IN the June issue I discussed the treatment of burns. I will not talk of wounds.
During the War when men were sent to us with extensive suppurating wounds and gas gangrene the first thing we did was to remove all antiseptic dressings, packings, etc., and bathe the injured parts in normal saline to which Calendula had been added, in the strength of ten drops to half a pint of saline. For those who do not know this technical term I would here say that Normal Saline is sterile or boiled water containing one teaspoonfuls of ordinary salt to the pint of water.
Once when a very important military surgeon inspected the wounded he remarked (as many other officers of not quite so high a rank had done before) on the particularly clean and healthy appearance of all the wounds. He enquired what we used to achieve such results, and on being told that we used Calendula he asked his assistant to make a note of it.
If the wounds were in very sensitive parts and the dressings very painful we used Hypericum and Calendula mixed in equal proportions. A very successful surgeon once told me that Calendula contained a high percentage of organic Iodine. For ordinary household purposes it is usually quite sufficient to use Calendula in warm water. Bathe the part first by dipping a piece of cotton wool in the lotion and put it over the cut so as to clean it, taking care that the injured part is held either over another vessel or a wash basin so as not to contaminate the lotion.
Then soak a piece of lint or gauze in the lotion, squeeze the water out and apply to the cut or wound. A clean cut will heal forthwith without renewing the dressing unless it be on the hands and these have to be put in water, when it is advisable to repeat the process. Always use the lotion just above blood- heat, in the proportion of ten drops of Calendula to half a tumbler of water. If the wound is extensive, or with jagged edges, or in the nature of an abrasion, it is likely to be more painful, and in such a case the pain can be rendered less severe and of short duration if a few drops let us say five, of Hypericum tincture is added to the warm lotion.
Punctured wounds, that is such as are produced by a sharp jab from a nail or other pointed instrument, can be relieved by soaking the part in warm water to which Hypericum has been added in the same proportion as Calendula, and then they should be dressed with fomentation of Hypericum. If the pain persists, three or four doses of Ledum, 6th potency, given at half hourly intervals will be found very beneficial. For people who faint at the sight of Blood Dr. Bachs Centaury will be found very useful and such subjects would benefit by a course of Centaury in any case.
I will here explain a fomentation is for the benefit of those who do not know. Place a piece of pink or white lint folded double and large enough to cover well the whole of the painful area, in the middle of a clean strong handkerchief or a small guest towel. Sprinkle six or seven drops of Calendula on it, then roll up in the cloth and holding it over a vessel pour boiling water over it. Bring it near the patient, having previously bathed the wound with the lotion, and having a bandage ready handy together with some cotton wool in size slightly larger than the lint dressing.
Now wring your lint out of the boiling water as dry as possible by holding the two dry ends of the cloth. Unroll the cloth, shake out the lint so that it may not actually scald the part yet be as hot as the patient can bear it, and then place on the wound, folded double with the fluffy part of the lint turned inside. This is in order that no fluff may adhere to the wound.
Then quickly place your cotton wool over the hot dressing and bandage firmly but not tightly. Such a dressing, if there is much pain, should be renewed every two hours. When a fomentation gets cold it is worse than useless and that is why a good layer of cotton wool is necessary. It is also advisable to avoid the dressing becoming dry on the wound.
Fomentations are the great remedy in all septic conditions, in abscesses, whitlows, septic fingers and all dirty wounds. I have always found that for ordinary household purposes the pink or boric lint sprinkled with a few drops of Calendula and Hypericum or Calendula by itself is really a wonderful remedy in all cases of septic wounds. If you have for instance, a small red inflamed swelling, hot painful and throbbing, put a fomentation of Calendula on and give at the same time hourly doses of Belladonna 6 internally.
The fomentation and the Belladonna will hasten the process of localizing the trouble. Soon a white spot will appear in the centre of the swelling which can be cut open if on the inner side of the hand where the skin is rather thick, with a sharp pointed pair of scissors which have first been passed through a flame to ensure that they are clean. Have a bath of hot Calendula ready in which to immerse the finger whilst the fomentation is being got ready. Continue taking Belladonna until the throbbing has ceased when the Calendula fomentations will finish the case.
If the septic place is in any other part of the body where the skin is not hard, it will probably open and discharge the matter without interference. Sometimes a septic place will arise from a thorn prick or a scratch from a piece or wire or a pin in which case there is already an outlet. In the case of a cut or injury that has been neglected, which, instead of healing, begins to feel hot and throbbing,
I do not think that anyone could find a better remedy more simple of application than Calendula fomentations. They are a boon to the worrying mother or matron of a school. Calendula officinalis, or common Marigold, is non- poisonous and it can be kept handy, as well as Urtica, the lotion for burns, without fear that ill advised small people may come to serious harm should they touch it.