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Causes and Symptoms:Tuberculosis or TB, phthisis, wasting disease or consumption are the different names under which this disease is recognized. The causative organism is Mycobacterium tuberculosis which gives rise to what at one time was considered to be the scourge of mankind. Tuberculosis may affect the different parts of the body, the lungs (when it is known as phthisis or pulmonary TB), the glands (when it is known as scrofula) or the bones when they start rotting, a condition akin to the caries of the bones. If it affects the brain, it leads to meningitis. It is one of the most contagious diseases and spreads through inhalation of germs found in the discharges of the tubercular patients, or even by coming in contact with things used by a patient. The main factor responsible for the disease is, of course, a person's susceptibility to it. A weakened constitution, a lowered power of resistance, heredity, unhealthy surroundings, over-indulgence n intoxicants or sex, asthma and diseases of the metabolism like diabetes are all precipitating factors. Little lumps, or tubercles, form in the parts affected which becomes soft and suppurate as the malady marches on. A slight rise in temperature, generally in the evenings, night sweats, discharge of blood with the phlegm and extensive bleeding from the lungs in the tertiary stages brings on death.

In the early stage of the disease, there is an irritating cough, particularly in the morning either dry or with phlegm. The first sign of trouble is when the phlegm is flecked with blood and there is fever in the evenings and a below normal temperature in the morning. The second stage begins when the patient has become emaciated and if no effective medication is given to stop the march of the disease, it may spread to the throat and the intestines. The terminal stage begins when the infection has reached deep into the lung and it is full of cavities. There is extreme prostration and the patent is unable to leave the sick bed. At some stage or the other there is extensive hemorrhage from the part affected (the lungs, the intestines) and the patient dies.

The duration of the illness depends on four factors: (i) the intensity of the infection; (ii) the age of the patient; (iii) the stage at which it has been diagnosed; and (iv) the natural resistance of the body. If the infection invades the intestines, there may be constipation, but if the large intestine is involved, there is acute diarrhea. In scrofula, or TB of the glands, the chief symptom is inflammation. Tumors form and suppurate. If TB affects the bones, caries of the bones, results-the bones start crumbling. In case of spinal TB, the spine curves and the patient finds it hard to stand erect. TB of the bones generally affects young people and the bones involved are generally the femurs and the tibia.

Preventive Measures: When we deal with TB it must be stated that its preventive aspect is as important as the curative or remedial. Prevention of TB requires more social action than any health measures besides the assurance of clean surrounding through public health measures. Detection and isolation of those infected by the disease is another are in which socio-medical steps are needed. In addition, the diet of the population has to be healthy; plenty of milk, butter, eggs, black gram or its pulse, gourds of the various varieties, turnip, beet root, spinach and other greens, and fruits are other preventives against tuberculosis.

Remedies: The treatment of tuberculosis must start with the isolation of the patient and his removal to a sanatorium, if the malady has been detected at the secondary stage. If that is not possible, he should be housed in a well-ventilated room where there is plenty of sunlight. Germs which cause this disease are so hardy that only exposure to direct sunlight is fatal to them.

Garlic is a wonderful drug for tuberculosis; take thirty grains of Garlic, eight ounces of milk and two pounds of water. Boil them till only one fourth of the decoction remains. It should be taken thrice in the day. An ounce of juice of leaves of Vasa given thrice with Honey also provides relief from the disease.

Take about three-fourth of a pound of juice of green Bansa leaves and mix it with 2 pounds of Sugar. Heat the mixture till it attains the consistency of a syrup. One tola of this syrup should be taken thrice daily.

If there is hemorrhage from the lungs, one masha each of Red Ochre (Geru), Talc (Selkhari) and Gum Tragacanth (Kateera) should be ground together mixed with Honey and given as a linctus.

The above medicines are recommended for pulmonary tuberculosis. For TB of the intestines, five tolas each of the juice of Black Night Shade (Mako) and Wild Chicory (Kasni) should be boiled together till the mixture coagulates; it should be filtered and the water drunk while lukewarm. In addition, four tolas of the pulp of Purging Cassia (Amaltas) should be triturated in the juice of green leaves of Black Nightshade (Mako) and applied lukewarm to the abdomen. If there is diarrhea and the stools are flecked with blood or pus, four rattis of Resin and Gum Acacia (equal quantities) should be taken in the morning and evening. One tola of Camphor should be dissolved in rectified spirit and five drops of the solution taken with 2 tolas of water after meals.

In cases of infantile tuberculosis (Sookha), the child should be sat on the yolk of an egg which will be sucked through his anus. The treatment should be continued for ten days. Or, Gumabooti should be ground and a pellet made which should be placed in the centre of his head covering it with softy jaggery. If the child is really suffering from the disease, the jaggery will vanish and some worms be left in its place. The worms should be removed and the treatment continued for a week.

If there is scrofula, the tumors will be healed with the ointment made of calx of Horn and Ghee-six mashas of calx to be mixed with 2 tolas of Ghee. Or, the leaves of the Tooth-brush Tree (Peelu) should be round in Camel's Urine and applied to the tumors. Scrofula is also cured if two to four Prickly Pears (Nagphani)-which are purple in color and sour in taste-are eaten daily and a paste made by grinding them is applied to the tumors. If the tumors have suppurated and burst three house Lizards should be fried in Neem Oil (250 ml.) till charred and 2 tolas of the ashes of the Horn of a Cow or Ox and 2 tolas of ashes of Dried Hide are added to it and triturated till an ointment is formed.


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