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required, the springs of Schwalbach have been recommended,
and there is no Continental chalybeate spa more resorted to
by English invalids.

In the following table I have nearly followed Dr Sigismund
Sutro's analysis of the

Composition of the Schwalbach Mineral Sources.






Carbonate of protoxide of iron, .
Carbonate of lime, .

„ „ magnasia, .

„ „ soda, .
Chloride of sodium,
Sulphate of soda,

Total solid contents, .
Carbonic acid gas, .

3 12




26 cub. in.

28 cub. in.

6 '86

26 cub. In.

Three-fourths of the invalid visitors to Schwalbach suflfer
from some form of anaemia, amongst whom may be found a
great many ladies labouring under chlorosis, or whose ailment
is weakness and want of tone, following a London season, and
for such patients the quiet of Schwalbach is perhaps not less
useful than its chalybeate springs. In the debility following
convalescence from severe and exhausting maladies, and in
the weakness resulting from long-protracted nursing, the
Paulinen or Weinbrunnen, sometimes even diluted, are often
serviceable. Nearly all authorities on the subject speak of
the powerful action of this spa in certain forms of functional
derangement of the female system, and my own experience in
several instances leads me to share this opinion.

In chronic indigestion, consequent loss of flesh, and consti-
pation, depending on a relaxed and torpid condition of the
mucous membrane of the stomach and alimentary canal,
which the drastic remedies, that many people take habitually,
can only aggravate — a visit to Schwalbach may be prescribed.

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These waters should be taken fasting, in doses of from half
a glass to two small glasses twice a day, and should be
followed by a brisk walk. Their use would prove highly
dangerous in cases of hsemorrhagic or organic disease of the
lungs, heart, or kidneys.

ScHLANGENBAD lies six miles from Wiesbaden, midway be-
tween Eltville and the spa I have just described, in a valley
almost hidden amongst thickly-wooded hills. It can hardly
be called even a village, for it consists merely of a few bath-
houses, hotels, and some twenty or thirty large barrack-like
lodging-houses, irregularly scattered through the little valley.
Being situated on the south-western slope of the Taunus
range, and well protected from harsh winds by the hills, it
enjoys a more genial climate than Schwalbach. There is in
Schlangenbad a kind of " Sleepy-Hollow " atmosphere, which,
irksome and even injurious 8U9 it would prove to many, must,
I am sure, be most useful in some cases of nervous irritability
and excitement, resulting from extreme mental tension and
over attention to any absorbing pursuit in busy civic life.

Apart from this placid tranquillity, this dolce far niente
existence, there is little or no attraction in Schlangenbad for
any but real valetudinarians. For, beautiful as is the scenery,
and interesting as are the excursions in its vicinity, they are
almost equally accessible from Schwalbach or Wiesbaden.

The waters of Schlangenbad belong to the same class of
mineral springs as those of Pfeffers and Wildbad, being,
however, stronger than either of these spas. They are mildly
alkaline and thermal, and are chiefly employed for bathing
purposes. There are eight distinct springs, which vary in
temperature from 77° to 90^ They rise at the foot of the
adjacent mountain, whence they are conducted to the bath-
houses. They all contain about eight grains of solid ingredients,
with two cubic inches of carbonic acid gas, and the same

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amount of nitrogen in the pint. Of the solid constituents,
about one-half consists of carbonate of soda, together with two
grains of common salt, and one grain each of carbonate of lime
and carbonate of magnesia. The special action of this spa
seems to be on the skin, which it is said to render soft and
white; and, therefore, I need hardly add, is largely patronized
by the fair sex.

The power of diminishing nervous irritability has been
ascribed to these waters by many writers, and they are,
moreover, largely employed in the treatment of chronic
rheumatism, as well as neuralgia and other nervous affections.
In cutaneous diseases, too, such as lichen and prurigo, when a
remedy is required to allay excessive irritation of the surface,
a course of the Schlangenbad baths is often prescribed with
advantage. Hufeland and other German writers recommend
these baths in the articular rigidity of advancing years, as the
veritable "Fountain of Youth" of the fairy tales. As a
specimen of the rhapsodies which German spa physicians
sometimes indulge in, T shall conclude this chapter with the
following moTcmvj from the late Dr Fenner of Schwalbach,
who, in describing the effects of this bath, thus falls into an
ecstasy of praise — '' Vous sortez des eaux de Schlangenbad
rejeuni comme un Phcenix — ^la jeunesse y devient plus belle,
plus brillante, et Tage y trouve une nouvelle vigeur."

