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150 years ago: Sarsaparilla therapy in syphilis. Practitioner July/August 2020;264(1839):30

150 years ago: Sarsaparilla therapy in syphilis

24 Jul 2020Registered users

Jane is nominally a laundress, and by practice a prostitute. She is evidently worn down by excesses and irregularities, and will soon be worn out. Her face is sallow and wan, her frame is wasted, her voice is hoarse, her hearing is dull. She has enlarged hard glands in her neck and groin, scars at the angles of her nose and mouth, coppery tubercles about the forehead and eyebrows, a lump of  gummous matter in the calf of the right leg, nodes on her tibiae and open ulcers on her face and upon her legs. These ulcers are large, numerous, indolent, and characteristic. She makes no secret of her disease, and dates its origin several years ago. She “has had mercury”, and her gums bear the traces of it; her irritable tongue and stomach, her anorexia, and her wasting seem to warn us against the iodides. She took sarsaparilla, beginning with half a pint a day, and increased the dose to one pint daily.

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