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characterize these natural orders. In other families the resemblance, in medicinal properties, between the different species, is less obvious, but still exhibiting analogies in the modes of action, which are often im. portant to be observed by the practitioner. Take the Umbelliferea for example; we there find Caraway and Anise brought into juxtaposition with Asafætida and other fætid gumresins, and these again with Conium, &c. This, to those not familiarized with the idea of the natu. ral relations of the species yielding these materials, as employed in me. dicines, and judging merely from the physical characters of the sub. stances, might be regarded as a most heterogenous group; but in the order of this natural arrangement they present interesting and important analogies in some respects, and gradations of properties from those of the stimulant and carminative effects of the aromatic umbelliferæ to the stimulant and antispasmodic effects of the futid gums, and the antispas. modic and anodyne properties of Conium. This kind of relationship or analogy is often sugestive of important therapeutical applications; and, in fact, it is with medicines as with everything else; the more numerous the points of view we can see them under, the better we will comprehend their relations.
The principal fault to be found with this work is one which must ap. ply to a greater or less extent to all such works. The authors confine themselves too exclusively to officinal substances; and, indced, there are hardly any introduced that have not received the sanction of some of the bodies constituted by law to give vogue to or reject medicinal substances. When men write books on Materia Medica, it should be to give their own opinions and experience and that of others; and they should not be deterred from the expression of those opinions in favor of any article, merely because it may not have been received into the Pharmacopæas. Either the gentlemen who wrote this book possessed no original ideas at all, or were deterred by undue respect of authority from any exhibition of the kind. There are many substances in use as medicines which have not been admitted into the Pharmacopæas, but this by no means diminishes their utility; and every day is adding to the list of new and useful salts, both organic and inorganic, and it would be a pitiful thing, indeed, if we were obliged to wait their sanction by some authority before they could be admitted into works, by means of which the profession generally can learn something of their properties and applications. This is a circumstance which certainly renders this work totally unfit for a text-book for students, and it can never replace such works as those of Wood & Bache or Pereira, though it will prove interesting in many respects to either the physician or student.
As a sample of the very satisfactory manner in which the authors treat their subject generally, we may be allowed to give the following, which may be regarded as interesting in other respects :
Triandria, Monogynia. An annual herb, with a perennial root. It has a tall round channelled stem, terminated by a close corymbose head of white or lilac flowers. Its leaves are opposite and pinnate, the leaflets being lanceolate and serrated.
Hab.-In wet places in Europe.
VALERIANA. U.S. (Radix.) L. DESCRIPTION.- Form, a short tuberose rhizome, from which radical fibres come off, three or four inches in length, which are the officinal part. Colour, yellowish-brown, when dry. Odour, fætid and peculiar, and not disagreeable in the fresh plant. Taste, warm, camphoraceous, aud nauseous.
Chem. Comp.-Its most important ingredients are, volatile oil, valerianic acid, resinous and gummy matters.
The volutile oil is obtained by distillation of the root with magnesia, in order to fix the valerianic acid. It is of a light-green colour, and lighter than water, having the odour of the valerian.
The ralerianic acid, when set free from the magnesia by sulphuric acid, occurs as an oily liquid, having an odour similar to the oil, but an acrid acid taste. It is probably formed by oxidation of the oil. It can be procured artificially by oxidation of the oil of potatoes or grain spirit, to which it stands in the same relation as acetic acid does to alcohol. "It forms soluble salts, with bases, as oxide of zinc and quinine, which have lately been introduced into medicine. Formula, H0-1-C10H903.
Oper. And Uses.—Valerian is stimulant and antispasmodic. We have found it of some value in removing the paroxysms of headache, which occur in atonic dyspepsia and anæmia. It has obtained a reputation in convulsive affections, as epilepsy, hysteria, and chorea. We have seen it of service in hysteria, but never in epilepsy:
OFF. PREPs.- Infusum Valerianæ. L. U. S.-(Valerian, 3 ij. [ 3ss. U. S.] macerated in boiling distilled water, f 3 vij. [Oj. U. S.) and strained.) Dose, f 3 j.-ij.
Tinctura Valeriana. L. E. U. S. (Bruised Valerian, 3v. [ 3 iv. U. S.) macerated in proof spirit, Oij., and strained.) Dose, f 3 j.-iv.
Tinctura Valeriana Composita. L. Tinctura Valeriana Ammoniata. U. S. (Bruised valerian, 3 v. [ 3 iv. U. S.), macerated in aromatic spirit of ammonia, Oij., and strained.) Dose, f 3 B —ij. More stimulant than the two former preparations.
VALERIANATES.--Salts of Valerianic Acid. Lately, salts have been introduced into medicine containing valerianic acid, united with various bases, as zinc and quinine. Valerianic acid can be prepared in two ways, either from the root of the valeriana officinalis by distilling it with water, when the acid, being volatile, passes over along with the valatile oil, and can be neutralized by an alkali, and the impure salt redistilled with sulphuric acid to obtain the acid pure; or it may be obtained from the oil of potatoes, by heating it with caustic potash. Its composition is HO-1-C10H903.*
When pure, it occurs as a colourless oil, lighter than water, having the strong disagreeable odour of the valerian, and an acrid taste. It is inflammable, and burns with a white smoky flame. Its salts are generally soluble in water and crystallizable. A pound of valerian root yields about half a drachm of the acid.
