This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
Nothing that appertains to domestic treatment is of greater value than a knowledge of poisons, and the treatment necessary in cases of accidental or premeditated poisoning. So many substances of a poisonous nature are used in manufactures among farmers, mechanics, and also in private houses, it will be useful to have a guide to refer to in case of accident, for in almost every case of poisoning the antidote must be instantly given or else success cannot be expected. In all cases, unless the physician is within immediate call, no time is allowed to engage his services; hence the great importance of every one supplying himself with the requisite knowledge to treat any or all cases of poisoning.
Precaution with regard to poisons is very necessary. In every family, manufactory, etc., where poisons are required and used, the antidotes should also be kept for use whenever occasion calls for them. Again, when poisons are used for any purpose, it is not enough to know that they are poisonous, but it should also be known of what they are composed. For instance, corrosive sublimate may be used, and by accident a poisonous dose may be taken of it; but, unless known that it is a preparation of mercury, the treatment must necessarily be of a vague and uncertain character.
As a general rule, in all cases of poisoning, especially if seen immediately after the poison has been swallowed, the indication is to make the person vomit. To bring this about give a teaspoonful of mustard in a tumbler of water, or two or three teaspoonfuls of powdered alum in the same way. Vomiting can in all cases be promoted by tickling the throat with a feather.