Chapter XIII. Special Remedies for the Skin.
In the treatment of skin diseases I have always depended upon internal remedies. Each form of skin disease has some one remedy that is especially indicated in that particular form of eruption. For example:
Eczema, rhus tox; urticaria, urtica urens; acne, berberis aquifolium; crustea lactea, arctium lappa; psoriasis, rumex crispus; herpes zoster, ranunculus bulbosus; ichthyosis, iodide arsenic; barber's itch, iodide sulphur; rhagades, graphites, etc.
By keeping the above remedies in our minds and prescribing them as indicated we may expect good results. Sulphur has been much used and abused as a remedy for skin disease and it is often used as a "blood purifier." Dose, three grains of the third decimal trituration once in three hours. It is not, however, a "cure all" and must be clearly indicated if it is to do any good. Patients needing sulphur—no matter how frequently they bathe—will exhale a disagreeable odor from their bodies. There are others who never bathe; they are filthy, prone to skin affections. The itching of these patients is intense; they will tell you it feels good to scratch, but the scratching leaves a burning sensation afterwards. The burning of sulphur, like the eternal fires of Hell is peculiar to the remedy. This burning may be in the skin, eyes, tongue, mouth, anus, legs, feet, etc. Every doctor who treats skin diseases should remember that the action of sulphur is to drive everything towards the surface of the body. It has this affinity for the skin. In the retrocession of any eruption upon the skin this remedy should be remembered. Many eruptions upon the skin have been driven into the system and caused serious trouble afterwards. Drying up an excessive perspiration of the feet has developed cataract of the eyes. In one case of eczema back of the ear in a baby applications were used that drove in the eruption and the child died in convulsions.
Asthma, angina pectoris, and other affections have been caused by some skin affection being driven into the system. This should be a warning to the profession and teach them that reckless prescribing any routine treatment, such as zinc ointments for all itchy eruptions upon the skin is bad therapeutics. We must depend mainly upon internal remedies; remedies that work from within outwards. Our local applications (if any are ever used) must be such as will heal up the eruption upon the surface of the body; never anything to drive the eruption into the system. This rule I have followed in all the years of my practice. It is the keynote to the successful treatment of skin diseases.
Drinking cold drinks when the body is overheated, going in swimming when the body is covered with perspiration and the water is cold, being caught out in showers when the body is overheated, will sometimes cause an eruption to appear on the body. In such cases there is one remedy which is indicated, and that is bellis perennis. Dose, five drops of the tincture three times a day.
We often meet ladies on the street, at church, or in society with ugly pimples on their faces. In most cases it is caused by the "constipation habit." The refuse matter that should pass off by the bowels is reabsorbed by the blood and thus we see them on the face. Such disfigurement is a disgrace to any girl or woman. One remedy for such conditions is sulphate soda. Put the crystallized soda sulphate in a close-mouthed bottle and direct the patient to take a quarter of a teaspoonful in a little cold water the first thing in the morning, not to act on the bowels but to act on the blood; therefore it is necessary for the dose to be regulated so as not to obtain any cathartic effect. The patient must be cured of the constipation if this exists. (See heading "Constipation" for directions.)
The following prescription will prove valuable by its influence upon the blood. Ten drops of tincture berberis aquifolium and two drops Fowler's solution should be given every three hours to clear the complexion.
Medicated baths, in skin disease, are very valuable for their effect upon the pores. The best one can be made by adding sulphate soda to the bath, using one pound to the ordinary amount of water in a bath tub or one ounce to the pint of water for a sponge bath. The water should be moderately warm and the baths should be taken three times a week. These baths will aid you very materially in curing your patient of skin disease.
Erythema. In the red, hot, dry condition of the skin belladonna will prove very efficacious. Dose, five drops tincture belladonna in a glass of water; of this mixture give a teaspoonful every hour. For a local application use the distilled extract of hamamelis and warm water, equal parts. Bathe the affected portion of the body frequently with this solution and keep cloths wet in it on them constantly.
In erythema nodosum with dark red skin, itching at night and pain in the long bones, tincture rhus venenata is a most useful remedy. Dose, five drops of the third decimal dilution three times a day. In burning of the skin with redness and itching, echinacea can be used with good results.
Rx Tr. Echinacea, ʒii.
Mix. Sig. Apply to the skin; keep cloths wet with it constantly in contact with the affected part of the body. This also forms an admirable application for chafing of the skin wherever situated. The internal use of echinacea is also beneficial in the erythema. Dose, ten drops tincture echinacea once in three hours.
