CALENDULA IN SURGICAL PRACTICE

Adverting to the very interesting contribution of Dr. H. Michener, Halsey, Oregon, on Calendula, Published in the January number (Vol. VIII) of the Recorder, I beg to make the following observations. I may say that they are founded upon personal experience as a practitioner for the last twenty years or more.

Dr. Michener says, “In cuts, bruises, lacerated wounds, if kept continually wet with Calendula, you need not fear suppuration” I am not prepared to agree to such a confident statement. In the early years of my practice, I freely prescribed Calendula as an external application, in cases of cuts, bruises, lacerated wounds, etc. In varying quantities and strength. But to me as tonishment and disappointment, I found not a single wound healing without suppuration. Of course I did not prescribe the medicine internally along with its external application, nor have I ever used it internally. But when I was called to treat these cases, when suppuration had already taken place, Calendula helped me admirably in curing them. Hence, it will be seen, that Dr. Michener’s statement, quoted above, does not hold in all cases. In gangrenous ulcers, Calendula has been a sovereign remedy with me. Let me say that in these cases also the internal application of the medicine has never been found necessary by me.

For the last three years I have been using Calendula in the form of “tincture-trituration” for dusting in cases of sloughing ulcers in dressing, especially for the convenience of the patients in the winter season when lotions feel annoying to them. The powder is thus prepared: I take of Calendula and mix with it an ounce of pure sugar of milk, and triturate the mixture in a porcelain or glass pestle and mortar. I take a quantity of this powder and mix it with an equal quantity of arrow root. A quantity sufficient of this mixed powder is dusted over the ulcer after it has been properly washed with Calendula lotion (Calendula m xx, Aqua). The part thus dusted over is bandaged, after a piece of linen (made into four folds so as to look like a pad, sufficiently large to cover over some healthy parts around thee ulcers), has been placed over the dressing. This form of dressing has, from long experience, been very efficacious in sloughing ulcers that after washing and cleaning, still freely ooze out thin matter, and thereby corrode the surrounding healthy parts. Such dressing further prevents the extension of the ulcer, by inoculation, to the neighbouring parts. Nor have I experienced, in these cases either, the necessity of prescribing Calendula (or any other drug) internally.

Dr. Michener says: “After surgical operations, used as a wash, union occurs by first intention.” I am sorry my experience conflicts with this statement also, as in none of the several cases in which I had recourse to surgical operations, and had used Calendula lotion as a wash afterwards, the ulcers healed up by the first intention. In my experience, Calendula has helped to cure very rapidly, extensive burns, where ulcers took a sloughy character. But in scalds, Calendula has been of very little or no service. I do not believe that the application of Calendula will assist in preventing cicatrisation. With regard, however, to the efficacy of calendula, in the inflammatory variety of eczema, I can speak in high terms, and I did so in the pages of the Homoeopathic World, of October, 1889.

This paper of mine was republished in the Homoeopathic Recorder, of November, 1889. There I named the indications for the use of Calendula in eczema, viz: “Slough, proud flesh and raised edges.” Since then I have tried Calendula in several cases of eczema of a sloughly character, and I am glad to say, with singularly good results. In the dry or scaly variety of eczema, however, Calendula has, in my experience, been of little use. In the above mentioned article contributed to the Homoeopathic World, I said that I believed that keeping constantly moistened, even with unmediated water, patches of eczema, both of the sloughly and the dry varieties, often cures the disease, or at least prevents its extension. This belief I still continue to hold.

In the treatment of gonorrhoea, or more properly gleet, urethritis of whatever origin, Calendula, as an injection, has to my knowledge, not done any good. Here I have found Hydrastis lotion (Hydrastis Can., miij, Aqua 3j). Of great service to many of my patients.

With regard to the form in which Calendula should be used, I can only say what I do. I use the tincture, and occasionally the succus, and the “tincture trituration” of which mention has been made alone.

In cases of surgical operations I use Calendula lotion as an antiseptic preparation (in the place of mercury lotion, so extensively used by professors of the old school), and with good results. In the dressing of wounds of buboes, be they of any origin, after operation, Calendula with olive oil (Calendula mxx, olive oil 3j) has been found very serviceable. When the wounds commence to heal up by healthy granulation I reduce the strength, namely, to five drops to the ounce. At this stage of thee sound the application of any preparation of Calendula, either in the form of oil or lotion, stronger than what has been mentioned above, generally irritates the wound and retards healing. This statement is based upon personal experience gained from the results of the early years of my surgical practice as a Homoeopath.

In a case of ozaena, of a woman of about thirty, evidently of syphilitic origin, I prescribed the “tincture-trituration” of Calendula, above alluded to, as a snuff with happy results, without the necessity of prescribing any medicine internally. It ought to be mentioned here that this case had been treated at first by an Allopathic physician, and then by a Homoeopath with Mercurius, Fluoric acid, Silicea hepar sulphuris, Aurum met., etc., internally, for six months, without any improvement. Here I did not prescribe any medicine internally, to see what calendula, used externally alone, could do towards cure. I have been trying Calendula in three patients suffering from ozaena, of syphilitic origin, during the last three months. These cases have all been improving, though slowly, and I hope to cure them completely in a couple of months. I must mention here that in these three cases, I have been prescribing cod liver oil in five drop doses, morning and night after meals. A few words more about Calendula. In 1889, when I was in Kuch-Kehar, one of the ponies of a friend of mine there got a very bad sloughing sore about the thigh. This sore discharged such fetid pus, etc., that the grooms were unable to live in the stable on account of the stink. An allopathic veterinary surgeon treated the animal for a month or so, but the sore continued to spread, burrowing into deep tissues of the part. This alarmed my friend, who asked me if I could work a “Homoeopathic wonder” in reference to the sore. I saw the animal and the sore. The animal seemed otherwise very healthy. I ordered a dressing with the tender leaves of Calendula (the garden marigold), the leaves being reduced to a pulpy mass in a pestle and mortar, and I directed the dressing to be kept in position by means of a bandage. This was done daily for a week, after which I re-examined the animal, and found that the sloughs covering the sore had all cleared off. Directing the washing to be done in my presence, I found the ulcer bleeding profusely, and that the base of the ulcer had come to the same level with the surrounding skin. (It ought to be stated here that, on the sixth day of my treatment I had found proud flesh and raised edges in the ulcer.) I now prescribed Calendula mixed with coconut oil (Calendula 3j, coconut oil 3iv). Some spun cotton soaked in this oil was applied to the sore and the dressing kept in position by a bandage. This again was done for a week, after which I examined the pony once more. Then I found the ulcer almost healed up. I ordered an application of Calendula again with coconut oil (Calendula 3j, coconut oil 3j). After a week I was informed that the ulcer had completely healed up.                              R.K.GHOSH.

Author: Dr James

Homeopathy

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