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after Mr. Pidding's solemn oath, and Dr. Allen's
.public declaration, expect to find this nostrum, really to contain the virtues of the liquorice, and nothing less than a Genuine balsam extracted from the root, as the proprietor states; but so far from this being in reality the ease, we do not on examination, find that it is even slightly impregnated or flavoured with liquorice, and of course as much entitled to any other name with respect to its composition, as that of the balsam of liquorice.
A person with a very superficial knowledge of pharmacy, must know, that a spirituous menstruum with which this medicine is made, i3 capable of extracting a very small proportion of the medicinal virtues of the liquorice, and that those virtues cannot be so far concentrated with such a menstruum by any chymical process whatever, so that an ounce and half bottle can possibly contain the virtues of a whole pound of liquorice, or that a' tea-spoonful should contain a dose of its extractive matter—and we are persuaded the proprietor would not assert as much to a person versed in pharmaceutical chymi6try.
It is a kind of paregoric elixir, so strongly impregnated with the oil of aniseeds, that little else can be discovered in it; from this circumstance it becomes turbid on being cold, which the ignorant are assured by the proprietor, arises from its being saturated with the saccharine matter of the liquorice!!! Dr. Allen should have known that there is a very great difference between the medicinal properties of liquorice and aniseeds, inasmuch as one is of a very innocent nature, while the other is a powerful stimulant, and for the diseases .the cure of which this nostrum is recommended, must under certain circumstances prov*
extremely hurtful, which we shall further demonstrate.
There is no species of quackery more deserving of censure than that of vending compositions under fictitious names, for the purpose of inducing the ignorant to suppose that they are really preparations from the herb, &c. from whence they are named, when at the same time they are as diametrically opposite in their properties as two medicines can possibly be.—So prevalent, however, is this practice, that we can positively aver, that out of the 500 articles specified in the schedule of the act of parliament, for regulating the duties on quack medicines, upward of four hundred fall under this description. It is generally supposed, that this kind of trade is not cognizable by the laws of the country, and we suppose that Dr. Allen, by advertising his medicine under the usual sanction of "his Majesty's authority," is of the same opinion, but we can say that this idea is erroneous, and we think that in a court of justice, proprietors of such medicines could make but a very lame defence, and that this boasted royal authority, which is nothing more than the stamp, Would avail nothing in mitigation of the crime.
A learned lawyer has lately given his opinion, that it is a criminal offence, and that the vender, as well as proprietor, of such a nostrum, may be indicted at any of the criminal courts, which is confirmed by the opinion of the late Lord Chancellor, who, when he presided in the common pleas, observed, "that those who advertise medi"cines of this description are subject to a prose"cution for a fraud on the public."
Pne would suppose, that to every man's mind and conscience to tamper with the lives of our fellow-creatures for the sake of lucre, must appear a crime of the greatest magnitude, and that he must contract an awful responsibility to his Creator—but we are fearful the conscience is little consulted on those occasions, and a day of judgment as little thought of.
This traffic cannot be too much reprobated by every medical man, every friend to humanity, and advocate for the respectability of our national character, inasmuch as it not only affects the lives of the ignorant and credulous, but must tend to injure our professional reputation, and render us contemptible abroad; for what opinion must the physicians on the continent form of us, on observing in our public prints and in the Hamburgh papers*, specifics, advertised for the cure of consumptions, cancers, stone, the venereal disease without mercury, &c. when from the very nature of those diseases, they must know that their different stages must require different treatment; and whatmustthe continental chymists say on seeing such preparations as balsam of liquorice, balsam of honey, balsam of horehound, a concentrated solution of charcoal, &c. f which they must know to be fictitious names; and it is a well known ^act that the characters of our chvmists have so much suffered on the continent in consequence of these dishonorable practices of empirics; that the medical men of Germany, France, Denmark, &c. suspect every preparation or article in powder coming from this country to be adulterated; thus the industrious and honest chymist is punished for the imposition of others. Having endeavoured to prove
* Many of this class of medicine the author has observed to be advertised in the Hamburgh Correspondence and American Papers.
f In Russia, to the great disgrace of our country, the importation of English quack medicines has been prohibited by their government, notwithstanding they were sanctioned by a patent from this country— a convincing proof of the wisdom and policy of that government.
that this medicine is, in respect to its title, an imposition and a serious fraud on the public, we shall proceed to consider its probable effects in the different disease, for the cure of which it has been so industriously advertised,
First, For the cure of Coughs. A cough is symptomatic, of very opposite affections of the lungs, it is both attendant on inflammation of the lungs and dropsy in the chest, a remedy, proper for the one must necessarily be fatal in the other.—It is also generally the first symptom of pulmonary consumption, in which case paregoric medicines will often relieve it, but at the same time, from its stimulating ingredients, increase the organic disease, and hasten the suppuration of tubercles, and thus produce so much mischief in the lungs, which must inevitably destroy the life of the patient, and which, by a judicious practice might have been prevented—pulmonary consumption, which has proved so destructive to the inhabitants of this country, is nothing more than a neglected or ill-treated cough: a cough is likewise a symptom of pleurisy, in which case such medicines are poisonous, and if a patient should be so imprudent as to persist in their use, such suppuration would ensue as to destroy his lire in a tew days, or hours, or otherwise adhtesions form, which would subject him to pains and cough as long as he lived.—In debility of the lungs, attended with a copious secretion of mucus, from the internal membrane of the air vessels, &c. a person has no other means of bringing up such secretions than by coughing; to cure such a cough would destroy the life of the patient, as the phlegm by accumulating must occasion suffocation. Dr. Allen should have known that a cough is not a primary affection, but a mere symptom of various diseases
of the lungs, on the cure of which the cough must depend.—As to colds, for the cure of which this medicine is recommended, we are at a loss to conjecture what is meant by the term; the effects of cold on the constitution are various: rheumatism, lock-jaw, inflammation of the lungs, phrensy, inflammatory fevers, and a numerous train of diseases are the consequences of what is termed taking cold, one instance of which we cannot adduce, in which his balsam of liquorice might be resorted to with impunity.
As to asthma, there are a variety of species— there are the plethoric asthma, and an asthma attended with extreme debility, and even effusion ef water in the chest, which require different remedies. Wheezing is also a symptom of such different affections of the lungs, that if this nostrum prove serviceable in one case, it must necessarily prove injurious in an opposite one. The treatment of hooping-cough the proprietor recommends the application of a liniment of oil of amber, &c. to the spine, to accompany the use of this pretended balsam of liquorice, which we have no hesitation to say, is more likely to prove beneficial without his nostrum than with it—the hooping-cough, attended with plethora, requiring a different treatment than when attended with emaciation and debility of the system. : As we are desirous of being impartial and temperate in our animadversions on these medicines, we shall prefer the opinion of respectable authors to our own, so we shall conclude our observations on this .medicine with a few quotations which we judge applicable to this practice.
Dr. Fothergill, in the London Medical Observations and Inquiries observes, "In coughs arising "" from suppressed perspiration, or an inflamnia