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Definition of Materia Medica

: A treatise upon materials, agents or appliances used in medicine; includes name, source, or origin, habitat, family or natural order; physical characteristics, methods by which obtained, tests for, constituents, forms of administration, methods of administration, physiological action and therapeutics, normal doses and antagonists, incompatibilities, synergies.


ABSORBENTS: Drugs used to produce absorption of exudates or diseased tissues.

ALTERATIVES: Medicines used to modify nutrition so as to overcome morbid processes.

ANALGESICS or ANODYNES: Medicines used to allay pain.

ANAPHRODISIACS: The reverse of aphrodisiacs.

ANESTHETICS: Medicines used to produce anesthesia or unconsciousness.

ANHIDROTICS: Medicines which diminish the secretion of the skin (the reverse of diaphoretics).

ANTACIDS: Medicines used to neutralise acid in the stomach and intestines.

ANTAGONISTS: Medicines or agents which directly oppose each other in some or all of their physiological actions, and may be used one against the other in a case of poisoning by either, to counteract the effect upon the organism after it has been absorbed and the time for an antidote has passed.

ANTHEMINTICS: Medicines to destroy intestinal worms.

ANTIDOTES: Medicines or agents which act upon poisons ire such a manner as to alter their composition, rendering them less poisonous, and so preventing their toxic action from being exerted upon the organism.

ANTIEMETICS: Medicines or agents which lessen nausea and vomiting, either by local action or by reducing the irritability of the vomiting center in the medulla.

ANTIPERIODICS: Medicines used for the relief of periodically recurring diseases, such as malaria.

ANTIPHLOGISTICS or DISCUTIENTS: Medicines or agents which reduce or dissipate inflammation.

ANTIPYRETICS: Medicines used in the reduction of bodily temperature in fevers.

ANTISEPTICS: Substances which have the power of preventing putrefaction.

ANTISIALICS: Medicines or agents which reduce the secretion of the saliva.

ANTISPASMODICS: Medicines used for the relief of nervous irritability and minor spasms.

ANTISYPHYLITICS: Medicines used for the relief of syphilis.

APHRODISIACS: Medicines which stimulate the sexual appetite and function.

AROMATICS: Medicines characterised by a fragrant or spicy taste and odor and stimulant to the gastrointestinal mucous membrane.

AROMATIC BITTERS: Medicines which unite the properties of the aromatics and simple bitters.

ASTRINGENTS: Medicines which produce contraction of muscular fibers and condensation of other tissues and lessen secretion from the mucous membranes.

BITTERS, SIMPLE: Medicines which have a bitter taste and have the effect of stimulating the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane without affecting the general system.

CARDIAC STIMULANTS: Medicines used to increase the action of the heart.

CARMINATIVES: Medicines which aid in the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines by increasing peristalsis, stimulating circulation, etc.

CATHARTICS or PURGATIVES: Medicines which increase or hasten the evacuation of the intestines. They are classified according to their power, as follows: Laxatives or aperients

simple purgatives, drastic purgatives, saline purgatives, hydrogogues, cholagognes.

CEREBRAL DEPRESSANTS: Medicines which lower or suspend the functions of the higher brain after a preliminary stage of excitement.

CEREBRAL EXCITANTS: Medicines which increase the functional activity of the cerebrum without causing any subsequent depression or suspension of the brain function if given in proper doses.

CORRECTIVES: Medicines which are used to correct or render more pleasant the action of other remedies, especially purgatives.

DELIRIANTS: Medicines which excite the functional activity of the higher brain to such a degree as to disorder the mental faculties and produce intellectual confusion, loss of will power, delirium, and even convulsions.

DEMULCENTS: Mucilaginous principles of vegetable drugs in solution or oils, used to soothe and protect irritated mucous membranes or other tissues.

DEODORANTS: Substances which destroy or hide foul odor

DIAPHORETICS: Medicines which produce increased excretion of sweat.

DIGESTANTS: Ferments and acids which have the power of aiding in the solution of food.

