(From acer, sharp). Acrid medicines.
Acrids are substances of a penetrating pungency: applied to the skin, they inflame it; chewed, they promote a discharge of the saliva; and snuffed up the nose, they provoke sneezing.
The first class,- as mustard, horse-radish, scurvy-grass, etc. give out their properties by distillation. The 2d, viz. the greater celandine, pyrethrum, etc. by infusion. The 3d, neither by infusion nor distillation, as happens with the arum, dracunculus.
The general effects of acrid medicines are to stimulate the solids. In leucophlegmatic habits, they are powerful expectorants, deobstruents; diuretics, and em-menagogues; and, if the patient is kept warm, they are good diaphoretics.
In constitutions disposed to inflammation, or where there is already a degree of irritation, where the juices are too thin and acrid, or the viscera not sound, these medicines aggravate the disorder.
The trouble which acrid medicines give to the stomach, is that on which their virtue frequently depends.