Chapter 28 - Medicinals A - Z
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28.19 S

Saffron (Crocus Sativus) " This is a native of Greece and Asia Minor; it is also cultivated in France, England, and America, as well as in other countries. It has been thought to be stimulant and antispasmodic in small doses, relieving pain, and producing sleep; in large doses, giving rise to headache, and producing stupor. In the general judgment of the profession it is now considered, however, as having very little activity. It is accordingly not much used, except in domestic practice, where it has some reputation among nurses for its power to bring out measles, and other eruptions. It is also thought to be beneficial in amenorrhea, dysmenorrheal, chlorosis, and hysteria. It is chiefly used at present to impart flavor and color to tinctures. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, twenty to forty drops ; tincture, dose, half a dram to a dram; infusion, one dram to a pint of water, dose, one to two ounces.

Sage (Salvia Officinalia). The tops and leaves of this well known garden plant are aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, and slightly tonic. The infusion is useful in debilitated conditions of the stomach, at~ tended with flatulence; it frequently relieves nausea; the cold infusion checks and sometimes entirely removes the night sweats of hectic. The infusion is useful as a gargle in inflammation of the throat, particularly if united with a little honey and alum. Dose of the infusion, from one to three fluid ounces.

Sarsaparilla (Smilax Officinalis). Grows in swamps and hedges in the Middle and Southern States. The root has long been held in esteem as an alterative, diuretic, and demulcent, being used in scrofula, chronic rheumatism, and affections of the skin; but its most extensive and useful application has been found to be in the treatment of secondary and tertiary syphilis; and especially in the broken condition of the system which follows the use of mercury in these affections. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, one dram; fluid extract of Sarsaparilla and dandelion, dose, one dram; solid extract, dose, five to twenty grains; infusion, dose, two to three ounces.

Sassafras (Laurus Sassafras). This tree is common in the United States. The bark of the root, which is the medicinal part, is alterative. diuretic, diaphoretic, and a warm aromatic stimulant. It is mainly used to improve the flavor of other medicines, and also as a constituent of those compounds which are recommended in chronic rheumatism, syphiloid affections, eruptions of the skin, and scurvy. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, one to two drams; tincture, six ounces to a pint of alcohol, dose, half an ounce to an ounce; infusion, two ounces to a pint of water, to be drunk as desired.

Savin (Juniperus Sabina). An evergreen shrub, growing in Europe and North America. The tops and leaves are diuretic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, and anathematic. The warm infusion promotes menstruation, and destroys worms. Care should be taken never to administer this medicine during pregnancy, its effects being violent and dangerous. 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 and a half ; infusion, half an ounce to a pint of water, dose, half an ounce to an ounce. The following mixture is useful in amenorrhea: fluid extract of savin, half a dram; fluid extract of ginger, one dram; sulphate of potassa, two drams. Mix. Dose, half a dram twice a day. The oil of savin has properties similar to those of the leaves. Dose, from two to five drops, on sugar.

Scammony (Convolvulus Scammonia). This plant is a native of Syria and the neighboring countries. The medicinal part is the hardened juice of the fresh root. It is an energetic cathartic, producing griping, and sometimes operating with decided harshness, on which account it is generally combined with other medicines which lessen the severity of its action. The dose is from five to fifteen grains.

Skullcap (Scutellaria Lateriflora). An indigenous plant, flowering in July and August. The whole herb is used. It is a valuable nervine, tonic, and antispasmodic; while it gives support to the nerves, it imparts both quietness and strength to the whole system, and does not, like other nervines, leave the patient excited and irritable. It finds its use in the treatment of neuralgia, chorea, convulsions, lockjaw, and most other diseases of the nervous system.

Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram ; compound fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram; tincture, four ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, one to two drams; infusion, dose, a wine, glassful three times a day; scutellarin, the active principle, dose, two to five grains

Seneka (Polygala Senega). An indigenous plant, commonly called snakeroot, the root of which is used in medicine. It is a stimulating diuretic and expectorant, and in large doses an emetic and cathartic. It excites all the secretions. It is useful in chronic bronchitis, and in other chronic affections of the breathing tubes. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, twenty to twenty five drops; infusion, dose, one ounce to an ounce and a half ; syrup, four ounces of fluid extract to twelve ounces simple syrup, dose, half a dram to a dram. The following is a very good expectorant cough preparation : fluid extract of seneka, three drams; fluid extract of squill half a dram; syrup of tolu, two drams; paregoric, two drams; carbonate of ammonia, twenty grains; water, four and a half ounces. Mix. Dose, one dram.

