Page images

113. Sir John Floyer remarks, that we want a method for the use of turpentine, and again, he who shall hit, faith he, on the pleasantest method of giving turpentine, will do great cures in the gout, ftone, catarrhs, dropsies and cold scurvies, rheu. matisms, ulcers, and obstructions of the glands. Lastly, he subjoins, that for the use of altering and amending the juices and fibres, it must be given frequently, and in such small quantities at a time, and in so commodious a manner, as will agree best with the stomach (a), stay longest in the body, and not purge itself off ; for large doses (faith he) go through too quick, and besides offend the head. Now the infusion of tar or turpentine in cold wa. ter seems to supply the very method that was wanted, as it leaves the more unctuous, and grofs parts behind (b), which might offend the stomach, intestines and head; and as it may be easily taken, and as often, and in such quantity, and such degree of strength, as fuits the case of the patient. Nor should it feem, that the fine spirit and volatile oil. obtained by infusion of tar (c) is inferior to that of turpentine, to which it fuperadds the virtue of wood foot, which is known to be very great with respect to the head and nerves ; and this ap. pears evident from the manner of obtaining tar d. And as the fine volatile parts of tar or turpentine are drawn off by infusion in cold water and easily conveyed throughout the whole system of the human bady; so it should feem the same method may be used with all sorts of balsams or resins whatsoever, as the readiest, easiest, and most inoffensive, as well as in many cases the most effectual way of obtaining and imparting their virtues.

(a) 9. (b) 47. (c) 7, 42, 58. (d) 13.

114. After .

114. After having faid so much of the uses of tar, I must farther add, that being rubb'd on them it is an excellent preservative of the teeth and gums; that it sweetens the breath, and that it clears and strengthens the voice. And, as its effects are various and useful, so there is nothing to be feared from the operation of an alterative so mild and friendly to nature. It was a wife maxim of certain ancient philosophers, that diseases ought not to be irritated by medicines. But no medicine disturbs the animal æconomy less than this (a), which, if I may trust my own experience, never produces any disorder in a patient when rightly taken.

115. I knew indeed a person who took a large glass of tar-water just before breakfast, which gave him an invincible nausea and disguft, although he had before received the greatest benefit from it. But if the tar water be taken and made in the manner prescribed at the beginning of this essay, it will, if I mistake not, have enough of the salt to be useful, and little enough of the oil to be inoffensive. I mean my own manner of making it, and not the · American ; that sometimes makes it too strong: and sometimes too weak; which tar-water, however it might serve as there used, merely for a preparative against the small-pox, yet I question whether it may be fitly used in all those various cases wherein I have found tar-water so successful. Perfons more delicate than ordinary may render it palatable, by mixing a drop of the chemical oil of nutmegs, or a spoonful of mountain wine in each glafs. It may not be amiss to observe, that I have known fome, whose nice stomachs could not bear it in the morning, take it at night going to bed without any inconvenience; and that with some ic agrecs best warm, with others cold. It may be (a) 1331


made stronger for brute beasts, as horses, in whose disorders I have found it very useful, I believe more so than that bituminous substance call'd Barbadoes tar..

116. In very dangerous and acute cases much may be taken and often ; as far as the stomach can bear. But in chronical cafes, about half a pint, night and morning, may suffice ; or in case so large a dose should prove disagreeable, half the quantity may be taken at four times, to wit, in the morning, at night going to bed, and about two hours after dinner and breakfast. A medicine of so great virtue in so many different disorders, and especially in that grand enemy, the fever, must needs be a benefit to mankind in general. There are nevertheless three sorts of people to whom I would peculiarly recommend it : Sea-faring persons, ladies, and men of studious and sedentary lives. :::

117. To sailors and all sea-faring perions, who are subject to fcorbutic disorders and putrid fevers, efpecially in long southern voyages, I am persuaded this tar-water would-be very beneficial. And this may deserve particular notice in the present course of marine expeditions, when so many of our country-men have perished by such distempers, contracted at sea and in foreign climates. Which, it is probable, might have been prevented, by the copious use of tar-water.

118. This fame water will also give charitable relief to the ladies (a), who often want it more than the parish poor ; being many of them never able to make a good meal, and fitting pale, puny, and forbidden like ghosts, at their own table, victims of vapours and indigestion.

119. Studious persons also pent up in narrow holes, breathing bad air, and stooping over their (a) 103


books, are much to be pitied. As they are debar: red the free use of air and exercise, this I will ven: ture to recommend as the best fuccedaneum to both: Though it were to be wished, that modern scholars would, like the ancients, meditate and converse more in walks and gardens and open air, which; upon the whole, would perhaps be no hindrance to their learning, and a great advantage to their health. My own sedentary course of life had long since thrown me into an ill habit, attended with ma: ny ailments, particularly a nervous cholic, which rendered my life a burthen, and the more so, because my pains were exasperated by exercise. But since the use of tar-water, I find, though not a perfect recovery from my old and rooted illness, yet such a gradual return of health and ease; that I esteem my having taken this medicine the greatest of all temporal blessings, and am convinced that: under providence, I owe my life to it.

120. In the distilling of turpentine and other balsams by a gentle heat, it hath been observed; that there riseth first an acid fpirit (n) that will mix with water ; which spirit, except the fire be very gentle, is loft. This grateful acid spirit that first comes over, is, as a learned chemist and physician informs us, highly refrigeratory, diuretic, sudorific, balsamic or preservative from putrefaction, excellent in nephritic cases, and for quenching thirst, all which virtues are contained in the cold infusion, which draws forth from tar only it's fine fower or quintessence, if I may so say, or the native vegetable fpirit, together with a litele volatile oil.

121. The distinguishing principle of all vegetables, that whereon their peculiar smell, taltez and specific properties depend, seems to be some

[blocks in formation]

extremely fine and fubtile spirit, whose immediate vehicle is an exceeding thin volatile oil, which is itself detained in a grosser and more viscid re. sin or balsam, lodged in proper cells in the bark and feeds, and most abounding in autumn or winter, after the crude juices have been thoroughly concocted, ripened, and impregnated with solar light. The spirit itself is by some supposed to be an oil highly subtilized, so as to mix with water. But such volatile oil is not the spirit, but only it's vehicle. Since aromatic oils, being long exposed to air, will lose their specific smell and taste, which fly off with the spirit or vegetable falt, without any sensible diminution of the oil.

122. Those volatile falts, that are set free and raised by a gentle heat, may justly be supposed essential (a), and to have pre-existed in the vegetable; whereas the lixivial fixed salts obtained by the incineration of the subject, whose natural conftituent parts have been altered or destroyed by the extreme force of fire, are by later chemists, upon very good grounds, fupposed not to have pre-exifted therein ; all such salts appearing, from the experiments of signor Redi, not to preserve the virtues of the respective vegetable subjects ; and to be alike purgative and in an equal degree, whatsoever may be the shape of their points, whether sharp or obtuse. But although fixed or lixivious salts may not contain the original properties of the subject; yet volatile falts raised by a slight heat from vegetables are allowed to preserve their native virtues: and such salts are readily imbibed by water.

123. The most volatile of the falts, and the most attenuated part of the oil, may be supposed

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »