Scrophula, or Evil, is a swelling of the conglobate glands, particularly about the neck and ears ; though sometimes extending to the arm-pit and the groin. In its progress, the joints and bones arc liable to be affected.
Scrophulous tumors may be distinguished from scirrhous, by their soft and moveable state; they sometimes disappear in one part, and rise again in another. This complaint, however, is not confined to the external parts, but occasionally attacks the lungs, mesentery and other organs ; in which cases a swelling of the upper lip will indicate the concealed evil. - Children afflicted with this malady are generally of a florid complexion ; they have a soft skin and tumefied abdomen : such indivi duals attain to a maturity of understanding superior to others of the same age. In some countries, the disease is endemial : thus, it is uncommonly prevalent in Britain, Holland, Switzerland, and Carin-thia.
rophula often frustrates the efforts of the healing art ; though it seldom proves fatal, while it is confined to the external glands; but, if it extend its influence to the pulmonary organs, it frequently produces tubercles, and eventually consumption. When the joints are diseased, it occasions tumors, .stiffness of the limb, ulcers, decay of the bones, and often emaciation of the body, till death closes the fatal scene.
Causes: - Whatever tends to produce a viscid lymph, and to debilitate the constitution in general, such as coarse and acid diet, especially pastry ; moist air ; damp habitations; colds; want of exercise; impure water; and the vitiated milk of nurses ; all may engender the evil. Farther, when the scro-phulous taint is once introduced into the constitution, it generally appears after the small-pox, measles, and even in consequence external injuries. Whether this disorder be hereditary and contagious, is a point on which the opinions are divided ; but whether it may, or may not, be communicated by contact, prudence would dictate, that healthy children should not be suffered to sleep with scro-phulous persons.
Cure: - A great variety of remedies has been devised for removing scrophula : the principal difficulty in extirpating this malady, however, arises from the circumstance, that it may remain concealed for a long time, and thus become deeply rooted in the constitution, before its effects are evident. Hence, we shall confine our account to such remedies as have rally been attended with salutary effects.
In order to resolve the viscid lymph, and to strengthen the system, the use of Peruvian bark, in the state of powder, combined with hemlock, forms an excellent remedy ; but the proper doses ought to be regulated by a medical practi-titioner. Sea-water and sea-bathing, as well as moderate exercise, especially in a warm, serene atmosphere, arc alike conducive to recovery. During this course, the bowels should be gently and regularly opened ; the diet ought to be light, consisting of nutritive food, y digestible; and the sleep must also be moderate, not exceeding seven or eight hours in adults, and nine or ten hours, in children. - Frictions will be serviceable, by-promoting the circulation of the fluids, and tending to strengthen the solids. Hemlock-piasters applied to the tumors, and burnt sponge combined with small portions of black pepper, taken before breakfast, have frequently been of service in reducing them, especially if assisted by sea-bathing. Mercurials and antimonials arc powerful, though precarious, remedies ; and, if the former be employed in consequence of medical advice, they should never be given such quantities as to induce salivation, which would doubtless aggravate the disorder. - Milk-whey, with the DEAD-nkttlks, has also occasionally been found useful , but we forbear to mention the absurd sympathetic remedies formerly resorted to, for the cure of the evil; as these superstitious practice scu tices are, at present, in vogue only among the vulgar.
If, however, none of the medicines before enumerated, have the effect of dispersing the swellings ; on the contrary, if a suppuration of the tumors be likely to ensue, they should never be opened, till the tumid indurations are softened ; or, it will be more safe and advisable to suffer them spontaneously to break, without any application of emollient, or other poultices ; as the subsequent healing of the ulcers will thus be greatly promoted.
The nitric acid has, lately, been extolled as an efficacious remedy against hard indolent swellings, and particularly those of a scrophu-lous nature : in the latter cases, it is given according to the age of the patient, in doses, of from 20 to 60, and even 80 drops, in water sweetened with honey ; and which must be taken gradually in the course of 24 hours.
Should it occasion nausea, and injure the enamel of the teeth, these inconveniencies may be remedied by diminishing the number of drops, and adding more sugar or honey. In some instances, this acid has proved beneficial; but it requires more time, positively to ascertain its effects.