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Source: Papers On Health
There are two more or less distinct stages of this serious
trouble; the first stage is generally curable, the second stage
generally incurable. Yet good natural means of cure will very much
alleviate even the incurable stage. The earlier as well as the later
stages are marked by extreme thirst. This, in the case of some poor
sufferers, is enormous. Gallons of water are taken, and the more is
taken the more is wanted. But this thirst is not the effect of heat, as
fever thirst is. It cannot be quenched by means of cold cloths often
changed over the stomach, as fever thirst can. A sufferer in this
disease will set a large pitcher down at the bedside to serve for the
night, and drink it all before morning; but there is no extra heat
anywhere to account for this. The thirst is more like that which is
caused by eating very salt food. It points to the character of the
juices which are affecting the stomach, and not to any heated condition
of the stomach itself. The drinking is a desperate effort to dilute
these juices; and, at least by cold water, that cannot be done. A
wineglassful of hot water taken every ten minutes for an hour, or two
hours, or three, or ten hours, as is felt to be comfortable, will do
wonders in the early stages of this disease. This water, when taken at
the right heat, at once mixes with the strongly concentrated juices of
the stomach, and causes them to be easily managed by that and other
organs. It is truly wonderful what this very simple remedy will effect
by itself alone. The next thing to be noticed is the excessive hunger.
The food, whatever it may be, fails to quell this hunger. Here, again,
it is clearly the stomach with which we have to do. When the hunger is
developed we should think the case further advanced than when thirst
alone is experienced. The hot water meets this symptom as it meets the
other. It is also of the very greatest moment to give right food.
Oatmeal and buttermilk steeped together for a time and then moderately
boiled, a very little salt or sugar being added, produces a food which
we do not expect to see excelled by the most costly that can be got
anywhere. Wheaten meal, or barley meal, will do as well as, and perhaps
in some cases better than, oatmeal, but these may be chosen according
to taste. The chief thing is the ease with which this food is converted
into a large supply of the best of blood for all purposes of
nourishment. Food containing much starchy matter, as white bread, rice,
and all sugar, must be forbidden. To make up for this, an abundance of
fat should be consumed. The bowels should be kept open by a suitable
diet and exercise.
Now we come to the excessive urinary discharge which is so strong a
feature of this disease. The body seems as if it were melting away in
We can benefit the kidneys vastly through acting on the liver, as well
as on themselves. By a large hot bran poultice over the liver we can
add new life to that, and whatever does so tends to benefit the
kidneys. After using this large poultice, with plenty of oil rubbed on
before and after, say three or four times, place it over the kidneys
and use it as often there. If the heat is well kept up for an hour at a
time, one poultice a day would do, but, if the patient desires it,
twice a day will be all the better. It is good to do the best that can
be done with the skin. By means of soap and oil rubbing, and the
cleansing effects of diluted acetic acid, very considerable help may be
gained. Good can be done by a hot fomentation of the feet and legs to
the knees, with oiling after, so as to have these extremities in a
comfortable state. Tea, coffee, and sugar must be avoided.