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Archive for the ‘Other Diseases’ Category

Intestinal Worms

In Other Diseases on December 6, 2007 at 5:30 am

Worms and other intestinal parasites which infest human beings are found in all countries of the world. However, they are more common in tropical and subtropical areas and are widely prevalent during the rainy seasons.

Children are more infested with these worms than adults. There are several types of intestinal worms. The most common of these are roundworms, pinworms, threadworms, hookworms, tapeworms and giardia.

Symptoms

The usual symptoms of intestinal worms are diarrhoea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes, constant desire for food, restlessness at night with bad dreams, anaemia and headache.

Roundworms may give rise to inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, fever, nervousness and irritability. Pinworms and thread worms may bring on intense itching in the area around the rectum.

Threadworms may cause periodic bouts of diarrhoea alternating with constipation, loss of weight, cough and fever. Hookworms may give rise to anaemia and nutritional disorders. The presence of giardia may result in pain in the calves and weakness in the legs.

Causes

The eggs of these parasites are introduced into the human system through the medium of food or water, especially undercooked meat. Roundworms may result from dirty fingers and food. Hookworms enter the human body through the skin from infected water. The tapeworms are transmitted into the body through undercooked flesh foods or foods contaminated by dogs.

The real cause of intestinal worms, however, is wrong feeding. The eggs of these worms, taken into the human body through food and water can breed in the intestines only if they find there a suitable medium for their propagation. This medium is an intestinal tract clogged with morbid matter and systemic refuse due to wrong feeding habits.

Treatment

The treatment for intestinal worms should begin with diet. The patient should be kept on an exclusive diet of fresh fruits for five to seven days. Thereafter he may adopt a well-balanced light diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, milk and wholemeal bread. The diet should exclude fatty foods such as butter, cream, and oil, refined foods and all flesh foods. This dietary should be continued till the parasites are completely eliminated.

In some cases, depending on the progress being made, the all-fruit diet may have to be repeated at regular intervals. In obstinate cases the patient should resort to short fasts on raw fruit and vegetable juices. This fast has to be of a fairly long duration in case of tapeworms. It would be advisable to carry on this fast treatment under the supervision of a naturopath, or better still, in a nature cure hospital. During the all-fruit diet or fasting period, the bowels should be cleansed daily with the warm water enema.

Home Remedies

Among the numerous home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of intestinal worms, the use of coconut is most effective. It is an ancient remedy for expelling all kinds of intestinal worms. A tablespoon of the freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast followed by a dose of castor oil after three hours. The process may be repeated till the cure is complete.

Garlic has been used for expelling intestinal worms from ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Hindus and Babylonians. It is also used by modern biological practitioners for this purpose. Both fresh garlic and its oil are effective. An ancient method of its medication was to place a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in its shoe. As the person walks, it is crushed and the worm-killing garlic oil is absorbed by the skin and carried by blood into the intestines as it  possesses the powerful penetrative force. This method is worth a trial by those who do not like the taste of garlic and cannot eat it.

The carrot ( gajar) is valuable in the elimination of threadworms from children as it is offensive to all parasites. A small cup of grated carrot taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.

The digestive enzyme papain in the milk juice of the unripe papaya (papita) is a powerful anthelmintic for destroying roundworms. A tablespoon of fresh juice and equal quantity of honey should be mixed with three to four tablespoons of hot water and taken as a dose by an adult.

This should be followed two hours later by a dose of 30 to 60 ml. of castor oil mixed in 250 – 375 ml. of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days, if necessary. For children of 7 to 10 years, half the above doses should be given. For children under three years, a tablespoon is sufficient.

Papaya seeds are also useful for this purpose. They are rich in a substance called caricin which is a very effective medicine for expelling roundworms. The alkaloid Carpaine found in the leaves has also the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. They are given with honey.

The bark, both of the root and the stems of pomegranate (anar) tree, is well known for its anthelmintic properties of destroying parasitic worms. The root-bark is , however, preferred as it contains greater quantity of the alkaloid punicine than the stem-bark. This alkaloid is highly toxic to tapeworms. Ninety to 180 ml. of the cold decoction of bark, preferably fresh bark, should be given three times at intervals of one hour to an adult. A purgative should be given after the last dose. The dose for children is 30 to 60 ml. The decoction is used for expelling tapeworms.

The seeds of the ripe pumpkin ( kumra) are useful in intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. An infusion, prepared from the seeds after they are peeled and crushed, will kill parasites and help

in expelling the tapeworm. It will be necessary to fast for a day and empty the intestines by taking the juice of boiled dry prunes. The next day, three or four tumblers of this pumpkin seed infusion should be taken.

Hiatus Hernia

In Other Diseases on December 6, 2007 at 5:23 am

Hitaus Hernia can be defined as displacement of a portion of the stomach through the opening in the diaphragm through which the oesophagus passes from the chest to the abdominal cavity. IN this disease, a part of the upper wall of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm at the point where the gullet passes from the chest area to the abdominal area.

