Page images
PDF
EPUB

pass che lacteals and other finer vessels, nor yet, perhaps, readily impart chose virtues to a menItruum, that may with safety and speed convey them throughout the human body. Upon all which accounts, I believe tar-water will be found to have singular advantages. It is observed that acid spirits prove the stronger, by how much the greåter degree of heat is required to raise them. And indeed, there teemeth to be no acid more gentle than this, obtained by the simple affusion of cold water ; which carries off from the subject the most light and subtile parts, and, if one may so speak, the very flower of it's specific qualities. And here it is to be noted, that the volatile falo and spirit of vegetables do, by gently stimulating the solids, attenuate the fluids contained in them, and promote Tecretions, and that they are penetrating and active, contrary to the general nature of other acids.

51. It is a great maxim for health, that the juices of the body be kept Auid in a due proportion. Therefore, the acid volatile spirit in tarwater, at once attenuacing and cooling in a moderate degree, mult greatly conduce to health, as a mild falutary deobiiruent, quickening the circulation of the fluids without wounding the solids, thereby gently removing or preventing thole obstructions, which are the great and general cause of most chronical diseases ; in this manner answering to the antihyfterics, aisa foetida, galbanum, myrth, amber, and, in general, to all the resins and gums of trees or Mrubs useful in nervous çales.

52. Warm water is it self a deobstruent. There. fore the infusion of tar drunk warm, is easier insi. nuated into all the nice capillary vessels, and acts, not only by virtue of the balam, but also by thaç

of

[ocr errors]

of the vehicle. It's taste, it's diuretic quality, it's being so great a cordial, shew the activity of this medicine. And at the same time that it quickens the fuggish blood of the hysterical, it's balsamic oily nature abates the too rapid motion of the sharp thin blood in those who are hectic. There is a lentour and smoothness in the blood of healthy strong people ; on the contrary, there is often an acrimony and solution in that of weakly morbid persons. The fine particles of tar are not only warm and active, they are also balsamic and emol. lient, softening and enriching the sharp and vapid blood, and healing the erosions occasioned thereby in the blood vessels and glands.

53. Tar-water poffesfeth the stomachic and cardiac qualities of Elixir proprietatis, Stoughton's drops, and many such tinctures and extracts, with this difference, that it worketh it's effect more safely, as it hath nothing of that spirit of wine, which, however mixed and disguised, may yet be well accounced a poison in some degree.

54. Such medicines are supposed to be diaphoretic, which, being of an active and subtile nature, pass through the whole system, and work their effect in the finest capillaries and perspiratory ducts which they gently cleanse and open. Tarwater is extremely well fitted to work by such an insensible diaphoresis, by the fineness and activity of it's acid volatile spirit. And surely those parts ought to be very fine, which can scour the perspiratory ducts, under the scarf skin or cuticle, if it be true that one grain of sand would cover the mouths of more than a hundred chousand.

55. Another way wherein tar-water operates, is by urine, than which perhaps none is more fafe and effectual, for cleansing the blood and carrying

3

off it's falts. But it seems to produce it's princi. pal effect as an alterative, sure and easy, much safer than those vehement purgative, emetic, and salivating medicines, which do violence to nature.

56. An obstruction of some vessels causeth the blood to move more swiftly in other vessels, which are not obstructed. Hence manifold disorders. A liquor that dilutes and attenuates resolves the concretions which obstruct. Tar-Water is such a liquor. It may be said, indeed, of common water, that it attenuates, also of mercurial preparations that they attenuate. But it should be considered that mere water only diftends the vessels and thereby weakens their tone ; and that Mercury by it's great momentum may justly be suspected of hurting the fine capillaries, which two deobftruents therefore might easily overact their parts, and (by lessening the force of the elastic vessels) remotely produce those concretions they are intended to remove.

57. Weak and rigid fibres are looked on by the most able physicians, as sources of two different classes of distempers: a Nuggish motion of the liquids occasions weak fibres: therefore tar-water is good to strengthen them as it gently accelerates their contents. On the other hand, being an unEtuous bland Auid it moistens and fostens the dry and stiff fibres: and so proves a remedy for both extremes.

58. Common soaps are compositions of lixivial salt and oil. The corrosive acrimony of the saline particles being softened by the mixture of an unctuous substance they insinuate themselves into the small ducts with less difficulty and danger. The combination of these different substances makes up a very subrile and active medicine, ficted for mixing with all humours, and resolving

D 2

al]

all obstructions. Soap therefore is justly esteemed a most efficacious medicine in many distempers. Alcaline Soap is allowed to be cleansing, attenuating, opening, resolving, sweetening; it is pectoral, vulnerary, diuretic, and hath other good qualities which are also to be found in tar-water. It is granted, that oil and acid salts combined together exist in vegetables, and that consequently there are acid soaps as well as alcaline. And the saponaceous nature of the acid vegetable spirits, is what renders them so diuretic; sudorific, penetrating, abstersive and resolving. Such, for instance, is the acid spirit of Guaiacum. And all these fame virtues seem to be in tar-water in a mild and falutary degree.

59. It is the general opinion that all acids coagulate the blood. Boerhaave excepts vinegar, which he holds to be a soap, inasmuch as it is found to contain an oil as well as an acid spirit. Hence it is both uncluous and penetrating, a powerful antiphlogistic, and preservative against corruption and infection. Now it seems evident that tar-water is a soap as well as vinegar. For though it be the character of resin, which is an inspiffated gross oil, not to dissolve in water (a), yet the salts attract some fine particles of essential oil: which fine oil serves as a vehicle for the acid salts, and shews itself in the colour of the tar-water ; for all pure falts are colourless. And though the resin will not diffolve in water, yet the subrile oil, in which the vegetable salts are lodged, may as well mix with water as vinegar doch, which contains both oil and salt. And as the oil in tar-water discovers itself to the eye, so the acid falls do manifelt

(a) Scct. 47.

themselves

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

themselves to the taste. Tar-water therefore is a soap, and as such hath the medicinal qualities of soaps.

60. It operates more gently as the acid falls Jose their acrimony being heathed in oil, and thereby approaching the nature of neutral falts, are more benign and friendly to the animal system : and more effectually, as, by the help of a volatile smooth insinuating oil, those fame falts are more easily introduced into the capillary ducts. Therefore in fevers and epidemical distempers it is (and I have found it fo) as well as in chronic cal diseases, a moft safe and efficacious medicine, being good against too great Auidity as a balsamic, and good against viscidity as a soap. There is something in the fiery corrosive nature of lixi. vial sales, which makes alcaline soap a dangerous remedy in all cases where an inflammation is apprehended. And as inflammations are often occasioned by obstructions, it should seem an acid soap was much the safer deobstruent.

61. Even the best turpentines, however famous for their vulnerary and detergent qualities, have yet been observed by their warmth to dispose to inflammatory tunjours. But the acid fpirit(a) being.' in so great proportion in tar-water renders it a cooler and safer medicine. And the ætherial oil of turpentine, though an admirable drier, healer, and anodyne, when outwardly applied to wounds and ulcers, and not less useful in cleansing the urinary passages and healing their ulcerations, yet is known to be of a nature so very relaxing as sometimes to do much mischief. Tar-water is not attended with the same ill effects, which I believe are owing in a great measure to the ætherial oil's being deprived

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(a) Sect. 7, 8.

« EelmineJätka »