Emetics are those medicines which are either given with a view to discharge the foul or poisoned contents of the stomach, or to vel-licate the coats of that organ, and thus to produce certain changes in other parts of the animal economy, not immediately connected with the process of digestion. With the latter intention, small nauseating doses are generally administered, especially in catarrhal and other diseases of the breast In this place; however, we shall but briefly enumerate the cases in which vomiting may be excited with a probability of success; and also, those instances in which this remedy cannot be safely adopted.
Emetics may be of great service: 1. Immediately after swallowing narcotic and other poisons (see Antidotes, vol. i, p. 75); 2. For the purpose cf evacuating viscid, bilious, and putrid matters, or undigested food from the stomach ; 3. To assist Nature, when there is a spontaneous effort to vomit ; 4. To expel substances fallen into and obstructing the passage of the gullet; 5. To promote the expectcra-tion of mucus and purulent matter, collected in the lungs and wind-pipe ; - as well as on many other occasions.
On the contrary, the greatest precaution is required in the following cases, where a precipitate use of emetics may be attended with fatal effects, from bursting a blood vessel, etc. 1. In all plethoric persons, but especially such as' perceive a strong propulsion of the blood to the head, breast, stomach, or liver; 2. In actual inflammation of the intestines ; 3. Instates of extreme languor and debility ; 4, In every species of ruptures, and prolapses; 5. In violent pain proceeding from stones confined in the bilious or urinary passages ; 6. In obstructions of the bowels, and other abdominal parts; 7. In persons of very rigid fibres, for instance, the aged and emaciated;
8. In a very weak or affected state of the lungs, liver and stomach ;
9. In a deformed structure of the body, or some particular parts ; for which reason emetics might prove dangerous to persons troubled with a hump-back, a very short neck, narrow chest, etc.
Having stated the principal circumstances, which either indicate or prohibit the taking of emetics, we trust the reader will agree with us, that they are potent remedies, and that it requires the judgment of an expert medical practitioner to determine their utility.
With respect to the different substances employed to induce vomiting, we refer to those heads of the alphabet under which they are treated, such as Ipecacuanha, Tartar Emetic, etc. - One of the mildest emetics may be made, according to Dr. Lind, by plunging red-hot pebbles into weak vine, or flint glass thus heated into cold water; a tea-spoonfui of either may be taken every five or ten minutes, till it produces the desired effect. - Another easy way to induce vomiting, is, a strong infusion of green tea, drunk lukewarm, without milk or sugar, and assisted by the occasional irritation of the fauces and larynx, by means of a soft feather. - See Vomiting.