This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
(a) The brownish or reddish colour produced by. alkalies in cyder impregnated with lead, is totally discharged by spirit of salt. M. S. of Dr. Lewis.
Ceruiffa ace-tat. Ph. Land.
Sal plumbi vulgo facch. faturni Ph.
Externally, this metal and its preparations are of sufficient safety and of great utility. The plaster, in general use for slight cutaneous injuries, and which makes the basis of several other plasters, is a solution of litharge in oil olive, in the proportion of five pounds of the litharge, fubtilely powdered, to eight pints † or ten pounds;‡ of the oil. The union is effected by the boiling them together over a gentle fire, with the addition of about a quart of water to prevent their burning, and keeping them continually stirring, till they incorporate and acquire a due consistence: if all the water should be con-sumed before this happens, some more water, previously made hot, is added. A red plaster is prepared in the same manner with minium instead of litharge, but. as it does not stick so well as the other, it is more rarely used: it is likewise more difficult of preparation, the corn-pound being very apt, though a considerable quantity of water be used, to burn and grow black in the boiling.
(a) Vide Hoffman, Philosophia corp. human. morbofi, P. II. cap. viii. §. 20. & seq. Hundert mark, Actaacad, cafareae nat. curios. vol. vii. Append, p. 96.
Tinct. fatur-nina vulgo antiphthisica Ph, Ed.
Empl. li-tharg. † Ph. Lond. commune ‡ Ph. Ed.
The ceruffe and sugar, particularly the latter, are cooling, drying, and astriclive: the sugar is used in collyria for inflammations and deflux-ions of the eyes, and in injections for restrain-ing simple gonorrhoeas; and both preparations in unguents and liniments, against cutaneous heats and excoriations, slight serpiginous eruptions, and for anointing the lips of wounds or ulcers that itch much or tend to inflammation. Compositions for these purposes are made in the shops, by mixing one part of ceruffe with five of the simple ointment made with oil and wax; by grinding two ounces of litharge, and adding, alternately and by little and little, two ounces of vinegar and six of oil†; or by boiling and stirring, over a gentle fire, four ounces of the common plaster, with one of vinegar, and two of oil where a thick unguent is required‡, or four of oil for a softer liniment ||: this last is a less troublesome method of uniting the litharge with the oil and vinegar, than trituration; and the composition proves likewise more smooth and uniform, and less liable to grow hard in keeping *(a). But the most elegant and effectual of all the saturnine unguents, are those made with the sugar; in the proportion of half an ounce† to a pint of oil and three ounces of white wax; or one part, to twenty parts of the simple oil and wax ointments‡*(b).
Ung. e ce-ruffa, vulgo album Ph.Ed,
† Ung, nu-tritum.
‡ Ung. tri-pharmacum
|| Lin. tri-pharmacum
* Mr. Goulard, a surgeon of Montpellier, has been the means of greatly extending for some years past the external use of lead. The basis of his preparations is what he calls the extract of lead, or a solution of litharge in strong vinegar, boiled down to almost a syrupy consistence. This, diluted in a large quantity of soft water, makes his vegeto-mineral water, which is employed as a lotion or fotus, or boiled with bread to make a cataplasm. The extract is likewise combined with unguentous matters into a variety of forms. These preparations have, in fact, been found of the greatest utility in various cases of inflammation, particularly of the eryfipelatous kind, and the con-sequences of burns and scalds. Their most liberal application has not, in the opinion of most practitioners, been observed to produce any of those affections of the nervous system, which characterize the poisonous effects of lead taken internally. At the same time, the abuse of saturnine applications, on the ground of those false and inconsistent ideas of their action which Mr. Goulard has supported, has not infrequently been attended with disagreeable consequences.
*(a) The ung. nutritum, made without heat, though now expunged from our dispensatories, is much the best of the above preparations, and a very excellent application in many cases. It should not be long kept, but made fresh as wanted.
*(b) These are by no means the efficacious preparations here represented. The oil and wax so cover the metallic salt, that its action is prevented; or, if it acts at all, it proves highly stimulating from the undissolved sate in which it is applied.
Ung. ceruff. acet. † Ph. Lond. - saturni. ‡ Ph. Ed.
* The London college have now given a preparation similar to Goulard's extract, directing two pounds and four ounces of litharge to be boiled in a gallon of distilled vinegar till reduced to six pints, continually stirring the liquor, and draining it after subsidence. They have like-wife given another, similar to Goulard's vegeto-mineral water, in which two drams of this preparation, with as much proof spirit, are mixed with a quart of distilled water.