In laying before the public the AMERICAN ECLECTIC DISPENSATORY, we are fully aware that the profession have been abundantly supplied with similar works of a high scientific character, which would leave no excuse for the publication of another, unless it should present important information not contained in the standard works.

It may not be known to some of the readers of this work, that a great amount of highly important knowledge, in reference to the Therapeutic value of remedies, and especially of our native-American plants, has been accumulated by liberal-minded physicians in America ; which knowledge, owing to various causes, has never yet been sufficiently brought before the medical profession generally, and has not been embodied in the voluminous standard works of Pereira, Wood and Bache, Dunglison, etc. This knowledge being especially American in its origin, and having produced a marked peculiarity in the practice of a large number of American physicians, we deem it proper to style this work the "American Eclectic Dispensatory," to distinguish it from other works, which contain only the ideas or views which are common to both American and European physicians.

Another urgent reason for the publication of this work, lies in the fact, that the important improvements and discoveries of American Eclectic physicians have not only been, to a great extent, overlooked by authors, but have already begun to find their way into medical works without any reference whatever to their paternity ; and in some instances, articles familiarly known and used for twenty years past by Medical Reformers, have been gravely brought forward as new discoveries.

The use of the term Eclectic, in our title, implies something more than what we usually associate with that word as a common adjective. It refers to the existence of a large class of physicians in America, who believe that the profession has been too much trammeled by the influence of authority, and by the disposition to impose upon the young members of the profession, certain scientific and ethical doctrines which their seniors have sanctioned ; thus reducing a noble profession, with a comprehensive science, to the character of a sect, with certain cherished dogmas. American Eclecticism is thus opposed to medical sectarianism, and especially to that most oppressive form of sectarianism, which, like the Roman Hierarchy, denying that it is sectarian, assumes to be an embodiment of unquestionable truth, and pronounces the medical system which may be sanctioned by the majority of the present generation, a standard of scientific truth, from which any deviation, or even the expression of dissent, should be condemned and punished by professional and even social ostracism.

This assumption of infallibility, in the existing and prevalent system of therapeutics, or rather, of the right to enforce its acceptance, by dishonoring all who dissent from its doctrines, is too extravagant to bear the test of se nous examination. No one who is familiar with medical history who recollects the incessant changes in medical doctrines and practice from the days of Galen's infallibility to the present time, and who remembers how sternly the main body of the profession have rejected and condemned the doctrines which their successors were compelled to adopt, can suppose that a profession so very fallible in all past time, has even yet acquired infallibility ; nor can any one seriously believe it, when he observes in the doctrines and practice of the present day the same slow, steady, progressive change as in past times. And if the idea of doctrinal infallibility as to Therapeutics, either in the mass of the profession or in its most gifted leaders, be, in fact, too absurd for serious argument, what possible foundation can there be for the assumption that truthfulness and professional respectability belong exclusively to the majority, and to their transitory doctrines, and that any different scientific doctrines should be branded as empirical and disreputable?

Such assumptions, being essentially absurd and groundless, are based now, as they always have been, on that arrogant and intolerant element of human nature, which leads all large masses of men to attempt to enforce conformity to their own sentiments, and to dishonor all that opposes them — as an Egyptian rabble hoot at a passing Christian. The liberal and humane spirit of the age is opposed to such intolerance, and demands that sectarians in theology and in science shall extend mutual toleration to each other.

This toleration is demanded not only by sound morals, by the spirit of humanity and the amenities of social life, but by justice to truth ; for as no sect or doctrine can be based exclusively upon falsehood, and as it is certain that whatever has been received by any considerable number of men must contain an appreciable amount of truth, true philosophy dictates that we should receive and examine with candor all medical doctrines, not only through courtesy to their supporters, but for the sake of profiting by their truths. This duty is especially urgent when the supporters of such doctrines claim to have achieved much good by their medical practice ; and if their claims are well-grounded, we should be culpable indeed, in neglecting to avail ourselves of the instruction which they proffer for the sake of humanity.

