The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce
The Complete Herbalist
by Dr. O. Phelps Brown (1878)

    Chronic Diseases are those that have passed the active or inflammatory stage.  Strictly speaking, a disease is not curable until it has passed this stage and become to a certain extent "chronic."  The word means "time," and any disease that has had time to pass the active stage, "chronic." The tendency of chronic affections is to recover, and nine out of ten will recover by proper attention to hygienic laws and the right medicine.  It would be imprudent, in case of a severe attack or illness, to trust recovery to nature, without availing ourselves of medical advice; without in fact ascertaining the proper remedy, which is surely to be found somewhere in the herbal kingdom.  In all cases of chronic disease, a careful diagnosis is absolutely required, as each case is usually accompanied by a variety of sympathetic disorders; hence, it requires the educated and experienced physician to note the variations, detect the physician to note the complications and identify the locality and extent of the real disorder.  Patient and intelligent investigation is absolutely requisite in all cases, as without such a diagnosis the treatment would not be successful.

    My specialty is the treatment of chronic disease.  I very rarely give advice, unless specially and urgently solicited, with reference to acute affections, and never easy treatment unless the affections be of specific or scrofulous origin, as private diseases, acute phthisis, etc.  Aside from these exceptional cases, my professional attention and services are entirely absorbed in the treatment of chronic diseases, and these I can justly claim to treat with unvarying success.  This assertion is certainly pardonable when the fact of my success is attested by thousands of former patients in all parts of the world.  Early in my professional career it became apparent to me that only as a specialist can any physician hope for either competence or success.  Aware of the folly of the attempt to become equally skillful in the treatment of both acute and chronic affections, I made chronic diseases exclusively my study, and devoted for many years all the energies at command in the endeavor to acquaint myself with all the varied and multiform manifestations.  No physician, unless he be a prodigy of science, can with equal success treat both acute and chronic affections.  If he is animated with the principles of professional integrity, striving to gain absolute competence, he has not time to investigate the characteristics of chronic diseases, should he even have the inclination.  The "family physician" deals mostly with acute affections; hence it is necessary to his professional success and reputation to devote his sole attention to the study of acute disorders.  It is well known that the highest perfection of mechanism demands the division of labor into special branches, and so it is with the practice of medicine--division into specialties secures greater intelligence, competence, and success of treatment.

    It is not necessary that I should particularize each disease for which my advice may be solicited, or for the treatment of which my services may be engaged.  I may be consulted with reference to every existing chronic disorder, claiming the requisite ability to give definite and conclusive advice, and provide treatment invariably sucessful in result, if in my estimation the affection is capable of cure.

    Chronic affections are so numerous that the author will allude to the more important only, and such as are fearfully prevalent and destructive.

    In the female economy we meet with exceptional diseases not observable in the opposite sex.  She, too, by many obscure causes, may sadly destroy her health and capacities of womanhood, and in which condition the same vigilance should be exercised, and the same efficient and reliable medical counsellor should be appealed to.  The physical degeneracy is the same, and special treatment no less important than in the analogous condition of the male.  Besides this sad affection she suffers untold agony with what are termed Uterine Diseases.  Vital statisticians assert that there scarcely exists a female in civilized life who does not suffer with uterine disorder at some time of her life, and that as a rule every female is at all times more or less a sufferer from the womb disease.  Why is woman thus fearfully a sufferer?  Is it altogether owing to injurious modes of dress, habits of life, and other agencies?  Is it not possible that this prevalence of uterine diseases is partially owing to inefficient and irrational treatment?  If treatment were competent, this load of suffering would certainly be lighter.  These diseases have surely no such pathological character as to render treatment unavailing, and that all that physicians can do is to pronounce them incurable.