Senna (Cassia Acutifolia.). Grows abundantly in Upper Egypt. The leaves are the medicinal part. It is a mild, active, and certain cathartic, and is much used in combination with other medicines, particularly epsom salts. The addition of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and other aromatics, removes all its tendency to griping, and makes it a safe and gentle yet active purgative, calling for an evacuation of the bowels. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, one to two drams; fluid extract of senna and jalap, dose, half a dram to a dram; solid extract, dose, three to five grains; tincture, three ounces to thirteen ounces of diluted alcohol, dose, half an ounce to an ounce; infusion, two ounces to a pint of water, dose, half an ounce to an ounce.

Shrubby Trefoil (Ptelea Trifoliata). This shrub, which grows in the West, is called wafer ash and wingseed. Its bark and root have tonic properties, and are used in intermittent and remittent fevers, and wherever nature needs a lift in getting up from exhausting complaints. The medicine, like other tonics, improves the appetite and digestion. Dose of the solid extract, from three to five grains, three or four times a day; of the cold infusion, a tablespoonful every two or three hours. The oleo resinous principle of the crude bark is called ptelein, and is a powerful tonic. Dose, one or two grains three or four times a day.

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus Foetidus). A perennial plant, growing in moist places throughout the United States; sometimes called meadow cabbage. The root is stimulant, expectorant, antispasmodic, and slightly narcotic. It is given for pulmonary and bronchial affections, epilepsy, hysterics, asthma, whooping cough, and irritable nerves. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, twenty to fifty drops; tincture, three ounces to a pint of alcohol, dose, half a dram to a dram; infusion, dose, one to one and a half ounces; syrup, two ounces of fluid extract to eight ounces of simple syrup, dose, two to three drams. For asthma and cough, and to promote expectoration and remove tightness across the chest, the following is a very good compound preparation: one ounce each of the fluid extract of skunk cabbage, lobelia, bloodroot, pleurisy root, and ginger, one pint of water, and three pints of alcohol. Dose, two to three drams.



Slippery Elm ( Ulmus Fulva). The inner bark of this well known tree is nutritive, demulcent, emollient, and slightly expectorant and diuretic. It is valuable as a demulcent drink in inflammations of the lungs, stomach, bowels, bladder, and kidneys; also for coughs, strangury, dysentery, and the summer complaints of infants. It makes a valuable poultice for various purposes.

Small Spikenard (Aralia Nudicaulis). This plant grows throughout the United States, from Canada to the Carolinas, in rocky woods. It is called false sarsaparilla and wild sarsaparilla. The root is a gentle stimulant, diaphoretic and alterative. It is used in domestic practice, and by some physicians, in rheumatism, syphilis.,, and coetaneous diseases. The American spikenard, Aralia racemosa, resembles the small spikenard in medicinal properties. Either of these roots is valuable in chronic affections of the lungs and air. tubes.

Soap (Sapo). Soap is laxative, antacid, and antilithic, and is much used in combination with cathartics, to lessen the severity of their action. In mesenteric fever, advantage is derived from rubbing the tumid belly of children with a strong lather of soap, morning and evening; and few things are more effectual in removing hardened feces from the rectum in cases of obstinate costiveness than an injection of soap suds. Soap is now made out of so many kinds of fat that care should be taken to use as medicine only the best Castile.

Sodium. This is a soft white metal. United with oxygen in the proportion of one equivalent each, it forms the alkali, soda. The following are the principal preparations of soda used in medicine;

Bicarbonate of Soda (Sodoe Bicarbonas) This is a white, inodorous powder, sometimes called supercarbonate of soda. It is antacid, antilithic, and slightly diuretic. It is chiefly used in preparing what are called soda powders, and in various preparations of medicine, when an antacid is required. It is also taken simply dissolved in water, for acidity of the stomach.