Those physicians who, in America, have been most zealous in maintaining these liberal principles, have been called Eclectics, and the principal school in which such doctrines have been taught has been called the " Eclectic Medical Institute." It is true, that many physicians have contended that the whole profession should be Eclectic, and that some even maintain that it is at present Eclectic, and liberally examines or adopts whatever may be presented that is new and true. It is true, that the profession is not totally destitute of the spirit of Eclecticism, for such destitution would imply a total destitution of liberality, but we cannot recognize Eclectic liberality in those who treat with bitter scorn the personal and professional characters of scientific physicians whose doctrines differ from the more prevalent views of therapeutics, and who, instead of recommending, endeavor to discourage or prevent the free examination of what they consider heretical doctrines, and who attach professional penalties to the avowal of what they deem heretical sentiments. If the investigation of different medical doctrines is to be carried on under the threat of professional excommunication, unless certain conclusions are adopted, and if as has been recently arranged in certain medical colleges, the young practitioner shall be entitled to hold his diploma only so long as he adheres to certain opinions, there is no more freedom of investigation conceded on medical subjects than there would be freedom of suffrage when the polls were overawed by the bayonets of one of the candidates.

In extending our personal courtesy and professional liberality to the followers of Hahnemann, Priessnitz, and minor leaders of medical parties, we are merely obeying the positive dictates of morality and religion, which forbid unkind, illiberal sentiments; and as the time must come when all that has been developed by the labors of medical sectarians shall be incorporated with the established mass of recognized science, it is unwise and injurious to the progress of the profession to delay such incorporation by encouraging animosities and isolation among the cultivators of medical science.

Such is the kindly and harmonious spirit which American Eclectics desire to see introduced into the profession ; but in addition to these ethical improvements, they desire a more faithful and prompt adherence to the dictates of Clinical experience. There are many changes in the details of medical practice, the value of which has been amply demonstrated by experience, in the various climates of the United States, but which have not yet been adopted by the profession generally, because they are not yet sufficiently known and understood by those who have not been pupils of the Eclectic Medical Institute. For the nature of these improvements, and their gratifying results in the treatment of disease, we must refer to the "American Eclectic Practice, by Professors Jones and Morrow," the " Eclectic Practice of Medicine, by Professors Newton and Powell," as well as the "Lectures on the American Eclectic System of Surgery, by Professor Hill," and the forthcoming system of Eclectic Obstetrics, by the author of the present volume.

For further information of the Eclectic system, we would refer to the practice of Eclectic physicians, and to the Lectures of the Institute. This College, chartered in 1845, has been for some years the leading Medical College of the West, in point of numerical attendance; the whole number of matriculants in 1852-3, and 1853-4, was six hundred, and the whole number of graduates amounted to one hundred and thirty-three. We make this reference because the highest evidence of the value of Eclecticism is found in the successful treatment of disease by Eclectic physicians ; in the treatment of 1503 cases of cholera in Cincinnati, in 1849, with a mortality of only 65, and many analogous facts, which will hereafter be more fully authenticated. These great practical improvements are simply the fruits of patient and faithful attention by numerous physicians to the results of experience, and the liberal spirit of the Faculty of the Institute, who have not disdained to gather knowledge from any source. We should not overlook, in our passing reference, the distinguished services of individuals who, if they were not like Hahnemann or Dixon, the authors of a special and exclusive theory of therapeutics, have the more exemplary merit of faithful scientific observation in a liberal and candid spirit of improvement, and the honor of arranging and presenting before the public, with untiring energy and unshrinking moral courage, a mass of science much in advance of prevalent ideas, and consequently greatly embarrassed by the habitual, resolute opposition of conservative minds. We allude especially to Dr. Thomas V. Morrow, to whose reputation as a practitioner, and untiring zeal as a medical professor, we are mainly indebted for the establishment and maintenance of a school devoted to the Eclectic system of medicine at Worthington, Ohio, and the subsequent successful establishment of the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati. This reference to Professor Morrow is especially demanded by the fact that so little has been left from his pen to bear witness to the value of his services as a medical teacher and pioneer laborer in medical reform and improvement. His distinguished co-laborers, Professors J. R. Buchanan and I. G. Jones, have already, by their pens, made known to medical readers their conspicuous agency in medical progress.

