Chapter 28 - Medicinals A - Z

28.16 P

Parsley (Petroselinum Sativum). The root of this biennial plant is aperient and diuretic, and is used in dropsy, scarlet fever, and diseases of the kidneys; also in retention of the urine, gonorrhea, and strangury. The dose of the infusion is from two to three fluid ounces, two or three times a day. The bruised leaves are applied with advantage to contusions, swelled breasts, and enlarged glands.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella Repens). This perennial evergreen creeping herb grows in dry woods and swampy places throughout the United States, and has white, fragrant flowers in June and July. It is parturient, diuretic and astringent, and is used in dropsy, suppression of urine, and diarrhea. It acts as a tonic upon the reproductive organs, giving tone and vigor to the womb, and making labor less tedious. Dose of the decoction, from two to three fluid ounces, two or three times a day.

Peach (Amygdalus Persica). The leaves of the peach are sedative and slightly laxative, and are used in inflammations of the stomach and bowels; likewise in irritable bladder, whooping cough, sickness at the stomach, and dysentery. They are used in the form of cold infusion, a tablespoonful being a dose, to be taken every hour or two. A good tonic is made by adding four ounces of the bruised kernels to a quart of honey.

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma Pulegioides). Pennyroyal is a gently stimulant aromatic; it relieves wind colic and sick stomach, and qualifies the action of other medicines. Like most aromatic herbs, it has the property, when given as a warm infusion, of promoting perspiration and of exciting the menses when the system is already disposed to the effort. In cases of recent suppression, it may be given at bedtime as a warm tea, after bathing the feet in warm water. The oil of pennyroyal has the properties of the herb.

Peppermint (Mentha Piperita). The peppermint is a native of England, where it is largely cultivated, as it is to some extent in this country, for the sake of its essential oil. It is a valuable herb, having a strong aromatic smell, and a pungent, warming taste. It may be used in the form of tea, which, when largely drunk, imparts warmth to the system. It is valuable in colds, flatulent colic, hysterics, spasms, cramps in the stomach, nausea and vomiting, and to disguise unpleasant medicines. The peppermint furnishes an essential oil, which, dissolved in alcohol, forms the essence of peppermint. The dose of this is fifteen to twenty drops, on a lump of sugar, or in sweetened water, warm or cold.

Persimmon (Diospyros Tirginiana). This is a tree growing in the Southern and Middle States. The bark and unripe fruit are used in medicine, being astringent and tonic. Persimmon has been found useful in chronic diarrhea, chronic dysentery, hemorrhage from the womb, and fever and ague. It is used in the form of infusion and syrup, in doses of a tablespoonful every two or three hours. The infusion is also used as a wash and gargle in sore mouth and throat, and as an injection in whites.

Peruvian Bark (Cinchona). This valuable bark is derived from several species of the cinchona tree, on the western coast of South America. The remedy is said to have been first introduced into Europe in 1640, by the Countess of Cinchon, wife of the Viceroy of Peru, on her return to Spain. There are three varieties of this bark: the pale, the red, and the yellow. The pale bark is least liable to offend the stomach, and is perhaps the best as a general tonic; but for the treatment of fever and ague, the red and the yellow are both preferable to the pale, and the red s considered better than the yellow. Cinchona is tonic and antiperiodic, and s much used, and with great success, in the periodical diseases, as fever and ague, ,remittent fever, neuralgia and epidemic diseases; also in chronic diseases attended with debility, as scrofula, dropsy, and afflictions of the skin. Dose of the powdered bark as a tonic, from ten to fifty grains; is an antiperiodic, from twenty to seventy . five grains.

Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram; compound fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram; tincture, four, )ounces to one pint diluted alcohol, dose, one to four drams; infusion, lose, one to one and a half ounces. A good compound infusion cinchona is made by combining one ounce fluid extract with half an once of fluid extract of snakeroot, two drams of fluid extract of range peel, one dram of fluid extract of cloves, one dram. of carbonate of potassa and one pint of water. Dose, one to one and a half ounces. The following is a good nervine and tonic for persons of nervous temperaments: fluid extract of cinchona, one ounce ; fluid extract of valerian, one ounce; essence of cardamom, two drams; dose, one dram every three hours. Cinchona is a white crystalline substance obtained from the Peruvian bark. It is sometimes used as a substitute for quinia, in doses )f from one to three grains, three times a day. Sulphate of Quinia is snow white, and in satin like crystals, having an exceedingly bitter taste. It is completely soluble in water or alcohol, by adding a few drops of sulphuric acid. It is the chief active principle of cinchona, and has similar properties, namely, febrifuge, tonic and antiperiodic; it is, however, less apt to nauseate and oppress the stomach. In the treatment of intermittent fevers, it has almost entirely superseded the use of the bark. Valerianate of Quinia. This is a combination of quinia and valerianic acid. It is tonic, febrifuge and sedative. It is used for headache of a periodic character, and for nervous irritability, wake. fullness, restlessness, etc. Dose, from half a grain to two grains.

