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.
Emollients, or Protectives, are medicinal agents capable of relaxing soft tissues, allaying irritation, protecting sensitive surfaces, relieving pain in ulceration of mucous membrane. Included in this class are glycerin, collodion, solution of gutta percha, acacia, tragacanth, Irish moss, sassafras pith, flaxseed, slippery-elm bark, liquorice root, wax, in the form of cerate ointment, poultices of bread and milk, yeast and flaxseed, and charcoal and yeast with flaxseed, lard, etc., etc.
Escharotics are medicinal agents capable of producing an eschar or slough, and are included among Irritants. (See Irritants.)
Expectorants are medicinal agents capable of promoting the excretion of mucus and other fluids from the air passages and lungs. Included in this class are squill, ipecacuanha, benzoic acid, preparations of ammonia, tartar emetic, balsam of tolu, myrrh, nitrate of potash, seneca, wild cherry bark, lobelia, etc., etc. (See Blennorrhetics.)
Evacuants belong to the class of cathartics which promote alvine evacuations. (See Cathartics?)
Excitants belong to the class of stimulants which excite the vital powers, causing an increase of the circulation. (See Stimulants.)
Febrifuges are medicinal agents capable of diminishing the heat and allaying the thirst of fevers, and are generally recognized as Refrigerants. Included in this class are nitrate of potassa, chlorate of potassa, the mineral acids, spirits of nitrous ether, antipyrin, chinoline, salicin, etc., etc.
Germicides include all substances which destroy any form of microbe or disease germs, such as bacteria, which are inimical to life. Included in this class are bichloride of mercury, peroxide of hydrogen, iodoform, iodol, iodine, salicylic acid, eucalyptus, carbolic acid, chlorine, chloride of zinc, permanganate of potash, naphthol, etc.; also heat. All germicides are antiseptics, but all antiseptics are not germicides.
Hypersthenics belong to the class of stimulants. (See Stimulants.)
Hypnotics belong to the class of Narcotics, and are capable of causing sleep. (See Narcotics.)
Laxatives are mild cathartics. (See Cathartics.)
Nervines belong to the class of Neurotics, and are capable of relieving and curing disorders of the nerves. (See Neurotics.)
Nutritives are medicinal agents capable of quickening assimilation and building up the organic tissues. Included in this class are cod-liver oil, gum arabic, glycerin, milk, manna, etc., etc. Beef extracts are stimulants rather than nutritives for building up organic tissues.