Borate of Soda (Sodo Boras). This is everywhere known by the name of borax. It exists naturally formed in various parts of the world, and is likewise manufactured. It is a mild refrigerant and diuretic; also emmenagogue, promoting menstruation, facilitating parturition, and favoring the expulsion of the after birth by its specific influence upon the womb. It has considerable reputation in the treatment of urinary diseases, particularly those connected with an excess of uric acid. The dose is from twenty to twenty five grains in solution. Combined with rose water, honey, and various other things, according to circumstances, borax makes a valuable wash for inflammatory affections of the mouth and throat, skin diseases, etc.

Chloride of Sodium (Sodii Chloridum). This is the chemical name of muriate of soda or common salt. In small doses, it is tonic, alterative and anathematic. It checks bleeding from the lungs, when taken in teaspoonful doses. The dose as an alterative is from ten to sixty grains. As moderately used in food by most civilized people, it promotes digestion and improves the general health.

Sulphate of Soda (Sodoe Sulphas). This has a very pretty name, but it will not sound half as well to thousands of young persons, when they are told that it is the well known Glauber',s salts. From half an ounce to an ounce of it dissolved in half a tumblerful of water acts as a cathartic; a smaller dose, as a laxative and diuretic. Its nauseous and bitter taste may be Somewhat concealed by a little cream of tartar or lemon juice.

Sulphite of Soda (Sodoe Sulphis). This preparation is in the form of transparent crystals, and is very soluble in water. In doses of sixty grains, this is said to have been used with success in frothy vomitings; it is also well spoken of as a remedy in acute rheumatism, and as a wash in thrush and some diseases of the skin.

Tartrate of Potassa and Soda (Sodoe et Potasgce Tartras). This is one of the mildest and most cooling purgatives among the salts. It is known as Rochelle salt, and generally agrees well with irritable and delicate stomachs. Dose, from four drams to two ounces, in a tumblerful of water. The gentle physic called Seidlitz powders is composed of two drams of rochelle salt and two scruples of bicarbonate of soda in a blue paper, and thirty five grain ,s of tartaric acid in a white paper. The contents of each paper is dissolved in half a tumbler of water by itself ; one solution is then poured into the other, and the whole is drunk during the effervescence.

Solomon's Seal ( Convalaria Multiflora). This is one of our own perennial plants, and is found in various parts of the country. The root is tonic, mucilaginous and astringent. It acts especially upon mucous tissues, and has therefore found its use in chronic dysentery and piles, and in chronic inflammation of the stomach and bowels. Dose of the decoction, or infusion, from one to four fluid ounces, three or four times q, day. Large doses purge and vomit. The decoction applied locally, relieves the 'inflammation caused by the poison ivy.

Solution of Arsetite of Potassa (Liquor Potassoe Arsenitis).This is known under the names of arsenical solution and Fowler's solution. It is a transparent liquid, having the color, taste and smell of spirits of lavender. It has the general action upon the human body of the arsenical preparations. It is the preparation generally resorted to where arsenic is given internally, and is used with considerable success in intermittent fever, leprosy and several other skin diseases, St. Vitus's dance, periodical headache, and some other complaints. The dose is from three to five drops, three times a day, given in water; generally, it is better not to go beyond five drops. Sometimes it disturbs the stomach and binds the bowels, producing headache, dizziness and confusion of mind. When such effects follow its use, it must be laid aside and a purgative given. After an interval of two weeks, it may be resumed in smaller doses. It often requires to be used for several months.

Spanish Flies ( Cantharis Vesicatoria). These insects are of a beautiful, shining, golden green color. They attach themselves to such trees, in France, Spain and Italy, as the white poplar, elder, privet and lilac, upon 'the leaves of which they feed. They make their appearance in .warms upon these trees in May and June, and are shaken off in the morning while torpid with the cold. Internally administered, they are a powerful stimulant, exercising a peculiar influence over the urinary and genital organs. In large doses, they excite violent inflammation of the alimentary canal and urinary organs, strangury, irritation of the sexual organs, headache, delirium, and convulsions; also painful priapism, vomiting, bloody stools, salivation, fetid breath, hurried breathing, and difficulty of swallowing. They are given internally for chronic gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, seminal weakness, and paralysis of the bladder. Dose of the powder, from half a grain to a grain; of the tincture, from twenty to fifty drops. Solution of potassa given every hour, in thirty drop doses, is a remedy for strangury produced by cantharides. Spanish flies are used externally, in the form of blistering plaster; also in the form of tincture, mixed with various solutions, to produce irritation and redness of the skin.