Petroleum or Rock Oil is a dark brown or greenish liquid found abundantly in the upper strata of the earth in various parts of the world. Before the discovery of the deep deposits of the oil by artesian wells, the Indians of New York used to collect it where it oozed from the ground, and sold it as a family medicine under the name of 11 Seneca Oil." It has been used externally for chilblains, chronic rheumatism, diseases of the joints, and skin affections. Taken internally, it is stimulating, anti spasmodic, and sudorific, and has been recommended for lung troubles. At present it is used in various modified forms.

Phosphorus. This 'is a semi transparent solid, is flexible, and has a waxy luster. It is extracted from bones by sulphuric acid. As a medicine in small doses, it acts as a powerful general stimulant; in large doses, as a violent, irritant poison. When taken in substance it causes irritation of the stomach, and should, therefore, always be administered in solution; and even in this form it is objectionable; it is better to resort to the phosphates and the hypophosphites. Phosphorus, being an element in the composition of the brain, has been given with advantage in the various forms of nervous debility, as consumption, typhus fever, amaurosis, paralysis, and the general breakdown of the vital powers. Phosphorus burns when exposed to the air, and should therefore be kept covered with water.

Pink Root (Spigelia Marilandica). This perennial, herb grows in rich soils in the Middle and Southern States. The root is the medicinal part. It is a powerful anthelmintic, and is but little used except for expelling worms. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram; compound fluid extract, dose, half a. dram to two drams; fluid extract of pink root and senna, dose, half a dram to a dram; infusion, half an ounce to a pint of water, dose, two to six ounces.

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila Umbellata). This is a small evergreen plant, growing in the United States, and in Northern Europe and Asia. It is known by the name of princes' pine. The whole plant is tonic, diuretic and astringent, and has proved itself useful in dropsy, general debility, rheumatism, chronic disorders of the kidneys, bladder. urethra, etc.

Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, one dram; solid extract, doses ten to fifteen grains; infusion, dose, two ounces.

Plantain (Plantago Major). This perennial herb grows both in Europe and America. A strong decoction of the tops and the roots is highly spoken of for syphilis and scrofula; the dose being from two to four fluid ounces, two or three times a day. But the bruised leaves are most useful when applied to wounds, ulcers, bites of poisonous insects, erysipelas, etc.

Pleurisy Root (Aselevias Tuberosa). This perennial plant is abundant in the Southern States. The root, which is the part used, is carminative, tonic, and diuretic; used in pleurisy, bronchitis, inflammation of the lungs, acute rheumatism and dysentery. The warm infusion promotes diaphoresis, without raising the temperature of the body. United with the warm infusion of wild yam root, it is excellent for flatulency and wind colic. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, half a dram to two drams; tincture, four ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, three to five drams; infusion, dose, one to four ounces; asclepidin, dose, one to five grains. Ascelpidin and dioscorein, united in equal parts, make a valuable preparation for flatulent and bilious colic; dose, two to three grains.

Poison Hemlock (Conium Maculatum). This biennial Plant is a native of Europe and Asia, and is naturalized in this country. The leaves and the seeds are used in medicine. Conium is narcotic, anodyne, antispasmodic and deobstruent; used in neuralgia, asthma, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, and various other affections. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, five to fifteen drops ; solid extract, dose, half a grain to two grains,, tincture, three ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose thirty drops to a dram; infusion, half an ounce to a pint of water, mainly used as a wash for malignant ulcers, etc. Use with care.

Poison Oak (Rhus Toxicodendron). The leaves are the medicinal part of this creeping shrub, which is common in this country. The form of using this medicine is that of a saturated tincture, made from the fresh leaves, and to be kept in well corked vials. It has been found useful in paralysis of the bladder and rectum, in diseases of the eyes and skin, and in chronic rheumatism. Dose of the tincture, from five to seven drops, three times a day. Large doses should be avoided.