We are greatly indebted to Professor Buchanan, the present Dean of the Institute, for his able and zealous services, especially since 1846, in maintaining the success, the reputation and unity of the Institute, and shaping its policy, while at the same time he has been known as a peculiarly original and philosophic teacher of medicine, and most distinguished exponent, before the public, of the philosophy of Eclecticism.

To Professor I. G. Jones, we are greatly indebted as an early co-laborer of Professor Morrow, at Worthington ; as an eminent and veteran practitioner ; an able teacher of medical practice, and a successful author, whose writings will contribute much to the diffusion and adoption of the improved system of therapeutics, the value of which has been so well displayed in his own practice. If the Eclectic improvements in medicine are even one half of what is believed by those who have personally tested them, they who have devoted their best energies and risked the entire loss of reputation for the sake of such truths, will be gratefully remembered by posterity, and the names of Morrow, Buchanan and Jones, with their coadjutors and successors in the labor of scientific reform, will be held in distinguished honor.

To this cause, the author of the present volume has been devoted for about twenty years as a medical practitioner, and latterly as a medical professor and author, and he wishes no higher honor than to be recognized as one of those who, at the commencement of the Eclectic movement, have participated in the labors of its pioneers.

An important characteristic of American Eclecticism, which may be illustrated by this volume, is the superior zeal displayed by Eclectic physicians in making important and much needed improvements in the Materia Medica, and especially in developing the medicinal value of our native plants. There are many results attainable in practice, by the use of these new resources, which could not be satisfactorily realized by the agents in ordinary use. One of these important results is the ability to dispense partially, if not wholly, with various unsafe or deleterious agents, and accomplish the purposes for which they are used by safer and more scientific treatment. We say more scientific, because that is certainly the most scientific prescription which accomplishes the object desired without incidentally inflicting unnecessary injury. The many inconveniences and dangers attending the use of mercurial medicines have produced a strong desire to find some safe and efficient substitute. There is no single remedy ever known to man which has produced a greater amount of mischief by Us indiscriminate use than Mercury; nor is there any other drug which has done one-hundredth part as much to create a prejudice against scientific medicine, to destroy the confidence of the community in its practitioners, and to repel them from the physician to the nostrum-dealer. But with the mass of the profession, the desire to find a substitute for Mercury has been rather an idle fancy than a positive desire or purpose, and has produced no result whatever. Indeed, the conviction still prevails, that no substitute for mercury can be found, and we regret to record the fact, in the year 1854, that medical schools and medical authors generally, still regard mercury as the only powerful and reliable cholagogue, simply because they are not acquainted with the powers of other agents ; the most specific cholagogue known, Leptandrin, not having obtained a place in any but the Eclectic Dispensatory, and Leptandra itself having been excluded from the U. S. Pharmacopoeia and the officinal part of the U. S. Dispensatory, on account of its supposed worthlessness. Leptandrin, Podophyllin, Apocynin, and Iridin, with Sanguinaria, Taraxacum, Berberis, and Euonymus, and occasional combinations of other articles, accomplish far more than Mercury performs, in the way of arousing the liver, affecting the secretions generally, and even producing salivation of a harmless character. It is not merely in substitutes for mercurials, and for various prescriptions which the physician uses with caution, and without entire satisfaction, that the improvement of the Eclectic Materia Medica consists, but also in the introduction of agents and powers of a novel character, or the extensive application of articles previously little known and seldom used. Of articles, previously little known or used by the profession, which are extensively used by Eclectic physicians, we may enumerate:

