Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

duct of culinary fire, will not think it incredible that virtues of mighty force and extent should be found in a fine acid soap (a), the salts and oil whereof are a moft elaborate product of nature and the solar light.

74. It is certain tar-water warms, and therefore some may perhaps still think it cannot cool. The more effectually to remove this prejudice, let it be farther considered, that, as on the one hand, opposite causes do sometimes produce the same effect, for instance, heat by rarefaction and cold by conden: sation do both increase the air's elasticity : so on the other hand, the fame cause shall sometime produce opposite effects: heat for instance thins, and again heat coagulates the blood. It is not therefore strange that tar-water should warm one habit, and cool another, have one good effect on a cold conftitution, and another good effect on an inflamed one ; nor, if this be so, that it should cure opposite disorders. All which justifies to reafon, what I have often found true in fact. The falts, the spirits, the heat of tar-water are of a temperature congenial to the constitution of a man, which receives from it a kindly warmth, but no inflaming heat. It was remarkable that two children in my neighbourhood, being in a course of tar-water, upon an intermission of it, never failed to have their issues inflamed by an humour much more hot and sharp than at other times. But it's great use in the small pox, pleurisies, and fevers, is a fufficient proof that tar-water is not of an inflaming nature.

75. I have dwelt the longer on this head, because . fome gentlemen of the faculty have thought fit to

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

declare that tår-water must enflame, and that they would never visit any patient in a fever, who had been a drinker of it. But I will venture to affirm, that it is so far from increasing a feverith infiammation, that it is on the contrary a most ready means to allay and extinguish it. It is of admirable use in fevers, being at the same time the sureft, fafest and most effectual both paregoric and cordial; for che truth of which, I appeal to any person's experience, who shall take a large draught of it milk warın in the paroxysm of a fever, even when plain water or herb teas shall be found to have little or no effect. To me it seems that it's singular and surprizing use in fevers of all kinds, were there nothing else, would be alone sufficient to recommend it to the public.

76. The best physicians make the idea of a fe.. ver to consist in a too great velocity of the heart's motion, and too great resistance at the capillaries.

Tar-water, as it softens and gently stimulates those nice vessels, helps to propel their contents, and so contributes to remove the latter part of the disorder. And for the former, the irritating acrimony which accelerates the motion of the heart is diluted by watery, corrected by acid, and softened by balsamic remedies, all which intentions are answer-, ed by this aqueous acid balsamic medicine. Besides the viscid juices coagulated by the febrile heat are resolved by car-water as a soap, and not too far resolved, as it is a gentle acid soap ; to which we may add, that the peccant humours and salts are carried off by it's diaphoretic and diuretic qualities.

77. I found all this confirmed by my own experience in the late sickly season of the year one thoufand seven hundred and forty one, having had

twenty

yered health and this comformarkable, that

twenty-five fevers in my own family cured by this medicinal water, drunk copiously. The same method was practised on several of my poor neighbours with equal success. It suddenly calmed the feverish anxiecies, and seemed every glass to refresh, and infuse life and spirit into the patient. At first some of those patients had been vomited ; but afterwards I found that without vomiting, bleeding, blistering, or any other evacuation or medicine whatever, very bad fevers could be cured by the sole drinking of tar-water milk warm, and in good quantity, perhaps a large glass every hour taken in bed. And it was renarkable, that such as were cured by this comfortable cordial, recovered health and spirits at once, while those who had been cured by evacuations often languished long, even after the fever had left them, before they could recover of their medicines and regain their strength.

78. In peripneumonies and pleurisies I have observed tar-water to be excellent, having known some pleuritic persons cured without bleeding, by a blister early applied to the stitch, and the copi. ous drinking of tar-water, four or five quarts, or even more in four and twenty hours. And I do recommend it to farther trial, whether in all cases of a pleurisy, one moderate bleeding, a blister on the spot, and plenty of tepid tar-water may not fuffice, without those repeated and immoderate bleedings, the bad effects of which are perhaps never got over. I do even fufpect, that a pleuritic patient betaking himself to bed betimes, and drinking very copiously of tar-water, may be cured by that alone without bleeding, blistering, or any other. medicine whatever : certainly I have found this suc- ! ceed at a glass every half hour.

79. I have known a bloody Aux of long conti. nuance, after divers medicines had been tried in vain, cured by tar-water. But that which I take to be the most speedy and effectual remedy in a bloody Aux, is a clyster of an ounce of common brown rosin dissolved over a fire in two ounces of oil, and added to a pint of broth, which not long since I had frequent occasion of trying, when chat distemper was epidemical. Nor can I say that any to whom I advised it miscarried. This experiment I was led to make by the opinion I had of tar as a balsamic: and rosin is only tar infpiffated.

80. Nothing that I know corroborates the stomach so much as tar-water (a). Whence it fol. lows, that it must be of singular use to persons afficted with the gout. And from what I have observed in five or fix instances, I do verily believe it the best and safest medicine either to prevent the gout, or so to strengthen nature against the fit, as to drive it from the vitals ; or, at other times to change a worse illness into the gout, and to get rid of it ; Doctor Sydenham, in his creatise of the gout, declares that whoever finds a medicine the most efficacious for strengthening digestion, will do more service in the cure of that and other chronical distempers, than he can even form a notion of. And I leave it to trial, whether tar-water be not that medicine, as I myself am persuaded it is, by all the experiments I could make. But in all trials I would recommend discrecion ; for instance, a man with the gout in his stomach ought not to drink cold car-water. This essay leaves room for future experiment in every part of it, not pretending to be a complete treatise. . 81. It is evident to sense, that blood, urine, and other animal juices, being let to stand, foon

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

contract

contract a great acrimony. Juices, therefore, from
a bad digestion recained and stagnating in the
body, grow sharp and putrid. Hence a ferment-
ing heat, the immediate cause of the gout. The
curing this by cooling medicines, as they would
increase the antecedent' cause, must be a vain at-
tempt. On the other hand, spices and spirituous
liquors, while they contribute to remove the ante-
cedent cause, or bad digestion, would by inflam-
ing the blood increase the proximate or immedi-
ate cause of the gout, to wit, the fermenting heat.
The scope therefore must be, to find a medicine
that shall corroborate, but not inflame. Bitter herbs
are recommended; but they are weak in comparison
of tar-water.

82. The great force of tar-water, to correct the acrimony of the blood, appears in nothing more than in the cure of a gangrene, from an internal cause; which was performed on a servant of my own, by prefcribing the copious and constant use of tar-water for a few weeks. From my representing tar-water as good for so many things, some perhaps may conclude it is good for nothing. But charity obligeth me to say what I know, and what I think, howsoever it may be taken. Men may censure and object as they please, but I appeal to time and experiment. Effects misimputed, cases wrong told, circumstances overlooked, perhaps too, prejudices and partialities against truth, may for a time prevail and keep her at the bottom of her well, from whence nevertheless she emergech sooner or later, and strikes the eyes of all who do not keep them Thur.'

83. Boerhaave thinks a specific may be found, for that peculiar venom, which infects the blood in the small pox, and that the prospect of so greac a public benefit should stir up men to search for it. I

« EelmineJätka »