This section is from the book "The Lady's Assistant: Family Physician", by P. Davey and B. Law.
These are medicines wherein aloes is the chief ingredient, and are attended with the faculty of gently opening the body; as also of strengthening the stomach, and intestine , when they are weakened by purges. They are proper for persons of a weak digestion, when recovering from a disease, to correct and evacuate crude juices, and when there are acid crudities in the stomach, which is the case of hypochondriacs. They are likewise proper for child-bed women, and when there is an obstruc-tion of the monthly courses.
When aloes is not properly corrected, or is given in too large a dose, it raises commotions in the blood, promotes haemorrhages, or bleeding, causes too great a flux of the menses, and brings on the piles.
Analeptics are such things as revive the spirits, and restore decayed strength They have generally the name of Cordials. They act from a sweet, fragrant, subtile, oleous principle, which immediately affects the nerves, and gives a kind of friendly motion to the nervous fluid. The nerves lie no where more bare than in the nose, which accounts for the effects of smells in fainting fits. In diseases, the speediest way to restore the strength, is by taking away the causes. Besides, this is not to be done merely by the force of medicines which put the spirits in motion, and spur the solids; for in convulsions and fevers, the motions are strong, and yet the natural strength is languid. Whence we may conclude, that true strength depends upon congruous aliment, turned into laudable blood and juices, yielding plenty of animal spirits, which give vigour and firmness to the body.
Anodynes are such medicines as ease pain, and procure sleep. They are chiefly of the poppy-kind, of which opium is the inspissated juice; as also saffron. Narcotics are anodynes, by stupifying the senses; whence they are not friendly to nature, but often bring on a deadly sleep, or throw the patient into madness. These pernicious drugs are cheifly henbane, strammony, datura, and deadly nightshade. Paregorics consist of soft, sulphureous, mucous parts, which, by their contact, relax the hard tense fibres, which are contracted by spasms, involving and blunting the points of the irritating particles; and are therefore of great use in pains, painful tumours, sharp defluxions, in the form of a cataplasm, ointment, or plaster; such as saffron, camomile-flowers, melilot-flowers, white-lilies, elder-flowers, mallow-flowers, poppies, milk, cream, the yolk of an egg, elder-ointment, the saponaceous liniment, and several other shop-medicines.