    Proper Internal medication in combination with proper hygienic observance, will effect a cure in nearly, if not all, uterine disorders.  The long continued suffering, so generally the history of all uterine diseases, is due more to harsh and inappropriate treatment than to any peculiar severity or stubbornness in the morbid elements of the affections themselves.  Under proper and skillful treatment, Leucorrhoea, Ulceration, Prolapsus, or Falling of the Womb, the various misplacements of the organ, menstrual disorders, etc., yield kindly, and a cure is speedily effected in all cases.

    Diseases affecting the reproductive system in the male sex are actually the gravest of all, and attended with more sad results than any in the whole catalogue of human afflictions.  Their very apparent mildness gives to them a twofold capacity for undermining the constitution and destroying the integrity of the general health, by imperceptible losses through the water or fluids of the body.  Patients, before writing, will please save a little of this water in a bottle for twenty-four hours.  Write me if there is any sediment, of the color and quantity, as it will save much loss of time.  This disguised or negative feature is always associated with those diseases depending upon disorders of the generative organs, many of which are contracted by dissipated or vicious habits indulged in to a greater or less extent, and patients, though long aware of their indisposition, are not fully conscious of the nature or seriousness of their disease until health is completely broken, the constitution wrecked, and the vitality and vigor of the nervous system utterly destroyed.  Long before this one may know that all is not right, but owing to a false delicacy, neglect to employ competent treatment.

    Sterility or Barrenness.  I can be consulted on this subject freely by all the childless, and shall give my candid opinion promptly by mail, as to whether they can be successfully treated or not.  In nine cases out of ten all impediments can be safely removed in a reasonable length of time.  Some of the most frequent causes of barrenness are, dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), especially the congestive form of it; menorrhagia (profuse menstruation), especially when it is associated with menorrhoea, or too frequently recurring periods; induration of the cervix, or neck of the womb, and the most frequent of all, relaxation of the vaginal walls to such an extent that the spermatozoa is never retained at all, but escapes from the vagina immediately after coition.

    Chronic Impotency is one of the most deplorable conditions with which mankind can possibly be afflicted.

    Now my success in the treatment of conditions of this class, warrants me in saying that it is just as surely amenable to judicious, well-directed treatment, in accordance with its true pathological character, as any other curable abnormal condition of the sexual organization.  The great reason why this disease has so seldom been successfully treated by the great mass of the profession is, that its pathology has not been properly studied or investigated, and consequently not understood.

    The sacral plexus of nerves (with one branch from the lumbar), are the nerves which supply the sexual organization with its vitality.

    The sensory nerves convey from the base of the brain, or cerebellum, impressions to these nerve centers, and it is through them that nature asserts its power.

    To explain a little more minutely: Whenever a passionate, lascivious thought, or sight, or impression in any form occurs, the sensory nerves convey the impression to the sacral ganglia, and if this nerve center is active and vigorous, natural results will surely follow; but if it has become atonied, or if it has lost its vitality, of course it cannot act under the impression conveyed to it by the sensory nerves, and this is what constitutes Impotency.

    Now, of coursse, specific medicines, or medicines which have a direct affinity for, or act as a direct stimulus to these nerves, are the only remedies that can be depended upon to restore this lost vitality.  Such remedies I claim to make use of in conditions of this class, and my success has proved them to be reliable whenever my directions and instructions have been followed, and my treatment pursued for a reasonable length of time.  The specific action of some remedies is too well known to be disputed: quinine, iron, antiseptics, and many others belong to this class.

    Now the great majority of diseases we are obliged to treat on general principles, as specifics for all diseases have not yet been discovered; but general treatment would be of no use whatever in conditions of this class; positive, specific treatment is the only available course, and this is what I claim my treatment to be.

    It is true, that congenital conditions, or malformations, or organic diseases of the sexual system, may render some cases incurable by any method of treatment, but these cases are extremely rare.

