Jaundice, or Icterus, a dis-ease in Which the skin and eyes are yellow; the feces of a whitish colour; and the urine of a dark red hue, tinging cloth, or other substances immersed in it, of a yellowish shade.
Various causes produce this obstinate disease ; such as a very di-luted and acrid state of the bile; indurated swellings of the intestines ; the colic, when occasioned by eating unripe fruit; accumulations of humours near the liver; suppression of the natural evacuations, etc. It may also arise from curse and unwholsome food; as well as from the effects of fear, terror, anger, or any other passion; and likewise from suddenly drinking cold water, while the body is overheated.
Persons of a sedentary life and sanguine temperament, especially females, are liable to be attacked by the jaundice. Even infants become subject to the disease, if the breast be given them, while the mother is under the influence of passion.
The chief object, in curing the jaundice, is to remove the cause which occasions the accumulations of bile and humours at the liver; but, as it is very difficult to ascertain the precise nature and operation of that cause, various means ought to be employed, as circumstances may require. If, however, the jaundice arise from indurated swellings in the viscera, it is seldom curable ; yet, as this symptom cannot always be discovered, the most judicious method will be that of treating the disorder conformably to the manner practised in calculous affetions, or the stone; with a view to dissolve the concretions, and to prevent their future accumulation. For this purpose, gentle emetics should be frequently taken, and constant exercise on horseback ; which, from their concussion of the viscera, dislodge the obstructing matter, and thus re-move the complaint. But, if there be any tendency to inflammation, the patient ought to lose a little blood, previously to taking any ern emetics. Should, however, no relief be obtained after two or three vomits have been administered, it will be advisable to delay their repetition.
Honey, antiscorbutics, aroma-tics, bitters, blisters applied to the regions of the liver, have all been found serviceable in the cure of the jaundice. But, if these remedies fail, as in cases of scirrhous and glandular concretions, recourse can only be had to such medicines as may paliiate the symptoms. Of this nature are diuretics (which see) ; though, if the pain or irritation of the skin be violent, opiates must be resorted to; and, if the blood has a tendency to dissolution, it must be counteracted by proper antiseptics, conjoined with the internal use of sal ammoniac. When the disorder was suspected to arise from a rheumatic cause, Dr. Selle successfully prescribed the sulphurated oil of turpentine, in combination with vitriolic aether; a powerful medicine, which has even expelled biliary concretions. Should it, however (as often happens), spontaneously disappear, it will be advisable to prevent its return, by a course of tonic remedies, and especially the Peruvian bark. The waters, of Harrogate, Bath, and Pyrmont, will also be found very serviceable; and, if the patient have no opportunity of bathing in them, affusions of common water may, according to Dr. Sims, be advantageously substituted.
The diet of persons affected with the jaundice, ought to be light, cool, and diluent; consisting chiefly of ripe fruits and mild vegetables : many have been effectually cured by living for several days on raw eggs alone. Butter-milk, whey sweetened with honey, or decoctions of marsh-mallow roots, and other aperient vegetables, ought to. constitute the whole of their drink. Gentle and daily exercise in the open air ought by no means to be neglected; while the mind should be kept serene and cheerful.
Jaundice, in horses, a disorder which is by farriers usually called the yellows. It is divided into two species, the yellow and the Hack. In the former kind, the whites of the animal's eyes assume a yellowish cast; his tongue and his lips also, partake of the same colour, though in a slighter degree. In the black jaundice, those parts are tinged with a blackish hue. The remedy commonly administered for the cure of this malady, consists of one ounce of withridate (which see) dissolved in two quarts of strong beer, and given warm to the animal adeemed, once in twelve hours: by continuing these draughts for a few days, the distemper generally disappears.
The jaundice also attacks sheep, and imparts a yellowish cast to their skins. It may-be cured, according to Prof. Bradley, by giving them internally some stale human urine, at frequent intervals.