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Wiesbaden enjoys a situation that renders it one of the
most picturesque of the German spas, and which should also
bless it with a climate superior to many of them, being built
in an opening valley, extending from the southern slope of the
Taunus Mountains to the Rhine, and thus completely pro-
tected from the north and east winds. The first view of the
town is certainly prepossessing: the streets are wide and
clean; the buildings are large, bright, and new looking; and
the square in front of the cursaal, and that edifice itself, are
really handsome. Since I first visited Wiesbaden, however,
it has lost much of the life and gaiety which formerly were
the special characteristics of this place. The political changes
by which, nearly ten years ago, it was converted from the
flourishing capital of an independent state into a provincial
watering-place, have probably more to do with the somewhat
triste aspect of this once gayest of spas than the closure of
the gambling tables, which has fortunately taken place more

The hot springs of Wiesbaden were resorted to by invalids
at a very early date. Pliny describes them, — ^''Sunt et
Mattiaci in Germania fontes calidi trans-Rhenum, quorum
haustus triduo fervet; circa marginem pumicem faciunt

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aqua/'* and the remains of numerous " Balnearia " have been
discovered in the vicinity of the mineral sources.

There are no less than twenty-two thermal springs in
Wiesbaden. Some writers describe each of these separately,
and assign different properties to each, but as all issue within
an area of 3000 yards, and vary chiefly in temperature, in all
probability they originate from the same source, and there-
fore, in the following remarks, I have confined myself to the
Kochbrunnen, which I regard as a type of the other

The Kochbrunnen rises nearly in the centre of the town.
The appearance of the water is far from inviting, having a
turbid yellowish colour, with a scum floating on the surface.
The taste, however, is by no means unpleasant, and Sir
Francis Head's comparison of it to " weak chicken broth '■ has
been copied by every succeeding author as conveying an exact
idea of its flavour. Its temperature is 155°, and the saline
constituents in a pint of this water are 52 grains of common
table salt, 4 grains of chloride of lime, 3 J grains of carbonate
of lime, 1 J grains of carbonate of magnesia, and rather more
than a grain of chloride of potassium. Besides these, it con-
tains sixteen other ingredients, but in such small proportions
as to be of no practical importance.

The thermal springs of Wiesbaden are principally employed
for bathing ; but as the Kochbrunnen is also extensively used
internally, a few observations on its effects when employed in
this way are necessary. This source is daily frequented by a
considerable number of invalids, most of whom seem to suffer
from gout, or dyspepsia, or hepatic disease.

Like all other mineral waters, this should be taken fasting,
before breakfast. The dose varies from eighty to thirty ounces
of the Kochbrunnen, which is sipped slowly, while the patients

• Pliny, " Hist. Nat.," lib. xxxi. c. 17.

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promenade about the spring, and the exercise, I have Kttle
doubt, does almost as much good as the water.

The action of Wiesbaden mineral water is mildly purgative
and diuretic. The circulation is always more or less excited
by it, the biliary secretion is augmented, the action of the
absorbents is quickened, and the appetite is sharpened, though
this should not be indulged. If the Kochbrunnen be now
persisted in for some weeks, the bulk of the body diminishes
visibly, the expanded abdomen subsides, obesity disappears
and the outlines of muscles, previously concealed by . super-
abundant fat, are thus brought into view.

After some time the blood generally becomes thinner and
less rich in fibrinous compounds, respiration is now freer, the
skin becomes clear and healthy-looking, and the valetudinarian
experiences a general feeling of lien etre.

Such are the effects of the Kochbrunnen when it agrees
with the patient. Unfortunately, however, it does not answer
every case, though some of its panegyrists seem to think it
does, being especially contra-indicated in cases of organic
visceral and hsemorrhagic disease. When the course is
prolonged beyond six or seven weeks, symptoms of febrile
disturbance, or " saturation fever," are produced.

