Absolute Alcohol. Hydrate of Oxide of EthyL C4 H5 O,HO. Sp. Gr. 0.795. Spiritus Rectificatus. Rectified Spirit. Sp. Gr. 0.838. Spiritus Tenuior. Proof Spirit. Sp. Gr. 0.920. Spiritus Vini Gallici. Spirit of French "Wine. Brandy.
These are the products of the distillation and subsequent rectification of all liquids which have undergone vinous fermentation. Absolute Alcohol is only employed in chemical processes. Spirit known by peculiar designations, and of varying degrees of purity, is manufactured in many parts of the world, from a great variety of substances. Thus, in the South of Europe, it is obtained from the juice of the grape, in the form of Brandy; in the East and West Indies, from sugar, in that of Rum; in Scotland and Ireland, from barley, oats, and other grain, in that of Whiskey; in India, from the juice of the palm-tree, in that of Arrack; and, in China, from rice, in that of Shum-shoo.
* Ind. Ann. of Med. Sci. ii. p. 223.
Med. Prop. and Action. All these articles are powerful diffusible stimulants, increasing the action of the heart and arteries, occasioning a rapid now of ideas and images, usually of a pleasant description, exciting the nervous and vascular systems, and producing a general exhilaration. This is succeeded by a state of depression, varying in intensity in proportion to the previous amount of excitement. In Pharmacy, Spirit is of great value as a solvent of numerous substances. For obtaining a vapour bath, burning spirit is highly convenient. Dr. Nevins advises the following method: - The patient, undressed, should sit upon a chair, and have one or two blankets folded round him, so as to be close about the neck, and to come down to the ground all round; the chair seat should be a close one, and not an open cane one. Fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij. of Spirit should be put into a cup, upon the ground, under the chair, and then set on fire; it burns slowly, and produces so much heat as to cause copious perspiration, which may be prolonged, if necessary, by burning an additional quantity of Spirit. Externally, it is useful as a stimulating embrocation or evaporating lotion. (For the general consideration of the internal use of Alcoholic Stimuli in the treatment of disease see Stimulants, part ii.)
In superficial Inflammations, in acute Cerebral diseases, in Injuries, Contusions, Bruises, and Sprains, attended with much heat and pain, but without Abrasions, Spirit, diluted with 6 or 8 parts of water, and applied to the surface on a thin piece of lint, acts as an excellent evaporating and refrigerant lotion.
Scudamore states that he has employed, with the best success, a lotion composed of 1 part of Alcohol, and 3 of Camphor mixture, rendered lukewarm by the addition of a small portion of boiling water, and applied by means of linen rags.
65. In Retention of Urine, from Paralysis of the Bladder, bathing the hypogastric region with Spirit, and allowing it to evaporate, is occasionally useful.
In exhaustion from hmorrhage, brandy given internally, diluted, is of the greatest value.
67. In Typhus, and Fevers of a Typhoid character, the following stimulant mixture has been found of the greatest service: - Take Brandy fl. oz. iv., Cinnamon Water fl. oz. iv., Yolks of two Eggs, Sugar oz. ss., Oil of Cinnamon 2 drops, M. For deciding the period suitable for and the circumstances requiring the administration of this and similar mixtures, and of alcoholic stimulants generally, see art. Stimulants, part ii.
Watson* says that he has found nothing more generally useful than a gargle made of 1 part of Brandy and 4 or 6 of water. He adds that he has used it repeatedly with benefit, and that it is a thing worth remembering.
69. To Burns it has been recommended on the same principle as Turpentine (see that article).
* Lectures, vol. i. p. 236.
71. Aldehyde, a powerful anaesthetic agent obtained by the distillation of Sulphuric Acid, Water, Alcohol, and Peroxide of Manganese. The product of distillation is afterwards rectified with Chloride of Calcium. It boils at 193° F.
Med. Prop. and Action. Anaesthetic. The odour of Aldehyde is very unpleasant, and renders its employment objectionable. It has an advantage over Chloroform in not irritating the skin when applied to it, and is consequently better suited when local anaesthesia is to be induced (see AnAesthetics). M. Poggiali,* of the Military Hospital, Val de Grace, found that it possesses great anaesthetic power, producing insensibility in a more prompt and complete manner than Ether or Chloroform. He applied it to several animals with perfect success.