Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/20

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fat stifles tubercles. The dairy-districts of the chilly Netherlands enjoy a remarkable immunity from pulmonary diseases. Sandor Czoma, the Hungarian traveler, who passed several years in the highlands of Thibet, states that the Thibetan (Buddhist) monks prolong the lives of consumptives by heroic doses of clarified butter.

The Æsculaps of the future will issue their almanacs with a list of household remedies. The knowledge of a few simple dietetic correctives would enable thousands to dispense with the use of costly patent medicines. Common sugar is an effective receipt for depurating the morbid secretions of the air-passages. It relieves hoarseness, and in bronchial affections alleviates the painful, dry cough, by loosening the phlegm and relaxing the stringency of the laryngeal muscles. Various kinds of sweet fruits share this property, and the most palatable form of the specific is perhaps the saccharine element of good layer-raisins. California raisins are now retailed at ten to twenty-five cents a pound, and half a pound of a medium quality can be warranted to afford as much relief as a dollar-bottle of the best cough-sirup. Besides, the demulcents of Nature induce no unpleasant after-effect, while repeated doses of medicated sirup soon become nauseating. A quart of cold water, either pure or slightly sweetened, taken just before going to bed, is a pulmonary febrifuge, and a reliable preventive of night sweats. It also promotes the easy breathing which to far-gone consumptives comes otherwise only after hours of troubled sleep. Dyspnoea, or want of breath, like dyspeptic asthma, can be greatly alleviated by an aperient diet: water-melons and buttermilk in summer, and baked beans, peas, or lentils, in winter. Combined with out-door exercise, digestive correctives often afford permanent relief from the distress of asthmatic affections, for that dyspnoea does not necessarily indicate an irremediable waste of pulmonary tissue is proved by the fact that it often occurs and permanently disappears with the symptoms that characterize the transient affections of the upper air-passages.

Permanence of relief is the best criterion for the value of a remedial agent. The cathartics and alcoholic stimulants of the old-school practitioners suppressed the symptoms of the disease, but the supposed relief was nothing but an interruption of a reconstructive process. While the vital forces were fighting the battle of life against the chronic enemy, we obliged them to suspend their efforts in that direction, in order to meet a more imminent danger at another point; for Nature can fight only one disease at a time. If an asthmatic person is seized with a climatic fever, the respiratory trouble is temporarily suspended: Nature, as it were, postpones the asthma-case in order to give her undivided attention to the fever-affair. Fever and ague give way to small-pox, a drunken man can be "sobered up" by an heroic dose of arsenic, and intoxication relieves the pangs of neuralgia, gout, and rheumatism—for a day. But, at the end of the day, the mal--