Page images
PDF
EPUB

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

3. Several were preferved from taking the fmallpox by the ufe of this liquor: others had it in the mildeit manner, and others that they might be able to take the infection, were obliged to intermic drinking the tar-water. I have found it may be drunk with great fafety and fuccefs for any length of time, and this not only before, but alfo during the diftemper. 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 ftomach, and about two hours before or after a meal

4. It feemed probable, that a medicine of fuch efficacy in a diftemper attended with fo many purulent ulcers, might be alfo ufeful in other foulnefles of the blood; accordingly I tried it on feveral perfojis infected with cutaneous eruptions and ulcers, who were foon relieved, and foon after cured. Encouraged by thefe fuccefles I ventured to advife it in the fouleft diftempers, wherein it proved much more fuccefsful than falivations and wood-drinks had done.

5. Having tried it in a great variety of cafes, I found it fucceed beyond my hopes; in a tedious and painful ulceration of the bowels, in a confumprive cough and (as appeared by expectorated pus) an ulcer in the lungs; in a pleurify and perpineumony. And when a pcrfon, who tor fome years had been fubject to eryfipelatous fevers, perceived the ufual fore-running fymptoms to come on, I advifed her to drink tar-water which prevented the eryfipelas.

6. I never knew any thing fo good for the ftojmach as tar-water: it cures indigeflion and gives

'a good

a good appetite. It is an excellent medicine in an afthma. It imparts a kindly warmth and quick circulation to the juices without heating, and is therefore ufeful, not only as a pectoral and balfamic, but alfo as a powerful and fafe deobftruent in cachectic and hyfteric cafes. As it is both healing and diuretic, it is very good for the gravel. 1 believe it to be of great ufe in a dropfy, having known it cure a very bad anafarca in a perfon whofe thirft, though very extraordinary, was in a Ihort time removed by the drinking of tar-water.

7. The ufefulnefs of this medicine in inflammatory cafes is evident, from what has been already obferved (a). And yet fome perhaps may fufpect that, as the tar itfelf is fulphureous, tar-water muft be of a hot and inflaming nature. But it is to be noted, that all balfams contain and acid fpirit, which is in truth a volatile falt. Water is a menftruum that diflblves all forts of faks, and draws them from their fubjects. Tar, therefore, being a balfam, it's falutary acid is extracted by water, which yet is incapable of difiblving it's grofs refinous parts, whofe proper menftruum is fpirit of wine. Therefore tar-water, not being impregnated with refin, may be fafely ufed in inflammatory cafes: and in fact it hath been found an admirable febrifuge, at once the fafeft cooler and cordial.

8. The volatile falts feperated by infufion from tar, may be fuppofed to contain it's fpecific virtues. Mr. Boyle and other later chemifts are agreed, that fixed falts are much the fame in all bodies. But it is well known that volatile falts do greatly differ, and the eafier they are feparated from the fubject, the more do they pofiefs of it's fpecific qualities. Now the moft eafy feparation is by infufion of tar in cold water, which to fmell

(a) Sea. 5.

and and taft fhewing it felt well impregnated, may be prefumed to extract and retain the mof t pure volatile and and active particles of that vegetable balfam.

9. Tar was by the ancients efteemed good againft poifons, ulcers, the bites of venomous creatures, alfo (or pthifical, fcrophulous, paralytic and afthmatic peribns. But the method of rendering it an inoffenfive medicine and agreeable to the itomach, 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 ufed for diet-drinks, and allowed to be antifcorbutic and diuretic. But the moft elaborate juice, falt, and fpirit of thofe evergreens are to be found in tar; whofe virtues extend not to animals alone, but alfo to vegetables. Mr. Evelyn in his treatile on Forelt trees obferves with wonder, that ftems of trees, fmeared over with tar, are preferved thereby from being hurt by the invenomed teeth of goats and other injuries, while every other thing of an unctuous nature is highly prejudicial to them.

10. It feems that tar and turpentine may be had more or h-fs, from all forts of pines and firs whatfoever; and that the native fpirits and eflential falts of thole vegetables are the fame in turpentine nnd common tar. In effect this vulgar tar, which rheapnefs and plenty may have rendered contemptible, appears to be an excellent balfam, containing the virtues of moft other balfams, which it cafily imparts to water, and by that means readily and inoflfenfively infinuates them into the habit of the body.

11. The refinous exfudations of pines and firs are an important branch of the rnateria medica, and not only ufeful in the prefcriptions of phyficians, but have been alfo thought otherwife con

.

ducive to health. Pliny tells us, that wines in the rime of the old Romans were medicated wirh pitch and refin; and Jonftonus in his Dendrographia obferves, that it is wholefome to walk in groves of pine trees, which impregnate the air with balfamic particles. That all turpentines and refins are good for the lungs, againft gravel alfo and obftiuclions, is no fecret. And that the medicinal properties of thofe drugs are found in tar-water, without heating the blood, or diIordering the ftomach, is confirmed by experience: and particularly that pthifical and afthmatic perfons receive fpeedy and great relief from the ufe of it.

12. Bulfams, as all unftuous and oily medicines, create a naufeating in the ftomach. They cannot therefore be taken in fubftance, fo much or fo long, as to produce all thofe falutary effects, which, if thoroughly mixed with the blood and juices, they would be capable of producing. It muft therefore be a thing of great benefit, to be able to introduce any requifue quantity of their volatile parts into the fineft duds and capillaries, fo as not to offend the Itomach, but, on the contrary, to comfort and ftrengthen it in a great degree.

13. According to Pliny, liquid pitch (as he calls it) or tar was obtained by letting fire to billets of old fat pines or hrs. The firlt running was tar, the latter or thicker running was pitch. Theophraftus is more particular: he tells us the Macedonians made huge heaps of the cloven trunks of thofe trees, wherein the billets were placed erect befide each other. That fuch heaps or piles of wood were fometimes a hundred and eighty cubits round, and fixty or even a hundred high: and that having covered them with fods of earth to prevent the flame from burfting forth (in which cafe the tar was loft) they fet on fire thofe huge

heaps

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

14. Pliny faith, it was cuftomary for the ancients, to hold fleeces 'of wool over the fteam of boiling tar, and fqueeze the moifture from them, which watery fubftance was called piffinum. Ray

. will have this to be the fame with the piflelsEum of the ancients ; but Hardouin in his notes on Pliny, thinks the piflelseum to have been produced from the cones of cedars. What ufe they made of thefe liquors anciently I know not: but it may be prefumed they were ufed in medicine, though at prefent, for ought I can find, they are not ufed at all.

15. From the manner of procuring tar (a) it plainly appears to be a natural production, lodged in the veflels of the tree, whence it is only freed and let loofe (not made) by burning. If we may believe Pliny, the firft running or tar was called cedrium, and was of fuch efficacy to preferve from putrefaction, that in Egypt they embalmed dead bodies with it. And to this he afcribes their mumin ies continuing uncorrupted for fo many ages.

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

17. The method ufed by our colonies in America, for making tar and pitch, is in effect the lame with that of the ancient Macedonians; as appears from the account given in the Philofophical

(a) Scit. 13.

B Tranf

« EelmineJätka »