Urticaria. When the skin is elevated, a white central spot and a red areola with a burning stinging sensation urtica urens is the first remedy of which we should think. Dose, add fifteen drops tincture urtica urens to four ounces of water and give a teaspoonful once in two hours. When there is a marked edema of the parts with burning, itchy, tingling sensation apis mel. is the drug needed. Dose, fifteen drops tincture apis mel. added to four ounces water and give a teaspoonful of this mixture every hour.
When the patient has eaten too freely of meat, or has over eaten, has red areolar patches that come and go, is hot and thirsty, antimonium crudum is the remedy. Dose, three tablets of the sixth decimal three times a day. As a local remedy powdered corn starch dusted on the eruption will be gratefully received, by the patient; the patient may also be bathed all over with a solution of soda bi-carbonate, one ounce to the pint of water.
Acne. When the skin is rough, persistent acne with pimples, you should prescribe tincture berberis aquifolium ten drops once in three hours. In acne with suppuration of the pimples, calcarea sulph. is the remedy required. Dose, three tablets of the second decimal trituration once in three hours. In nervous, hypersensitive females bromide of potassium, one grain three times a day will prove beneficial. Full-blooded plethoric people need belladonna. Dose, five drops first decimal dilution once in three hours. As a local application we may use the following prescription:
Rx Boracic Acid, grs. xv.
Nitrate Potash, ʒii.
Mix. Sig. This should be applied after bathing and not washed off.
For the "red nose" we may apply Bonjeans Ergotin at bedtime. It will contract the small blood vessels and thus relieve the redness. Ichthyol and vaseline equal parts is also a good local application. It should be used three times a day. In the chronic form of acne, juglandine one-sixteenth grain and sulph. quinine one-half grain should be given once in three hours.
Eczema. Every physician doing a general office business meets with old chronic cases of some form of skin disease, that have been the rounds and "suffered many things of many physicians."
To cure a case of this kind may mean considerable to a doctor who wants to "do things" in his profession. I begin the treatment of these old chronic cases by using the following prescription:
Rx Fl. Ext. Podophyllum, ℥ss.
Acetate Potash, ℥ss.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful four times a day.
It acts upon the kidneys and bowels. Acetate potash is one of the best blood depurants we have. Many an old chronic case has been benefited from the beginning with this remedy. Frequently the patient will ask you to give him something to allay the itching of the eruption. I have found the following to be the best all "round wash," as a liquid preparation, for skin disease with much itching of the parts. It cannot be excelled.
Rx Acetic Tr. Lobelia.
Aqua rosae, a. a. ℥iv.
Mix. Sig. Bathe the parts three or four times a day.
Acetic tincture lobelia is made as follows:
Lobelia Seed, ℥ii.
Mix. Macerate for seven days and filter; add one ounce of alcohol. A good all round alterative or "Blood Purifier" is a valuable asset to any doctor's office. Many families in the spring of the year ask for a "blood medicine." Here is a prescription which is especially indicated in old chronic skin diseases, eczema, psoriasis, salt rheum, etc.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful three times a day.
Many so-called alterative syrups have so much sugar in them that they take away the patient's appetite and he gets sick of it. The above formula is just bitter enough to act kindly upon the stomach and is well received by it. I have used this preparation for many years in skin diseases and have learned to rely upon it very strongly. The fluid extract in the above prescription should be made from the fresh root. (I like Lloyd's.)
In eczema of babies, a five per cent. ointment of subnitrate bismuth in lanolin is the remedy which should be used locally. It stops the burning and itching and has, in my hands, cured cases where other remedies have failed to benefit in the least. The best internal remedy is rhus tox. Dose, five drops of the second decimal dilution once in three hours.
In the inflammatory form of eczema with redness of the parts, burning and itching, the above remedy will cure most every case. When in women inclined to obesity and habitual constipation we find an eruption oozing out a thick honey-like fluid, that is glutinous, graphites is the needed remedy. It may appear behind the ears, in the palms of the hands or on the legs. Prescribe the third decimal trituration of graphites, three tablets once in three hours. When in eczema there oozes an acrid moisture from beneath the scabs and there is a terrible itching which scratching will relieve only temporarily—the itching is constantly breaking out in new places, staphisagria should be prescribed. Dose, add twenty drops tincture staphisagria to four ounces of water and give a teaspoonful every two hours.