    Syphilis, that terrible scourge of our large cities, is another disease in which the superiority, nay, even the absolute necessity of specific medication has been clearly established.  This formidable disease has assumed alarming proportions in our country, and at this time it cannot be said to be confined to our cities only; for plainly, the rural districts are not exempt from the foul taint.  It is its constitutional, secondary and tertiary forms that more particularly demand my attention, and which I am constantly treating with such uniform success.  Were this disease confined to its primary stage, it would not be the hydra-headed monster that it now is, but unfortunately its ravages are unlimited; every tissue of the body becomes involved in rapid succession.  The throat becomes ulcerated, rendering the breath intolerably offensive; next the glandular system -- the glands of the neck; then the cartilaginous tissues, especially of the nose, which soon sinks upon a level with the face, as though it had been battered with a mallet, and finally the bones themselves become spongy, and exostoses supervenes.  It would require a large colume to fully describe the ravages of this disease.  The number of generations through which it is capable of propagating itself by hereditary descent is unknown -- probably unlimited.  My specific treatment for the constitutional, secondary and tertiary forms of this disease, may be relied upon with positive certainty to eliminate every particle of this specific contagion from the system, no matter of how long standing.

    Chronic Urinary Diseases. This class of diseases has become alarmingly prevalent in our country, especially among the laboring or active business men of middle age, and those far advanced in years.  Diabetes in both its forms, albuminaria, or Bright's disease, ardor urina, or irritable bladder; abnormal deposits in the urine; and in the aged, inability to retin the urinae; with frequent desire to void it, which when voided flows in a dribbling manner; partial paralysis of the bladder, characterized by inability to evacuate it without considerable effort, accompanied with frequent and sudden cessations of the flow; calculous or gravelly obstructions, etc.

    I have made these conditions a special study for years, and I can safely affirm that there are but few cases of this class of diseases that specific medication by nature's remedies will fail to relieve; and I know from experience that there is no class of diseases in which the superiority of specific vegetable medicine is more clearly manifested than in chronic urinary difficulties of every form and type.  I have hundreds of testimonials in my possession, conclusively establishing this fact.

    Catarrh.  This formidable disease is located, primarily, in the pituitary membrane which lines the nasal fossa, and extends to the different cavities communicating with the nose.  It is composed of two layers; one fibrous, which is attached to the bones; the other, free and secretory--the seat of smell.  This membrane lines all the sinuses of the maxillary, frontal and ethmoidal bones, and its mucous surface is the primary seat of the catarrhal inflammation, but the fibrous portion is soon involved, and then the discharge becomes pustular and fetid, while all the bones to which this fibrous portion of the membrane is attached becomes affected, and caries, or slow destruction of the osseous tissues supervenes; the breath becomes intolerable, and sooner or later all the air passages to and within the lungs become involved, so you can readily see how extensive a disease catarrh is, and how preposterous the idea that a little of somebody's snuff will remove the specific inflammation from all these tortuous winding air-passages, which are so extensive as to make the patient who is badly afflicted with this disease, feel as though his whole face was fairly rotten with it.  Both local and general treatment of a specific character must positively be resorted to, to remove the septic inflammation, and restore all the tissues to a normal condition.

    Specific local treatment, by means of my Nasal Douche Apparatus, and the exhibition of general remedies, which through the circulation and absorbent vessels act as specifics to inflamed mucous membranes, is positively the only reliable treatment for this distressing malady.

    My supreme confidence in the healing virtues of herbal medicines was gained only by observing their superiority, and not born of prejudice or antipathy; for in the first few years devoted to the study of medicine, I was taught as others are, to regard the mployment of mineral agents as right and advisable.  Experience only gave me better knowledge and fuller understanding, and at the present time, should the privilege of employing the medicinal properties of plants be taken away from me, leaving me but the inert and harmful minerals, my professional knowledge would avail me nothing, and I would stand in the presence of disease with fettered hands, helpless as a child, and absolutely without power to mitigate or relieve a single pain or symptom.

