Page images
PDF
EPUB

child which could not be brought to drink tar-water as the rest had done.

3. Several were preserved from taking the smallpox by the use of this liquor: others had it in the mildelt manner, and others that they might be able to take the infection, were obliged to intermit drinking the tar-water. I have found it may be drunk with great safety and succefs for any length of time, and this not only before, but also during the distemper. The general rule for taking it is, about half a pint night and morning on an empty ftomach, which quantity may be varied, according to the cafe and age of the patient, provided it be always taken on an empty stomach, and about two hours before or after a meal

4. It seemed probable, that a medicine of such efficacy in a distemper attended with fo many pua rulenc ulcers, might be also ufeful in other foul. heffes of the blood; accordingly I tried it on several perfons infected with cutaneous eruptions and alcers, who were foon relieved, and soon after cum red. Encouraged by these successes I ventured to advise it in the foulest distempers, wherein it proved much more successful than falivations and wood-drinks had done. - 5. Having tried it in a great variety of cafes, I found it succeed beyond my hopes; in a tedious and painful ulceration of the bowels, in a consumpiive cough and (as appeared by expectorated pus) an ulcer in the lungs; in a pleurisy and perpineumony. And when a person, who for fome years had been fubject to erysipelatous fevers, perceived the usual ? fore-running symptoms to come on, I advised her to drink tar-water which prevented the erysipelas.

6. I never knew any thing so good for the stomach as tar-water; it cures indigestion and gives

a good

a good appetite. It is an excellent medicine in an asthma. It imparts a kindly warmth and quick circulation to the juices without heating, and is therefore useful, not only as a pectoral and balfamic, but also as a powerful and safe deobftruent in cachectic and hysteric cases. As it is both healing and diuretic, it is very good for the gravel. I believe it to be of great use in a dropsy, having known it cure a very bad anafarca in a person whose thirst, though very extraordinary, was in a fhort time removed by the drinking of tar-water.

7. The usefulness of this medicine in infiammatory cases is evident, from what has been already observed (a). And yet some perhaps may suspect that, as the tar itself is sulphureous, tar-water must be of a hot and inflaming nature. But it is to be noted, that all balsams contain and acid fpirit, which is in truth a volatile falt. Water is a menftruum that diffolves all sorts of falts, and draws them from their subjects. Tar, therefore, being a balsam, it's falutary acid is extracted by water, which yet is incapable of diffolving it's gross resinous parts, whose proper menftruum is spirit of wine. Therefore tar-water, not being impregnated with resin, may be safely used in inflammatory cases: and in fact it hath been found an admirable febrifuge, at once the safest cooler and cordial.

8. The volatile falts seperated by infusion from tar, may be supposed to contain it's specific virtues. Mr. Boyle and other later chemists are agreed, that fixed salts are much the same in all bodies. But it is well known that volatile salts do greatly differ, and the easier they are separated from the subject, the more do they possess of it's specific qualicies. Now the most easy feparation is by infusion of car in cold water, which to smell (a) Sect. 5.

ani

and tast fhewing it self well impregnated, may be presumed to extract and retain the most pure volatile and and active particles of that vegetable balsam.

9. Tar was by the ancients esteemed good against poisons, ulcers, the bites of venomous creatures, also for pthisical, scrophulous, paralytic and asthmacic persons. But the method of rendering it an inoffensive medicine and agreeable to the stomach, by extracting it's virtues in cold water, was unknown to them. The leaves and tender tops of pine and fir are in our times used for diet-drinks, and allowed to be antiscorbutic and diuretic. But the most elaborate juice, salt, and Spirit of those evergreens are to be found in tars whose virtues extend not to animals alone, but also to vegetables. Mr. Evelyn in his treatise on Forest trees observes with wonder, that stems of trees, smeared over with tar, are preserved thereby from being hurt by the invenomed teeth of goats and other injuries, while every other thing of an un

ctuous nature is highly prejudicial to them. • 10. It seems that tar and turpentine may be had more or less, from all sorts of pines and firs whatsoever; and that the native spirits and essential salts of those vegetables are the fame in turpentine and common tar. In effect this vulgar tar, which cheapness and plenty may have rendered contemptible, appears to be an excellent balsam, containing the virtues of most other balsams, which it easily imparts to water, and by that means readily and inoffensively insinuates them into the habit of the body.

11. The resinous exsudations of pines and firs are an important branch of the materia medica, and not only useful in the prescriptions of physicians, but have been also thought otherwise con

ducive to health. Pliny tells us, that wines in the time of the old Romans were medicated with pitch and refin; and Jonstonus in his Dendrographia observes, that it is wholesome to walk in groves of pine trees, which impregnate the air with balsamic particles. That all turpentines and resins are good for the lungs, against gravel also and obstructions, is no fecret. And that the medicinal properties of those drugs are found in tar-water, without heating the blood, or disordering the stomach, is confirmed by experience: and particularly that pthilical and afthmatic persons receive speedy and great relief from the use of it.

12. Balsams, as all unctuous and oily medicines, create a nauseating in the stomach. They cannot therefore be taken in substance, so much or so long, as to produce all thofe falutary effects, which, if thoroughly mixed with the blood and juices, they would be capable of producing. It must therefore be a thing of great benefit, to be able to introduce any requisite quantity of their volatile parts into the finest ducts and capillaries, so as not to offend the stomach, but, on the contrary, to comfort and strengthen it in a great degree,

13. According to Pliny, liquid pitch (as he calls it) or tar was obtained by setting fire to bilfets of old fat pines or firs. The first running was Iar, the latter or thicker running was pitch. Theophrastus is more particular: he tells us the Mace. donians made huge heaps of the cloven trunks of chose trees, wherein the billets were placed erect befide each other. That such heaps or piles of wood were fometimes a hundred and eighty cubits round, and fixty or even a hundred high: and that baving covered them with sods of earth to prevent the Aame from bursting forth (in which case the tar was loft) they set on fire chose huge

heads

heaps of pine or fir, letting the tar and pitch run out in a channel.

14. Pliny faith, it was customary for the anci- . ents, to hold fleeces of wool over the steam of boiling tar, and squeeze the moisture from them, which watery substance was called pissinum. Ray will have this to be the same with the pisfelæum of the ancients ; but Hardouin in his notes on Pliny, thinks the piffelæum to have been produced froin the cones of cedars. What use they made of these liquors anciently I know not : but it may be presumed they were used in medicine, though at present, for ought I can find, they are pot used at all.

15. From the manner of procuring car (6) it plainly appears to be a natural production, lodged in the vessels of the tree, whence it is only freed and let lore (not made) by burning. If we may believe Pliny, the first running or tar was called cedrium, and was of such efficacy to preserve from putrefaction, that in Egypt they embalmed dead bodies with it. And to this he ascribes their mummies continuing uncorrupted for so many ages.

16. Some modern writers inform us that tar flows from the trunks of pines and firs, when chey are very old, through incisions made in the bark near the root ; that pitch is tar inspissated ; and both are the oyl of the tree grown thick and black with age and sun. The trees, like old men, being unable to perfpire, and their secretory ducts obstructed, they are, as one may fay, choaked and stuffed with their own juice.

17. The method used by our colonies in Ame. rica, for making tar and pitch, is in effect the sanie with that of the ancient Macedonians; as appears from the account given in the Philosophical (a) Seet. 13.

« EelmineJätka »