A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 49 of 724
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MEDICINES AND THEIR USES.
Epispastics are substances which produce redness, in-
flammation, or vesication, when applied to the skin.
They are employed in the practice of medicine princi-
pally with the intention of relieving or removing the
diseased condition of some internal organ, by producing
a new irritation, or determination to the surface of the
body, or some remote part. Independently of this,
however, blisters, which are the most important medici-
nal agents in this division, act also as general stimulants
to the system, and as such are frequently used, with
much benefit in the advanced stages of fevers, and in
spasmodic affections arising from debility. This stimu-
lant effect of blisters should be borne in mind, and, con-
sequently, their application should be avoided in the
very acute stages of inflammatory diseases, until the
general excitement be previously subdued by antiphlo-
gistic means. A distinguished author says :-" Epispas-
tics are generally applied as near the seat of disease as
possible," unless, we suppose, when the intention is to
produce a determination to some remote part of the
body, as in the application of sinapisms to the feet in
affections of the head. We greatly differ in one portion
of the paragraph, and that we have italicised; and we
do contend that in most diseases in which Epispastics
are necessary, whatever other objects may be contem-
plated, one of the first indications to be fulfilled by
these agents is that of counter irritation, revulsion; and
hence we do conclude, and we are supported by the
large mass of scientific men in the United States, that
blisters should be applied remote from the seat of disease.
Most of the colleges teach that blisters to the extremi-
ties are more serviceable in inflammations of the viscera
of either the great cavities of the body, than when ap-
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Massie, J. Cam. A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine, book, 1854; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143817/m1/49/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.