(From aor, resplendence, a Hebrew term). Gold; called also sol, and rex metallorum, deheb, cor. The filings are named catma; the chemists call it sol, because they thought it to be under the influence of the sun. Its character is a circle with a dot in the middle, thus O denoting a body perfectly inacrimonious, smooth, and equal.
The greatest part of what we have comes from America, particularly from the mines of Peru; but the Asiatic is esteemed the finest. Sometimes it is found pure and unmixed in small grains or in large lumps, and is then called virgin gold; but it generally rises in ores of different kinds: its chief matrix is flint; and all sand contains a greater or less quantity of it.
Gold is somewhat more than nineteen times heavier specifically than water. The Arabians introduced it into medicine; Avicenna esteemed it for its cordial quality, and a comforter of the nerves; but as in every state it is insoluble by any of the animal fluids, it can only be an amulet against poverty.
It is not surprising, however, that the alchemists, to whom we are indebted for so many chemical remedies, should have tortured this metal for the service of the art of healing. The cordial qualities were supposed to assist medicines of this class; and even a heated mass of gold, extinguished in a fluid preparation, gave it the name of solar. The pure leaf gold has been employed with some success to exclude the access of air; and in some measure to prevent the pits of the small pox; and as a defence to sore nipples from the saliva of a child, particularly when affected with aphthae.
The aurum-fulminans has been employed as a medicine since the time of Crollius, and its use has been lately revived. It is gold precipitated from its solution in aqua-regia (nitro muriatic acid) by a volatile alkali; or, if the sal ammoniac is added to the nitrous acid to form the aqua regia, the fixed alkali will answer the same purpose. Whether from careless washing, or from the metal itself, the worst effects have followed its exhibition; and colics, convulsions, faintings, and cold sweats, have been the consequences. In smaller doses it is said to be an useful sudorific in the worst fevers; and Angelus Sala observes, that it is a certain and easy laxative. Lemery has supposed, from chemical views, that it may be of service in diseases arising from a too copious use of mercury; and modern practice, from the usual,tonic powers of metals, has employed it, apparently with success, in chorea.
Some other preparations of gold may be shortly mentioned, though many of these supposed to contain it have not a particle of the metal in the whole composition. The aurum potabile, tinctura so/is, with many other sounding applications, are of this kind. The preparation is either concealed or described with a suspicious reserva; but it seems to be only an ethereal oil coloured with gold, or some substance resembling its golden hue. The aurum vita of Quercetanus is a calx of gold dissolved in vinegar, seemingly by the medium of spirit of wine. The magisterium auri is the aurum fulminans, digested repeatedly with the spirit of baum, and mixed with 1/80 of ambergrise, as much musk, and 1/24 of saffron. This preparation, in a dose of from three to five grains, is said to be tonic, antiseptic, alexiphar-mic, and antispasmodic. It is the foundation of many other preparations which are exuberantly extolled, but which modern practice rejects. We shall notice but one other, which merits some notice, as it is honoured with a place in the Wirtemberg Dispensatory; and if any preparation of gold is useful, this promises to be so. It is styled cornu cervi auratum; and consists of leaf-gold very carefully rubbed with powdered hartshorn, and calcined in a crucible till it assumes a purplish colour. It is used in malignant fevers; in measles and .small pox as a cordial; but may probably be an useful tonic.
Aurum ei.empium. See Succinum.
Aurum horizontale. See Auratus Germano-rum.
Aurum potabile. See Lentsigus.
Aurum leprosum. See Antimonium.
Aurum vegetabile. A name given to saffron. See Crocus.