Spearmint (MenthaViridis). This has carminative, diuretic and antispasmodic virtues. The warm infusion of it is employed in domestic practice to produce perspiration after taking cold, and while suffering from feverish symptoms from various causes. The oil of spearmint has similar properties with the herb, and may be taken in five to eight drop doses, on sugar. One ounce of the oil of spearmint dissolved in a pint of alcohol, constitutes the essence of spearmint.

Spermaceti ( Cetaeeum) This is a white crystalline substance obtained from the head of the spermaceti whale. In household practice, it is considerably used for the coughs and colds of children, being generally simmered with molasses or white sugar. It forms a part of several cerates and ointments.

Spider's Web (Tela Aranem). The web of the black or brown spider, gathered in barns, cellars, etc., is sometimes given in five or six grain doses, in pill form, and it is said with good effect, in periodical headache, hysterics, St. Vitus's dance, asthma, and fever and ague. It is likewise applied externally to e heck bleeding. Care should be taken to have it clean and free from dust.

Spirit of Nitric Ether (Spirits ,Aetheris Nitrici). The general reader will know this article better under the name of sweet spirits of nitre. It is diuretic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic and stimulant, and in large doses, a narcotic poison. It is much used in diseases of the urinary organs, either alone or combined with sedatives, and other diuretics. Dose, from twenty to thirty drops, to be taken in water, three or four times a day.

Sponge (Spongia). When burned, this is used as an alterative in scrofula, scrofulous tumors, goiter, and obstinate diseases of the skin. It is much employed by homeopathic physicians, though it has much less remedial power than iodine. Dose, one to two drams, mixed with honey or syrup.

Spurred Rye (Secale Cornutum). This is a diseased product of rye, known by the name of ergot. This article has a peculiar effect upon the womb, causing it to contract with great energy, when given in full doses. It should never be given, however, continuously, for a great length of time, as it has been known, when so used, to produce dry gangrene, typhus fever, and nervous disorders connected with convulsions. Such were its effects in certain provinces of France, in consequence of the use of rye bread contaminated with it. It is useful in excessive uterine hemorrhage, which it arrests by causing the womb to contract, and thus to condense its tissue and close up its bleeding vessels. It has also been successful in bleeding from the lungs. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, half a dram to a dram; tincture, four ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, two and a half to five drams; infusion, dose, one to two ounces; wine, five ounces of fluid extract to a pint of sherry wine, dose, two to three drams, in cases of labor; for other purposes, one to two drams.

Squill (Scilla Maritima). A perennial plant growing in countries on the Mediterranean. In large doses it is emetic and purgative; in small doses expectorant and diuretic. It is used in pulmonary affections to increase expectoration, and in dropsical complaints to augment the secretions of the kidneys. Dose of the dried root, one to five grains, generally to be united with nitre or ipecac. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, as an expectorant and diuretic, two to six drops; as an emetic, twelve to twenty drops; compound fluid extract, dose, ten to twenty drops; tincture, two ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, twenty to thirty drops; syrup, dose, a quarter to half a dram.

Star Grass (Aletris Farinosa). This plant is found in dry soils throughout most parts of the United States, and called unicorn root, ague root, and crow corn. The root is an intensely bitter tonic, and is used to improve the tone of the stomach, and for flatulent colic and hysterics. It is said also to give tone to the female generative organs, affording a protection against miscarriage. The Eclectics call it one of their best agents in chlorosis, suppressed menstruation, engorgement and falling of the womb, and painful menstruation. Dose of the powdered root, from five to ten grains, three times a day. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, ten to twenty drops; tincture, two ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, half a dram to a dram; infusion, two drams to a pint of water, dose, one or two ounces; syrup, dose, one to two drams; aletridin, the active principle, dose, one to three grains.



St. Ignatius' Bean (Faba Sancti Ignatii). The seeds are the part used, and are the product of the Ignatia Amara, a tree of middle size, growing in the Philippine Islands, and is a species of the stryehnos. These seeds possess a large amount of strychnine, and consequently, in medicinal doses, are a powerful nervine tonic, and are used for improving the digestive functions, and for rousing and strengthening the whole system when prostrated by nervous complaints. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, five to ten drops; solid extract, dose, half a grain to a grain and a half.