Poke (Phytolacca Decandra). A perennial plant, growing in nearly all parts of the country, and called garget, pigeon berry and scoke. The root is the part used. It is emetic, cathartic, alterative and slightly narcotic. It excites the whole glandular system, and is used in syphilis, scrofula, rheumatism and affections of the skin. The root, buried in hot ashes until soft, is then mashed and applied as a poultice for felons and various tumors. Dose of the powdered root as an emetic, twelve grains to half a dram; as an alterative, from two to five grains. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, ten to twenty drops; solid extract, dose, one to three grains; tincture, four ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, half a dram to a dram; syrup, two ounces to fourteen ounces of simple syrup, dose, one to two drams; phytolaccin, the active principle, dose, one quarter to one grain. For mercurial and syphilitic pains in the bones the following pill is useful: solid extract of poke, two drams; solid extract of stillingia, one dram; solid extract of stramonium, eight grains. Mix, and divide into sixty pills, of which one pill is to be taken every, two or three hours.

Potassa. This is used in medicine under the name of caustic potassa. It is made by boiling a solution of potassa in a clean iron vessel until ebullition ceases, and the potassa melts, and then pouring it into cylindrical moulds; when cold it is to be kept in well stopped bottles. It is a very powerful escharotic, quickly destroying the flesh which it touches, and extending its action deep under the surface. It differs in this respect from nitrate of silver, which only acts upon the surface, and is not, properly speaking, a caustic.

Caustic potassa is used for forming issues. The method of using it for this purpose is to cut in a piece of adhesive plaster a hole as large as the desired issue, and then, having stuck this upon the skin, to apply the end of the caustic, previously moistened, to the opening. This application is to be continued till the life of the part is destroyed, when the caustic must be neutralized by vinegar, or carefully washed off with a wet sponge. The following preparations of potassa are used in medicine:

Acetate of Potassa (Potasse Acetas). This is made by the union of acetic acid and carbonate of potassa, and in consequence of its extreme deliquescence when exposed to the air it is kept in closely... stopped bottles. It is diuretic, deobstruent, and mildly cathartic. It is used in febrile diseases, several skin diseases, such as psoriasis, eczema, and lepra, and particularly in dropsical affections. Dose, as a diuretic, from ten to twenty grains; as an aperient from one to two drams.

Bicarbonate of Potassa (Potassce Bicarbonas) This is a solution of carbonate of potassa, saturated with carbonic acid. This acid is diuretic, antacid, and deobstruent; used in dropsy, acidity of the stomach, and glandular obstructions. Dose, ten to twenty grains. Twenty grains dissolved in eight fluid ounces of water, and mixed with four fluid drams of lemon juice, forms a good effervescing draught.

Bitartrate of Potassa (Potasso Bitartras). This salt is better known as cream of tartar, and supertartrate of potassa. It is formed from the matter deposited on the bottom and sides of casks, during the fermentation of sour wines. As a medicine it is diuretic, cathartic, and refrigerant. In small doses it acts as a cooling aperient, gently opening the bowels; in large ones as a hydragogue cathartic, causing free, watery stools. This property, as well as its power of acting upon the kidney, ,, causes it to be much used in dropsical complaints. Dissolved in boiling water, allowed to cool, and then sweetened with loaf sugar, it forms a cooling, pleasant, acid drink. This kind of solution, with a little fresh lemon peel added to it, forms the drink called imperial. Combined with sulphur, it is often used in skin diseases. Dose, as an aperient, a dram or two;. as a hydragogue cathartic, half an ounce to an ounce; as a diuretic in dropsical complaints, a dram and a half to two drams several times a day. Cream of tartar, powdered rhatany, and myrrh, mixed in equal proportions, form a good preparation for cleansing the teeth.

Carbonate of Potassa (Potassm Carbonas). Carbonate of potassa is purified pearlash, and is frequently called salt of tartar. Carbonate of potassa has the same medicinal properties with the bicarbonate, and is used for similar purposes. Chlorate of Potassa. This is prepared by passing an excess of chlorine through carbonate of potassa. It is refrigerant and diuretic, and is given in scurvy, scarlet fever, etc., and as a wash in canker in the mouth, and various unhealthy ulcers, and as an injection in leucorrhoea and gleet.

Citrate of Potassa (Potasse Citras). A grateful, cooling diaphoretic, long and much used in fevers, chiefly in the forms of the neutral mixture, and effervescing draught. Solution of Citrate of Potassa (Liquor Potassm Citratis). This is prepared by taking half a pint of lemon juice, and adding bicarbonate of potassa gradually to it until it is saturated, then filtering. This passes under the name of neutral mixture, saline mixture, and effervescing draught. It is a valuable refrigerant diaphoretic, well adapted to the hot stage of remittent and intermittent fevers, and indeed to almost all cases of fever, with a dry, hot skin. The dose is a tablespoonful, or half a fluid ounce, which should be well diluted when taken, and be repeated every two or three hours, according to the necessities of the case.

