Tape-Worm, or Taenia, is one of the most tormenting worms, breeding in the bowels of the lower animals, as well as of mankind, and consisting of several species, namely; the armed and unarmed ; the long and short-limbed, or broad tape-worm ; but that most frequently occurring in Britain, is the solium, which moves about, and has a regular round head, resembling a wart. It is from one, to twenty yards and upwards in length : the body is composed of a number of articulated rings, or joints, by which it attaches itself to the membranes of the intestines.
The symptoms by which the pre-sence of this creature may be ascertained, are those of worms in general, such as nausea; Vomiting; giddiness; indigestion ; colic; and flatulence: the patient feels a pressure in certain parts of the abdomen; which, on shifting its place, mostly produces a chilling sensation in the lower belly, or in the
A more certain, and indeed the only criterion is, the expulsion of one or more pieces of the worm itself.
Cure: - An extraordinary number of remedies have been sug-gested, and tried, with various success : nor can such diversity of effects appear surprizing, if the difficulty of expelling the tapeworm be considered; as, in the attempt, portions are frequently broken off and discharged : Nature having endowed this monster with a power of regeneration, it soon acquires its former size, and excites the same turbulent motions. We shall, therefore, state only those remedies which appear to be the most efficacious.
1. The following celebrated specific of Mad. Nouffer, was purchased, and published, by the King of France : - On the day previous to taking the specific, the patient is to refrain from food after dinner, till about 7 or 8 o'clock in the evening, when a panada should be prepared, of a pint and a half of water, 2 or 3 oz. of good fresh butter, and 2 oz. of bread, cut into thin slices ; adding a sufficient portion of salt: in this state, it is to be eaten : shortly after, a biscuit and a glass of white-wine are to be swallowed. On the succeeding morning, he ought to take from 2 to 3 drams of the root of the male Fern (Polypodium filix mas, L.) collected in autumn, and finely pulverized; pure water or tea may serve as a vehicle. If the medicine occasion nausea, any aromatic may be chewed, but without swallowing it; or, strong vinegar may be inhaled, in order to check the sickness; but if, notwithstanding these endeavours, the powder be rejected, the dose is to be repeated, and the patient should endeavour to rest, as soon as the sickness subsides. About two hours after, one half of the following preparation should be given, namely : Mercury, fourteen times sublimed (calomel will answer the same purpose); and select resin of scammony, ten grains each ; fresh gamboge, 6 or 7 grains : reduce the whole into a fine powder, and form it into two boluses, by means of a conserve : these are to be taken at two different times. During the operation, as well as after administering each bolus, weak tea should be allowed in copious draughts. When the worm is expelled, a bason of broth, and the customary diet, may again be resorted to. If, howevei, the creature should be discharged previously to using the second dose, only the greater half of it, or, a portion of Epsom salt, is to be administered.
2. The method of carrying off the tape-worm, recommended by Herrenschwandt, is as follows: The patient must swallow one dram of the male fern two successive mornings, before breakfast; and, in the evening, two hours after a light supper. On the third morning, the following powder is likewise to be taken before breakfast, and followed by large potions of weak tea : Take of purified gamboge, 12 grains; salt of wormwood 20 grains, and Starkey's soap (a composition of distilled oil and fixed vegetable alkali) 2 grains; the whole to be duly incorporated: three hours after, 1 oz. of castor-oil is to be swallowed in a cup of beef-tea, and repeated once or twice at similar intervals. If the worm be still retained, a clyster, consisting of equal parts of milk and water, with 3 oz. of castor-oil, must be injected in the evening, which is generally productive of the desired effect.
3. The last of these specifics (as they are vainly styled), is that which Mathieu, an apothecary of Berlin, lately asserted to have discovered ; and for which the present King of Prussia honoured him with a title, and pension for life : the following are its ingredients : Take filings of pure tin, 1 oz.; powdered male fern, 0 drams ; worm-seed, 1/2 oz.; powdered root of jalap, and polychrest salt (vitrio-lated kali), of each 1/2 oz.; the whole to be properly mixed with a sufficient quantity of honey, so as to form an electuary, which may be marked No. 1. Farther, take powdered root of jalap, polychrest salt, of each 2 scruples; scammony (of Aleppo), 1 scruple; gamboge, 10 grains : these articles are also to be formed into an electuary with honey, and to be noted No. 2. The patient should, for several days previous to the use of this remedy, observe a very moderate diet, consisting of panada, and light vegetable food; but he ought especially to use salted provisions, such as herrings, etc. After these preparatory measures, a tea-spoonful of the electuary, No. 1, is to be taken every two hours, for two or three days, until a sensation of the worm be felt in the intestines; when one tea-spoonful of the electuary, No. 2, is to be given every two hours, till the creature be discharged. Should it, however, fail of success, 2 or 3 table-spoonfuls of fresh castor-oil are to be taken by the mouth, or a clyster, consisting chiefly of this oil, ought to be administered. The contriver of this method prudently observes, that the use of such active medicines, should be directed by a skilful physician, on account of the material difference in the sex, age, and constitution of individuals. He farther remarks, that as the efficacy of the remedy, 1, greatly depends on the quality of the male fern; care should be taken, that the root of the Poly-podium filix mas, and not of a spurious variety, be selected for the purpose; and that even of the genuine root, only the medullary part is to be pulverized : in this state, it assumes a reddish colour.
On reviewing these boasted re-medies, it becomes evident that their principal efficacy is derived from the male fern, properly combined with drastic purgatires; though it cannot be denied, that the auxiliary ingredients have, in tome worm-cases, proved equally successful. But all those drugs having been known to the medical world for centuries, it is to us a matter of surprize, that a man, like Mathieu, should have the effrontery to offer this cluster of vermifuges as things of his own invention, and obtain from the royal hand, a gilt laurel, for which others have for past ages, toiled in vain ! Nay, we are informed that, in a particular case, his pretended specific has also failed. - Quackery remains the same, whether covered with embroidered scarlet, or with rags.
Electricity has, likewise, been recommended for the removal of this troublesome inhabitant of the human body, especially after taking a brisk laxative in the morning. - Physicians on the Continent have remarked, that in persons who had eaten a supper of strawberries, the tape-worm could be traced to different parts of the abdomen, by means of electric sparks drawn from a wooden point, and carefully directed to the body, so that it could afterwards be easily expelled.
Lastly, there is another efficacious method of exterminating this worm ; and which has frequently been attended with the desired effect. Three or four days, previ-ously to the use of opening medicines, from one to three tea-spoonfuls of a solution of tartarized antimony (2 grains in 4 oz. of water), is to be taken three times a-day . on the fourth day, a purging powder, composed of calomel and jalap, from 3 to 6 grains each, accordingly as the patient is moved with greater or less difficulty, must be administered before breakfast ; but he should endeavour to check vomiting. In case this dose prove not sufficiently powerful, its operation may be promoted by the internal use and external application of castor-oil. During the passage of the worm, care must be taken not to interrupt its progress ; as it has been observed, on the least irritation, either to return into the body, or to break off suddenly ; in consequence of which, the whole complaint will be renewed : hence it would be advisable to sit on a vessel containing lukewarm milk, into which it may gradually descend ; a practice that has often been attended with success.