    I think I can truthfully say that no physician at the present time is treating so many chronic cases as myself.  I have for twenty years advertised very largely in all the leading newspapers of the country.  I print upwards of three million Shakespearian Almanacs annually for gratuitous distribution.  There has been 450,000 "Complete Herbalists" sold within the last twelve years.  As I have said before, my specialty has been chronic diseases.

    Thousands are led to consult me and my associate physicians for relief, which, owing to our large experience in a certain class of complaints, we can guarantee to cure in almost every case.  I advertise my family medicines through the druggists, and sell them largely -- the sales amounting to nearly half a million yearly.  I am obliged to have associate physicians to assist me, owing to my business being so large.

    All invalids write us unhesitatingly just as they feel in special cases -- thus giving us a perfect description of their cases, which enables us to be more successful than we otherwise could be.

    Afflicted persons desirous of gaining my advice should give a plain statement of their afflictions; when contacted, the present symptoms, etc., -- in fact, everything should be made known to me precisely as would occur by personal interview.  The following questions are intended to assist invalids in properly presenting their cases.  Answers to all the questions are not necessary.


    Designed for those who wish to Consult me with a view to Treatment.

    A.  What is your age?  If known, what is your temperament?  Did you arrive at the age of puberty without having had any serious illness, or sufficiently so to injure your constitution?
    B.  Are you afflicted with any chronic form of eruptive diseases?  If so, what are its characteristics?  Is it scaly or papular (pimples), or pustular secreting pus?  If papular, is it attended with any secretion in the pimples?  If so, is the secretion watery?  If pustular, do scabs form?  Do the scabs drop off and new ones form immediately, or do the pustules heal?  What is the color of these?
    C.  Is there any hereditary disease in your family, recent or remote?
    D.  Are you very nervous?  If so, can you assign any cause for it?  Have you overtaxed yourself with study, or with mental or physical exertion of any kind?  Have you any mental trouble?  Is your memory or capacity for mental pursuits impaired?  Is your sleep disturbed by frightful dreams, or dreams of any kind?  If your business through the day has been perplexing, is your sleep disturbed and unrefreshing in consequence of it?
    E.  Have you any congenital diseases or condition of any kind?  That is, any diseased or abnormal condition with which you have been afflicted from birth?
    F.  Have you always been temperate in your habits?  Do you indulge or have you indulged in the use of spiritous liquors of any kind to excess, or of opium in any form, or tobacco?

    G.  Are you subject to severe attacks of headache, or do you frequently have a dull, heavy, oppressed feeling in the head?  If you have either, at what part of the head is the pain most severe, or what part of the head is most liable to attacks of pain?  Are you troubled with dizziness of the head, ringing noises in the ears, or specks before the eyes?

    H.  Have you a disagreeable taste in the mouth, especially in the morning?  Are the gums healthy, or are they bcoming absorbed, leaving the teeth long and naked?  If the latter, do you know whether it is the result of the use of mercury, or of vitiated secretions?  Is the tongue coated?  Are its tip and edges very red?

    I.  Do you have any disease of the throat?  Are the tonsils very liable to become inflamed and enlarged, causing difficult deglutition?  And are you especially liable during cold weather to contract what is called a sore throat?

    J.  Are you afflicted with a chronic cough?  If so, for what length of time have you been troubled with it?  At what time of the day do you cough most?  Is coughing attended with pain in any part of the chest?  If so, what part?  Does it cause pain in any part of the chest to inhale a full breath?  Have you constant pain in any part of the chest?  Is it increased by coughing, and is it always confined to one locality?  Do you expectorate much?  What is the character of the expectoration?  Is it thick and adherent, or is it of a mucous character?  Does it sink in water?  Do you have turns of perspiring freely at night?  Do your feet and ankles swell?  And is the swelling edematous? -- that is, does it pit on the removal of pressure of the thumb?

    K.  Do you have any pains or fluttering sensations about the heart?  If so, are they constant, or do they come and go at intervals?  Do you have palpitation, attended with difficulty of breathing?  If so, is it constant or at intervals?  If at intervals, of what length of time generally?

