Dysentery is a serious condition affecting the-large intestine, characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the bowel. Among specific food remedies, bael fruit is, perhaps, the most efficacious. The use of pomegranate (anar) rind is another effective remedy
Dysentery is a serious condition affecting the large intestine, characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the bowel, a colic pain in the region of the abdomen and passing of liquid or semi-formed stools with mucus and blood. The disease is caused by two organisms, protozoa and bacilli. The former is generally known as amoebic dysentery and the latter as bacillary dysentery. An attack of amoebic dysentery is milder in comparison with bacillary dysentery. But while bacillary dysentery can respond quickly to treatment, amoebic dysentery does not leave the patient easily, unless he is careful.Symptoms
Dysentery may be acute or chronic. The acute form is characterized by pain in the abdomen, diarrhoea and dysenteric motions. Yellowish white mucus and sometimes only blood from the intestinal ulcers passes with stools. The evacuations are preceded by pain and tenesmus. The patient feels a constant desire to evacuate, although there may be nothing to throw off except a little mucus and blood. Sometimes pus is also thrown out with motions and often the smell of the stools becomes very foetid.
Chronic cases are after-effects of acute attacks. The patient does not recover completely. Stools remain putrid and may contain blood, while diarrhoea and constipation may alternate, and general health is disturbed. In severe cases the temperature rises to 104 deg – 105 deg. F. It may occasionally become subnormal also.
The germs, which are supposed to cause dysentery only, develop in the colon as a result of putrefaction of excessive quantities of animal protein food, fried substances, spicy foods and hard to digest fatty substances. The cause of dysentery is thus dietary indiscretion and eating of excessive amounts of flesh food in hot weather or tropical climate unsuited to the digestion of such foods. Other causes include debility, fatigue, chill, lowered vitality, intestinal disorders and overcrowding under unsanitary conditions.
To begin with, the patient should fast on orange juice and water or subsist on buttermilk till the acute symptoms are over. Buttermilk combats offending bacteria and helps establishment of helpful microorganisms in the intestines. He may be given small doses of castor oil in the form of emulsion. This act as a mild apparent and facilitates quicker removal of offensive matter, minimizes the strain during motion and also acts as a lubricant to the ulcerated surfaces. Simultaneously, the patient should also be given very low pressure warm water enema, admitting as much water as the patient can tolerate. The patient should take complete bed rest as movement induces pain and aggravates distressing symptoms.
After the acute symptoms are over, the patient may be allowed rice, curd, fresh ripe fruits, especially, bael, banana and pomegranate and skimmed milk. Solid foods should be introduced very carefully and gradually according to pace of recovery. Non-vegetarian foods of all kinds should be avoided in future as far as possible. Other foods, which should be avoided are tea, coffee, white sugar and white flour and products made from them as well as alcohol in all forms. Foods which have a detoxifying and cleansing effect upon the intestines such as fruits and vegetables are most essential to the future dietary.
Among specific food remedies, bael fruit is, perhaps, the most efficacious in the treatment of dysentery of both the varieties. The pulp of the fruit mixed with jaggery should be given thrice daily. To deal with a chronic case of dysentery, the unripe fruit should be roasted over the fire and the pulp mixed with water. Large quantities of the infusion so made should be administered with jaggery. The pulp of the unripe fruit mixed with an equal quantity of dried ginger can also be given with buttermilk.
The use of pomegranate (anar) rind is another effective remedy for dysentery. About 60 grams of the rind should be boiled in 250 ml of milk. It should be boiled till one-third milk has evaporated. It should be administered to the patient in three equal doses at suitable intervals. It will relive the disease very soon. Lemon juice is very effective in dealing with ordinary cases of dysentery. A few lemon, peeled and sliced, should be added to 250 ml of water and boiled for few minutes. The strained infusion should be administered thrice daily.
Other remedies considered useful in the treatment of dysentery are the use of small pieces of onions mixed with curd and equal parts of tender leaves of the peepal tree, coriander leaves and jaggery chewed slowly.
Other measures helpful in dysentery include application of heating compresses at 60 deg. F. over the abdomen. These compresses may be changed every half an hour so. Hot foot bath, once or twice daily will also be beneficial.