Achillea, Cypripedium, Leonurus, Pteris, Actaea, Daucus, Leptandra, Pterospora, Adiantum, Diervilla, Liatris, Pycnanthemum, Aletris, Dioscorea, Ligustrum, Pyrola, Alnus, Epigaea, Liquidambar, Rhus, Althaea, Erechthites, Liriodendron, Robinia, Amaranthus, Erigeron, Lobelia, Rubus, Ampelopsis, Eryngium, Lycopus, Rudbeckia, Apoeynum, Erythronium, Lythrum, Rumex, Aralia 's, Euonymus, Marrubium, Sabbatia, Arum, Eupatorium, Menispermum, Salix, Asarum, Euphorbia, Menyanthes, Sanicula, Asclepias, Frasera, Mitchella, Saponaria, Aster, Fraxinus, Monotropa, Scutellaria, Baptisia, Galium, Myrica, Senecio, Berheria, Gelseminum, Nymphaea, Silpbium, Betula, Geranium, Onosmodium, Solidago, Bidens, Gerardia, Orobanche, Spiraea, Buxus, Geum, Osmunda, Spirit Vapor Bath. Capsicum, Gillenia, Ostrya, Stillingia, Caulophyllum, Hamamelis, Paeonia, Symphytum, Ceanothus, Helianthemum, Panax, Trifolium, Celastrus, Helonias, Parthenium. Trillium, Chelidonium, Heracleum, Phytolacca, Ulmus, Chelone, Heuchera, Plantago, Urtica, Chimaphila, Hieracium, Podophyllum, Uvaria, Cimicifuga, Hydrastis, Polemonium, Uvularia, Clematis, Hypericum, Polypodium, Verbascum, Cochlearia, Inula, Polytrichum, Verbena, Comptonia, Iris, Populus, Vernonia, Convallaria, Jeffersonia, Prinos, Viburnum, Corydallis, Kalmia, Ptelea, Xanthoxylum.

Together with numerous others not herein referred to.

It is true, that a number of the foregoing articles have been referred to by medical writers, and a few have been occasionally used in practice, but in general, they have been located at the extreme verge of the visible horizon of the profession— in the outside regions of empiricism unknown to the mass of physicians, and but slightly known to any who were not especially addicted to botanical pursuits. The honor of their introduction into regular medical practice, belongs to the Medical Reformers of America, through whom their virtues have been" made known; and by whom articles have been made prominent and important agents in the Materia Medica, which were previously treated with so much contempt, that a physician felt almost ashamed to investigate their virtues, or acknowledge any acquaintance with them.

Of the above articles, or their concentrated principles, which are absolutely new, and at present confined to the circle of practice of Medical Reformers, by whom they were introduced, we may mention:

Alctridin, Alnuine, Ampelopsis, Antennaria, Apocynin, Asclepias Incar., Asclepidin, Aster, Baptisin, Bidens, Buxus, Caulophyllum, Caulophyllin, Ceanothus, Ceanothine, Chelone, Cimicifugin, Cornu cervinae calcinatum, Corydalis, Corydalia, Cypripedin, Diervilla, Dioscorea, Dioscorein, Echinospermum, Epigaea, Equisetum, Erechthites, oil of Erechthites, Euonymus, Euonymine, Eupatorin, Eupatorium Purp., Eupurpurin, Galium, Gelseminum, Geraniin, Gerardia, Goodyera, Helonine, Hieracium, Hierochloa, Hydrastin, Iridin, Jeffersonia, Juglandin, Leptandrin, oil of Lobelia, Menisperine, Mitchella, Monotropa, Myricin, Onosmodium, Osmunda, Ostrya, Parthenium, Phytolaccin, Podophyllin, Polemonium, Polytrichum, Prunin, Ptelea, Ptelein, Pteris Atrop., Pterospora, Pycnanthemum, Rhusine, Robinia, Rudbeckia, Scutellarin, Senecin, Sesquicarbonate of potassa, Silphium, Spirit vapor bath, Staphylea, Stellaria, oil of Stillingia, Uvaria, Uvularia, Vernonia, Viburnum, Viburine, Xanthoxylin, and oil of Xanthoxylum, etc

