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Tuberculosis is a serious disease. It is caused by a tiny germ called tubercle bacillus. The germ enters into the body through the nose, mouth, and the windpipe, and settles down in the lungs. It multiplies by millions and produces small raised spots called tubercles.
Tuberculosis may occur anywhere in the body but, more commonly, it affects the lungs, intestines, bones, and glands. Pulmonary tuberculosis or tuberculosis of the lungs is by far the most common type of tuberculosis. It tends to consume the body and the patient loses strength, color, and weight Other symptoms are a rise in temperature-especially in the evening, a persistent cough and hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, pain in the shoulders, indigestion, chest pain, and blood in the sputum.
Lowered resistance or devitalisation of the system is the chief cause of this disease. Causes are unhygienic food, contaminated water, exposure to cold, loss of sleep, impure air, a sedentary life, overwork, use of tobacco, liquor and other harmful drinks. These factors prepare the ground for the growth of germs of various kinds, including tubercle bacillus. These germs may be present in the body but are quite harmless for those who are endowed with vitality and natural resistance.
The chief therapeutic agent needed for the treatment of tuberculosis is calcium. Milk is the richest food source for the supply of organic calcium to the body and should be taken liberally. In fact, an exclusive milk diet is considered highly valuable in tuberculosis. However, a preparatory fast for three days, consisting of raw juices, preferably, orange juice, is essential before the milk diet is begun. The procedure is to take half a glass of orange juice diluted with an equal quantity of water every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the full milk diet, the patient should have a glass of milk every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first day, followed by a glass and a half every hour on the second day. Thereafter, the quantity can be gradually increased until the patient takes a glass every half an hour. Usually, six liters of milk should be taken every day. In the case of women, five liters should be sufficient raw milk, that is, milk which has not been pasteurized, produces the best results, provided it is clean and pure. Milk should be kept cool and away from dust, flies, odours, and sunlight It should be gently stirred before use to ensure an even distribution of cream. It should be sipped very slowly so as to be thoroughly mixed with saliva which dilutes it and, to a great extent, promotes its digestion. Nearly eight to six weeks of a full milk diet is necessary for the success of the treatment A considerable amount of rest is necessary with a milk diet and the patient should lie down for about two hours twice a day.
Custard apple is regarded as one of the most valuable remedies for tuberculosis. It is said to contain the qualities of rejuvenating drugs. Ayurvedic practitioners prepare a fermented liquor called sitaphalasava from this fruit, when in season, for use as a medicine in the treatment of this disease. The pulp of two custard apples and twenty-five seedless raisins should be boiled in water on a slow fire. When about one-third of the water is left, it should be filtered, and then mixed with two teaspoons of powdered sugar candy, and a quarter teaspoon each of the powder of cardamom, cinnamon, and certain other condiments.
The Indian gooseberry is another valuable remedy for tuberculosis. A tablespoon each of fresh amla juice and honey, mixed together, should be taken every morning in treating this disease. Its regular use will promote vigour and vitality in the body within a few days.
Pineapple juice is beneficial in the treatment of tuberculosis. It has been found to be effective in dissolving mucus and aiding recovery. This juice was used regularly in the past in treating this disease when it was more common than it is at present One glass of pineapple juice is recommended daily.
Bananas are considered useful in tuberculosis. According to Dr J. Montelvz of Brazil, South America, the juice of the plantain or the ordinary cooking bananas works miracles in the care of tuberculosis. He claims to have cured patients in an advanced stage of this disease with frequent cough, abundant expectoration and high fever in two months, by this 'Treatment
Oranges are useful in the treatment of tuberculosis. A glass of orange juice should be mixed with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of honey and taken daily by the patient. Due to its saline action in the lungs, it eases expectoration and protects the body from secondary infections.
A soup prepared from drumstick leaves has been found valuable in this disease. This soup is prepared by adding a handful of leaves to 200 ml of water which has been heated to a boiling point The water should then be allowed to boil for five minutes more. After that it should be removed from the fire and allowed to cool. A little salt, pepper, and lime juice may be added to this soup. This drink should be taken first thing every morning.
The use of bottle gourd is considered as an effective remedy for tuberculosis. Fresh juice taken empty stomach increases immunity which helps to fight with tuberculosis.
The fresh juice of mint has also been found to be useful in this disease. A teaspoon of mint juice, mixed with two teaspoons of pure malt vinegar and an equal quantity of honey, should be stirred in 120 ml of carrot juice. This should be given as a medicinal .tonic thrice daily in the treatment of tuberculosis. It liquefies the sputum, nourishes the lungs, increases body resistance against infection, and prevents the harmful effects of anti-tubercular drugs.
The patient should avoid all devitalizing foods such as white bread, white sugar, and refined cereals; puddings and refined, canned, and preserved foods. He should also avoid strong tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, and sauces.
The patient should completely rest his mind and body. Any type of stress will delay healing. Fresh air is always important in curing the disease, and the patient should spend most of the time in the open air and sleep in a well-ventilated room. Sunshine is also essential as tubercle bacilli are killed rapidly by exposure to the sun's rays. Other beneficial. steps towards curing the disease are avoidance of strain, slow massage, deep breathing, and a light occupation to ensure mental diversion.