The diseases in which the internal use of the Wiesbaden
springs are recommended are gout, dyspepsia, and plethora.
In the irregular and atonic forms of gout, the saline waters
of Wiesbaden often produce great benefit. Eepeated experi-
ments have shown that the amount of urea and uric acid
eliminated by the kidneys is greatly increased under their use,
and at the same time the patient's general health is improved
by the alterative action of the spa. In some cases of lurking
gout, this water brings on a fit of regular podagra, which is
generally attended with complete relief of the other symptoms.

I have already mentioned that the warm springs of

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Wiesbaden are priucipally used for bathing purposes, and the
number of baths in the town is something extraordinary
amounting to nearly nine hundred. Almost every hotel has
its thermal department, supplied from the twenty-five sources
I have spoken of.

The bath should either be taken in the morning, fasting, or
in the evening five or six hours after an early dinner. The
patient at first should not remain more than ten minutes in
the water, but may gradually, if so advised, increase this
period to an hour.

The great majority of those who resort to Wiesbaden suffer
from rheumatism, or from that combination of gout and
rheumatism permanently affecting the joints which is known
as chronic rheumatic-arthritis. Of one hundred and twenty-
nine cases of chronic rheumatism treated by Dr Haas, in the
hospital of Wiesbaden, by spa water, above thirty were com-
pletely cured, and seventy-nine were improved. The German
physicians also recommend these baths as a remedy in rheumatic
paralysis, where the power of voluntary motion is lost, and
parts are forced into unnatural constrained positions, by long-
continued arthritic inflammation.

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Three-quarters of an hour's drive" by the northern railway
brought us from Frankfort to one of the most frequented spas
of Europe, Homburg-on-the-hill, which is situated on one of
the lowest slopes of the Taunus range, immediately under the
Great Feldberg peak. Of the three parallel avenues descend-
ing from the hill, of which, together with a couple of cross
passages intersecting them, the town of Homburg consists,
only one, the Luisen Strasse, deserves the name of a street.
The upper part of this thoroughfare, with a few narrow lanes,
forms the old town round the castle ; while the lower part,
which is entirely modem, contains the railway station,
cursaal, and hotels, forming the new town.
\ The Kursaal occupies a prominent position in the main
street, and is regarded by the inhabitants as the great feature
of their town, being spoken of by them with that affectionate
pride with which an Andalusian speaks of the Alhambra of
Granada, or the mosque of Cordova, and in truth was, until a
few years ago, one of the most elegant dens of iniquity in
Germany, as well as the main support of that exalted
potentate, the late and last landgrave of Hesse-Homburg.

The mineral springs of Homburg issue from a thick vein of
quartz, covered by a stratum of gravel and clay, lying a hundred
and fifty feet below the surface. These sources are all saline, their

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principal ingredient being common table salt, or chloride of
sodium, in addition to which they contain a small proportion
of iron. They also contain a large amount of free carbonic
acid gas. All the springs, however much they may diflfer in
strength, and even in composition, rise in close proximity to
each other in the Kurgarten, a beautifully-kept park, con-
nected with the cursaal, and occupying a small valley on the
south-east side of the town.

The principal mineral spring is the Elisabethquelle, which
was originally one of the sources of an abandoned brine manu-
factory, and had been disused for upwards of a century, until
its medicinal properties were discovered in 1834. According
to the late Baron Liebeg's analysis, each pint of this water
contains 79 grains of common salt, 10 grains of carbonate of
lime, 7 grains each of chlorides of magnesia and lime, 2 grains
of carbonate of magnesia, half a grain of carbonate of iron, and
traces of several other salts, which it would be useless for
practical purposes to enumerate here. The quantity of
carbonic acid gas the Elisabethquelle contains is its most
remarkable characteristic, there being rather more than 48
cubic inches of gas in a pint of the water.

The Stahlbrunnen, which lies nearer to the cursaal, is an
artesian well, and was opened about twenty-five years ago.
The chemical composition of this spring is very similar to
that of the Elisabethquelle, but it is not quite so rich in
carbonic acid gas, and, as the name implies, contains some-
what more iron, amounting to nearly a grain to the pint.

