(From against, and a worm). Vermifuges and antiscolica arc words of the same import.
These are medicines which either destroy or expel worms situated in any part of the prima viae. They were formerly divided into those which destroy, and those which expel worms: modern authors have formed four species, because there may be cases where the exhibition of either may be improper, as the particular state of the stomach and intestines may be unable to bear their action.
Venen - 0Sa,
Quicksilver and its preparations.
Powder of tin.
Oil of olives.
Tuscany infusion, and powder.
This more complicated arrangement appears however,, to be an unnecessary refinement. Were we to refine in turn, we should divide them into external and internal; referring to the latter the remedies for itch, the mode, of extracting the vena medinensis, and animals, by puncture. At present, however, we must confine ourselve to the internal anthelmintics; and we find it only necessary to distinguish the medicines that destroy worms, into those that act mechanically, or those which, poison.
Worms are most common in children, and more frequent in the human body than in animals. We remarked, in treating of animals, that all nature swarmed with life, and that a nidus was only requisite to produce, in each instance, species peculiarly its own. Mucus is much more prevalent in the bowels of children, for reasons that cannot be assigned, than in those of adults, and worms are consequently more often found; nor are the proofs of the abundance of mucus equivocal, for children bear the most active laxatives with ease: they bear doses of cathartics which to strong adults would be highly dangerous. This, then, is the reason why children are so often infested with worms; and this, too, is the reason why worms are so often unjustly accused of producing their complaints. No medicine is half so fatal to worms as fever; for fever, excited by surgical operations, where the general system was not previously affected, will generally occasion worms to be discharged. It is certain, indeed, that in relaxed habits, mucus of the intestines is more particularly copious, and consequently tonics occasionally prove anthelmintics; but they act so remotely that they do not deserve this title, nor would they have obtained it but that some of the narcotic bitters are, at the same time, bitter and poisonous to these animals. This is particularly observable in the tansy, the fetid hellebore, and the fern roots.
The mechanical anthelmintics are, the powder and filings of tin, the setae of the dolichos pruriens, amalgams of tin and quicksilver, crude quicksilver, and au-rum musivum. Numerous are the nauseous fetids employed to kill worms; and from the inefficacy of the greater number, we suspect that they have been supposed equally disagreeable to worms and our own palates. Among the more noted anthelmintics, is the cabbage tree bark (Geoffraea inermus ): savine; rue; worm seed (artemesia san'.onica); male fern root; southernwood; tobacco; the husk and extract of walnuts; the root of the yellow helmet flower (aconitum anthora); lavender cotton (abrotanum faemina); bas-tard ipecacuanha (asclepias curassavica); several species of annona and jatropa; the pride of India bark (melia azedurach); helleboraster (helleboris faetidus), etc. Each of these medicines has had its advocates and opponents, and it is at last acknowledged, that few remedies of this class can be depended on. The last, however, the bearsfoot, is often effectual; and, in the taenia, the male fern root is almost certain. That it acts as a poison there is great reason to believe, since the portions discharged, that before the exhibition of the medicine had life, are afterwards voided dead. The tobacco is chiefly anthelmintic in clysters, in cases of ascarides; and, when these worms abound, the asafoe-tida has in the same way succeeded. Other remedies seem to act as poisons in a different manner. Olive and castor oil certainly destroy worms. Even the lower classes of animals require air, and, though they are enabled to extract oxygen more perfectly from impure air, and to live longer without that which is pure, yet they require it to be renewed. Oils may deprive worms of their natural food, or may obstruct those pores through which they may receive supplies either of air or nourishment. Alkaline and earthy neutrals are of uncertain action. Salt and water perhaps evacuate only; but in the muriat of barytes we may suspect a poisonous quality. Sulphurated gas, or waters impregnated with sulphurated hydrogen gas, have been recommended to impregnate the fluids so as to destroy hydatids. The Har-rowgate water possesses similar impregnations, and may be equally useful; but we have never employed it, or heard from adequate authority of its success. Mercurials, except as evacuants, are of doubtful efficacy; but the corrosive sublimate has been recommended in taenia. The choice of anthelmintics for different kinds of worms, is a subject that requires some attention. In the lumbrici, all the poisonous bitters are preferable; but the fetid hellebore is the most certain and effectual. The best mode of exhibiting it is in powder. It is an evergreen, but has each year, as usual, new leaves. An equal number of the new and old are carefully dried and powdered; and from two to six grains of the powder may be given, according to the age or constitution, twice a day, interposing an active laxative about twice a week. In taenia, the male fern root, salt water, sul-phat of barytes, and the mechanical anthelmintics, except the setae of the dolichos, which is rather adapted to the lumbrici, are chiefly useful. The raspings of a pewter plate with a rough file we have found the best form of powdered tin; but the male fern, followed by the drastic powers of calomel and gamboge, according to the receipt of Madame Bouffler, seldom fails. In, ascarides we must depend chiefly on those medicines which act only when they arrive at the rectum, or those whose action is very powerful, viz. aloes and calomel. Infusions of tobacco, solutions of asafoetida, and of olive oil, injected into the rectum, are very effectual: but these animals are seldom eradicated. We have observed that they are generally accompanied with pain and affections of the stomach, and have doubted whether, though they appear exclusively in the rectum, their origin is not in the superior part of the canal. If this be true, tonics should probably be combined.