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All these disagreeable symptoms, says the Professor, may be combatted by appropriate means, while the iron is doing the slow but certain work of curing the pathological state in which the disease more essentially consists. For example, an opiate may be given, or the extract of belladonna may be rubbed on the gums, to quiet the neuralgia, which generally affects the nerves of the face; a little aloes may be combined with the iron to remove consti. pation; or some astringent, when thero is diarrhea, and when there is great want of appetite, the extract of gentian is a valuable adjunct to the metal preparation.
For the preparations of iron to be successful in any disease, it is the opinion of the Professor, that the disease should be dependent on, or closely connected with, anemia. Many physicians, said he, have boasted of the powers of this article in neuralgia, and have published numerous cases in which it has triumphed; but it cures this painful affection oniy, he maintains, when it is connected with an impoverished state of the blood; you will find, gentlemen, said he, in consulting the statistics of this subject, that most of the cases reported as having been cured by this remedy, have been those of anemic women.
Amenorrhæa is a diseased condition which depends upon opposite states of the system, and consequently iron cannot be said to be its specific. It sometimes depends upon a phlogistic and plethoric habit, and in such cases this medicine is by no means to be resorted to. In a word, it is only when connected with anemia, that amenorrhæa calls for this therapeutic agent. The same remark may be made in reference to dysmenorrhea—it is very common in this affection, said the Professor, for the physician to advise marriage. This is bad advice when given to those whose diseased state is associated with anemia. In such cases, the disease should be cured before marriage. When, however, the habit is plethoric, and the organs generally in a comparatively healthy exercise of their functions, marriage will be found advantageous.
There are no better remedies than the preparations of iron in dropsies dependent on an impoverished condition of the circulating fluids. Every one who has had the opportunity of observing knows, that the thin and dissolved state of the blood which obtains in intermittents and other fevers, predisposes to congestions, hemorrhages, and dropsical infiltrations. The timely administration of iron
will most generally prevent these dangerous sequelæ, and is their best remedy when they have unfortunately supervened.
It will thus be seen, that though the Professor does not regard iron as a specific in any given disease, he attributes to it the power of controlling an important pathological state which is the cause of a great many morbid phenomena, and which enters as a principal element into many obstinate and complicated affections.
I am disposed to think that Professor Trousseau is not much tinctured with the skepticism so prevalent in Paris, with regard to the powers of medicine. He talks like a good English or American practitioner—a comparison, however, which would not be regarded as complimentary by a Frenchman.
M. L. L. Paris, May 20, 1840.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF THE COTTON PLANT.
We are not aware that the cotton plant, (Gossypium herbaceum,) so extensively cultivated in the South for its economical uses, has found a place in the Materia Medica, and should, therefore, probably have remained ignorant of its claims to such distinction, had not our attention beon drawn to the subject by a letter from E. F. Bouchelle, M. D., of Columbus, Miss. to Prof. Short. According to the observations of Dr. Bouchelle, the cotton plant displays a particular affinity for the female sexual organs, and is capable of modifying their functions in a remarkable manner.
He has exhibited it as a remedy in amenorrhea with decided benefit, five cases of which are mentioned by him, but in terms too general to be satisfactory. He seems to regard it as a specific for this form of catamenial derangement, since he expressly states that it is applicable to every case without regard to the state of the system.
But it is as an oxytocic that the article is most celebrated by Dr. Bouchelle, sinco in his hands it has proved itself to be nowise inferior to the secale cornutum. He has administered it in several cases of labor, when his hopes of a favorable issue were gloomy indeed, and in every instance he was forcibly impressed with its benignantly specific influenco upon the parturient action of the ute
He has given it experimentally, also, in cases of natural labor, and with equally satisfactory results. In such cases, he will allow
us to suggest, the remedy maintained a strict neutrality, else it could scarcely have failed to do mischief. In natural labor, the oxpulsive contractions are justly proportioned, both as to intensity and frequency of recurrence, to the obstacle to be overcome, and they cannot be accelerated or strengthened without risk of injury to both mother and child. Dr. Bouchelle assures us that the cotton plant not only possosses the property of invigorating feeble contrac. tions of the uterine fibres, but that it originates expulsive contraction at any period of gestation, and will induce immediate abortion when taken in the proper quantity. Should future trials confirm this observation, the gossypium will be entitled to a higher rank as an oxytocic than the secale cornutum, for, it is questionable whether the latter exercisos such sway over uterine contraction; at least, we have no satisfactory evidence that it is, capable of exciting abortion in a passive and healthy state of the uterus. Dr. Bouchelle avers, however, that the cotton plant is habitually resorted to by slaves in the South for the criminal purpose of inducing abor. tion, and that it is a fact long and well known in that region that two-thirds, at least, of the likeliest and youngest female slaves are either sterile or invariably miscarry when they do become pregnant, from which he infers, furthermore, that the use of the article destroys the generative capacity: He mentions as a remarkable fact, (and it strikes us in that light too,) that those who resort to it either with the view of inducing abortion or of destroying the generative capacity, experience no detriment to their health therefrom.
The preparation used by Dr. Bouchelle is a decoction made by boiling four ounce of the inner bark of the root in a quart of water until it is reduced to a pint. Dose, a wino-glassful every twenty or thirty minutes as an oxytocic; he doos not specify the dose, &c., in amenorrhæa.
Art. I.-Thoughts on the action and influence of the Nervous
System, and on the means of strengthening and improving them. By CHARLES CALDWELL, M.D.
The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal marrow, and their appendages the nerves.
The nerves are divided into two great classes; nerves of sensation; and nerves of motion. The former of these classes contains numerous subdivisions; the latter but two, nerves of voluntary, and nerves of involuntary motion. Of these two subdivisions of the motory nerves, the latter is still farther divided into nerves of perceptible and nerves of imper
ceptible involuntary motion. Of perceptible involuntary motion we have manifestations in the actions of the lungs, heart, stomach, and intestines; of imperceptible, or organic motion, in the processes of secretion, nutrition, absorption, calorification, and growth.
The brain which constitutes the centre of the whole nervous system, but more obviously of the nerves of sensation and voluntary motion, consists of the cerebrum and cerebellum, or the larger and the smaller brain, separated from each other by the tentorium. By the falx, another process of the same membrane which forms the tentorium, the cerebrum is divided into two similar hemispheres, each of which is subdivided into thirty-six or seven minor portions called organs, constituting the seats or instruments of an equal number of different faculties of the mind. The organs and faculties of each hemisphere differ from one another; but the corresponding organs and faculties of the two hemispheres are alike. Each hemisphere therefore is composed of the same number of organs differing in function from one another, but identical in their several functions with the corresponding organs of the opposite hemisphere. Hence is the brain, in organization and action, a double viscus, in all respects, as it more palpably is with regard to the arrangement of the external
The spinal marrow is made up of three portions or cords, an anterior, a posterior, and a lateral or central one. Of these the anterior cord is connected with the roots of the nerves of voluntary motion; the posterior with the roots, or rather with the terminations of some of the nerves of sensation; while the remaining cord or portion forms what Sir Charles Bell calls the nerves of respiration; but which Muller, Hall, and other physiologists denominate the excito-motory