Therapeutics Of Turpentine


Oil of turpentine is very largely employed as an irritant or counter-irritant in various forms of chronic inflammation, such as osteo-arthritis, bronchitis, or pleurisy. The liniment forms a useful application. It may also be rubbed in over painful areas, as in neuralgia, myalgia, rheumatic pains, lumbago, etc. Sometimes it is used as a parasiticide for ringworm. Sanitas not official is an aqueous solution of common turpentine, which has been allowted to oxidize in the air. Its active antiseptic principle is hydrogen dioxide, and it contains a little thymol. It is a very pleasant disinfectant, but is not so strong as carbolic acid. Oil of turpentine is an excellent antiseptic for old suppurating wounds. Care must be taken that it does not blister the skin.


Stomach and intestines. - For internal use the rectified oil only should be prescribed. It is not often prescribed for its carminative and stomachic effects, though given either by the mouth or as an enema (1 to 15 fl. oz. of mucilage of starch) it is often very efficacious in removing the intestinal distension due to gas. If it is used as an anthelmintic, 1/2 to 4 fl. dr., 2. to 15. c.c., emulsified in mucilage and followed by a dose of castor oil, should be given. Sometimes it promptly relieves intestinal haemorrhage, such as that due to typhoid fever. It is also used in this disease as an antiseptic Whenever it is prescribed as a haemostatic, considerable doses, 30 to 60 minims 2. to 4. c.c. should be administered every hour for a few hours.

Circulation. - It is not employed to influence this, except as a haemostatic. It has the reputation of being fairly efficacious in arresting haemorrhage. It may be given in haemoptysis and other conditions attended with bleeding.

Respiration. - It is not much used as an inhalation, for the Vapor Olei Pini Sylvestris (q. v.,) is much pleasanter, but it might be employed to disinfect foul bronchial secretions, and to stimulate the mucous membrane in chronic bronchitis.

It should be remembered that oil of turpentine must be given internally with great care because of its liability to cause inflammation of the kidneys; indeed, this fact and its unpleasant taste account for its not being so often administered as would otherwise be the case. It should never be given to the subjects of Bright's disease.