When the eczema appears on the dorsum of the hands as in "Barber's and Grocer's itch," tincture bovista is the required agent. Dose, put fifteen drops of the third decimal dilution in half a glass of water and give the patient a teaspoonful once in two hours.
In scaly eczema in various parts of the body berberis aquifolium is the necessary remedy to cure. Dose, ten drops tincture berberis once in three hours. Such patients should also take a bath of soda sulphate (one pound to the ordinary quantity of warm water in a bath tub) three times a week. For severe itching of inflamed parts I have used successfully this prescription:
Rx Carbolic Acid, gtts. xxx.
Sulph. Morphia, grs. iii.
Aqua, q. s. ℥vi.
Mix. Sig. Apply locally four times a day.
In the dry scaly itchy eruption of eczema, when I use an ointment I like "Juniper Pomade" (Lloyd's). It is a nice clean preparation and should be applied three times a day. During many years' experience with this remedy I have never failed to get good results. It is much better and safer to use for eczema than zinc ointment.
Salt Rheum. I saw a case of this condition in an old lady in Vermont. Her hands were sore and bleeding from frequent scratching. The disease is worse in the winter and itches worse after the patient becomes warm in bed. This lady had been tormented by the fearful itching until she was nearly crazy from it. I gave her my Comp. Syr. Rumex crispus (formula given above) in teaspoonful doses three times a day.
There is in New England a species of hemlock which is called "ground hemlock." (Taxus canadensis? -Henriette) It grows about a foot high, then spreads out its branches and covers a space of from four to five feet in diameter. I have never seen it growing outside of New England. I collected some of the branches of this "ground hemlock," put them in a kettle of water and boiled the liquid down to an extract. I then mixed it with an equal quantity of unsalted butter. This ointment was applied to the hands of the old lady three times a day. I had her wash her hands every day with soft soap and warm water. Most farmers make soft soap and it is a good application both for salt rheum and psoriasis. Continuing the above treatment I was successful in curing the old lady of her obstinate trouble. I have used this ointment of "ground hemlock" many times for salt rheum and other obstinate skin diseases.
Psoriasis. When the skin is dry and impoverished, hands and feet cold, thyroidin should be prescribed. Dose, three tablets of the second decimal trituration once in two hours. When the eruption is moist and offensive, forms a grayish white crust lappa seeds is the remedy. Dose, twenty drops tincture lappa seeds (burdock) three times a day. In these old stubborn cases I have seen a whiskey tincture burdock seeds make some fine cures.
In scaly pustular eruptions on the face, berberis aquifolia is the remedy. Dose, twenty drops tincture berberis three times a day. It is one of our most reliable remedies in the cure of psoriasis. Many fine cures have been made by its use. The baths of soda sulphate, before described, should be used three times a week. A handful of wheat bran in the water will help to soften and remove the scabs from the skin. A good local application is made as follows:
Soft Soap, a. a. ℥i.
Mix. Sig. Apply at night with a piece of soft white cloth and bathe thoroughly the next day.
Ichthyosis. When the skin is dry and scaly iodide arsenic will prove curative. Dose, three tablets of the third decimal three times a day. Thyroidin for adults has made some fine cures in doses of five grains twice a day. If the skin looks dirty, gray and cadaverous you should prescribe tincture thuja in five drop doses three times a day. If there are fine scales with much itching which is worse in bed, indurations of the glands, clematis erecta is the needed medicine. Dose, five drops tincture clematis three times a day. Use the sulphate soda bath, as already described in this chapter, at bedtime.
Herpes, Facial. This disease is best treated with natrum muriaticum. Dose, three tablets of the sixth decimal every three hours.
Herpes Zoster. When preceded by intercostal neuralgia and there is burning of the vesicles, which may be of a bluish or black color ranunculus bulbosus is the remedy. Dose, fifteen drops tincture ranunculus in half a glass of water, teaspoonful every two hours. In herpes upon the hairy portions of the body that is accompanied by burning, stinging and itching, worse after scratching rhus tox is indicated. Dose, five drops of the second decimal dilution once in two hours. In the chronic form of this disease you should give the Comp. Syr. Rumex Crispus (see Eczema) in teaspoonful doses three times a day. Also use the soda sulphate bath as before mentioned.
I once had a patient who had been the rounds. There was a fixed burning pain in one side of the abdomen. No remedies had so far produced any results. I suspected there was a retrocession of an eruption of shingles, and applied a compound tar plaster over the affected portion. In a few days the patient had a nice eruption of shingles broken out around the body. Dusting corn starch on to the affected portion will relieve the itching of shingles.
