Aether. Aether Sulphuricus. Sulphuric Ether (Pharm. Ed. Dub.). Oxide of Ethyl (C4H5O), with about 8 per cent. by volume of Alcohol. Prepared by distilling Rectified Spirit with Sulphuric Acid. Sp. Gr. 0.735.
Med. Prop. and Action. Diffusible stimulant, and anti-spasmodic. The vapour is powerfully anaesthetic. The application of its anaesthetic properties to surgery was first made in 1846 by Dr. Morton, of Boston (U. S.), and to him is due the honour of having introduced the practice of anAesthesia during surgical operations, - the greatest improvement in modern surgery. Mr. Robinson, the dentist, in London, was the first person who employed anaesthesia in England in any surgical operation; he extracted a tooth, the patient remaining during the whole time in a state of unconsciousness. It was readily adopted in many severe operations, and the journals of the day swarmed with details of "painless operations." Other substances were then tried in the same manner, inhalation; and Chloroform was discovered by Prof. Simpson, of Edinburgh, and was found to present manifold advantages over Ether. From the power which Ether possesses of dissolving Cholesie-rine, as well as on account of its antispasmodic properties, it has been lately recommended as an internal remedy in Jaundice depending on Biliary Calculi. As a remedy for Deafness, it has been proposed to introduce gutt. iv. - viij. of Ether into the meatus daily, but the results of this treatment in the hands of Dr. Triquet proved the futility of the practice.* In some instances it affords temporary relief, by acting as a solvent of accumulated cerumen in the meatus. Applied externally, it evaporates rapidly, producing great cold. If the vapour be confined, it acts as a rubefacient.
Offic. Prep. Spiritus Aetheris (see art. Aetheris Spiritus).
Dose of Ether, exx. - exl.
* See Ranking's Abstract, xxxii. p. 23, 1860.