Black Abolitionists: Herbalist – Dr. James Still Honored at National Medical Association

0 Posted by - September 12, 2020 - BLACK ABOLITIONIST, Blacks In Medicine, FEATURED, LATEST POSTS, Stolen Stories

By Lestey Gist, The Gist of Freedom

Herbalist – Dr. James Still (1812-1882)
Honored at NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (excerpt from Still’s Book)

“As it has been so frequently said by physicians that I know nothing of fevers, I feel it incumbent upon me to give a brief sketch of my treatment. It has been always my impression that the doctor was sent to prevent protraction in disease, and by proper remedies to alleviate the suffering patient. Such being the case, my duty seemed plain. When called to attend a fever patient, I, at once set myself to work to find out the nature of the case.”

Dr. Still devotes one chapter of his book to the rationale of his interpretation and treatment of fevers.

“I would carefully examine the patient externally and internally. I would pass my hand over the surface of the body to ascertain, if possible, its condition, and in most cases I found the skin dry and hot, not so much even as finding moisture in the axilla, showing excretions were prohibited from passing through the ordinary channels.

Nature makes a charge from within perspiration attempts to pass, but every avenue is closed. It recedes to the internal organs, and there makes war upon the vitals. The heart is compelled by the invader to resist powerfully; thus it beats one hundred and ten or more. The pulse is an indication of what is going on.

The patient is thirsty and racked with pain. The head seems ready to burst, the eyes glare, the tongue is coated, the breath offensive, the urine scanty, and every function deranged. Appetite gone, sleep disturbed and unrefreshed, watchers begin to prognosticate for good or bad.

Now for treatment. I first ordered my patient to be bathed all over with soda-water or weak lye, the whole surface to be rubbed well with it. Next sudorific medicine, followed with warm catnip tea, to be repeated two or three times a day. If the head is hot, take whiskey, vinegar, and soft water, (one teacup of each), and one teaspoonful fine salt; mix, and apply cold several times a day. Soak the feet at night in ashes and warm water. Give a dose of vegetable plysic every day, or every other day, according to circumstances. Keep up a determination to surface. Give a portion of diaphoretic: c powders at night, followed with warm catnip tea, to promote sleep. Wash the face, chest, and arms with vinegar and water every day.

Give cold water, if craved, or plenty of lemonade, made in the usual way. If vomiting takes place, take one tea- spoonful of saleratus, put in a alf-pint of peppermint tea, and sweeten with white sugar, and give a tablespoonful to an adult every fifteen or thirty minutes, till the vomiting stops. Add ten drops of laudanum to each dose, and for low excitement or prostration take carbonate of ammonia (hartshorn) three scruples, gum-arabic and loaf sugar each two (draclims mint tea half-pint, mix, and give one tablespoonful or two every hour, according to circumstances. If the tongue is much coated, or the symptoms do not change for the better, give an emetic, composed of vegetable, followed by warm boneset tea, to be drank freely to assist vomiting; this will cleanse the stomach and excite perspiration.

If this treatment be strictly followed, you shall not need to wait nine days for the fever to run its course. Besides, you shall find that the name of the fever is not such a monstrous matter as that you read of in books of allopathy, and as you have been led to believe.

I will give now some recipes which I think are very valuable in treating fevers and many other maladies:
Mix, and rub well in a mortar.

A dose-one teaspoonful in warm water, sweetened, on an empty stomach.

This I think is one of the best medicines used as physic. It cleanses well the stomach and bowels, and is not drastic in its operation; is perfectly safe t.o persons of all ages, from the infant of one week old to the old man of one hundred years. It removes viscid accumulations in a surprising manner, and restores the enervated powers of nature.
8 oz. 8 oz. 8oz. 8oz. 8 oz. 8 oz. 8oz.

All bruised; then boil in two gallons of soft water down to one gallon; express and strain the liquid, and see that you have one gallon. Then add ten pounds of white sugar, and boil to form a syrup. When done, strain again into some- thing to cool, and when nearly cool take two, drachms oil anise and four ounces alcohol, mix and pour into the balsam; also one pint tincture of lobelia. Let the whole stand twenty- four hours to settle, then bottle ul) in half-pint bottles.
Dose.-One teaspoonful three, four, or five times a day.

