Some Items about Fluids Before and after Meals.


Dr. Webster in the Eclectic Medical Journal warns his brother physicians about giving fluid in quantities just before or after eating while treating them for dyspepsia. My experience is so far from that of Dr. Webster that I have thought it was only the right thing to state my ideas.

I have often treated cases of wrongs, apparently of the stomach—poor appetite, poor digestion, heavy feeling about the epigastrium with eructations of food—for which I would give the indicated remedy and the following just before or while eating. If the tongue is red and compacted, a goblet of water made pleasantly sour with muriatic acid. If the tongue is something near normal in size, or full, the following will give relief in that the kidneys will soon act freely. Mix a small quantity of pulv. cinnamon bark, with cream of tartar, just enough to give the latter a slight brown color, direct the patient to put a small quantity, as much as will lie on a nickel, in a goblet and fill it with water and drink that quantity, just before and while eating. It is obvious that the water is the remedy, and a goblet taken as above directed is often all that is needed because the patient has not been taking sufficient quantities of fluid, but would perhaps not think to drink that quantity of water if it was not for the placebo.

Some of the worst cases of indigestion are relieved by giving the above quantity of water, and a No. 2 capsule of Merk's salol after eating.

I treated the case some months past, of a young man who had gone the rounds of the doctors. His principal trouble consisted in not being able to retain his food. Soon after eating he would begin to "spit it up" as he termed it, and would not stop the eructations until his stomach was empty.

I gave him a powder of the placebo and another of salol colored with the cinnamon, and a box of No. 2 empty capsules, and directed him to drink a goblet of medicated water while eating, and to take a capsule of the powder just after eating. He gained rapidly and was soon able to resume his avocation, that of a farmer. For a case of stomach wrong, of almost any kind, the following will very surely give relief. Give about twenty drops of a saturated solution of acetate of potash in a goblet of water just before or while eating, and a pill or tablet of podophyllin, 1/20 of a grain; hydrastin, ⅕ of a grain; euonymin, 1/10 of a grain, after eating. This for all cases associated with a full tongue and any shade of white coating will produce good results.

We frequently have cases in which the digestion is out of order almost entirely. Indeed, we could safely say that there was no digestion at all if it was not for the fact that the patient yet stays on terra firma. These cases have a full tongue that carries a dirty white coating. They look as if it was once frosty white, and had received a coating of dark, dry dirt. Everything taken as food or drink forms a great quantity of gas that is rejected by eructations that are so strong that they irritate the mucous membrane of the nose and mouth, rendering the act very painful and disagreeable. For these cases no remedy known to the writer will compare with a weak solution of the sulphite of soda taken in a large quantity of water often repeated, especially taken just before and after eating.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.