Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/187

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part with a bunch of needles set on a spring, and afterwards rubbing in an ointment.

I had taken one of these instruments with me, in some kind of prevision of its utility. If Dr. Baumsteit, the inventor of this marvellous panacea, be still alive, he may take pride in learning that his discovery was welcomed with enthusiasm by the inhabitants of Koko-nor, who regarded the needle-spring as a sacred thing received almost direct from Buddha himself! I subsequently presented it to a Mongol prince, who at once began to practise with it on his aides-de-camp, although they had nothing earthly that ailed them.

The most common maladies among the Mongols were syphilis, different skin diseases, and stomach complaints, besides contusions and fractures of bones. The sufferers gave the most ludicrous accounts of their ailments; thus, one woman, whose digestive organs were impaired by an excessive consumption of barley-meal, declared that she had a fungus growing inside her; another that her eyesight had been harmed by the evil-eye, &c.

My patients, however, were not satisfied with the operation of Baumsteitismus only; they asked us to give them internal remedies as well; we usually administered doses of salts, tincture of peppermint, and soda powders, sometimes, as in cases of cataract, magnesia, simply to rid ourselves of them. Our stock of medicines, however, was at last exhausted, and we had to fall back upon the needle-spring, which never failed us to the end of the expedition.