The extensive use of the foregoing articles, and their consequent substitution, on many occasions, for the favorite remedies formerly in use, constitutes a practical improvement, the value of which can scarcely be estimated, and the simplest statement of what we believe and know to be true, as regards the superior success in practice resulting from these improvements in the Materia Medica, would be regarded, by those entirely unacquainted with the facts, as the language of extravagant enthusiasm. For their truth, however, we can but appeal to the final tribunal, universal experience ; and it is partly with the view of facilitating this appeal by candid physicians, that this volume is laid before the public, in which, we trust, every medical reader will find sufficient information, in reference to the favorite remedies of Eclectic physicians, to enable him to enjoy in practice what we deem the richest fruits 'of modern clinical experience, constituting the most recent and important practical improvements in the healing art.

It will be seen that the work is divided into three parts:

Part I, is devoted to an explanation of the Natural Orders of the various Medicinal Plants named in the work, and which will prove a valuable reference for the practitioner in collecting them; indeed, without this reference the work would have been very imperfect, especially for those who practice as Medical Reformers. (It's not included in this html version.)

Part II, is devoted to the Materia Medica ; the various plants are arranged alphabetically, and their Botanical characters are given with sufficient accuracy to enable the medical botanist to select and determine them when met with. The Natural and Artificial classifications of each are mentioned, together with the Vulgar names by which they are known in different sections of our country. A brief reference is likewise made to their general History, with a statement of such Chemical relations and incompatibilities, medically considered, as will be necessary for practical purposes ; and as far as known, the Therapeutic influence of each agent is fully but concisely presented. Since the introduction of our new remedies, some of which were discovered and introduced to the profession by the author, as Podophyllin, Many of our most valuable therapeutical agents have from time to time found their way into the Old School text-books without due credit having been given to their origin, thus leading many to believe that those agents were discovered and introduced to the profession by Old School physicians; when in truth they were merely transferred from the various reformed publications, to the pages of these text-hooka at different periods, as Reformers made them known. Our Podophyllin. since its value and usefulness have been demonstrated, is about to have the same course pursued with it, as various means are being adopted to bring the credit of its origin into the Old School ranks. In the new edition of Griffith's Universal Formulary, edited by Dr. Robt. P. Thomas, J. R. Lewis' method of preparing this resinoid, (a method adopted long after its discovery by the author,) is given, in which it is presented, by imputation, as a pure article; for the editor remarks—"An impure podophyllin has been prepared by W. S. Merrell, by precipitating the resin from a concentrated alcoholic tincture by the addition of water." But unfortunately for the purity and medicinal activity of Lewis' Podophyllin, it requires six grains to act as an ordinary cathartic, while that of Merrell's requires only from half a grain to a grain and a half, thus proving the latter to contain three or four times as much of the medicinal activity of the root as the former. The medical reader will, therefore, please bear in mind the difference between Eclectic Podophyllin, and that claimed by the Old School, as well as the difference in their modes of preparation. Iridin, Cimicifugin, etc., a great improvement has taken place in Eclectic treatment, and the successful results have been so well marked and undisputed as to have recently invited the investigation of the more liberal old school physicians ; and it is with no little pleasure we state, that already hundreds of them, notwithstanding arbitrary prejudices, are adopting our new remedies, and are gratified by finding them greatly superior to the agents for which they have been substituted.

