Cathartics are divided into laxatives and purgatives. Manna, tamarinds, castor oil, sulphur, and magnesia are laxatives; senna, rhubarb, jalap, colocynth, buckthorn, aloes, cream of tartar, scammony, calomel, Epsom salts, Glauber's salts, sulphate of potash, and Venice turpentine are purgatives.
733. Manna is a very gentle laxative, and therefore used for children and delicate persons. Dose for children, from one to two drachms; and for adults, from one to two ounces, combined with rhubarb and cinnamon water. 734. Tamarinds are generally laxative and refrigerant. As it is agreeable, this medicine will generally be eaten by children when they will not take other medicines. Dose, from half to one ounce. As a refrigerant beverage in fevers it is extremely grateful.
735. Castor Oil is a most valuable medicine, as it generally operates quickly and mildly. It is used externally, combined with citron ointment, as a topical application in common leprosy. It is used internally as an ordinary purgative for infants, as a laxative for adults, and in diarrhœa and dysentery. In colic it is very useful and safe; and also after delivery. Dose for infants, from forty drops to two drachms; for adults, from half an ounce to one and a half ounces.
736. Sulphur.--Sublimed sulphur is laxative and diaphoretic. It is used externally in skin diseases, especially itch, both in the form of ointment and as a vapour bath. It is used internally in hemorrhoids, combined with magnesia, as a laxative for children, and as a diaphoretic in rheumatism. Dose, from one scruple to two drachms, mixed in milk or with treacle. When combined with an equal proportion of cream of tartar, it acts as a purgative.
737. Magnesia.--Calcined magnesia possesses the same properties as the carbonate. Dose, from ten to thirty grains, in milk or water. Carbonate of magnesia is an antacid and laxative, and is very useful for children when teething, and for heartburn in adults. Dose, from a half to two drachms, in water or milk. Fluid Magnesia is a useful preparation by whose use is avoided the grittiness that is inseparable from magnesia when taken in the form of powder.
738. Senna is a purgative, but is apt to gripe when given alone; therefore it is combined with some aromatic, such as cloves or ginger, and the infusion should be made with cold instead of hot water. It usually acts in about four hours, but its action should be assisted by drinking warm fluids. Dose, of the confection, commonly called "lenitive electuary," from one to three or four drachms at bedtime; of the infusion, from one to two ounces; of the tincture, from one to two drachms; of the syrup (used for children), from one drachm to one ounce. Caution.--Do not give senna, in any form except confection, in hemorrhoids, and never in irritability of the intestines.
739. Rhubarb is a purgative, astringent and stomachic. It is used externally in the form of powder to ulcers, to promote a healthy action. It is given internally in diarrhœa, dyspepsia, and a debilitated state of the bowels. Combined with a mild preparation of calomel, it forms an excellent purgative for children. Dose, of the infusion, from one to two ounces; of the powder, from one scruple to half a drachm as a purgative, and from six to ten grains as a stomachic; of the tincture and compound tincture, from one to four drachms; of te compound pill, from ten to twenty grains.
740. Jalap is a powerful cathartic and hydrogogue, and is therefore apt to gripe. Dose, of the powder, from ten to thirty grains, combined with a drop or two of aromatic oil; of the compound tincture, from one to three drachms; of the extract, from ten to twenty grains. The watery extract is better than the alcoholic.
741. Colocynth is a powerful drastic cathartic, and should never be given alone. except by a medical man, as its action is too violent for some constitutions. Dose, of the extract, from five to fifteen grains; of the compound extract, from five to fifteen grains; of the compound colocynth pill, the best of all its preparations, from ten to twenty grains.
742. Buckthorn is a brisk purgative for children in the form of syrup. Dose of the syrup, from one to six drachms.
743. Aloes is a purgative and cathartic in large, and tonic in smaller doses. Dose, of powder, from two to ten grains, combined with soap, bitter extracts, or other purgative medicines, and given in the form of pills; of the compound pill, from five to twenty grains; of the pill of aloes and myrrh, from five to twenty grains; of the tincture, from four drachms to one ounce; of the compound tincture, from one to four drachms; of the extract, from six to ten grains; of the compound decoction, from four drachms to two ounces.
744. Cream of Tartar is a purgative and refrigerant. It is used internally in dropsy, especially of the belly, in doses of from one scruple to one drachm. As a refrigerant drink it is dissolved in hot water, and sweetened with sugar, and is used in febrile diseases, care being taken not to allow it to rest too much upon the bowels. Dose, as a purgative, from two to four drachms, as a hydrogogue, from four to six drachms, mixed with honey or treacle. Caution.--Its use should be followed by tonics, especially gentian and angostura.
745. Scammony is a drastic purgative, generally acting quickly and powerfully; sometimes producing nausea, and even vomiting, and being very apt to gripe. It is used internally, to produce watery evacuations in dropsy, to remove intestinal worms, and correct the slimy motions of children. Dose, of the powder, from five to sixteen grains, given in liquorice water, treacle, or honey; of the confection, from twenty to thirty grains. Caution.--Do not give it in an irritated state of the bowels.
746. Epsom Salts is a purgative and diuretic. This medicine generally operates quickly, and therefore is extremely useful in acute diseases. It is found to be beneficial in dyspepsia when combined with infusion of gentian and a little ginger. It forms an excellent enema with olive oil. Dose, from a half to two ounces, dissolved in warm tea or water. Infusion of roses partially covers its taste and assists its action. Note, that with regard to Epsom salts, the larger in reason is the amount of water in which they are taken, the smaller the dose of salts required: thus, half an ounce properly dissolved may be made a strong dose. The action and efficacy of Epsom salts may be greatly increased by adding one grain of tartar emetic to a dose of salts.
747. Glauber's Salt is a very good purgative. Dose, from a half to two ounces, dissolved in warm water.
748. Sulphate of Potash is a cathartic and deobstruent. It is used internally, combined with aloes or rhubarb, in obstructions of the bowels, and is an excellent saline purgative in dyspepsia and jaundice. Dose, from ten grains to one drachm.
749. Venice Turpentine is cathartic, diuretic, stimulant, and anthelmintic. It is used externally as a rubefacient, and is given internally in flatulent colic, in tapeworm, rheumatism, and other diseases. Dose, as a diuretic, from ten grains to one drachm; as a cathartic, from ten to twelve drachms; as an anthelmintic, from one to two ounces every eight hours, till the worm be ejected.