Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/171

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Confederate Drug Conditions. 167

supply the remedies and substitutes to meet the demands of such varied practice. I perused my dispensary and called into requisi- tion an old botanic practice which had been handed down as a relic of the past, but from which I confess to have received valuable aid and very many useful hints in regard to the medical virtues of our native plants. I give you the following facts from a record I kept of the patients treated, and the remedies I used, and the principal substances I resorted to:

"Of that large class of medicines, so useful in surgery and so much in demand in war times, called antiseptics, most of them, I may say, have been discovered and appropriated to surgical use since our war. In fact, I had but litttle else at my command except the cold-water dressing for wounds. From experiment I learned to improve on the plain old method, as I think, by employing a decoction of red-oak bark added to the water, which acted as a disinfectant, and by its stimulating and astringent properties pro- moted the healing process. I also used a weak solution of bicar- bonate of soda, which I found beneficial in the suppurative stages. When emollients were indicated, I used slippery elm and wahoo root bark, and solution of common salt often helped. In case of great pain I employed poppy heads, nightshade and stramonium.

" I had a number of cases of intermittent fever. I would give strong boneset tea, warm, until free vomiting was produced, and as a substitute for quinine I used, during the intermission, butterfly root or pleurisy root tea, which would nearly always shorten the febrile stage.

" Remittent or bilious fevers were treated much the same way, except that I invariably gave good doses of mandrake tea in the febrile stage. Virginia snake-root, yellow root, or Sampson's snake-root acted nearly as well, but I preferred the other. If I could have obtained blue mass or calomel I would have begun treatment with that, but none were to be had.

1 ' Mayapple root or peach- tree leaves made into a strong tea and drank warm would act on the bowels as certainly as senna; but with children where too much tea is not desirable, I often gave beefs feet oil, hog's feet oil, or even lard heated with syrup.

"In cases of pneumonia, pleurisy, catarrhal fevers, etc., I made local applications of mustard seed or leaves, stramonium leaves, hickory leaves, pepper, etc., warm, and gave alternately butterfly- root and sanguinaria, and continued to slightly nauseating, from