Pityriasis Rubra. This disease appears in red patches, generally on the chest. Tincture erythinus, first decimal, is indicated and should be given in five drop doses in a little water night and morning.
Pemphigus. When the bullae are surrounded by a ring and itch considerably, with crusts forming on the third day it is wise to prescribe caltha palustris. Use the second decimal dilution and give five drop doses once in three hours. When there is much itching and burning, blisters with watery fluid and peeling of the skin rhus tox is indicated. Dose, five drops of the second decimal dilution once in two hours. In the foliaceous variety thuja is the requisite remedy. It should be given in five drop doses once in three hours.
The following prescription is good for the chronic variety of this affection:
Rx Fl. Ext. Berberis aquifolium, ℥iv.
Fowler's Solution arsenic, ʒii.
Simple Syrup, q. s. ℥viii.
Mix. Sig. Half teaspoonful after each meal.
Lichen. In the simple form of this disease juglands cinerea will cure most cases. Dose, five drops, tincture juglands once in three hours. Locally we may apply Fl. Ext. grindelia robusta one part, water three parts, three times a day.
In the chronic forms of this disease I like the following prescription very much indeed:
Rx Juglandin, gr. i.
Sulph. Quinine, grs. viii.
Mix. Divide into Chart. No. 16. Sig. One powder once in three hours. Juglands cinerea is the remedy indicated in lichen over all others.
Barber's Itch. In this affection iodide sulphur, third decimal, should be given internally, two grains once in three hours. Apply locally an ointment composed of two grains iodide sulphur to one ounce of vaseline, night and morning. Rub it in well.
A good treatment of such cases is to remove the crusts with flaxseed poultice and apply hot water on a sponge to the face. Then with a camel's hair brush apply the lotion for which I here give the prescription:
Rx Creosote, gtts. i.
Alcohol, gtts. c.
Aqua, gtts. c.
Mix. Sig. Apply locally, as directed.
In a week you should double the quantity of the creosote. This should be applied every other day. A more convenient form to use locally would be carbolic acid gtts. xxx, glycerine three ounces. Mix—apply three times a day.
Crusta Lactea. When there is a copious exudation that mats the hair, with burning and itching which is worse at night, viola tricolor should be prescribed. Dose, add fifteen drops tincture viola to a glass of water and give the patient a teaspoonful four times a day. When the eruption has grayish white crusts, offensive odor, arctium lappa is indicated. Dose, add thirty drops tincture arctium to six ounces of water and give a teaspoonful once in two hours.
Scald Head. We first apply to the parts a poultice made as follows:
Rx Pulv. Slippery Elm, ℥iii.
Pulv. Phytolacca, ʒiv.
Pulv. Lobelia seed, ℥i.
Mix. Add boiling water to make a poultice and apply to the head. This will soften up the scabs, after which we will apply an ointment three times a day made by adding twenty grains salicylic acid to one ounce of vaseline and mixing thoroughly. If this causes much smarting more vaseline should be added. Viola tricolor is the internal remedy. Dose, add twenty drops of the first decimal dilution in half a glass of water and give a teaspoonful every two hours. If there is much suppuration give three tablets of the sixth decimal of silicea three times a day.
Scabies. The following prescription is the best local application for this affection:
Rx Oil Tar, ℥i.
Tr. Veratrum vir., ℥i.
Sublimed sulphur sufficient to make the mass of the consistency of an ointment.
Mix. Sig. Apply three nights in succession, then take a bath and skip three nights, then apply it three nights more.
This is Webster's "Comp. Sulphur Ointment" from Webster's "Dynamical Therapeutics"—the best work on therapeutics ever published by any School of Medicine.
Ring Worm. The best local application in this affection is glacial acetic acid. It may be applied to any portion of the body except the scalp. Internally you should administer the tincture juglands cinerea, five drops once in two hours.
Chloasma or Liver Spots. Locally apply pure lactic acid. If one application is not sufficient, repeat it until the epidermis and underlying pigment peel off. Internally you may prescribe the following:
Rx Fl. Ext. Euonymus, ℥i.
Simple Syrup, ℥v.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful twice a day.
Rhagades. I had a lady come from Philadelphia to consult me about her hands. The fingers were sore, cracked open; she could not bear them in water. It was a perfect picture of graphites. I gave her the third decimal trituration of this remedy, three tablets once in three hours. In a week she reported and I found her hands nearly well.