The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle dividing the chest from the abdominal cavity. It is the muscle concerned with breathing, and it is assisted by the muscles between the ribs during exertion. It has special openings in it to allow for the passage of important blood vessels and for the food channel, the oesophagus. Hiatus hernia occurs at the oesophageal opening.

The disease is common after middle age. It is estimated that about half the people above 60 years of age suffer from it, although most of them may not have any symptoms. The correct diagnosis of haitus hernia can be arrived at by means of berium meal x-ray test.

Symptoms

Hiatus hernia is characterised by pain in certain areas. The most common areas are behind the breast bone at the nipple level and lower, at the end of the breast one. Pain may also occur on the left chest and this is often mistaken for angina.

Other areas of pain are the base of the throat, right lower ribs and behind the right shoulder blade. The pain increases when the patients stoops with efforts and lies down. Other symptoms of this disease are heart-burn, especially after a meal, a feeling of fullness and bloatedness, flatulence and discomfort on swallowing.

Causes

The chief cause of the mechanical defect associated with hiatus hernia is faulty diet. The consumption of white flour, refined sugar and products made from them, such as cakes, pastries, biscuits and white bread as well as preservatives, and flavourings devitalise the system and weaken the muscle tone. As a consequence, the muscles become less resilent, and connective and fibrous tissue suffers through poor nourishment, and thus become more prone to decomposition and damage. This ultimately leads to disease like hiatus hernia.

Drinks like tea, coffee, alcohol, also affect the mucous lining of the stomach and irritate the digestive tract. These drinks, when taken with meals, encourage fermentation and produce gas.

This increases the distension of the stomach, causing pressure against the diaphragm and the oesophageal opening and greatly increasing the risk of hemiation. Other causes of hiatus hernia include sedentary occupations, without sensible exercise, overweight resulting from overeating, smoking, shallow breathing and mental and emotional tensions.

Treatment

IN the beginning of the treatment, it would be advisable to raise the head end of the bed by placing bricks below the legs of the bed. This will prevent the regurgitation of food during the night. More pillow can also be used for the same purpose.

The next important step towards treating hiatus hernia is relaxation. An important measure in this direction is diaphragmatic breathing. The procedure is as follows : lie down with both knees bent and feet close to buttocks. Feel relaxed. Put both the hands lightly on the abdomen and concentrate the attention of this area. Now breathe in, gently pushing the abdominal up under the hands at the same time, until no more air can be inhaled. Then relax, breathing out through the mouth with an audible sighing sound and allow the abdominal wall to sink back. The shoulders and chest should, remain at rest throughout.

It is important to be able to relax at any time and thereby prevent building up of physical and mental tensions which may cause actual physical symptoms. The best method for this is practice shavasana, or ‘dead body ‘ pose. 

The patient of hiatus hernia should observe certain precautions in their eating habits. The foremost amongst these is not to take water with meals, but half an hour before or one hour after a meal. This helps the digestive process considerably and reduces the incidence of heart burn.

Drinking water with meals increases the overall weight in the stomach, slows down the digestive process by diluting the digestive process and this increases the risk of fermentation and gas formation, which distends the stomach and causes discomfort and pain. Another important factor in the treatment of this disease is to take frequent small meals instead of three large ones.

Thorough mastication of foods is also essential, both to break up the food into small particles and to slow down the rate of intake.

The diet of the patient should consist of seeds, nuts and whole cereal grains, vegetables and fruits, with emphasis on fresh fruits, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and sprouted seeds. The foods which should be avoided are over-processed foods like white bread and sugar, cakes and biscuits, rice puddings and over cooked vegetables. At least 50 per cent of the diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, and the remaining 50 per cent of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Raw juices extracted from fresh fruits and vegetables are valuable in haitus hernia, and the patient should take these juices half an hour before each meal. Carrot juice is specially beneficial as it has a very restorative effect, and is rich in vitamin A and calcium. It is an alkaline food which soothes the stomach. All juices should be diluted with water on a 50: 50 basis as they are concentrated.

The hot drinks should always be allowed to cool a little before taking. Extremes in temperature, in both food and drink should be avoided, drinks should not be taken hurriedly, but sipped slowly. The patient should avoid condiments, pickles, strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages and smoking.

Cholera

In Other Diseases on December 6, 2007 at 5:17 am

Cholera is one of the most severe diseases of the intestines. It is a serious affliction, involving the lower part of the small bowel. It is a waterborne disease and is common during the monsoons. The mortality rate for this disease has been quite high.

The disease strikes suddenly and fills the intestinal canal with bacilli which die rapidly and leave the person quickly , alive or dead. It comes as a fell epidemic and creates havoc but subsides quickly in the locality. Those who are susceptible to it are carried away and those who are left alive are immuned to it. Thus after an epidemic in a non-epidemic area, there is no re-visitation in the locality for two or three years.

