis is yet active, the use of a powerful local stimulant like this would not correspond with my views of sound therapeutics.