* The explanation of these processes is as follows:-1. In the valeriana officinalis this acid exists ready formed, or is formed from some of the constituents of the root, probably the volatile oil; and, being volatile, it passes over by simple distiltalion with water. 2. Oil of potatoes, called also Fousel Oil, passes over towards the end of the process for obtaining spirit from grain or potatoes. When pure il forms a colourless oily liquid, of a disagreeable odour. It has the composition C10H1202, or may be better represented by C10H110-1-HO, that is, as a hydrale of an oxide of a radical C10Hll, which is called amyle. Hence, this Fousel Oil is called the alcohol of the amyle series; and as acetic acid (HO--C4H303) is formed from common alcohol (C41602) by the addition of 2 eqs. of oxygen and the subtraction of 2 of hydrogen, so valerianic acid is formed from the oil of potatoes by a similar change, and has been called the acetic acid of the amile series.
Valerianate of zinc.—This salt is prepared by dissolving ralerianic acid in water, and neutralizing with freshly-precipitated carbonate or ox ide of zinc, a gentle heat is then applied, and the solution concentrated, and allowed to crystallize. It occurs in white laminæ, very thin, with a mother-of-pearl lustre, dissolving in 160 parts of water or in about 60 parts of alcohol ; little soluble in cold, but soluble in 20 parts of boiling ether. Composition, 1 eq. of valerianic acid -|- 1 eq. of oxide of zinc.
Valerianale of Iron.—Made by adding a solution of the perchloride of iron to a solution of the valerianic acid, saʻurated with carbonate of soda. A precipitate falls, which must be dried under 70 ° F. It occurs as an amorphous powder, of a dark red colour. By heat it is decomposed, the valerianic acid passes off
, and peroxide of iron remains. Composition, 3 eqs. of peroxide of iron -|- 7 eqs. of valerianic acid-1-2 eqs. of water.
Valerianale of Quinine.—Made by adding freshly-precipitated quina to a hot solution of valerianic acid, and then crystallizing. It crystallizes in thin colourless rhomboidal plates, of a mother-of-pearl lustre, or in needles. Not very soluble in water, but more so in alcohol and ether. It has a smell of valerianic acid, and a very bitter taste. Composition, 2 eqs. of quina -|- 1 eq. valerianic acid -1- 24 eqs. water.
When a solution is heated above 122 ° F., it gives rise to the formation of a resinous mass, having the composition, 2 eqs. quina-|-1 eq. valerianic acid-|4 eqs. of water.
Oper. And Uses.—The valerianates of zinc, iron, and quinine appear to possess the combined properties, both of the acid and the bases. Thus the valerianate of zinc has been extolled in nerrous diseases, as epilepsy, chorea, tic-douloureux, and other forms of neuralgia; the valerianate of quina, in intermittent diseases. The high price of these preparations must be a serious obstacle to their coming into general use.
Oil of Valerian passes over with valerianic acid, when valerian root is distilled with water. When fresh, it contains no valerianic acid, but consists of several compounds; one called valerole (C12H1002), crystallizable, which yields valerianic acid by exposure to the air, or when treated with an alkali; the second called Bornene (C10H8), identical with the liquid from Borneo camphor; and also a crystallizable camphor, like Borneo camphor (C20H1302).
There are some instances, which may, however, be regarded as exceptions, in which important but unofficinal articles are noticed in the work, aud when they are introduced it is in a brief but lucid manner, of which the following may serve as an example under the Lauraceæ.
BEBEERINA. An alkaloid discovered by Dr. Rodie, in the Bebeeru or greenheart trec of British Guiana, said to belong to the natural order Lauraceæ.
This alkaloid has not yet been procured in a crystallized state, but as a brown Mass. It is soluble in alcohol, and combines with acids, forming crystallizable salts. The sulphate is an article of commerce, usually found in brown crystalline scales, soluble in water, sparingly so in alcohol, and possessing an intensely bitter taste; the solutions of the salt are neutral, and ammonia precipitates the alkaloid. On analysis, pure Bebeerina gives, in 100 parts, carbon 72:22, hydrogen 6.62, nitrogen 4:30, oxygen 17.02 ; and its formula is C35 H20 NOB," that it is isomeric with morphia (Tilley).
OPER. AND USES.-Bebeerina was introduced into this country by Dr. Maclagen as a substinle for the sulphate of quina; its price being about one-half that of the latter. It appears, from many trials, to possess all the antiperiodic properties of quina, and has been found of the greatest service in intermittent fevers, and the various forms of neuralgia. It is said also not to produce the unpleasant effects which sometimes result from the use of that alkaloid. DOSE.--Of the sulphate of bebeerina, the same as that of sulphate of quina.
