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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pineapple Cure

Pine-apple juice is the specific for diphtheria. This seems to have been first brought to the notice of Europeans by the fact that negroes living round about the swamps of Louisiana were observed to use it with great success. A writer who records this says: "The patient should be
forced to swallow the juice. This fluid is of so pungent and corrosive a nature that it cuts out the diphtheria mucous and causes it to disappear."

The above direction looks satisfactory enough on paper, and it is eminently cheering to read of how the pine-apple juice causes the diphtheria mucous to disappear, but anyone who knows anything about diphtheria knows that to "force" a diphtheria patient to swallow is more easily written about than accomplished. Fortunately I have been able to obtain the following explicit directions from an experienced nurse and mother:

The pine-apple should be cut up and well pounded in a mortar. The juice must then be pressed out and strained through well-scalded muslin. The patient's mouth must be washed out with warm water. The juice may now be given with a silver teaspoon. It is possible that the patient may be quite unable to swallow any of it. If this be so, the juice will serve as a mouth and throat wash. It will gradually dissolve the membrane, and enable it to be scraped gently away with the spoon. The juice should be given, and the throat scraped as far down as the nurse can reach, as
often as the patient can bear it. The time will come, sooner or later, when the juice is swallowed. No other food should be given. The nurse may have to work away for some hours before any juice is swallowed, but my friend assures me that if the scraping be done gently and skilfully,
even children will bear it patiently. Only a silver or bone spoon should be used, and, needless to say, it must be well scalded in boiling water in the intervals of using.

It is a remarkable fact that while pine-apple juice exercises this remarkable corrosive power upon diseased mucous, its effect upon the most delicate, healthy membrane is absolutely harmless. I have seen sweet pine-apple juice given to six-months-old babies as a supplement to
the mother's milk, with excellent results.

Dr. Hillier, writing in the Herald of Health in 1897, says "Sliced pine-apples, laid in pure honey for a day or two, when used in moderation, will relieve the human being from chronic impaction of the bowels, reestablish peristaltic motion, and induce perfect digestion."

"A slice of fresh pine-apple," writes Dr. Fernie, "is about as wise a thing as one can take by way of dessert after a substantial meal." This is because fresh pine-apple juice has been found to act upon animal food in very much the same way that the gastric juice acts within the stomach. But vegetarians should eat fresh fruit at the beginning of meals rather than at the end.

The pine-apple is useful in all ordinary cases of sore-throat. One pine-apple of average size should yield half a pint of juice. Tinned or cooked pine-apple is useless for curative purposes.

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