Therapeutic Facts for the Puerperal State
J. A. BURNETT, M. D., AUBURN, ARKANSAS
The following are a few therapeutic facts on the puerperal state which I think are not generally known, and will no doubt prove beneficial to many.
Hyoscyamus (henbane) is the best remedy that I have used for afterpains. I have used it with both primiparae and multiparae, with perfect success in each case. The action of this remedy does not interfere with the lochial discharge or with the nursing infant. The dose is one grain of the powdered extract every one or two hours according to the severity of the pain, until relieved. Usually two or three doses are sufficient.
Leonurus (motherwort) is a reliable remedy for suppression of the lochia. It probably has no equal for this purpose, and many physicians have never heard of it. These will probably say they do not want to know anything about "corn-field" remedies. The dose is 10 or 15 drops of the fluid extract, in hot water every two or three hours until the flow starts. Usually two or three doses will be sufficient to start the flow normally.
Myrica (bayberry) is a reliable remedy when the lochial discharge is too profuse or when it lasts too long. It is valuable also for subinvolution of the uterus. The dose is 10 or 15 drops of the fluid extract every two or three hours.
Calomel is an important remedy in the puerperal state. I am well aware of the fact that it shocks most eclectics to see calomel recommended for anything in an Eclectic journal much as it shocks many regulars to see lobelia recommended in a regular journal. Calomel I believe to be a good remedy for "caked-breast" with threatened abscess. Give enough to act freely as a purgative and the results will be satisfactory. It is a well known fact and is admitted by all that are not prejudiced, that calomel is a powerful glandular remedy in acute conditions (not sub-acute and chronic), and it is specific for this condition when used early enough.
Jaborandi (pilocarpus) is the best galactogogue that I have ever used. It may have an equal but I doubt it. In my practice it gives uniform results, and in one case I was surprised at its results as the woman had practically no breasts, had given birth to several children and had never furnished milk for them. As I did not know what else to give I gave jaborandi and she gave plenty of milk. Dose, two to four drops of the fluid extract every four to six hours.
Turpentine is a standard remedy as a prophylactic to puerperal fever, and in my opinion it is superior to ergot as a prophylactic to hemorrhage. It relieves soreness and other distressing symptoms. I was told by a reliable physician that it would soon start the lochial discharge when suppressed. I was told by an old eclectic physician who began practice in 184S that he always gave puerperal women from ten to twelve drops of turpentine once each day for ten or twelve days and never had a case of puerperal fever. I have made a practice of giving from eight to ten drops once a day, for six or eight days in most cases, and am well pleased with it.
Sodium chloride is an important remedy in some conditions of the puerperal state. It will be found to be superior to the catheter in most, cases of retention of the urine. Use a teaspoonful to each pint of hot water and give by enema. Fill the rectum full and when it passes away the urine will pass freely also. Hot applications applied over the vulva and pubic region will assist the action of this remedy in this direction.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.