This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
Aromatic bitters differ from simple bitters in the aromatic constituents they contain. They possess tonic properties and invigorate digestion and promote constructive metamorphosis. They are employed in the same cases as simple bitters, but appear to possess some specific properties due to the aromatic constituents. Included in this class are sepentaria, prunus virginiana, canella, anthemis, etc.
Carminatives are medicinal agents capable of dispelling flatulence, and allaying pain in the stomach and bowels. Included in this class are such agents as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, lavender, juniper, ginger, caraway, peppermint, etc.
Caustics are medicinal substances capable of destroying vitalized tissue. (See Irritants.)
Counter-irritants are medical agents which are employed to produce external irritation for the purpose of relieving or curing diseased action in another part, as in periodontitis, for example, when such agents as iodine, cantharidical collodion, creasote and iodine, aconite and iodine, ammonia, etc., etc., are applied to the gum over the root of the affected tooth. (See Irritants.)
Desiccatives are medicinal agents capable of checking secretions and arresting mucous discharges from ulcers, wounds, etc. (See Absorbents.)
Detergents are medicinal agents capable of cleansing ulcers, suppurating wounds, etc., by acting as either stimulants or emollients. Included in this class are such agents as borax, burnt alum, slippery-elm bark, acacia, flaxseed, tragacanth, etc.
Deodorizers are medicinal agents capable of destroying infections and fetid odors. Included in this class are carbolic acid, salicylic acid, creasote, chloride of lime, charcoal, permanganate of potash, thymol, chloride of zinc, solution of chloride of soda, oil of eucalyptus, iodoform, menthol, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulphuric acid, etc., etc. (See Antiseptics.)
Diluents are medicinal agents capable of diluting the blood and thus increasing its fluidity; at the same time exercising a solvent action and eliminating a portion of the solid constituents. Included in this class are such agents as water, aerated water, mineral waters, rice water, beef tea, whey, barley water, gruel, etc., etc.
Discutients are medicinal agents capable of reducing and depressing morbid growths, swellings, etc. Included in this class are iodine, mercury, bromide of potassium, iodide of potassium, chlorate of potassium, arsenic, colchicum, etc., etc.
Disinfectants are medicinal agents capable of depriving effluvia of their morbific properties by chemically combining with them. Included in this class are such agents as chlorine, carbolic acid, carbolate of lime, chloride of lime, salicylic acid, solution of chlorinated soda, charcoal, creasote, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and chloride of zinc. (See Antiseptics and Deodorizers.)