The Natural Arsenical Waters of La Bourboule: Notes with Reference to Their Therapeutic Value in the Treatment of Diathetic Maladies and Cachexias in General

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9781511929509: The Natural Arsenical Waters of La Bourboule: Notes with Reference to Their Therapeutic Value in the Treatment of Diathetic Maladies and Cachexias in General
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An excerpt from a review in The Dublin Journal of Medical Science, Volume 101, published in 1896.

The rarity of arsenical springs, and their value in the treatment of certain classes of disease, give special interest to this tract. There is, if we remember aright, a mineral water containing arsenic in England, but it has not been utilized for therapeutical purposes. In France several springs—at Mont Dore, La Malou, Vals, Vichy, Plombières, St. Nectaire—have traces of arsenic in their composition; but the spring of Choussy-Perrière at La Bourboule is an arsenical water. Its characteristic is a high percentage of the sodium arsenate and sodium chloride, with a small amount of iron.

This copious spring—discharging 23,310 litres in the hour—has a constant temperature of 60° C. Its composition per litre, as analysed by MM. Bouis and Lefort in 1878, is as follows:—Sodium arseniate, 0.02847 "(equal to 7 milligrammes of arsenic"); free carbonic acid, 0.0518; sodium chloride, 2.8406; potassium chloride, 0.1623; magnesium chloride, 0.0320; sodium bicarbonate, 2.890; sodium sulphate, 0.2084; "bicarbonate of lime," 0.1905; ferric oxide, 0.021; silicic acid, 0.1200; with traces of lithium chloride, manganese and aluminium.

The water of this spring is carefully bottled for export; but its good effects will be more surely produced on the spot, where internal administration is combined with baths. These are taken at a temperature of 35° C, and, as a general rule, continued for half an hour at a time.

For a list of the diseases likely (or certain) to be benefited by the use of the arsenical water of La Bourboule, we must refer our readers to Dr. Brown's pamphlet. It seems to include most of the diseases to which flesh is heir; and, perhaps, a grain or two of sodium chloride may be taken with the author's sanguine description. The temperature and composition of the water, however, will suggest to the practitioner cases in which the spring may be recommended with prospect of favourable results.

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