Antiseptics, (from Antiseptica 889 against, and septics or putrifiers). What resists or corrects putrefaction. Complete putrefaction cannot be an object of practice, because it cannot take place in any considerable portion of the body without extinguishing life: it is, therefore, a tendency to it in any considerable degree, which, producing various morbid disorders, requires the utmost aid of the medical art. As this tendency may be brought on by excess of heat and motion, as well as receiving any ferment into the vascular system; as, when once fixed, and exerting its deleterious action, it induces great languor and debility in the moving powers; we perceive why our antiseptic class of medicines exhibits such apparently contradictory views; for we find both volatile and neutral salts in the same arrangement: the former considered as highly heating, and strongly stimulant of the moving powers; the other, cooling the system, and mitigating vascular action. Hence, then, it is apparent that they are only applicable in different states of putrescent action, or in different constitutions affected with putrescency. It is the same with acids and alkalis; for these both arc enumerated under antiseptics. They have been properly divided into five heads: - 1st. Such as are cooling; acids, and neutral salts. 2d. Stimulant; wine, alcohol, oil of turpentine, spices, salt of amber, alum, terra Japonica. 3d. Tonic; Peruvian bark, wormwood, camomile. 4th. Antispasmodic; camphor, asa-fectida, musk. 5th. Diaetetic, commonly styled antiscorbutic. These furnish examples of the particular divisions; and, from their nature, we shall readily know in what particular states each is applicable: where there is peculiar sensibility in the stomach, the tonic are to be avoided; the refrigerant, where a debility of the vital powers is manifest; the stimulant, when there is too great a degree of irritability, the circulation too highly accelerated, with a strong disposition to profuse bleeding; the sedative antispasmodics, when there is too languid a circulation, a lethargic disposition, or a considerable degree of torpor in the system.

See Macbride's Essay on the respective Powers of Antiseptics, Remarks on Mr. Alexander's Essays on Putrid Diseases. Cullen's Materia Medica. Wallis on Health and Disease.