DIPHTHERIA AND COMMON SALT

By A. Scholta, Freiberg

From a lengthy article on this subject we here bring what may prove of use and interest to many:

      “I have lately tried repeatedly in my practice the physiological clysters of the solution of common salt in a group of medicine diseases, which, according to the division made by the staff-surgeon, Von Grauvogl, belong to the so-called hydrogenic disturbances of the constitution. I had in mind in this matter the similarity of the symptoms of this group of diseases with homoeopathic symptoms of proving of Natrum mur., among which as is well-known, the symptoms of the sensation of cold is prominent (see Heinigke and farrington). I may confess here that I myself later on, as a matter of principle, have turned to the “Naturheilkunst” and then, of course, endeavored to apply the homoeopathic law, “Similia similibus curantur” also to physical irritations. Prof. Winternitz himself declared that “thermic, physical and chemical irritations are all subject to the same physiological laws.” So I made use of weak solutions of common salt as retained clysters in the so-called “negative acute diseases” (diphtheria, influenza, chlorine, etc.), which probably correspond to the hydrogenoid group of diseases of Grauvogl.

     I had at first no clear idea of the cause of the action of minimal doses of common salt, which I injected per rectum into my patients. I noticed, indeed, a striking improvement in the general condition, but I always thought that the process consisted chiefly in the consequences of rinsing out the blood with salt and water, whereby the products of the changes of the substances were rinsed out or neutralized. I would probably have retained this view, if there were not with me an inborn large septic and critical disposition as to all dogmas. In some cases I had noticed that diphtheritic exudation which otherwise pass through a regular clinical course from the time of their origin up to the day of their evanescence turned yellow on their borders and were cast off before the usual time of their disappearance. I further observed these phenomen and found that there was a connection between the process and the application of the clysters of common salt and that they were, therefore, a specific effect of the seak solution of common salt.

     From this time on I treated all my diphtheritic patients with seak solution of salt injected as clyster. In the beginning I used, according to the age of the patients, solutions containing 0.7-0.9 per cent., and of this solution I injected one tablespoonful every three to four hours. And later on, every six hours, into the rectum. But I soon found out that this dose was too strong. When this treatment was continued for several days, it caused in many cases a weakness attended with thirst and exhaustion. I therefore, diminished the quantity of the salt to one-half and only give these clysters with a strength of 0.3-0.4 per cent. The effect on the diphtheritic process was equal, yea, it was more Pronounced.

     A person who has passed as I did through the severer epidemics of the nineties must know that we were then powerless against the progress of the membranous inflammatory process. The fungi kept spreading from the fauces or the nostrils uncontrollably into the larynx and even down into the lungs. Neither the homoeopathic Mercurius cyantus (Villers) nor hydropathic treatments were able with any certainty to cheek the advance of the diphtheritic membranous process. Hardly anything more has ever been effected than a certain removal of the resulting poisons and a turning aside of the blood from thee inflamed mucous membrane.

      With horror I recal those hours when the local diphtheritic process, defying the treatment, generating ever more massive membranous formations, kept advancing with giant strides, suddenly causing stenosis of the larynx, or even when the membranes, by some artificial contrivance, were coughed out it would pass over to the lungs.

     Ever since I have used the weak solution of salt as a retained clyster, diphtheria has ceased to be for me the tarror it formerly was. The diphtheritic epidemy has, indeed, since 1894, ceased to be so malignant, except in single cases. Nevertheless, stenosis of the larynx. Angina Ludowici and sepsis are by no means rare. Rhachitic, scrofulous children are especially in danger, and may die off rapidly, even at a more advanced age, from sepsis if a corresponding treatment is not started in good time.

     According to my observation in the treatment with these clysters, the diphtheritic inflammatory process is checked after forty-eight hours at the latest, but generally even after thirty-six hours.

      The membranes then begin to melt away and are cast off entirely within thirty-six to forty-eight hours more. Even in cases where the diphtheritic process has seized upon the bronchia, we may still hope for a cure if the course of the disease is not too stormy.

     I do not, of course, use the clysters of salt alone in my treatment of diphtheritic patients, but I use besides also the old and well-know Priessnitz compresses around the neck, also using the packing of the abdomen and of the legs to carry off the inflammation. Sometimes also slight vapor baths in bed, and in higher fevers even packing the whole of the body in wet sheets. But I give the chief attention to rinsing the fauces and, in nasal diphtheria, also the nasal mucous membranes with an equally strong solution of common salt (0.04 per cent.) I put in two glasses (one-half pint) of water as much salt as will lie on the point of a knife, and use the water from one of the tumblers for the clysters and the other one for gargling out the fauces and nose. I have no maner of doubt that the resisting power of the tissues of the throat is increased by rinsing it out with weak salt water at a temperature of 770 to 690 Fahrenheit. By this means also the results of decomposition which gather are rinsed out of the fauces, thus preventing their re-absorption. I have the throat rinsed out every one to two hours, according to the violence of the foe-tor from the throat; with children, instead of rinsing out the nose, we may simply inject some water into the nose while the child is sitting up, never while it is lying down.

     If the Antitoxine has any curative power, it must undoubtedly be ascribed to the contents of salt in the blood of horses. But Antitoxine is by no means an indifferent body. Weakness of the heart, a long and tedious re-convalescence, debility of the nerves frequently remain for months after diphtheria, without mentioning the many cases of acute death from paralysis of the heart, inflammation of the kidneys, etc. (cfr. A. Scholta on Diphtheria and Antitoxine, Kasuistik der Heilserumvergiftungen.)

     That the weak solution of common salt given in the retained clysters works according to the law of Similia similibus must be manifest to every one acquainted with the homoeopathic method. Common salt has a pronounced effect on the mucous membranes (Heingke, 2d ed., p. 372). But just on this account I would warn against the use of massive doses of common salt, and even against the protracted use of physiological clysters of salt. They are apt to cause catarrh of the stomach and of the bowels, and even weakness of the heart. The weaker the solution of salt, the surer is the effect. I do not continue the clysters longer than three to four days. I would request homoeopathic physicians to prove this simple treatment.

Author: Dr James

Homeopathy

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