Storax (Styrax Officinale). This is the hardened juice of the storax, a native of the countries along the Mediterranean. It is a stimulant and expectorant, and is used for chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, and cough. The liquid storax is sometimes employed instead of copaiba in gonorrhea and gleet. The dose is from ten to fifteen grains. Storax is a constituent in the compound tincture of benzoin.

Stramonium (Datura Stramonium). This annual plant is most known in this country by the name of Jamestown weed; in England by that of thorndale. The leaves and seeds are medicinal. Stramonium is a powerful narcotic; it is also antispasmodic, anodyne, and sedative. It is used in various nervous affections, as chorea, epilepsy, palsy, tetanus, and mania. It is much used for relieving acute pains, etc. Taken in large doses, it is a powerful poison. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, five to fifteen drops; solid extract, dose, half a grain to a grain; tincture, two ounces to a pint of alcohol, dose, half a dram to a dram, and to be gradually increased. Use with care.



Sulphur. This is considerably used in medicine, being laxative, diaphoretic, and resolvent. It is chiefly used for piles, chronic rheumatism, gout, asthma, and those affections of the breathing organs not attended with acute inflammation. Externally and internally, it is much employed in skin diseases, particularly for itch, for which it is a specific. In these affections, it is frequently applied in the form of sulphur baths. The dose of sulphur is from one to three drams, mixed with syrup, molasses, or milk. When sublimed, this article is called flowers of sulphur, which is the form in which it is chiefly used in medicine.

Sumach (Rhus Glabrum). Found in almost all parts of the United States in old, neglected fields, and by the side of fences. The bark and berries are astringent, tonic, antiseptic, and diuretic, and are used in diarrhea ,a, dysentery, gonorrhea, whites, hectic fever, and scrofula. The berries make a valuable gargle in quinsy and ulcerations of the mouth and throat, and also a useful wash for ringworm, tetter, and ulcers. The excrescences which grow upon the leaves have nearly as much astringency as galls, and when pulverized and mixed with lard, have a similarly soothing effect upon piles. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, one to two drams; tincture, four ounces to thirteen ounces of diluted alcohol, dose,, half an ounce to an ounce. Sunflower (Helianthus Annttus). The seeds and leaves of this plant are expectorant and diuretic, and are useful in several pulmonary affections. The seeds yield a fixed oil, in which their medicinal virtues are chiefly found. In doses of ten or fifteen drops, this oil acts favorably upon inflamed mucous surfaces, and in doses twice as large it greatly augments the flow of urine.

Swamp Dogwood (Corn= Sericea). This is found in damp places, and along the banks of rivers, in various parts of our country, and is known as red osier, red willow and rose willow. The bark is tonic, stimulant and astringent, and has been used for similar purposes with dogwood bark; it is well spoken of, also, for dyspepsia, diarrhea, malignant fevers, and as an external application to foul and ill conditioned ulcers. Dose of the powdered bark, from twenty to fifty grains; of the infusion, from two to three fluid ounces.

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata). This is a native of the United States, and bears red flowers from June to August. It has the name of white Indian hemp. The root is emetic, cathartic, and diuretic, and is useful in asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, syphilis, and worms. Preparations. Fluid extract, dose, twenty to thirty drops; solid extract, dose, three to five grain ; tincture, two ounces to a pint of diluted alcohol, dose, one and a half to three drams; infusion, dose, three to five drams; syrup, four ounces fluid extract to twelve ounces simple syrup, dose, half a dram to a dram.

Sweet Fern (Comptonia Asplenifolia). This shrub, growing in stony pastures in New England and Virginia, is tonic, astringent, alterative and aromatic, and is used in diarrhea, dysentery cholera infantum, rheumatism, and debility after fevers. Dose of the decoction, from one to three fluid ounces, three or four times a day.

Sweet Flag (Acorus Calamus). Found in damp places, in most parts of the world. The root is stimulant, tonic, and aromatic; useful in wind colic, weakened conditions of the stomach, and dyspepsia. Dose of the root, from twenty to sixty grains; of the infusion, from two to three fluid ounces.

Sweet Gum (Liquidamber Styraciflua). This tree grows in the Middle and Southern States. Being wounded, it yields a yellowish white, honey like balsam, which hardens into a gum. This, melted with equal parts of lard or tallow, forms an ointment which is used in some parts of the country for piles, ringworm of the scalp, fever sores, and other complaints. Used internally, it has very nearly ,the same effects as storax.

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