Dysentery is a serious condition affecting the large intestine. The pathological condition of this disease is caused by two organisms, protozoa and bacilli. When caused by the former, the condition is generally known as amoebic dysentery, and when caused by the latter, it is known as bacillary dysentery.
Causes and Symptoms
Dysentery may be acute or chronic. The acute form is characterised by pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea. Yellowish- white mucus and, sometimes, only blood from the intestinal ulcers is passed with the stools. The evacuations are precede ! 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. Chronic cases are after-effects of acute attacks. In severe cases, the temperature may rise to 40°C — 40.6°C. It may occasionally become subnormal also.
The cause of dysentery, according to the modern medical system, is germ infection. 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 real cause of dysentery is, thus, dietary indiscretion and eating of excessive amounts of flesh foods 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 insanitary conditions.
Bael Fruit: Among specific home remedies, bael fruit is perhaps the most efficacious in the treatment of dysentery of both varieties. One tablespoon of the pulp of the fruit, mixed with a sufficient quantity of jaggery to sweeten it, should be given thrice daily. To deal with a chronic case of dysentery, 15 gm of the unripe fruit pulp should be roasted over the fire and the pulp mixed with 250 ml of water or buttermilk. Just enough jaggery to sweeten the infusion should be added, and the infusion should be taken thrice daily. Fifteen grams of the pulp of the unripe fruit mixed with an equal quantity of dried ginger, can also be given with 250 ml of buttermilk, thrice daily.
Pomegranate Rind: The use of pomegranate rind is another effective remedy for dysentery. About 60 gm of the rind should be boiled in 250 ml of milk. It should be removed from the fire when one-third of the milk has evaporated, and then be administered to the patient in three equal doses at suitable intervals. This will relieve the disease very soon.
Lemon: Lemon juice is very effective in dealing with ordinary cases of dysentery. Three lemons, peeled and sliced, should be added to 250 ml of water and boiled for a few minutes. The strained infusion should be administered thrice daily.
Musk Melon: Musk melon is useful in dysentery which is often accompanied by a soft and mucilaginous secretion in the intestines, leaving some of its portion stuck up within. If this condition persists for a long time, it forces the intestines to contract.
This fruit is endowed with remarkable qualities to expel this nasty matter with faeces.
Ribbed Gourd Seeds: The seeds of ribbed gourd contain a chemical similar to emetine and, hence, they can be effectively used in acute and chronic amoebic dysentery. About five to ten grams of the seeds can be given with one cup of buttermilk twice daily with beneficial results in amoebic dysentery.
Ishabgul: The seeds of this herb are very useful in several kinds of chronic dysentery. In case of heaviness in the stomach and the intestines in dysentery, about 50 ml of castor oil should be administered with one cup of milk thrice daily, to eject hard lumps of stools. After a few motions have cleared the intestine, 10 gm of ishabgul seeds, mixed with about 100 gm of curd, should be taken three to four times a day.
Other Remedies: Other remedies considered useful in the treatment of dysentery are small pieces of onion mixed with curd and equal parts of the tender leaves of the peepal tree, coriander leaves, and sugar, chewed slowly.
To begin with, the patient should fast as long as acute symptoms are present. Only orange juice and water should be taken during this period. As an alternative, the patient should subsist on buttermilk till the acute symptoms are over. Buttermilk combats offending bacteria and helps establishment of benign micro-organisms in the intestines.
After the acute symptoms are over, the patient may be allowed rice, curd, fresh ripe fruits, and skimmed milk. Solid foods should be introduced very carefully and gradually according to the pace of recovery. Flesh foods of all kinds should be avoided. Other foods which should be avoided are tea, coffee, white sugar and white flour, and alcohol in all forms.
The patient may be given small doses of castor oil in the form of an emulsion. This acts as a inild laxative and facilitates quick removal of offensive matter, minimises the strain during defecation, and also acts as a lubricant on the ulcerated surfaces. The mechanical removal of accumulated poisonous matter should also be attempted by giving very low pressure enema, twice or thrice daily, admitting as much water as the patient can tolerate. A hot water bag may be applied over the abdomen.