The original home of cholera is Bengal in India. It spread from this country during the 19th century in a series of epidemics along the trade routes. It reached Japan and also Astrakhan, in Russian, in 1817. The disease spread to Moscow in 1826, Berlin in 1831 and London and Paris in 1832. Subsequently, it spread to Canada and several countries in Europe. However, by 1895, cholera had disappeared from Europe.

Symptoms

Cholera appears in three stages. In the first stage, the patient suffers from mild diarrhoea and vomiting, which worsens rapidly. The motions become watery, containing no feacal matter. The patient feels severe cramps in the muscles of the abdomen and limbs, resulting from lack of salts. The temperature rises but the skin is generally cold and blue and the pulse is weak.

Taking water to quench thirst dilutes the body salt still further, and makes the cramps worse. In the second stage of collapse, the body becomes colder, the skin dry, wrinkled and purple.

Voice becomes weak and husky while the urine looks dark and formation is less, or altogether absent. It is in this ‘algid’ stage that the patient may die, as early as 24 hours after the onset of the symptoms.

In the third stage, recovery follows in favourable cases. All the changes seem to reverse themselves, the fluid loss decreases and there is improvement in the general condition. Even at this stage, a relapse may occur or the patient may sink into a condition resembling typhoid fever.

The condition may deteriorate over a period of two or three weeks. During this stage of reaction, the temperature may rise and the patient may be in danger from penumonia.

Causes

Cholera is caused by a short, curved, rod-shaped germ known as vibrio cholera. This germ produces a powerful poison or endotoxin. It is spread by flies and water contaminated by the germs. The real cause of disease , however, is the toxic and devitalized condition of the system brought about by incorrect feeding habits and faulty style of living. This condition facilitates invasion of cholera germs.

Treatment

The treatment should in the beginning aim at combating the loss of fluids and salts from the body. To allay thirst, water, soda water or green coconut water should be given for sipping although this may be thrown out by vomiting. Therefore, only small quantities of water should be given repeatedly, as these may remain for sometime within the stomach and stay of every one minutes means some absorption. Ice may be given for sucking. This will reduce internal temperature and restrict the tendency to vomit. Intravenous infusions ofsaline solution should be given to compensate for the loss of fluids and salts from the body. The patient may require five litres or more a day. Care should, however, be taken to avoid waterlogging the patient.

Potassium may be added to the infused fluid. Rectal saline may sometimes prove useful for adults. Normally, half a litre of saline , with 30 grams of glucose, should be given per rectum every four hours until urine is passed freely.

After the acute stage of cholera is over, the patient may be given green coconut water and barley water in very thin form. When the stools begin to form, he should be given butter-milk. As he progresses towards recovery, rice softened to semi-solid form mixed with curd, may be given.

The patient should not be given solid food till he has fully recovered. Liquid and bland foods, which the patient can ingest without endangering a reoccurrence of the malady, are best.

Lemon, onion, green chillies, vinegar and mint should be included in the daily diet during an epidemic of cholera.

Home Remedies

Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of cholera. The foremost among these is the use of lemon ( bara nimbu). The juice of this fruit can kill cholera bacilli within a short time. It is also a very effective and reliable preventive food item against cholera during the epidemic. It can be taken in the form of sweetened or salted beverages for this purpose.

Taking of lemon with food as daily routine can also prevent cholera.

The root bark of guava (amrud) is another valuable remedy. It is rich in tannis and can be successfully employed in the form of concentrated decoction in cholera. It will arrest vomiting and symptoms of diarrhoea.

According to Culpepper, an eminent nutritionist for children and young people, nothing is better to purge cholera than the leaves and flowers of peach (arhu). They should be taken in the form of syrup or conserve. The leaves of drumstick (sanjana) tree are also useful in treatment of this disease. A teaspoon of fresh leaf-juice, mixed with honey and a glass of tender coconut water, can be given two or three times as a herbal medicine in the treatment of cholera.

Onion is very useful in cholera. About 30 grams of this vegetable and seven black peppers should be finely pounded in a pestle and given to the patient. It allays thirst and restlessness and the patient feels better. The fresh juice of bitter gourd (karela) is another effective medicine in the early stages of cholera.

Two teaspoons of this juice, mixed with an equal quantity of white onion juice and a teaspoon of lime juice, should be given Cholera can be controlled only by rigid purification of water supplies and proper disposal of human wastes. In case of the slightest doubt about the contamination of the water, it must be boiled before use, for drinking and cooking purposes. All foodstuffs must be kept covered and vegetables and fruits washed with a solution of potassium permanganate before consumption. Other precautions against this disease include avoiding all uncooked vegetables, thorough washing of hands by all those who handle food, and elimination of all contacts with the disease.