Physiological medication embraces all those remedies, natural and artificial, prescribed purely on an empiric basis in an effort to restore the functions of organs or tissues to a normal condition. It is fortunate that present-day teachings tend toward milder dosage for often, when physiological means are indicated, new and milder methods are just as efficacious and not so harmful as the violent dosings of the past. To one who knows and appreciates the virtues of symptomatic prescribing, many of the agents, about to be mentioned, are unnecessary and interfere with homoeopathic medication. However, in some diseases and at times in almost any disease, aperients, diuretics, tonics and alternatives may be needed.
Aperients occupy a useful sphere in cutaneous diseases. If possible milder methods should be employed such as dietary changes including the eating of laxative fruits and the drinking of water between meals or the use of aromatic liquid albolene or other oils, because these simpler items have a food value as well as an eliminative virtue. Aperients often improve digestion. In this particular salines are useful except in anemic individuals, although they should not be used strong enough to cause active purging. Magnesium sulphate, sodium sulphate, sodium phosphate and the natural aperient waters may be used. If liver or other glandular torpidity is suspected, calomel in 1/10 grain doses (repeated at fifteen-minute intervals) may be administered to advantage. Antacid magnesia is a valuable laxative when gastro-intestinal complications are present. The extract or the fluid extract of cascara is the most useful of the vegetable laxatives but for infants and young children castor oil is frequently ideal. Low or high enemata with or without soapsuds or if necessary, containing a solvent, are to be recommended if flushing of the lower bowel is desired. Rectal atony can often be relieved by dilation of the sphincter, stimulation by the high- frequency currents or with soap or gluten suppositories.
Gastrointestinal antiseptics such as charcoal, salol, sodium salicylate, antacid magnesia or minute doses of calomel are valuable in urticaria, erythema multiforme and other diseases due to autointoxication. I can speak enthusiastically about the results accomplished in these conditions with a culture of the bacillus Bulgaricus. This microorganism produces a large percentage of lactic acid, displaces the microorganisms causing intestinal putrefaction and relieves or cures diseases created by intestinal autointoxication.
The best diuretic is water which may be drunk copiously on an empty stomach to promote the free flow of urine. Among the medicinal diuretics, the salines such as potassium acetate and potassium bicarbonate are the best. Most of these remedies are antirheumatic or antilithemic in character, and may be employed to advantage in such diseases as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, dermatitis exfoliativa and other inflammatory disorders. Sodium salicylate, ammonium salicylate, salophen, small doses of belladonna and other vegetable diuretics may occasionally exert a favorable influence but upon the whole it may be said that diuretics are less valuable in skin conditions than in other diseases.
Tonics have a nutritious as well as a stimulating effect and may be indicative in many skin diseases. The most valuable nutritional tonic is cod-liver oil but other oils and emulsions may prove equally efficient. Anemic conditions may call for iron, manganese, the hypophosphites, quinine, strychnine and small doses of arsenic. The ordinary digestive and bitter tonics may serve the same purpose as the above by improving the appetite. Laxatives may be required in connection with some of these times.