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Earth
Just lays great emphasis on the use of earth. For constipation, he advises cold mud poultice on the lower abdomen. The mud poultice should be 3" broad, 6" long and V2" thick. Just claims that mud can cure a man bitten by a poisonous snake. He would pack wet earth all round the body. I mention this for what it is worth. I would like to put down here what I have tested and proved for myself. It is my experience that a mud poultice applied to the head, relieves headache in most cases. I have tried it in hundreds of cases. Headache may be due to several causes, but whatever the cause, as a general rule, an application of mud poultice relieves it for the time being.
Mud poultices cure ordinary boils. I have applied mud to discharging abscesses as well. For these cases I prepare the poultice by packing the mud in a clean piece of cloth dipped in potassium permanganate lotion, and apply it to the abscesses after washing it clean with permanganate lotion. In the majority of cases this treatment results in complete cure. I do not remember a single case in which it has failed me. Mud application immediately relieves the pain of a wasp sting. I have used it in many cases of scorpion bite, though with much less success. Scorpions have become a nuisance in Sevagram. We have tried all the known treatments for scorpion bite, but none has proved infallible. I can say this that the results of mud application are not inferior to those of any other form of treatment.
In high fever, an application of mud poultice on the head and abdomen is very useful. Although it does not always bring down the temperature, it does invariably soothe the patient and make him feel better, so that the patients them­selves ask for these applications. I have used it in several cases of typhoid fever. The-fever no doubt runs its own course but mud applications seem to relieve restlessness and abate the suffering. We have had about ten cases of typhoid fever in Sevagram with complete recovery in every case, so that the inmates of the Ashram are no longer afraid of typhoid fever. I have not used any drugs in the treatment of these cases. I have made use of other Nature Cure methods besides mud poultices, but about those in their own place.
In Sevagram we have made free use of hot mud poultices as a substitute for anti-phlogistine. A little oil and salt is added to the mud and it is heated sufficiently long to ensure sterilization.
I have not told the reader what kind of earth should be used for mud poultices. In the beginning I used to procure sweet smelling clean red earth. It emits a delicate smell when it is mixed with water. But this kind of earth is not easy to obtain. In a city like Bombay it is a problem to get any kind of earth. It is safe to use soft alluvial clay, which is neither gritty nor sticky. One should never use earth taken from manured soil. Earth should be dried, pounded, and passed through a fine sieve. If there is any doubt as to its cleanliness, it should be well heated and thus sterilized. Mud used as a poultice on a clean surface need not be thrown away after use. It can be used again and again after drying it in the sun or on fire and pounding and sieving it. I am not aware that mud poultice made out of the same earth again and again as described above, is any the less efficacious. I have myself used it in this way and did not find it any the less efficacious for repeated use. Some friends who regularly use mud poultices, tell me that mud from Yamuna's banks is particularly good for this purpose.
Just writes that clean earth may be eaten in order to over­come constipation. Five to ten grams is the maximum dose. The rationale is said to be this. Earth is not digested. It acts as roughage and must pass out. The peristalsis thus stimulated pushes out the faecal matter as well. I have not tried it myself. Therefore those who wish to do so, should try on their own responsibility. I am inclined to think that a trial or two is not likely to harm anyone.
Key to Health, pp. 58 to 62