    L.  Is your appetite and digestion good?  Are you troubled with collections of wind in the stomach?  Does food distress you?  If so, what kind of food distresses you most?  Does a meat diet give you more pain than a farinaceous one?  Do very hot or very cold drinks give you pain in the stomach?  Are you constipated?  And are you troubled with piles?

    M.  Have you any pain or weakness in the lower part of your back?  Is the voiding of urine attended with pain or smarting?  Are you obliged to void it more frequently than is natural?  And is it normal in quantity?  Does the urine deposit a sediment?  If so, what is the character of it?

    N.  Do you have any rheumatic or neuralgic pains in any part of your body?  Are any of the tendons of the extremities contracted?  Are you troubled with cramps in the lower extremities when in bed?

    O.  If a male, have you injured yourself by excesses of any kind, recent or remote?  Have you now, or have you had vericocele?

    It is not necessary for me to insert here questions which the patient will readily see are inadmissible for a work of this kind, but which are, nevertheless, of great importance; and he can forestall me in this matter by giving me all the information in relation to his condition that will occur to him as being necessary to aid me in forming a correct opinion -- the only sure guide to correct and successful treatment.

    P.  If a female, are you afflicted with uterine derangement in any form -- prolapsus, leucorrhoea, ulceration, etc.?  Have you passed the climacteric period?  If not, is menstruation regular, and normal in quantity and quality?  Is it ever attended with severe pain?

    Any intelligent female will readily see the absolute necessity that exists for an unreserved history of her case, and a plain statement of the causes which have led her to consult me with a view to obtaining relief.

    No false modesty should deter any from making known their exact condition, so that I may be enabled to fully understand the pathology of the case, and to prescribe just what is required to effect the most speedy and decisive results.  It is not necessary by any means that answers to all these questions be given.  The most prominent features of the case are all that I require.  It is frequently the case that ladies, in describing their condition, give great prominence to unimportant or merely sympathetic symptoms -- slight neuralgic pains in various parts, headache, nervousness, restlessness, and transient or migratory pains -- and entirely neglect to say anything about the one great cause of all these unpleasant and sometimes most distressing symptoms -- uterine derangement, or an abnormal condition in some form of the sexual organization.  No important organ of the body is more intimately connected with the whole sympathetic nervous system, or exercises a greater influence over the other important organs, stomach, liver, lungs and head, and particularly the nerve centers, than the uterus; and when I am told that a lady is suffering from uterine derangement in any form, I know that she is also suffering from many unpleasant, if not distressing sympathetic symptoms.  I do not wish to be considered egotistical at all, but after a long and extensive experience, I can positively affirm, that if there is any particular class of diseases in the treatment of which my greatest successes have been achieved, it is in the treatment of diseases incident to females, which have become so prevalent in our country, and which I contend are, as a general thing, treated irrationally, and without any claim to success.  While, perhaps, one has been benefitted by the harsh heroic treatment so extensively practiced by every medical Tyro at the present time, hundreds have been seriously and permanently injured.  My unusual success in the treatment of diseases of this class ought to be sufficient evidence of their curability by a more rational and entirely harmless method of treatment.

    Remittances should be made in Post-Office Money Orders, payable at Jersey City, N.J., wherever there is a Money-Order Office, which is now almost universal, there being only a few exceptions.  Where these exceptions do exist, REGISTER THE LETTER containing money.  Either of these modes is PERFECTLY SAFE, the Postmaster always giving you a receipt for the money.  No MEDICINES SENT C.O.D., unless half the money is sent in advance.  The express business has reached such perfection within the last few years, that I can almost guarantee a DAILY DELIVERY to every hamlet in the United States.

    All letters will be treated as strictly private and confidential.  Invalids on a visit to New York may call on me whenever convenient.  Office hours, from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

    Address Dr. O. Phelps Brown, No. 21 Grand Street, Jerssey City, N. J.

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