Apr 132012

“SKIN troubles immediately relieved and permanently
cured.” So ran the advertisement in a bath-room of a
health mesort. There is the secret in nuce of all miraclemongers-
the guarantee of cure in any and every case,
a talisman made use of by all Cagliostros, thaumaturgists,
prophets, and arch quacks, to employ a Carlylean phrase.
Those who saw the Doctor’s Dilemma will remember
the practitioner who had been wholly successful by adding
the simple words ” cure guaranteed” to his scale of fees.
All this is as old as the hills, and no doubt the same
kind of thing will be found inscribed in cuneiform
characters on Babylonian bricks and on the ancient
monuments of Crete now being brought to light. Indeed,
in the case of the latter it is said -that a French archaeologiat,
when he saw the frescoes discovered by Mr. Arthur
Evans, exclaimed, “Mais ce sont des parisiennes.” Marcelwaving,
a mode of hair dressing, was an everyday affair in
Minotaurian palaces, just as the three-decker skirt, another
recent re-discovery, is depicted on Egyptian monoliths.
In all this question of quackery it is important to -bear
in mind that in ancient civilizations, side by side with
what might be cAlJed the regular practitioners, whobhad
devoted time and trouble to the study of the art of medicine,
there was a motley crowd of magicians, sorcerers;
thaumaturgists, epileptics, fakirs, and camp-followers, of
divers kinds, who exercised a great influence over the
public, just as they do-less picturesquely, it is true-.
at the present time. Think, for instance, of the pilgimages
to Thessalian Tricoae and to the still more
celebrated Peloponnesiaz shrine of. Epidaurus. Again,
Cos had its sancotuary. In- the native islo of Hippocrates
the medioal man competed with the priests of Asklepios.
In.the Mimes of Herondas, a *papyras first discovered and
translated.by Mr. Kenyon, of the British Museum, there -is
a poem devoted to the offering and sacrifice of the women
to Asklepios, for Herondas had lived apparently for some
time on the island of Cos’
Iin North Africa, Morocco, talismans and amulets are
part and parcel of the stock-in-trade of santons for curing
and warding off evils., In Mohammedau countries precious
stones cure diseases, such as the itch and leprosy. Coral
and topaz taken internally are remedies for the latter
We may smile 9* all this, but it must not be forgotten
that the same superstitious .attitudce of mind is simply
rampant- in the London of the twentieth century. There
is no progress really-merely undulatory oscillations about
a line. Whether the line be called a norm, be straight, or
a circle, like a snake swallowing its own tail, matters not.
The fact is that quackery is part and parcel of humanity.
Hence the only way of abolishing quackery is to abolish
the human race. The French Revolution went some little
way in that direction, but even then the ineradicable
bellief in the impossible was triumphant in the very
process of wholesale decapitation.
Now quackery and thaumaturgisms of all kinds are in
a ten times stronger position than they were. They are
organized on a strong financial basis, and without the
huge sums laid out on their advertisement, the newspaper
would be in a parlous condition.
Now when we look at the enormous field, which includes
morbid cutaneous conditions and cosmetic treatment,
is it to be wondered at that there should be on the
market so many preparations offered as panaceas for anything
between a pimple and a superfaous hair.
Blood mixtures, all of the same kind-namely, an old
and trusty friend, pot. iod.-as well as the “I cure fits”
remedios (K Br), do indeed bring grist to the mill of the
followers of Hippocrates in the shape of iodide and bromide
rashes. And the same may be said of a variety of topical
applications for cutaneous ills, which often serve to pro.
duce a dermatitis, both extensive and acute.
Hair-washes and hair-dyes are not infrequent-ly prod;3-
tive of similar complications. But what would you, my good
sirs? Are not we an educated people? But are we an.y
wiser ? I trow not. I think it was Cavour who suid to
the praters of progress, “-Yes, let us admit that humanity
progresses,” but, he added, .” Man remains the same.”
And whether the individual consult the palnmiste (whatever
palmiste with an “e,” means-a good many thiDgs
I should say) of the West End, or an old woman at rn
area gate, the mental attitude is the same.
As to the hair, the applications are numerous, ait any
rate have many names. Here again, hair-dyes are very
ancient. The East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, know and
knew a good many things on this soore. The admired
Venetian tint of hair was artificial.
One of the lotions recommended for dyeing the h%ir a
fine gold in the time of Leonardo da Vinci contained the
following ingredients: Maize juice, decoction of chestnut,
saffron, ox bile, swallow droppings, ambergris, calcin?
bears’ claws, and oil of tortoise. A charming mixture
wherewith to bewitch the male. Oh, the eter_al
Henna forms the basis. of many harmless preparations.
But there are also two-edged swords in the shape of
products made from the everlasting refase of gasworl.s.
The sun seems to have stored up its radiant energies for
aeons in the plants of the Carboniferous epoch in oider to
beautify certain representatives of the order ptimates.
In Roman times, for.-instance, epilation was commonly
carried out, and the epilator employed beautiful forceps
for that purpose. The some thing ob-tain in North
Africa and the East, to some -ext.et to.cut the ground
from under the feet of parasites, for the same reason that
shaving the pubes ix praotised by the Arabes
Nowadays, any young person who has failed at most
things takes up elwetrolysis- 6r patvie-y depilatory powders,
the Iagrchiefl.an asenic prepati, the well-known’
;mma, but they- call the stuff by other nawes. Then
there are oompl&xion. pparation, usually known remedies,
but always advertised under fancy labele. An old
one was made up as follows (Leonardo da Vinci period’)
for sunburn and -pimples of the face: Asses’ milk niixed
with the milk of a red goat, aspiragis ends and whits
lily bulbs. This was rubbed into the fabe *ith a piece of
bread, whilt the lady recited a short prayer three times
in suc”ession.
*he makeup employed by Caterina Sforza consisted
of two and a half ounces of dcabonate of lead and an equal
quantity of tartrate of potasb, with five ounces of a compound
of perchloride of mercury and-silver, to whioh wa
added tragacanth and Sari powder. This was well mixed
and placed in the abdominal cavity of a Pisan pigeon after
careful evisceration and cleansing with spring water. The
next step was to cook the pigeon in a saucepan, into
which was poured water that had been used to make an
infusion of adder. The liquid ultimately obtained was to
be applied to the face at bedtime.
Now this-is the sort of preparation that our contemporary
complexion beautifiers ought to advertise. It would
be a success, especially among the crowd that believes
what it reads in the papers-the web-footed population I
think a clever American writer, Mr. George Ade, has
dubbed them.
As regards electrical applications, x rays, light, and so
fortb, I may say I have seen some instances of curious.
complications brought about. In one case a lady had had,
for her chin and lips, a: rays, high-frequency currents,
various coloured lights, both in the West End area and at
health resorts, leadino to a kind of condition I had never
seen before, and which proved particularly obstinate to
rational treatment.
A good many more points could be touched upon. In
conclusion, the difficulties in the way of putting an end to
quackery are insuperable. Man is not prepared to do
without it, and: he never will, unles a fresh species of,
homo arises as a sport or on the de Vries principle, and