'To conclude we may remark, that though this work does not appear to us well adapted for the use of students, for the reasons above stated, yet we would confidently recommend it to the profession as one that any member of it may read with interest and advantage.
W. M. C.
II.--1. The Diagnosis, Pathology and Treatment of the Diseases of
the Chest. By W.W. GERHARD, M. D., Lecturer, &c. Second edition, revised and enlarged. Philadelphia : E. Barrington & G. D. Haswell; 1846 : pp. 288.
2. A Manual of Auscultation and Percussion. By_M. BARTH, Agrégé to the Parisian Faculty, &c., and M. Henry Roger, Physician to the Bureau Centrale, &c. Translated, with Additions, by Francis G. SMITH, M.D., Lecturer, &c. Philadelphia ; Lindsay & Blackiston ; 1845 : pp. 160.
3. A Clinical Introduction to the Practice of Auscultalion, and other Modes of Physical Diagnosis. By H. M. IIUGHES, M.D., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, &c. Philadelphia : Lea & Blanchard ; 1846 : pp. 270. As the three works, the titles of which we have given above, bear, either directly or indirectly, upon the same subject, we thought it better to notice them under the same head. By this means, we shall be better prepared to compare one with another, and give the reader clearer views of the principles and doctrines laid down by the respective authors. It is gratifying to see men, famous for their learning, en. gaged in condensing and simplifying heretofore one of the most obscure, and, at the same time, important, branches of pathology. Since the promulgation of Laennec's discoveries touching auscultation and percus. sion, much has been done to elucidate the diagnosis and pathology of pectoral diseases. Like a builder, who, in order to rear a splendid mansion, must needs plant his scaffolding, to be afterwards laid aside, so Laennec, with a view to illustrate and enforce the truth of his immortal discoveries, said much that may now be omitted, and added ar. guments and reasonings which are now superfluous. A shorter route is now being carved out by those who follow in the wake of the distinguished founder of auscultation. It is no longer necessary to reason with the profession on the value of this branch of medicine, in the de. tection and cure of thoracic affections; all, or nearly all, enlightened physicians acknowledge its high claims to their attention, and but few can be found ready to depreciate a discovery which, whilst it reflects the highest credit upon the profession, at the same time confers incalcul. able benefits upon mankind.
One of the most marked characteristics of the nineteenth century, in contradistinction to all preceding ages, is the readiness and promptitude with which the public mind receives and adopts the new discoveries made in the various sciences. This is eminently true in medical sci. ence. This single fact has done more to push onward the institutions of the civilized world than all other things combined. Formerly, when
prejudice swayed the great mass of mind, ages elapsed ere the simplest discoveries in science were adopted. This necessarily retarded the progress of the arts and sciences, and thus opposed serious obstacles to the advancement of the human mind. To confirm the truth of the fore. going remarks, we need only refer to the discoveries of Gallileo, Jenner and Harvey, the first of whom did for the sublime science of astronomy what the latter did for that of physiology.
These observations, although somewhat irrelevant to the matter in hand, thrust themselves upon our mind in looking over the concise and beautiful treatises under examination. It is neither necessary nor desirable to give any thing like an analysis of either of the three works ; each treats of the diagnostic signs of the thoracic viscera, differing some. what in the arrangement, yet all point in the same direction, and aim to elucidate the same morbid phenomena. Dr. Gerhard is the only one, however, who says any thing of the treatment of this class of affections.
Taught to observe under the eyes such men as Louis and Andral, and actuated by a sincere love of scientific truths, Dr. Gerhard has tho. roughly qualified himself, by reading and hospital practice, to investigate the diseases of the lungs and heart.
Wedded to no particular theory, nor the follower of any sect, Gerhard aims to present facts, free alike from speculation, and that tedious and irksome minuteness which soils the pages of some of our best works.
Dr. Gerhard's work was at first but a manual on the diagnosis of thoracic diseases; the second edition is greatly enlarged, and is much better calculated to supply the wants of the profession in this country. An independent observer, he has confirmed the observations of his pre. decessors, yet he has hesitated to differ with others, and on certain points, especially the pneumonia of children, he has added much to our previous limited knowledge. We have witnessed Dr. G.'s devotion to the study of the morbid anatomy of the lungs, and any thing coming from him on this subject may be received with assurances of correct. ness. Indeed, without aiming to be invidious, we may not inaptly designate Dr. Gerhard as the Louis of America. Any further commendation of the writings of Dr. Gerhard is unnecessary; we therefore advise every young physician who wishes to become acquainted with the diagnostic signs of chest diseases to study this work; it is equal to any of the day, and brings us up to all the most recent improvements.
The little work by MM. Barth and Roger may be dismissed in a few words. It contains, in the shortest possible space, an exposition of all the signs of thoracic disease. It is the multum in parvo : it contains the essence of all that is known upon the subject of which it treats. Buy it: read it.
Of Dr. Hughes' work we cannot speak so favorably: although very satisfactory on some points, yet candor forbids our unqualified approba. tion of the book as a whole. It may be read with interest and advan. tage, especially his remarks upon auscultation of the heart."