(Quasi as Cyprium; so called from the island of Cyprus, from whence it was brought). See AEs. In this article we chiefly enlarged on the chemical properties of copper, reserving our account of its medical virtues and its different preparations to this article, where it would be more naturally sought.
In a medical view, copper supports, in a singular degree, the canon of Linnaeus, that medicines differ from poison, not in quality, but in power. Its quality is not essentially different from those of iron and zinc; yet copper, in a moderate quantity, disorders the stomach and bowels, producing inflammation and its most fatal consequences. In moderate doses, like all other metals, it is a sedative, a tonic, or antispasmodic. When taken in larger quantities, it produces nausea, with a constant taste of the copper remaining in the back part of the fauces: violent vomiting; the most dreadful oppression on the breast; the most acute pains of, and a, burning heat in, the stomach; colic; vertigo; bloody stools; watchfulness, increasing to delirium; faintings; convulsions; paralysis; and apoplexy; frequently with eruptions on the skin; sometimes resembling lepra.
Such are nearly the symptoms arising from copper imprudently or accidently taken; and the authorities which now lie before us of the dangers arising from it, would fill more than our page. Yet such is the nauseous taste of this metal, that, in general, it guards the victim from its influence; for the flavour of copper would certainly alarm the most incautious person of its danger, if it approached under the disguise of aliment. In medicine it cannot be always"discovered; and the great danger of employing vessels which have any proportion of copper in their composition, has been properly pointed out by Mr. Blizard and others.
When copper has been inadvertently swallowed, emetics are seldom necessary. The vomiting they excite is sufficiently active; but should sickness, with violent pain in the stomach, ensue without vomiting, as sometimes happens, a few grains of the vitriol of zinc trill be effectual. If an emetic is not required, mucilaginous substances, as oil, butter, and milk, will be useful; and, with these, an alkali will contribute to mitigate the virulence of the poison. Each of these meet in soap. The most appropriate antidote, however, is the sulphurated alkali (hepar sulphuris), which may be given with milk or with mucilages,
The most common artificial forms of copper, as verdigris, aes ustum, etc. we have noticed in their proper places. We shall therefore mention a few more rarely described. The flings of copper are recommended by Struve in the bite of a mad dog; and this preparation has been formerly recommended as a laxative, a diuretic, and a sialagogue. It is recommended also by Cothe-nius in malignant and venereal ulcers.
The flos aris is copper in a capillary form, which it acquires by sudden cooling; and it has been recommended as an attenuant by Dioscorides. The sulphur of copper is a dark green powder, prepared by precipitating copper from an acid by means of a plate of iron. This precipitate is triturated with four parts of quicksilver in a glass mortar, and then suspended for a month in a gentle heat; after which the copper is separated, by triturating the mixture with rain water. It has been recommended in epilepsies, but has deceived some of its warmest patrons.
Various are the liniments, cerates, and plasters, to which the preparations of copper impart their colour, and give a name. These, however, belong to extemporaneous prescriptions, which we shall afterwards notice; yet as not generally known, we may mention the following.
The balsamum viride consists of verdigris, boiled with Turpentine and linseed oil. It has been considered as powerfully deturgent in old foul ulcers.
The cera viridis, employed by Platner in softening, or rather eroding, corns, consists of verdigris, combined with yellow wax, resin, and turpentine. This greatly resembles a plaster highly recommended in the Journal de Medecine, composed of verdigris, combined with yellow wax, and gum ammoniac.
The magisterium cupri of Sala differs little from the green crystals of copper; and the aqua viridis of Hart-man is composed of equal portions of verdigris and burnt alum, a double portion of honey, with thirtytwo parts of white wine. It is supposed to be highly useful in cleansing foul ulcers of the gums, and other parts, whether they proceed from a venereal or a scorbutic source.
