There are probably few things that, in proportion to their size, can be the cause of such discomfort to the patient as the little inflammatory processes known as furuncles, which are frequently encountered in the external auditory canal. Whether the furuncles have been produced by an infection from the edge of the fingernail or from thee use of such articles as hair-pins, toothpicks, etc., introduced into the canal in order to relieve itching or other irritation the tendency is always towards suppuration, and the discharge of the septic contents. After employing various remedies, such as Mercurius, Pulsatilla, Silicea, I have lately been in the habit of prescribing the tincture of Echinacea angustifolia, twenty drops in a spoonful of water every two or three hours, according to the severity of the symptoms. The drug acts very promptly, and after reducing the surrounding zone of inflammation, diminishing its in duration and its extent, it seems to bring the suppurative process to a focus, with the thorough removal of the broken down tissue. When one meets the same condition in the nostril, usually in the locality of a hair follicle from which a hair has been pulled and into whose cavity some aseptic material has been introduced, the degree of the associated inflammatory swelling may be enormous, extending into the upper lip and also the cheek in addition to the nasal septum and the tip of the nose. In these cases I always prescribe the Echinacea tincture as soon as the symptoms are decided the earlier the better. Of course, one would naturally incise the furuncular process as soon as the presence of pus was definitely made out; to do so before the stage of suppuration is an error to be particularly avoided. The Echinacea should be continued until the last piece of diseased tissue has been discharged from the crater-like aperture of the furuncle and healing has commenced. When one passes in review the different remedies that may be of service in septic conditions affecting the human body, there are none which can approach Echinacea in reliability of action and good results. As this medicine was the means of saving my own life some years ago, when suffering a most virulent carbuncle upon the back of the neck and head, I can present personal testimony concerning its value. The action of the plant is particularly called to the attention of the members of this Society because of the annoying nature of the furuncles which are found in the auditory canal and in the nostril. In both places, owing to the character of tissue involved, there is very little space for thee inflamed area, and consequently the general tension and resulting pain are pronounced. Thomas L. Shearer, M.D., Baltimore, Md.
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