The Kaiserbrunnen is also an artesian well containing a
very large volume of carbonic acid gas, which gives rise once
in every ninety seconds to a peculiar bubbling and ascent of
the spring in the basin, like water on a quick fire. This is
evidently caused by the subaqueous accumulation and subse-
quent escape of gas. In each pint of this spa are dissolved

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117 grains of commoa salt, 13 grains of chloride of lime,
7 grains of chloride of magnesia, half a grain of carbonate of
protoxide of iron, and a quarter of a grain of muriate of potash.

The next source is the Ludwigsbrunnen, which was the
oldest used, and is the weakest of the Homburg springs.

The dose of Homburg water varies from six to forty-eight
ounces, and must depend, in each particular case, upon ^he
patient's age, sex, constitution, and ailment, as well as on the
spring he may be advised to use; the Kaiserbrunnen, for
instance, being double the strength of any of the others. In
general, however, small draughts of from four to eight ounces,
repeated at short intervals, are more advisable than a larger
quantity at one dose.

All the mineral sources of Homburg belong to the class
of ferro-saline waters ; of which Kissingen, in Bavaria, and
Cheltenham, in England, are examples, though of very
different degrees of strength. In the treatment of gouty
dyspepsia and hypochondriasis, attended with derangement of
the liver, torpid or irregular intestinal action, and depression
of spirits, a course of Homburg water often affords the best
remedy. It is also used in cases of general plethora, and in
what the German spa physicians term " abdominal plethora,"
an affection to which they attach considerable importance,
and, so far as the cathartic properties of the water go, I have
no doubt that it is very properly employed in such cases,
especially as the "spa doctors," m^oreover, enjoin a regimen,
which, of itself, would probably effect the cure.

The chloride of lime, contained by all these waters, in-
creases the action of the absorbents and glandular system,
and probably accounts for the benefits which have been
occasionally observed to follow the use of this spa, in cases
of scrofulous disease.

In varicose veins and ulcers the Homburg waters are said


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to be productive of some advantage, by diminishing the
tension of the diseased vessels, to which their chalybeate
qualities impart a healthier tone.

In hysterical affections and amenorrhoea, this spa is fre-
quently serviceable by restoring normal menstruation. In
such cases it often proves the superiority of natural to
artificial preparations, by the well-marked chalybeate action,
which so small an amount of iron as that contained in these
springs, the strongest of which holds only one grain of iron
in a pint, is capable of exercising.

The usual duration of " the course " at Homburg is about
three weeks, and I need not repeat the caution given in
the introductory chapter against the use of these or any
other mineral waters when symptoms of "saturation" have
shown themselves, nor dwell on their possible dangers in
organic and hsemorrhagic diseases. In combination with their
internal use, the Homburg springs are sometimes employed
for bathing, and the large amount of saline matter they con-
tain renders these baths highly stimulating to the cutaneous
capillaries. Their application in this way, however, is neither
extensive nor generally advisable.

Nauheim is within an easy drive of Homburg, and is
situated on the declivity of the Johaninsberg hill, on the
railway from Frankfort to Cassel, and about an hour's journey
from the latter place. The town is new and unfinished-
looking, and contains a population of about 2000 inhabitants.

These waters have long been employed in the manufacture
of salt, but only within the last few years have been resorted
to medicinally. There were formerly a vast number of
natural saline springs here, but their sources were gradually
interfered with by the sinking of artesian weUs, of which there
are six or seven. The principal of these is the "Grosser-
Sprudel," which burst from an unfinished artesian well, in

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the night of December the twenty-first, 1846, in a thick
column of water to a height of nearly eighteen feet from the
surface, and thus it has continued to issue ever since. It is
enclosed within a large open stone basin, the water in which,
from the vast quantity of carbonic acid gas it contains, is
white with foam. It contains, besides, two hundred and
fifteen grains of saline matter to the pint; of this one
hundred and eighty-one grains are common salt, together with
fourteen grains of chloride of calcium, eleven grains of car-
bonate of lime, four grains of chloride of potassium, with other
salts, and a trace of bromine. Its temperature is about 90°.
This source is strongly purgative in doses of one glass, but is
principally used for bathing.

