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Causes and Symptoms: Of all the diseases to which the reproductive organs are susceptible, syphilis is the most horrible. It is a contagious disease of slow development; it may begin as a sore at the site of the infection, but in its tertiary stage it shows signs of decay resembling those caused by leprosy and tuberculosis. It may be acquired (in most cases it is) by sexual intercourse with a person suffering from it, but coming in contact with a sufferer may also cause it.

Deriving its name from a Latin poem by Francastorious which has a character of this name, it spread as an epidemic among the French soldiers laying a siege to the city of Naples in 1494, hence the appellation Napolitean disease, the French Pox and the Great Pox.

Syphilis may be acquired, i.e. through infection, or it may be inherited. The infection of syphilis may be caused by actual contact through sexual intercourse or the handling of articles infected by the persons who have disease. The acquired form of the disease has three stages, namely (i) primary; (ii) secondary; and (iii) tertiary, but sometimes the three stages merge into one another as the disease progresses on its fatal march. Ulcers may appear all over the body, but if there is only a slight skin eruption it should not be treated lightly, because the effect on the constitution of its victims is not less harmful. The sore like primary ulcers of syphilis can be easily cured if proper medication is taken but, if the second stage starts, there are symptoms like a low fever, loss of appetite, vague pains throughout the body and a faint red rash on the front of the chest. There may even be sores in the mouth and the throat in addition of mental deterioration or painful inflammation of the bones.

The third and final stage of the disease develops after some months or years if the malady was not diagnosed and treated at the appropriate time. Masses of granulated tissue known as 'gummata' appear as hard nodules on the skin; they may develop in the brain or the spinal chord in which case there are certain serious symptoms. Or, there may be aneurysms (dilations of the arteries due to yielding of a wall of the blood vessels), apoplexy, early mental failure, disordered movement of the limbs while walking and even paralysis.

If syphilis has been inherited, it may affect the foetus while it is still in its mother's womb. The child may not mature and there may be a miscarriage; or it may be deformed or may start showing secondary symptoms of syphilis after a few weeks.

Remedies: The following remedies are recommended for the primary stage of syphilis: if it has progressed into the second stage and complications have started showing, it is better to consult a physician.

One tola of Hirankhuri Booti (Corchorus Fascicularis) should be ground in water wit hfive grains of Pepper, strained and taken for two to three weeks. Alternatively, a tola of root of Yellow Thistle (Satyanasi) should be ground in water with five grains of pepper and taken for some weeks.

A tola of Nigand Babri and five grains of Pepper should be steeped in water overnight and the supernatant water drunk in the morning. A more effective remedy is the calx of Blue Vitriol (Neela Thotha) taken in one ratti doses twice daily with butter or cream. No water should be allowed to patient for some hours after the dose.

Preventive Measures: Syphilis like TB has another aspect, viz., preventive which is as important as the curative one. One must avoid all contact with persons suspected to be suffering from this disease. The malady begins its fatal march from whore houses and sexual intercourse with prostitutes or promiscuous females should be avoided. Women, on their part should avoid males who are in the habit of visiting whorehouses. In case of one of the partners to a marriage catching the disease all sexual contact-even physical contact-must cease. The disease is likely to reappear after some years and once having got it and a seeming cure having been obtained, the patient must not engage in sexual activity for some years after the cure.

Regimen: Syphilis patients should be advised to take a salt-free diet as the presence of salt hinders recovery: bitter, sour and pungent substances should be avoided.


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