escapes death at the hanDas of the compact majority. . ;



our great remedy for all sorts of skin diseases, no doubt often mis-prescribed, and hence frequently disappoints. The symptoms calling for it are very clear; there are moist scabby eruptions on the scalp, face, bends of joints, between fingers and behind the ears. The corners of the mouth and eyes are cracked, bleeding and oozing a gluey, honey-like, thick, tenacious discharge, a fissured eczema is the type. Great itching always accompanies the eruption. The skin may be dry and horny. The hair is dry and falls out. Lycopodium. Dry scaly eruptions. Calcarea carbonica. Eczema on scalp which extends to face. Crusts are white, and on awakening, in the morning especially, the child will scratch furiously.

A useful remedy in all cases of skin troubles when the skin is thickened, such as in chronic eczema, psoriasis and chronic urticaria. The sensations are itching, burning and swelling, it also has papules, nettle rash and pimples. Burning sensitive ulcers with offensive discharges. It is almost a specific for hives from shell fish, which itch and burn, and for repercussed hives. Pustules form into scabs. Pellagra may find its simillimum in Arsenicum. Bovista. Baker’s and grocer’s itch, and eruption on the back of the hands. It is also recommended in pellagra, also phosphorus and Argentum nitricum. Sepia. Dry desquamation. Ringworm. Rhus. Vesicles on an erysipelatous base. Clematis. Rawness, worse washing, moist eruption.