The Kurbrunnen and Salzbrunnen rise near each other.
The former is that usually employed internally; it is the
weakest of all the Nauheim springs, containing one hundred
and thirty-three grains of salt to the pint ; in the chemical
composition of its ingredients it, however, resembles the
Grosser-Sprudel, as also does the Salzbrunnen, which contains
one hundred and sixty-nine grains, and the Kleiner-Sprudel,
containing one hundred and eighty-one grains, in the same
quantity of water.

The efifect of these springs used internally is purgative and
diuretic. Their principal use is, however, for baths in cases
requiring a stimulating application to the skin, in obstinate
and languid cutaneous complaints. They are said to exercise
a specific action in accelerating and increasing the catamenia.
They are also prescribed in certain cases of chronic rheumatism,
in scrofulous tumours, and diseases of bone.

On the opposite bank of the Ehine to any of the German
watering-places just described are two spas, both of which
have of late years become of considerable importance; the
first of these is Neuenahr, which may be reached by railway

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from Cologne in an hour and a half, or still better by the Rhine
Company's steamers to Eemagen, from which a very pretty
drive of barely seven miles along the valley of the Ahr brings
us to Neuenahr. Midway on the road the spa tourist may
stay for a moment at Ahrweiler to visit the source whence
the Apollinaris water, so familiar on every table as a sub-
stitute for Seltzer water, is exported.

Neuenahr, which was first brought into notice in this
country by the late Professor Miller of Edinburgh, belongs to
the class of saline alkaline spas, and now attracts a consider-
able number of English and American gouty and dyspeptic
valetudinarians. The place itseK contains haK a dozen good
hotels, and the usual resources of a small German watering-
place, and needs no further description.

The chief saline ingredients of the Neuenahr springs are
the bicarbonates of soda, magnesia, and lime, with a small
amount of sulphate of soda, and a trace of protoxide of iron
dissolved in a highly carbonated thermal water, the tempera-
ture of which is about 130''. It will be thus seen that this
spa belongs to the same class as Vichy or Fachingen.

The Neuenahr springs are used internally in doses of from
two to four small glassfuls twice in the day. The baths,
however, and more especially the douche baths, the system of
which is very perfect here, are - the main attraction of this
place for rheimiatic and gouty patients, by whom, as well as
by those suffering from chronic hepatic disease, dyspepsia,
and some sub-acute, renal, and non-inflammatory uterine
disorders, this spa is chiefly employed. The baths are also
largely prescribed in chronic skin diseases, especially eczema
and prurigo.

Nearly opposite to Schlangenbad, and about the same
distance from the Rhine, is Keeuznach, which is within less
than half an hour's journey by railway from Bingen. This

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town, which contains a population of some 12,000 inhabitants,
is prettily situated in the valley of the Nahe, and though long
celebrated for its saline wells and salt- work, has only com-
paratively recently come into note as a watering-place, and
is now one of the most important iodated-bromated spas in

The principal saline springs of Kreuznach are the Elisen-
quelle, which is the only source used internally, the Oranien-
quelle and the Nahequelle, which are used for baths, and
locally in the form of concentrated brine or mutterlange. The
Elisenquelle contains ninety-four grains of saline matter in
each pint, and of this no less than seventy-two grains
consist of common table salt, thirteen grains of chloride of
lime, four grains of chloride of magnesia, and one and a
half grains 6f carbonate of lime, the balance of the solid
ingredients dissolved in this quantity of the water being made
up of minute quantities of bromides and iodides of soda and
magnesia, carbonates of baryta, and protoxides of magnesia
and iron.

The " mutterlange," which is used as an addition to the
ordinary baths as well as for local applications, is merely a
concentrated solution of the salts just mentioned, and is
obtained on a large scale as the residuum of the process by
which table-salt is here manufactured.

This "mutterlange," one pint of which contains 1642 grains
of the salts above named, is a thick, yellowish, oleaginous-
looking fluid, intensely bitter in taste, and having a slightly
iodated odour. The internal use of the water is generally
conjoined with a course of the Kreuznach baths, and is ad-

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Online LibraryThomas More MaddenThe principal health-resorts of Europe and Africa for the treatment of ... → online text (page 14 of 21)