Turpentine a Century Ago.
As I have frequently stated, I have a great deal of faith in the action of turpentine and am constantly looking for new suggestions for its use. An article published in a secular paper in 1820 has been reproduced by the Medical World, It was copied from a Dublin paper. It is as follows: "It appears from medical history, that childbed fever has hitherto desolated society in every part of the globe, where it has appeared, and the instances of recovery from the dreadful malady are so few as justly to entitle it to the appellation of an incurable disease.
"That it falls within the knowledge of such as are engaged in the practice of midwifery, that the oil of turpentine is an infallible specific in this complaint; and although other remedies may with advantage be employed in conjunction, yet that to the specific influence of turpentine we ascribe the removal of the disease of childbed fever in every case."
The method of using turpentine in these cases is not given, but with the indications of extreme sepsis present in severe cases, which we have frequently named, as resembling typhoid, the remedy is positively indicated, and none will exercise a better influence. The dark mucous membranes, deficient secretion, dark coated tongue, narrow, thin and pointed, with sordes with tympanites. Its external use for tympanites is seldom overlooked by any physician.
Strict attention to asepsis has caused this disease to become very rare, but like smallpox it was at one time very prevalent and extremely severe, and usually fatal in its termination.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.