To this riddle there are two solutions—neither of them very creditable to those concerned.
On the one hand, only crass ignorance of some of the most important facts of physiology and physiological chemistry could account for it. And, it must be borne in mind that in the course of the prolific verbosity of pontificated dogma which has graced the scroll of medical science, whole libraries have been written—and ably written, too—by skillful pens for the sole purpose of covering the simple nudity of the agnostic position of science—the dreaded, confidence-shattering admission: “I don’t know.”
Failing this solution there is, unfortunately, but one alternative and that a singularly distasteful one to entertain; namely, to attribute the unpopularity of this splendid gift of Nature to unprofessional considerations on the part of an apothecary-loving profession.
The employment of vinegar is, as I have said, a royal remedy, ready to the hand of any man and at little or no expense, and it needs no “learned” interpretation.
It is consequently beyond the omnivorous talons of “the trade.”
Would it be unkind to say: “Hinc illae lachrymae”?
The packs mentioned as physical treatment, under Nos. 24, 25, 26 and 27, are of the greatest importance, and in fact I never undertake the treatment of any disease whatsoever without applying them as the most effective means of restoring proper circulation of the blood and removing diseased matter from the body, which is the only way to bring about a real and definite cure.
The effect of the pack is the cooling of the blood.
The temperature of the pack is 50 degrees and more below the temperature of the blood.
In the first place this brings about quiet after unrest.
Through the action of the body, which sends a large quantity of blood to the places which are touched by the cool compresses, a certain surplus of heat is created which is transferred to the compresses and retained by them as moist warmth.
Under this influence the blood-vessels of the skin extend and absorb blood more freely, which is thus diverted from the important internal organs to the skin. In all cases of fever the diseased matter is dissolved in the hot feverish blood and circulates in and with it. The evaporation of the skin is increased, and with it the diseased matter is absorbed by the compresses, which consequently diffuse an unpleasant odor when removed, and when cleansed, give to the water a muddy appearance. Thus it may be observed to what extent the pack removes diseased matter from the body.
Packs must be changed as soon as they cease to give comfort to the patient, and make him too warm. Highly flushed cheeks, increasing temperature and unrest are sure signs that the pack requires to be changed, and in case of high fever this may happen after 20 to 30 minutes.