DILUENTS: Medicines which dilute secretions and excretions.

DISINFECTANTS: Substances which have the power of destroying disease germs or the noxious properties of decaying organic matter.

DIURETICS: Medicines which increase the secretion of the urine.

EMETICS: Medicines which cause vomiting.

ESCHAROTICS or CAUSTICS: Substances which destroy the life of the tissue to which they are applied, leaving a scar following the slough that is first produced.

EXPECTORANTS: Medicines which act upon the bronchopulmonary mucous membrane and increase or alter its secretion.

FEBRIFUGES: Medicines which dissipate fever.

HEMOSTATICS:Medicines which arrest hemorrhages (usually applied to internal bleeding).

HEPATIC STIMULANTS: Medicines which increase the func tional activity of the liver cells and the amount of bile secreted.

HYPNOTICS: Medicines which, in proper doses, produce sleep without narcotic or deliriant effects.

IRRITANTS: Substances which, when applied to the skin, produce more or less vascular excitement. When employed to excite a reflex influence on a part remote from the place of application they are termed countertirritants. Rubefacients, the mildest of this group, cause redness (congestion) of the skin. Vesicants or blistering agents, produce decided inflammation of the skin and the accumulation of serum between the epiderm£s and the derma. Pustulants affect isolated parts of the skin, such as the mouths of glands, and give rise to pustules.

MOTOR DEPRESSANTS: Medicines which lower the functional activity of the spinal cord and motor apparatus, and in large doses paralyse them directly.

MOTOR EXCITANTS: Medicines which increase the functional activity of the spinal cord and motor apparatus, producing heightened reflex excitability, disturbances of motility, and tetanic convulsions when given in large doses, their ultimate result being motor paralysis from overstimulation.

MYDRIATICS: Medicines which cause dilatation of the pupil.

MYOTICS: Medicines which cause contraction of the pupil.

NARCOTICS: Drugs which "lessen the relationship of the individual to the external world." At first excitant to the higher brain, they soon cause profound sleep, characterised by increasing stupor, and, if the dose be sufficient, coma, insensibility, and death by paralysis of the nerve centers which control organic life.

NEUROTICS: Medicines which act upon the nervous system.

NUTRIANTS: Medicines which modify the nutritive processes

NUTRIENTS: Substances which give nourishment to the system.

PARASITICIDES: Medicines which destroy the various animal and vegetable organisms which live upon the human body.

PULMONARY SEDATIVES: Medicines which relieve cough and dyspnea by lessening the irritability of either the respiratory center or the nerves of respiration.

REFRIGERANTS: Medicines which impart a sensation of coldness and thereby allay thirst and restlessness.

RENAL DEPRESSANTS: Medicines or agents which lessen the secretion of the urine.

RESPIRATORY DEPRESSANTS: Medicines which lower the action of the respiratory canter.

RESP1RATORY STIMULANTS: Medicines which exalt the function of the respiratory center in the medulla, quickening and deepening the breathing.

SIALOGOGUES: Medicines which increase the secretion of the salivary glands (the secretion of the mouth).

SOPORIFICS: Hypnotics.

SPECIFICS: Medicines which have a direct curative influence on certain individual diseases.

STOMACHICS or GASTRIC TONICS: Medicines which increase the appetite and promote gastric digestion.

STYPTICS: Medicines or applications to control external hemorrhages.

TENICIDES: Medicines which kill the tapeworm.

TONICS: Medicines which augment gradually and permanently the strength and vital activity of the body or its organs, increasing the vigor of the entire system.

VERMICIDES: Medicines which kill intestinal worms.

VERMIFUGES: Medicines which cause the expulsion of intestinal worms.

VESICAL SEDATIVES: Medicines which lessen the irritability of the bladder, decreasing the desire to urinate, and relieving vesical pain and tenesmus.

VESICAL TONICS: Medicines which increase the tone of the muscular fibers in the wall of the bladder; consequently the power of contracting and expelling the urine is increased.


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