Solution of Potassa (Liquor Potasse). This is a transparent, caustic fluid, which requires to be kept in green bottles, tightly corked. It is antacid, antilithic, and diuretic. It is used in some affections of the skin, and scrofula, but more particularly for scalding of the urethra, in gonorrhea; in this case, it is well to unite a few drops of laudanum with it. The dose is from fifteen to twenty five drops, two or three times a day, in half a tumblerful of water. In dyspeptic cases, attended with acidity of the stomach, it may be associated with some simple bitters.

Sulphate of Potassa (Potasso Sulphas). This is a mild purgative, operating without irritation or pain. As an aperient, it should be given in doses of from a scruple to a dram. Ten grains of rhubarb and one dram of carbonate of potassa, united, and divided into six powders, is an excellent alterative cathartic for children having defective digestion and nutrition, and a tumid state of the abdomen. One powder may be given at a time, as often as may be necessary to open the bowels gently.

Tartrate of Potassa (Potasso Tartras). This often passes under the name of soluble tartar. It is a mild, cooling purgative, operating, as most of the neutral salts do, without much pain, and producing watery stools. It is useful in fevers. Combining it with senna destroys its tendency to produce griping of the bowels. The dose varies from a dram to an ounce, according to the effect desired.

Potassium. This is a soft, bluish white metal. Its union with oxygen, in the proportion of one equivalent of each, forms potassa or potash. The following preparations of it are used in medicine:

Bromide of Potassium (Potassii Bromidum). This is a permanent, colorless salt, having a pungent, saline taste, a little more acrid than common salt, yet similar to it. As a medicine it is alterative and resolvent, and is used occasionally for secondary syphilis, scrofula, and enlarged spleen. Dose, from three to five grains, three times a day, in pill or solution. One dram of the bromide of potassium, rubbed up with an ounce of lard, makes an ointment which has been used with some good effect in goiter and scrofulous affections.

Cyanuret of Potassium (Potassii Cyanuretum). This is eminently poisonous, acting both as a medicine and as a poison, like hydrocyanic acid. It has therefore been recommended as a Substitute for that acid. The dose is one eighth of a grain, dissolved in half a fluid ounce of water.

Sulphuret of Potassium (Potassii Sulphvretum). This is called liver of sulphur, and hepar, being composed of s alpbur and potassium. It has been used in chronic bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, and rheumatism. Half an ounce to an ounce of it, dissolved in several gallons of warm water, makes a valuable sulphur bath for several skin diseases, as itch, prurigo, etc.

Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum Fraxineum). This shrub grows in various parts of the United States. The leaves and capsules have a pleasant, aromatic smell. Its medicinal properties are in the bark and berries. The bark is stimulant, tonic, alterative, and sialagogue. It is used to rouse and excite the system, when in a languid state, and for derangements of the liver, rheumatism, and chronic syphilis. It stimulates and strengthens mucous membranes, and is a valuable tonic in low typhoid fever. Applied externally, it improves indolent and malignant ulcers. Dose of the powdered bark, from ten to twenty grains, three times a day. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, fifteen to twenty five drops; tincture, four ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, half a dram to a dram; infusion, half an ounce to a pint of water, dose, half an ounce to two ounces; xanthoxylin, the active principle, dose, two to five grains. For chronic rheumatism the following is a good preparation: xanthoxylin, one dram; cimicifugin, one dram; apocynin, one dram; diluted alcohol, one pint; dose, three drams, three times a day.

Prickly Ash Berries are carminative, antispasmodic, and stimulant, and have a special direction to mucous membranes. The tincture is excellent in nervous diseases, spasms of the bowels, flatulency, and diarrhea; and, combined with the tincture of poke berries, is very serviceable in chronic rheumatism and syphilis. It is said to have been used with great success, .n the West, in Asiatic cholera. Dose of the tincture, from ten drops to a fluid dram, in sweetened water. Dose of the oil of prickly~ ash berries, from two to seven drops, on sugar.

Prickly Elder (Aralia Spinosa). This is a tree which grows in the Southern and Western States, and is called Southern prickly ash, and toothache tree. The bark is stimulant, alterative, and diaphoretic. The fresh bark, emetic and cathartic. The tincture is serviceable in skin diseases, syphilis, and chronic rheumatism. The bark is sialagogue, and in small doses, powdered, is said to relieve the dry and parched condition of .he throat, in many diseases.

Pumpkin Seeds The infusion of pumpkin seeds, made by placing them in water without bruising them, is mucilaginous and diuretic, and is used in inflammation of the stomach and bowels, scalding of the urine, strangury, etc. But this infusion is more particularly valuable for its power of expelling the tape worm. It may be drunk freely. The oil of pumpkin seeds, obtained by expression, has similar properties, and may be taken in doses of six to ten drops, several times a day.

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