Attenuants, or attenuating medicines, in humoral pathology are such as have a tendency to subtilize or resolve the humours into finer parts. And though this defi nition may not satisfy the plurality of modern pathologists, who account for almost every diseased ac-tion takingplace in the human body, partly from the nervous influence - which is still more obscure - and partly from an accumulation or exhaustion of excitability (or predisposition) ; the former of which implies direct debility, and produces sthenic diseases; the latter originates from indirect debility, and generates asthenic disorders, according to the plausible theory of the enious Dr. John Brown ; yet we shall attempt to lay down a few general propositions, respecting the sensible properties and effeefs of medicinal substances, when we arrive at the articles of Healing-Art, and Medicines.
Attenuating, or inciding remedies, have long been, and are still, considered of very extensive utility in physic. They produce such a variety of effects, that it is necessary to be previously well acquainted with their different kinds, in order to choose and administer them with safety and advantage. At present, we shall content ourselves with stating tie most simple and efficacious remedies which have, generally speaking, by practical physician.; been allowed to produce the following effects :
I. Such as tend to cool and attenuate the fluids, when there prevails an inflammatory disposition in the system : namely, lemon-juice; common wood sorrel (Oxalis keeto-sella, L.) 3 crystals of tartar; vinegar; nitre; sal ammoniac; cucumbers (Cucumis sutivus, L.) ; less nettle (Urtica urens, L.); common house-leek (Sevipervivum teciorum, L.); and butter-milk.
IV. With a view to resolve pi-tuitous and tenacious obstructions in the breast:—hedge mustard (Erysimum officinale, L.); hyssop; liquorice-root; seneka; bitter milkwort (Polygala amara, L.); elecampane (Inula Helenium , L.): gum ammoniac ; myrrh; galbanum.
V. To subtilize incrassated and viscid lymph :—antimony in various forms; sulphur; hemloc-. ; foxglove ; wolfs-bane, or monk's hood, fee. but we seriously advise those readers, who do not pretend to professional knowledge, never to make use of these plants, or of antimony, sulphur, and other metallic preparations, without having previously availed themselves of proper medicai advice.
VI. To attenuate the stagnant and vitiated bilious matter in the intestines:—dand( lion (Leontodon taraxacum, L.); wild succory chorium intytus, L.); fumitory (Fumaria officinalis, L.) 5 sopewort (Saponaria officin L.); white horehound (Marrubiitm vulgare, L.); Rotable tartar (Kali tartarisatum, Lond.); honey; celandine (Cheli-drmiuin majus, L.); ivy-resin (Re-sifia hedercs helix, L.); cherry-Iau-rel water (Aqua Laurocerasi, L.); the two last-mentioned preparations, however, cannot be ta' en with safety in febrile and other states of the body, and ought therefore to be prescribed by medical men.
Of all these medicinal substances, ("excepting such as have already described), we propose to give, in the sequel of the alphabet, a more particular and satisfactory account.