Agents Acting on the Generative Apparatus.

Aphrodisiacs, (Afrodith , Venus),—are agents which stimulate the sexual appetite and function, by direct or reflex action on the genital centres in the brain and spinal cord. Such are Nux Vomica, Cannabis, Cantharis, Phosphorus, Aurum, Alcohol, Opium (at first) , Camphor (at first) , Ergot, Iron, Bitter Tonics, and Meat Diet,—the last three being indirectly aphrodisiac, as are all measures which promote the general nutrition of the body.

Anaphrodisiacs,—diminish the sexual appetite and lower its functional power, either by depressing the special nervous apparatus or by decreasing the local circulation. The chief anaphrodisiacs are—Tobacco, Cocaine, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Lupulin, Camphor (at last) , Opium (at last), Bromides, Iodides, all Nauseants, Purgation, Cold locally, Vegetable Diet. A drop of a 4 per cent. solution of Cocaine upon the glans penis will destroy all erection-power for a quarter to half an hour.

Emmenagogues, (emmhnia , the menses, agw , I move),—are measures and remedies which restore the menstrual function. They may be divided into—

Direct Emmenagogues,—which stimulate the uterine muscular fibre, and are Ecbolic in large doses; as Ergot, Rue, Savine, Apiol, Borax, Petroselinum, Quinine, Pulsatilla, Myrrh, Cantharis, Potassium Permanganate, Oxalic Acid, Indigo, etc.
Indirect Emmenagogues,—which act by improving the blood and toning up the nervous system; among which are Iron, Manganese, Mercuric Iodide, Strychnine, Cinnamon, Aloetic purgatives, Cod-liver Oil, Hot Hip baths, Leeching the genitals, Rubefacients to the thighs, Tonic remedies, etc.

Oxytocics or Ecbolics, (oxuV , quick, tokoV , childbirth; ekbolh , abortion),—are agents which produce abortion, by stimulating the gravid uterus to contract upon its contents, perhaps by direct irritation of the uterine centre in the cord. The chief oxytocics are Ergot, Ustilago, Savine, Quinine, Borax, Cotton root Bark, Oil of Rue, Pilocarpine, Viscum flavescens, etc.,—but any violent purgative, or gastro-intestinal irritant, may produce abortion by reflex action.

It is in this way that all the Volatile Oils act as abortifacients, also Tansy, Colocynth, Pennyroyal, and many other drugs used by women for that purpose; all of which are dangerous to the woman's life, in doses large enough to excite uterine action. As for the physician who should prescribe such agents for the purpose indicated, he would stand on a par within a drunken husband who kicks his pregnant wife in the abdomen. Both operators initiate uterine contractions in the same manner, namely—by reflex action from a powerful impression upon the woman's system, made in the one case, by an irritant boot with a brute behind it—in the other case by an irritant drug with either a scoundrel or a fool behind it.

Uterine Depressants,—lower the activity of the nervo-muscular apparatus controlling uterine contraction. The chief members of this group are: Opium, Cannabis, Bromides, Chloral, Chloroform, Tartar Emetic, Tobacco, Copper Sulphate, and all Emetics,—also Viburnum prunifolium, Piscidia erythrina, etc.

Uterine Tonics and Alteratives,—are remedies which are considered to have these actions upon the nutrition and functions of the uterus; concerning which there is much variance of opinion among authorities. The following list, however, contains those which are generally acknowledged to have considerable value in uterine therapeutics, viz.:—

Uterine Tonics. Uterine Alteratives.
Potassium Bromide. Pulsatilla. Iodine. Iodoform.
Potassium Chlorate. Cimicifuga. Iodized Phenol, (Carbolated Iodine).
Helonias dioica. Savine. Glycerin. Hydrastis.
Iodine, and Astringents, (locally). Silver Nitrate. Galvanism.
Viburnum Opulus, and V. Prunifolium.

Galactagogues, (gala , milk, agw , I bring away),—are medicines which are supposed to increase the lacteal secretion. The value of many of these is very doubtful, probably the most efficient being Pilocarpus (Jaborandi). Others are, the leaves of the Castor-oil plant, (Ricinus communis) locally, Black Tea, Anise, Fennel, and Potassium Chlorate. Milk, Beer or Porter, as beverages, are thought to help the secretion. Anaemia must be corrected, sore nipples attended to, good food supplied, and tonics if needed.

Galactophyga, (feugv , I shun),—are remedies which arrest the secretion of milk. The most efficient is Belladonna or its alkaloid Atropine, locally and internally. Others are Potassium Iodide, Colchicum with Magnesium Sulphate, Camphor, Tobacco, Sage, Quinine, Tannin, etc.

A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.