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The distilled water of wild poppy is successfully given in surseits, fevers, and many other distempers; being no doubt a mild kind of opiate. And let no one wonder that such a medicine should be used for various purposes ; this being the privilege of opiates; because when the spirits are corroborated and condensed they are unable to resist any distemper.
The Turks use a kind of berry called coffee ; which they roast, powder, and make into an infusion with hot water. The drinking of this, they affirm, adds strength ard vigour both to the mind and body; though when taken immoderately it disorders the senses: whence it appears to be a kind of opiate.
A certain root called betel is celebrated over all the east; the Indians, and others, accustoming themselves to chew and hold it in their mouth; whereby they are wonderfully refreshed, enabled to endure fatigue, throw off disorders, and strengthened for venery. This also seems a kind of narcotic; for it gives a great blackness to the teeth.
The use of tobacco has spread very wide in our time; and gives a secret delight to those who take it; insomuch that the persons once accustomed thereto find a difficulty to leave it off : and doubtless it contributes to alleviate fatigues, and discharge the body of weariness, It is also commonly said to open the passages; and draw off humours. But its virtues may be more justly attributed to its condensing the spirits; as being a species of henbane ; and, like opiates, manifestly disturbing the head.
There are sometimes humours generated in the body, which themselves act like opiates; as we find in some kinds of melancholy, those who are affected therewith proving very long-lived.
The simple opiates, cailed also narcotics and stupefactives, are opium itself, that is, the exhaled juice of poppy; both the poppies, as well the plant as the seed, henbane, mandrake, hemlock, tobacco, and nightshade. • The compound opiates are the laudanums, venice-treacle, mithridate, diascordium, philonium, the hounds-tongue pill, the storax pill, and diacodium.
From what is before laid down may be deduced certain directions, or rules for the prolongation of life, with regard to this intention of condensing the spirits by opiates.
For example: from the time of full growth, let an opiate diet be instituted yearly, and entered upon about the end of May ; because the spirits are most dissolved and attenuated in the summer; and the danger is then the less from cold humours: but let the opiate employed be a commanding one; though weaker than those in
use, as receiving a less proportion of opium, and a more sparing addition of the very hot ingredients. Let it be taken in the morning; sleeping upon it. The diet should, at this time, be simple and sparing; without wine, spices, or any thing sweating. Let the medicine be taken only every other day; and continued for a fortnight. And the design of this rule, in our judgment, duly answers the intention.
Opiates also may be received not only by the moutlı, but in the way of fumes; though this should be done in such a manner as not greatly to affect the expulsive faculty, or drain off the humours; but for a short time only, to operate upon the spirits in the brain : and therefore in a morning, a suffumigation of tobacco, mixed with lignum-aloes, dried rosemary, and a little myrrh, received awhile at the mouth and nostrils, may be of service.
For the capital opiates, such as venice-treacle and mithridate, it were proper, especially in youth, to use the distilled waters thereof, rather than the medicines themselves ; because the vapour of the medicine rises, and its heat is greatly kept back by distillation ; for distilled waters are generally excellent in the virtues that rise by vapour; but poor and weak in other respects.
There are medicines which have a certain feeble, secret, and therefore safe opiate virtue. These yield a copious, but sluggish, and not malignant vapour, as other opiates do ; and therefore put not the spirits to flight, but only collect and somewhat thicken them.
The milder opiates, or substitutes for the stronger, are principally saffron, the Indian-leaf, ambergrease, amomum, pseudamomum, lignum rhodium, orange-flower water ; but much rather an infusion of the fresh flowers in oil of almonds.
Though the stronger opiates are to be used but very sparingly, and at certain times; this milder sort may be used common, and in daily diet : and they contribute greatly to prolong life. An apothecary of Calicut, is, by the use of ambergris, reported to have lived an hundred and sixty years; and the nobility of Barbary are, by the use thereof, found to be long lived; whilst the common people there are but short lived. And our ancestors, who made a frequent use of saffron in their cakes, their broths, &c. lived much longer than we do. And so much for the condensation of the spirits by opiates, and there substitutes.
2. We come now to the second manner of condensing the spirits, viz. by cold. And first, condensation is the proper effect of cold; and performed without any malignity or unfriendly quality : whence its operation is safer than that of opiates, though somewhat less powerful, if only used by turns as opiates are: but as it may be employed familiarly and with moderation ordinarily, it has a much greater effect than opiates in the prolonging of life. - The spirits are cooled three ways; viz. 1. by respiration. 2. by vapour. And 3. by aliment. The first is the principal, but somewhat out of our command; the second also is powerful, and within our compass; but the third is weak and slow. · A clear and pure air that has nothing fulginous, nor felt much of the sun's heat, before it is received into the lungs, excellently condenses the spirits. And such an air is found on the dry tops of mountains, or in open champaigns, that are brushed by the wind, but screened from the sun.
As to the cooling and condensing of the spirits by vapours; we place the foundation of this operation in nitre, as a subject chosen and peculiar to this end, for the following reasons.
Nitre is a kind of cold aromatic, as appears from the sense itseif; for it bites and vellicates the tongue and palate with cold, as spices do with heat; and is the only thing that we know of, which has this property.
All cold bodies that are properly, and not accidentally cold, as opium, contain but little, and a jejune spirit; whilst, nearly all the hot bodies are full of spirit. Nitre is the only body in the