The tinctura cupri alkalina differs little from the am-moniated copper, to be afterwards described. It is a solution of calx of copper, by means of ammonia, with the alkali in excess. Boerhaave recommends it to be prepared by the filings of copper; Heckcr, with the erugo; but both recommend it for cancers and venereal ulcers. It is also supposed useful in tooth ach, conveyed by means of cotton to a hollow tooth; by Lieb, in epilepsy; by Boerhaave, in dropsy. Many blue lunar tinctures of the ancients are probably derived from the alloy of copper in silver; and the tinctura martis caerulea of the Wirtemburg Pharmacopoeia seems to derive its virtue and its colour from an accidental mixture of copper.
The tinctura aris vinosa, so effectual, if we believe Sala, in destroying leucomata on the eyes, is prepared from filings of copper in wine. The more common extemporaneous formulae we shall add.
Cupri ammoniati liquor. calcis cupri 3 i. aq. ammoniae 3 ij- These are to be digested without heat till the copper is dissolved.
Cupri acetati injectio. AEruginis gr. x. olei amygdal. iv. m. trituratione donee solvatur in oleo aerugo.
Cupri ammoniati injectio. Liquor. cupri ammoniati, g. xx. aq. rosae iv. m.
Cupri vitriolati injectio. Cupri vitriolati g. iv.
aquae distillatae iv. m.
These injections are are of the astringent class, and calculated for the latter stage of gonorrhoea. The am-moniated one is considered by Mr. Foot, and recommended, as a remedy preferable to all others of this nature. Practitioners should be cautious in the use of astringents: they should be first introduced in very small quantity, and gradually increased; indeed, till the inflammation is considerably abated, they are scarcely at all admissible, and much mischief has been done by their too early administration. The following has been highly useful in that symptom called phimosis, which has been supported by ulcerations within the prepuce.
Cupri vitriolati composita injecto. Cupri vitriolati g. vi. aquae distillatae iv. aquae lithargyri acetati g. xx. m. Cupro vitriolato prius soluto, adjiciatur lithar-gyrum acetatum, et interpraeputium, et glandem penis injiciatur, et pro ratione effectus caute repetatur.
Cupri vitriolati pilulae. Cupri vitriolati g. xx.
Olibani, extract. cinchonae, āā 3 ijch.syr. sacch. q. s. ut fiant pilulae quadraginta. Dosis, ab una ad quatuor indies. These are calculated to remove gleets, and are sometimes advantageous in the latter stages of gonorrhoea.
Cupri vitriolati camphorata aqua. cupri vitriolati, bol. gallici āā ss. camphorae 3 ij aquae ferventis lb iv. Adjiciatur aqua ingredientibus aliis, et quando frigida fiat, per chartam coletur. This is the camphorated water of Bates in a diluted state; it is chiefly
3 X 2 employed as a collyrium, but may be usefully applied to foul ulcers.
Cuprum ammoniacum. Ammoniacal copper. (Phar. Edin.) Take of purest blue vitriol, two parts; volatile alkali of sal ammoniac, three parts: rub them briskly in a glass mortar till the effervescence is finished, and they run calmly into a violet coloured mass, which is to be rolled up in a piece of bibulous paper, and exsiccated, first upon a chalk stone, and afterwards with a gentle heat, then put up for use in a close phial: this is a very active medicine, used for the same purposes, and in the same manner, as Vitriolum caerule-um, which see.
It may appear singular that the mixture of two dry powers should be ordered to be dried; but the moisture on mixing them arises from the water of crystallization. The theory of this preparation is not well understood, and in general there is a considerable waste of the volatile alkali, for all that is added to redissolve the copper, seems to be afterwards evaporated. This objection applies with more force to the usual method of preparing it in the humid way. The most effectual, but the most expensive, mode of preparing it, is to precipitate the copper from a solution of its vitriol by means of ammonia, adding more of the latter till the copper is redissolved. This solution must be concentrated by evaporation, and then an equal quantity of alcohol added, which occasions a separation of silky blue crystals. In the cuprum ammoniacum there is evidently some portion of sulphuric acid, and the other ingredients are an oxide of copper and ammonia. It has been chiefly employed in epilepsies, and its virtue seems to be increased by the addition of the oxide of zinc. We know not this can produce any chemical change on either, yet, when combined, each may be given in a larger dose.