This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Wine: the fermented juice of the grape. It differs in colour, flavour, and strength, partly from differences in the grape itself, but chiefly from different managements or additions. Five sorts are employed in the shops as menstrua for medicinal substances: Vinum album, Mountain: Vinum album, gallicum, French white wine: Vinum canarinum, Canary or sack: Vinum rhe-nanum, Rhenish: Vinum rubrum, Red Port.
All wines consist of an inflammable spirit, and water, separable by distillation; an unctuous viscid substance, which abounds particularly in the sweet wines, as Canary, and impedes their dissolving power; and an acid, obvious in some to the taste, as in Rhenish, which hence becomes an useful menstruum for some bodies of the metallic kind, particularly iron and the antimonial regulus. In distillation, after the inflammable spirit has arisen, they all yield more or less of a peculiar grateful acid; a grosser tartareous acid remaining in the still, along with the unctuous and mucilaginous matter. In long keeping, a part of the tartar is thrown off from the wine, and incrustates the sides of the cask.
Media sub-stantia vini Beccheri.
Wine, considered as a medicine, is a valuable cordial in languors and debilities; more grateful and reviving than the common aromatic infusions and distilled waters, particularly useful in the low flage of malignant or other fevers, for raising the pulse and supporting the vis vitae, promoting a diaphorcsis, and refilling putrefaction. Dietetically, its moderate use is of service to the aged, the weak, and the re-laxed, and to those who are exposed to warm and moid, or to corrupted air: in the op-posite circumstances, it is less proper, or prejudicial. Externally, it is used as a corroborant, antiseptic, and antiphlogistic fomentation.
The acid obtained from wine by distillation, apparently of a different nature from the acetous as well as from the native vegetable acids, seems to deserve some regard, both as a medicine, and as a more elegant menstruum, for iron and some other bodies, than the common acids.
With regard to the medical differences of wines, it may be observed, that the effects of the full-bodied are much more durable than those of the thinner: that all sweet wines are in some degree nutritious; the others not at all, or only accidentally so, by promoting appetite and strengthening the organs concerned in diges-tion: that sweet wines in general do not pass freely by urine, and that they heat the constitu-tion more than an equal quantity of any other, though containing full as much spirit: that those which are manifestly acid pass freely by the kidneys, and gently loosen the belly; and that most of the red ones are subastringent, and tend to restrain immoderate excretions.