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.
Diuretics are medicinal substances which act upon the kidneys, and produce an increased flow of urine.
Remedies of this class act immediately and specially upon the kidneys, some reaching these organs by first passing through the blood, without being decomposed, while others, on the contrary, undergo changes in the first passages, the result of such changes exciting diuresis. The principal use of diuretics is to promote the absorption of dropsical effusions. They are also employed to correct nephritic disorders, accompanied with obstructed secretion in calculi of the kidneys, ureters and bladder, and, as evacuants, to reduce inflammation.
Where there is great arterial excitement, a judicious use of a lancet is recommended, prior to the administration of diuretics, the patient being kept cool, to avoid perspiration.
To insure the full effect of diuretics, diluent drinks should be freely given, and especially such as contain some diuretic substance. Included in the class of diuretics are such agents as squill, nitre, cubebs, juniper, colchicum, erigeron, cream of tartar, copaiba, podophyllum, etc., etc.