Part III, is occupied principally with Eclectic Pharmacy, and those Preparations only have been described, which an enlarged and successful experience has justly entitled to the rank of officinal ; many others might have been mentioned, but further investigations are required to test their permanent utility. Indeed, the Pharmacy of Eclectic Practice may be said to be almost endless, as a vast amount of agents, both simple and compound, are in constant use, which would require a volume equal in size to the present for their thorough consideration ; and to select from these the more common and successful preparations has been a task of no ordinary labor. Our Resinoids, Oleo-resins, etc., which some might deem to be in their proper place only in this part of the work, we preferred to arrange in Part II, accompanying the history, etc., of the plants from which they are obtained. Decoctions and Infusions which are largely used in practice, have been briefly noticed, without any special list, although the general rules for their preparation are laid down ; and wherever there is a departure from these in any article required in infusion or decoction, it will be ascertained under the description of the article in Part II.

In the Appendix will be found an amount of selected matter of a valuable character, consisting of Medical Abbreviations and Latin terms ; Tables of Weights and Measures ; of Mineral Waters ; Specific Gravities ; Solubility of Salts, etc., which will be of much utility to the chemist and pharmaceutist, and which, we hope, will prove acceptable to all.

The Index has been rendered as full and complete as possible, that no difficulty may be experienced in readily finding any subject contained in the work. (It's not included in this html version.

In scientific matters, to write a purely original work is out of the question ; authors have to avail themselves of the information and discoveries promulgated by each other, and in the endeavor to present a complete practical knowledge. of medicines, we have not hesitated to consult many excellent authorities ; and though considerable information is introduced not to be had in other publications, yet the only originality claimed is the introduction of New Medicinal Plants; of Concentrated Remedies — their Preparations and uses; of valuable and Officinal Eclectic Pharmaceutic Preparations ; the selection and disposition of the matter, and the endeavor to systematically methodize the hitherto crude material floating among Eclectics, as well as to rectify the irregular classification of many valuable remedies, thus preserving for Eclecticism the proper credit for all to which it is justly entitled. And as Eclecticism has heretofore, by silence, lost much of the credit to which it was justly entitled, it is hoped that this work, by a systematic presentation of its ample and original resources, may serve to secure the honor of medical improvements to their true sources.

We acknowledge our indebtedness to the following authorities, which have been freely consulted and selected from, viz : United States Pharmacopoeia, United States Dispensatory, Christison's Materia Medica, Griffith's Medical Botany, Edwards' and Vavasseur's Materia Medica, Mitchell's Therapeutics, Dunglison's New Remedies, Barton's Collections, Eberle's Practice, Thatcher's Practice, London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, Southern Journal of Medicine and Pharmacy, Silliman's Journal, Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Dublin Journal of Medical Science, Brande's Manual of Pharmacy, Dublin Pharmacopoeia, London Dispensatory, Gray's Botany of the Northern United States, Mohr and Redwood's Pharmacy by Procter, Journal de Pharmacie, Philosophical Magazine, Pereira's Materia Medica, Medical Examiner, Chemical Gazette, Wood's Class-Book of Botany, Woodville's Medical Botany, Bigelow's Vegetable Materia Medica, American Journal of Pharmacy, American Journal of Medical Sciences, Braithwaite's Retrospect, London Lancet, Eaton's Botany, Lindley's Medical Flora and Vegetable Kingdom, Merat and De Len's Dictionnaire de Matiere Medicale, Rafinesque's Medical Flora, Smith's Botanic Physician, Howard's Botanic Practice, Western Medical Reformer, Eclectic Medical Journal, Jones and Morrow's American Eclectic Practice, Newton and Powell's Eclectic Practice, Hill's Eclectic Surgen etc etc

We are likewise under many obligations to Mr. W. S. Merrell, and Drs. F. D. Hill & Co., of Cincinnati, for several pharmaceutical communiations of a valuable character, also to Professor J. Milton Sanders for the formula of several new salts recently discovered by him, and some of which have been successfully employed as remedial agents. We likewise return our thanks to those members of the profession who have imparted to us new and useful medical information, or who have in any way contributed to aid us in the preparation of the work.

The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.