COD liver oil is a most wonderful food and medicine. It has been used since time immemorial by primitive races, and they have taught the civilized how to employ it in numerous diseases and disorders. Every Eskimo knows the virtues of cod liver oil. It has been considered indispensable by generation after generation and has been consumed in large quantities notwithstanding its extremely nauseous taste. It has rendered the most wonderful services in the case of rickets, tuberculosis and many other ailments.
Lately, we have been given refined and ultra-refined cod liver oils which are tasteless or almost tasteless, but which are infinitely less efficient, and we have also been sent samples of another fish oil, which can be taken in minimum doses in capsules and which is said to be as effective or more effective.
I personally have a strong prejudice in favour of those foodstuffs and medicines which have stood the severest test of all, the test of centuries innumerable. It seems to me that a doctor who abandons cod liver oil for a less nauseous and probably less efficient article makes a mistake and possibly an extremely serious and terrible mistake.
As cod liver oil is nauseous and as it upsets the digestion of many of those delicate children and grown-up people who require it, I have for many years habitually used it in the form of outward applications for ailing babies, children and grown-ups, as an inunction. After a bath the skin is particularly ready to absorb oil of any kind and I recommended that a short hot bath should be given to prepare the skin, and after a light drying, cod liver oil should be rubbed into the whole of the body.
In the case of consumptives, the rubbing should take place especially on the chest, sides and back. Further, I have found cod liver oil of the utmost value for stiff limbs due to rheumatism, gout, arthritis, injury, etc. I remember the case of a man who had been paralysed for ten years and who had tried every outer medicament available. He was cured relatively quickly with homoeopathic medicines, diet and daily rubbing of unrefined cod liver oil.
He had not been able to walk a yard for ten years. Before long he was able to walk miles. He attributed his recovery to the cod liver oil rubbing, but whether it was due to that or to diet and medication, or to all three factors, combined, is, of course, an open question.
In the issue of October 10th the British Medical Journal printed two very interesting extracts regarding the use of cod liver oil both in surgery and ophthalmology. We read:.
COD LIVER OIL DRESSINGS IN OSTEOMYELITIS.
“W. Lohr (Deut. med. Woch., June 19th, 1936, p. 997) has for the past seventeen years conducted systematic investigations into wound infections, with special reference to anaerobic germs. Nearly three years ago he published his first account of the use of cod liver oil as a dressing. His experiences in the past five years now concerns approximately 15,000 cases.
Of burns alone he has treated some 300 cases in hospital and nearly 1,000 under ambulatory conditions. Of twenty-one patients treated for gas oedema in his hospital he has not lost one, and only in one case was it necessary to amputate. Yet in all these cases the diagnosis was confirmed by a bacteriological examination.
“The only lesion for which Professor Lohr does not recommend cod liver oil dressings is a whitlow. His experience with osteomyelitis treated with cod liver oil dressings includes thirty acute cases, three subacute cases, and thirty-four chronic cases.
The immediate effects in the acute cases were strikingly satisfactory, and it proved possible to avoid all painful changes of dressings. Cod liver oil was also given by the mouth. As a dressing it was the more satisfactory for being normally sterile.
“The author is guarded with regard to the ultimate prognosis in all his cases of osteomyelitis, having learnt that relapses may occur even after an interval of several years; and with regard to chronic osteomyelitis he insists that a permanent recovery can be confidently anticipated only after the radical removal of every infected focus. He concludes with the verdict that cod liver oil therapy in osteomyelitis absolutely painless, dispenses with changes of dressings, and assures an afebrile course of the disease”.
COD LIVER OIL FOR EXTERNAL EYE AFFECTIONS.
“Edgar Stevenson (Brit. Journ. Ophthalmol. July, 1936, p. 416) has been experimenting with cod liver oil as a local application, basing his work on the beneficial results obtained in cases of burns elsewhere on the body by Dr. Steel. Stimulated by the rapid healing of an external burn of the lid caused by the frequent application of a pad soaked in the oil, Stevenson next tried the treatment in a case of burning of the conjunctiva.
A case in which caustic dropped into the eye responded as readily. Since then the treatment has been tried in corneal abrasions, dendritic ulcer, relapsing keratitis, chronic degeneration from mustard gas, and hypopyon ulcers. In the last it is best not to use the oil till the active septic process has subsided.
“The applications are made three times a day, and atropine is used as well if the disease would normally require it. The treatment appears to reduce the number of necessary attendances. Mr. Bernard Chevasse has also been using the oil with very satisfactory results, especially in blepharitis and general soreness of the lids. The treatment is harmless, and can be used in conjunction with other remedies. The best type of drop-bottle has a vulcanite cap below the rubber, which prevents contact between the oil and the rubber”.