This balsam far excels anything that I have ever known used for pulmonary affections and coughs of long standing. It is admirably calculated to relieve that constricted state of the lungs which is so often met with in consumption. It assists expectoration and invigorates the whole system, and is seldom or never given without benefit. This is an excellent remedy for asthma or any bronchial affection attended with difficulty of respiration.

It will be observed that the doses mentioned in these recipes are for adults, and may be proportioned to children according to their age. In giving my early recollections, I (did not propose, in the first place, to add to the account any of my recipes, or to give the history of my treatment of fevers or any other diseases; but,

being a firm believer in the gift of Providence, I could not well omit it, knowing his al mankind owe their being to that Creator who bestows his blessings upon all.

He it is who supplies the head with brains, the heart with thought according to that we are capacitated to receive, and much depends on ourselves whether we advance in knowledge or recede into idiocy. For myself, I very much regret that I did not enjoy the advantages of an early education.

I had but six months of schooling, and that under imperfect teachers. I beg, therefore, the pardon of my readers for errors in this work.
As tohisethics, Still says,

I never offered any inducements, either verbal or written, for persons to try my remedies. I was willing to let merit

Take Ipecac……….. 4oz. as best suited them. I
always had a special abhorrence to
Take Opium ………… Ipecac ………… Saffron ……….. Camphor ……….
……………… ……………… ……………… ………………
2 oz. 2 oz. 2 oz 2 oz. 2 oz. 2 oz.
Virginia snakeroot …… ………….
Pleurisy root …….. ……………. All bruised; diluted alcohol, 3 quarts.

Place these in a bottle and macerate for two weeks, then express, and filter through paper; or if you have a percolator you can put the bruised articles in it and pour on alcohol to cover them, and let them stand for twenty-four hours, then gradually pour the rest of the alcohol, until it al runs through in a bottle to receive it.

Dose.-One teaspoonful` in a teacupful of warm catnip tea every hour or two til it produces, perspiration.

This I have found to be one of the best remedies in ful- filling the intenition for whicli it is given; which is, generally, to produce free perspiration. One dose or two, aided by warm catnip tea, and bathing the feet in warm water and ashes, will cause copious persliration. Hence it is useful for many diseases, as fevers, pleurisy, inflammation, colds, and coughs.
Lobelia.. ……… 4oz. Bloodroot… …….. 2oz.

Pulverize separately, mix, and rub well in a mortar.
Dose.-Teaspoonful given every thirty minutes in warm boneset tea. Useful in all cases where an emetic is required. It is not often the second dose is required to produce the effect desired. Thus you cleanse the stomach. dislodge morbific matter, excite the viscera, vivify the nerves, open the pores, and drive the invading disease from the vital parts and places, and leave the enemy at the mercy of the practitioner.”

ANTIBILIOUS POWDERS OR COMMON PHYSIC Take Jalap root, pulverized ……. ……… 4 oz. Alexandria senna, pulverized ….. …. 8 oz. Cream of tartar ………. ……….. /2 oz.
Cloves, pulverized …….. ……….. 3 drs.
those who vaunted themselves and medicines as superior to any other. It was to me like a net cast into the sea for fish, the small and weak getting caught and the large making good an escape. The millions of money expended in vautnted remedies by the sick, in hopes of being relieved of their ills, cannot be estimated. The vendors of quack nostrums eat the oysters and the afflicted the shells.

Many of Stil’s patients were white. He claimed to have cured cases diagnosed by competent physicians as cancers. He emphasized that he gave the conditions no name. They were called cancer by others.

I might fill volumes of just such cases as above stated, where I have cured patients who have been pronounced in- curable in cancers, tumors, white-swelling, and almost every kind of disease, which fact has led me believe that all
COUGH BALSAM Take Spikenard root ……..
………….. ……………. …………. …………. Bloodroot ……… …………….. Skunk




1 Comment

  • Michel S. Perdreau September 14, 2020 - 12:04 pm

    in the same vein please consider Docteur Joshua McCarter SIMPSON (1821-1877) of Zanesville, Ohio
    aka J. Mc C SIMPSON) abolitionist, author (The Emancipation Car . 1854/1874)
    Picture available