Spigelia Marilandica; Smallpox
D. E. RUFF, M. D., JUNCTION CITY, OREGON
In an experience of thirty-seven years with a single remedy I think I am justified in saying that I can speak with a strong confidence in the properties of that remedy. Spigelia marilandica is generally considered useful in the treatment of intestinal worms, but my use of it is altogether different, unless it can be proved that cholera infantum is dependent upon microbes of the nature of worms. Be that as it may, I use spigelia in the secondary stages of cholera infantum, where the features become pinched and drawn, when the mouth is dry and the tongue cracked and fissured, when the bowels are moving involuntarily and when the little sufferers will drink anything greedily that is offered. The bowel contents are of a dark green spinach color but devoid of odor. I usually mix two drams of the tincture of opium camphorated with fluid extract of spigelia to make two ounces. Shake well and give half a teaspoonful and repeat in half hour. After taking the second dose the patient becomes quiet, the skin moist; usually the patient sleeps two hours and awakes refreshed and is ready for something to eat. After the second dose repeat as needed every two hours. When first called, I give 1-6 of a grain of calomel every half hour, with the sulphocarbolate of zinc, one-half grain. Repeat this dose until about five doses are given and one hour after the last dose give two teaspoonfuls of castor oil. After the oil acts give the sulphocarbolates every hour. If there is much fever give small doses of aconite every hour, until three or four doses are taken, then apply a flannel bandage over the bowels and do not remove this. After giving the sulphocarbolates 24 hours, commence with the spigelia and you will soon see your little patient on the road to health. I have only lost three cases in the 37 years, and to them I was unfortunately called too late in consultation.
My experience in the treatment of smallpox tallies exactly with that of Dr. C. M. Dean as detailed in the January THERAPEUTIST, with the hyposulphite of soda. In my student days in Louisville, Ky., I had my first experience with the hyposulphite of soda under the direction of Dr. P. B. Scott of Louisville (he is now dead), and since then on eight different occasions. I depend mainly on the salt above named. It is a good laxative as well as a first-class antiseptic.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.