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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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A few days ago when we were in Ipanema, the rumors of the coming of two foreign doctors spread far and wide in these deserted regions and from all sides the sick came for advice and remedies. Also the owner of the house, a man full of patriotism, thought he should take advantage of the beneficial presence of his guests for his neighbors and friends, and this attracted a large number of patients. We gave, in the space of two weeks, some five hundred consults to the invasive crowd, which consumed half of our travel pharmacy. Most of the diseases we observed here were of syphilitic origin or considered to be linked to syphilitic dyscrasia. The forms that this multiform disease takes here are, above all, the various skin disorders, and many of them, perhaps, have not yet been observed in Europe. In general, the feature of the disease, here, is inflammatory, and is modified by the bilious temperament of the Paulista. In this category belong extremely common cases of eye inflammation, erysipelas, with liver complications, hydrops, especially anasarca, hydrothorax as a consequence of pneumonia that sometimes occurs with simple or very disrupted gastric complications, apoplexies with previous serene drop, etc. Nowhere in Brazil are there so many with hysterical melancholy, as here. Hydrophobia has already been observed, however rare. Among the circumstances that predispose to disease in this region of Brazil, we must, above all, also mention the food, which differs greatly from that used in the northern provinces. Instead of cassava flour, they eat almost exclusively coarse cornmeal. It comes to the table in baskets, like bread in Europe, and, only at the request of the guest, is replaced by cassava flour. They rarely make bread or cakes with cornmeal. No less important is the canjica, also prepared with corn: this national food of the Paulistas is never missed at dinner. The corn grains are soaked in water, pounded by a water-powered instrument (Old Black), then boiled with water or milk in the form of porridge and then served with sugar or molasses. The canjica, whose invention is the pride of São Paulo, is delicious food, however indigestible, due to the heat of the climate. It is not uncommon to hear in this province: - “If we had not been the first to discover the gold mines, we would have deserved much of the country, inventing the canjica and hammocks, which we first imitated from the Indians”.

Of the animal magnetism the simple inhabitants of this area still knew nothing, and listened with some incredulity to our narratives on this subject, because, according to them, it was a diabolical way of healing. If we had proposed the electrical treatment for

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