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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/827

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THE REMEDIES OF NATURE.

travel it in sunshine, even on hobby-back if they choose, for they have a philosophical weekly of their own, with full permission to explain the revelation of St. John.

Myopia—short-sightedness, and far-sightedness (presbyopia), were formerly regarded as absolutely incurable affections, because they were evidently not amenable to the influence of any known drug. But "drug" and "remedy" have at last ceased to be synonymous terms; and, though constitutional defects of the eye may preclude the possibility of a complete cure, there is no doubt that those defects can be modified by a judicious treatment, especially by a mode of life tending to restore the general vigor of the system, by out-door exercise, and by rambles in green, sunny woods, for the colors of the summer forest are as beneficial to the eye as its atmosphere to the lungs. Weak eyes can be strengthened by gradually exercising the capacity of the optic nerve, scrutinizing small objects, first at a moderate and by-and-by at a greater distance, but withal guarding against a fatiguing effort of the eye.

Pimples.—The best cosmetic is a grape-cure, i.e., a frugal, saccharine, and sub-acid diet, combined with out-door exercise in the bracing air of a highland country.

Rheumatism.—Rheumatism, like gout, is a consequence of dietetic abuses. Counter-irritants, hot baths, etc., can effect a brief respite, but the only permanent specific is fasting. Before the end of the second day a hunger-cure benumbs the pain; the organism, on being obliged to feed upon its own tissues, seems to undergo a process of renovation which alone can reach the root of the complaint. Exercise and great abstemiousness will prevent a relapse.

Scrofula.—A scrofulous taint is in some cases hereditary, and yields only to years of dietetic reform, but, on the whole, there is no more perfectly curable disease. In all but its most malignant forms it yields readily to the influence of pure air and pure food—out-door life, and a wholesome, vegetable diet. Skin-cleaning nostrums only change the form of the disease by driving it from the surface to the interior of the body.

Toothache.—The extraction of every unsound tooth and the insertion of a "new set" would certainly remove, in ipsa radice, the seat, if not the cause, of the evil. But the trouble is, that the function of proper mastication is an indispensable preliminary of digestion, and that for practical efficacy the last stump of a natural tooth is infinitely preferable to the best artificial substitute. The best plan would, therefore, be to let the stumps remain, and get rid of the pain, and the latter end can be attained by a slow but infallible method. Within half a year after the change of regimen, absolute abstinence from hot drinks (especially boiling hot, sweet tea) and a very sparing use of animal food will benumb the sensitiveness of the irritated nerves. I knew an old-Mestizo who had learned to chew apples