Other tomes: BPC

SYNONYM: Poultices.

Cataplasms, ordinarily called "poultices," are preparations designed to be applied externally for the purpose of producing relaxation, holding moisture, and allaying pain and inflammation. They are usually composed of substances capable of absorbing considerable fluid, and are applied either cold or warm, in a moist state. They should not be made so thin as to flow over the parts adjacent to their application, nor so thick as to become dry too rapidly; neither should they be composed of substances which stick too tenaciously to the skin and are not readily removed by water; nor of hard bodies. They should always be removed without being permitted to dry. Owing to the affections for which they are applied, and their influence upon these, they have received the several names of emollient, discutient, refrigerant, stimulating, etc. When applied to ulcers, tender and irritable parts, etc., it is customary to cover their surfaces with a little olive oil, in order to prevent adhesion to such parts. Poultices are commonly prepared by nurses, but physicians and druggists should be acquainted with their method of preparation.

Spongio-piline is sometimes applied to parts to absorb excessive moisture, or to prevent evaporation. It is a thick cloth composed principally of sponge, one side of which is applied to the skin in a wet or dry state, according to the action required; the other side being coated with some water-proof varnish, or with rubber. It may likewise be used to apply moisture to a part or maybe saturated with medicated solutions and applied to the affected part.

King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.