Prurigo. For the intolerable itching all over the body, worse from scratching and worse at night, tincture dolichos pruriens second decimal dilution is the remedy. Give it in five drop doses three times a day. It is the remedy which is especially indicated in this form of skin disease. For the chronic form prescribe Comp. Syr. Rumex (see Eczema) in teaspoonful doses three times a day. Also use the soda sulphate bath as described earlier in this chapter. The following prescription makes a good local application:
Rx Acetic Tr. Lobelia.
Aqua rosae, a. a. ℥iv.
Mix. Sig. Apply locally three times a day.
Verruca, or Warts. When the warts come in crops tincture thuja is the indicated remedy. It should be given in five drop doses every three hours. In alternation it is well to prescribe one grain magnesia sulph. once in three hours. Tincture thuja also makes a good local application or you may use equal parts of chromic acid and water. This turns the warts black and in a short time they drop off.
For syphilitic warts and condylomata keep the warts constantly moist with dilute nitric acid (one drachm to the pint of water). It will disperse them without pain. The application of tincture thuja, full strength, has also proved very successful.
Bromidrosis. When the feet perspire freely and have a bad odor, various "washes" are used to relieve this condition. As a result of such careless treatment cataract and blindness have resulted. It is very much safer to treat such conditions by internal remedies mainly. When there is habitual perspiration of the feet with a bad odor that is very offensive, you can relieve this condition by prescribing the sixth decimal trituration of silicea. Dose, three tablets every three hours.
If the toes and soles of the feet are sore the third decimal of baryta carbonica will be the remedy. Dose, three tablets once in three hours. When there is a fetid odor from the axilla the sixth decimal trituration of sepia is the remedy required. Dose, three tablets once in three hours. This is especially true in women who are suffering from obesity. When the whole body has a perspiration that is intensely disagreeable and the urine and feces are foul smelling, nitric acid will remove the condition. Dose, add ten drops of the third decimal dilution to four ounces of water and give a teaspoonful four times a day.
Vaccinosis. After a person has been vaccinated one or more times, there may appear an eruption on the face, swellings in the axilla, and lumps in the breast. It is the poison of the vaccine virus working in the system. We have an antidote for this poison in thuja thirtieth decimal trituration. Dose, three tablets night and morning.
This poisoning of the blood of other people by vaccination is a blot on our civilization and a disgrace to the medical profession. It has caused a rapid increase in cancer and syphilis in every country where vaccination is enforced.
Prickly Heat. A good local application for this condition is the following mixture:
Rx Carbolic Acid sol.
Pulv. Borax, a. a. ʒii.
Mix. Sig. Apply locally as often as is needed.
Cancer. The treatment of cancer in all its forms, also lupus and tumors, including ovarian and fibroid tumors of the uterus should be the subject of a volume by itself. I have often been urged to write a book on the treatment of cancer, but at my age and physical condition it may be doubtful if I ever live to see such a work completed. No doubt my experience with cancer would be of great value to the medical profession as I have spent forty years in the study and treatment of cancerous affections in all their various forms.
The Eclectic School of Medicine was the pioneer in the successful treatment of cancer by internal medication, while the Regular School with their theory that it was a local disease were cutting out everything which looked like a cancer and have miserably failed to cure it.
By my method of treating cancer as a blood or constitutional disease (as I was taught in the Eclectic College over forty years ago) I have cured eighty per cent. of the cases of cancer which have come under my treatment. I honestly believe, from my own experience, that ninety-five per cent. of the cases of cancer in our country could be cured by medicine if treated before any operation or the use of X-Ray. Hypodermic treatment of cancer has failed to cure the disease as any purely local treatment will do in the future even as it has in the past.
I have at different times reported cases of cancer successfully treated in different Medical Journals to prove that cancer could be cured with medicine. Physicians have visited me from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico to take a post-graduate course of study to fit them for the special work of treating this disease, for it is a specialty just as much as the eye, ear, surgery or gynecology.
Fifty thousand victims of cancer are dying yearly because they do not receive proper medical treatment. The demand for physicians who can treat cancer successfully was never so great as at the present time. The people have been duped long enough. They know now that the surgical operations not only do not cure cancer but actually hasten the death of the victims and increase their suffering. The day will come when it will be considered a crime to cut out a cancer. May God hasten the day.