This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Family Doctor" book
One of our native American medicines, of real value. Like the fruit and leaves of the wild cherry tree, and like peach leaves and fruit-stones, this bark contains principles which, when water is added, make a small quantity of Prussic (Cyanohydric or Hydrocyanic) Acid. This is a decided sedative to the blood-circulation, while wild cherry bark has also somewhat of the tonic property which is more largely possessed by the vegetable bitters. It is, therefore, a sedative tonic. It is adapted to cases of bronchial inflammation, especially in rather feeble persons. I have known it to do good even in consumption of the lungs. A cold infusion (tea) may be made by soaking pieces of the bark in cold water over night. This may be drunk freely, so long as the stomach is not oppressed by it. But more convenient are the syrup and fluid extract of wild cherry bark. The syrup is an excellent cough-medicine, at any stage of a cough, having a particularly soothing and quieting influence upon the air-passages. It may be taken at first with syrup of ipecac., to loosen the cough; then with syrup of squills, to hasten the cure; and afterward, if need be, when it is well loosened and yet troublesome, with a little paregoric also. Dose, a teaspoonful. Much more at a time will sicken some persons.
Wistar's Lozenges. These are made of liquorice, gum-arabic, sugar, oil of anise, and a little opium. They are very quieting to a cough, but, as opium tends to check expectoration, they are not suitable for the early, tight stage; their time is when cough is loosened thoroughly, but is annoying and interferes with sleep at night. From one to four lozenges may be dissolved slowly in the mouth in the course of a night if required.
Many more drugs might be here named, and their properties and uses described. But I think it best to confine our attention to those best tried and known to the medical profession. Others may be read about in medical works.