A very harsh drug in its effects upon the human body, unless it be given in very small doses. Other emetics are always to be preferred when vomiting is to be produced. Its greatest value is in small doses as a sedative and expectorant in highly inflammatory cases of pneumonia or acute bronchitis. From one-sixteenth to one-fourth of a grain for an adult will be enough, every two or three hours. For children, tartar emetic is too prostrating to be used unless for quite exceptional reasons. Coxe's hive syrup, formerly a common medicine for croup, should be excluded from the family medicine-chest, on account of its containing tartar emetic. Antimonial wine is open to the same objection; wine of ipecac. is similar in effect, but much safer.
Tartar emetic ointment is occasionally employed as a powerful counter-irritant, applied to the chest or spine. It causes a sore pustular eruption, more severe even than that made by croton oil used in the same way. '
Turpentine, Oil or Spirit of. - Used occasionally by physicians as a medicine internally, in ten-drop doses, in typhoid fever (as an alternative to the diseased bowel) and in chronic rheumatism; in larger quantities, even a teaspoonful or more, in cases of tapeworm, and as an antidote for phosphorus poisoning. Oil of turpentine is very heating, and had better not be taken internally without medical advice.
Externally it is a good warming application (half and half with sweet oil, if the skin of the patient be delicate) for sore throaty pain in the side or back, etc. It may cause some soreness and a slight eruption, which, however, will soon pass away.