The great characteristic of this remedy is the aggravation from washing; this, with scratching, makes the parts burn intensely. The skin is rough, coarse and measly, and there is much soreness in the folds of the skin and a tendency to pustular eruptions. Dryness and heat of scalp, with intense itching, especially at night, and scratching causes soreness; wetting makes it burn. Eczema erythematosum. Eruption of yellow crusts. Eruption at the margin of the hair. Dearborn says Sulphur 6 will cure more pruritus than any other drug. It is our great antiseptic. Selenium. Itching in folds of skin and about ankle joints. Hair falls out with eczematous eruptions. Antimonium crudum. Thick callosities on the skin. Deficient growth of nails. Honey colored crusts on heads of children; cracking in the nostrils and corners of mouth. Antimonium tartaricum. Variola. Impetigo of scrotum. Thuja. Warts and eczema following vaccination. Also an excellent remedy in the higher potencies for acne facialis. Natrum muriaticum. Dry scaly or herpetic eruption of little water blisters in bends of joints, hydroa labialis, fever blisters. Moist eczema without much itching. The Natrum muriaticum patient continually suffers from “hang nails.” (Hepar, Rhus, Natrum muriaticum, Arsenicum, cold sores.) Herpes circinatus. Eczema, with thick scabs oozing pus. Urticaria, with itching about the joints when occurring, with intermittent fever worse at seashore. Kreosote. Eruptions on the extensor surfaces of joints. Berberis aquifolia. Scaly pustular eruptions on the face. It is one of the most reliable remedies in the cure of psoriasis. Hydrocotyle. Great dryness and desquamation of the epidermis. Acne rosacea. Its special field is in psoriasis and Dearborn praises it in leprosy. The writer cured a case of inveterate psoriasis universale with this remedy. Dr. H.V. Halbert, of Chicago, considered Thyroidine in the 3X or 30X potency as worthy a trial in psoriasis. He reports excellent results from its use. Indications are a dry and impoverished skin, cold hands and feet. Psoriasis is a pregrowth symptom of cancer. The condition of the skin should always be noted, being the great organ of elimination of poisons. Borax was considered by Dr. McClatchey as curative of many cases of psoriasis, and indeed it corresponds to many symptoms of this disease. Petroleum. Pictures pure eczema with its thick scabs, oozing pus and rhagades; the skin is harsh and dry, the finger tips crack and the hands chap. It is especially suitable to eczema behind the ears. Use the 12X potency.

Baehr considers this remedy the best one in crust lactea. There is great itching, which is worse when the patient is warm or wrapped up. There are small vesicles with terrible itching, and the great characteristic is that the secretion dries quickly, producing scabs from beneath which an acrid thick pus oozes. Crusts and itching are the features. Herpes zoster, with neuralgic pains along the nerves. Nux juglans. Tinea favosa on scalp, behind ears, itching worse at night, preventing sleep.

Rhus toxicodendron.
Vesicular eruption characterizes Rhus, so it becomes a remedy in herpes, eczema, pemphigus and prurigo. It is useful in right-sided zoster with extensive vesication and perhaps accompanied with rheumatic pains. The skin is covered with numerous vesicles, there is great itching and tingling, the skin is often swollen and oedematous and these vesicles have a red areola around them. the symptoms are all worse at night, in damp weather and in winter. Rapid vesication and angry-looking skin are characteristics. Apis. More burning and stinging and more oedema. Cantharis. Large blisters with smarting and burning. Croton tiglium. Small blisters with much itching. Hughes says that Croton relieves the itching of eczema rapidly and permanently. Anacardium. Small blisters with an umbilicated center. The eruption itches excessively and burns. The remedy has been used successfully in Rhus poisoning. Dolichos. Itching without eruption. the writer has a number of times verified this symptom. It will sometimes control diabetic itching, and it is especially useful in senile pruritus. Worse at night. Worse across the shoulders. Fagopyrum. Itching worse by scratching. With here and there red blotches which are sore. The hairy portions of the body itch more.


DrHemant Srivastava


 Posted by at 12:39 pm