Stimulants and Sedatives.

Stimulant, (Stimulus, a goad),—is a term which is used in various senses when applied to medicinal agents. It is properly employed when used to designate the action of any agent which increases the organic activity of any part of the organism. Alcoholic preparations are commonly termed "stimulants," though their action is that of a true narcotic. Diffusible Stimulants are those which have a prompt but transient effect, as Alcohol, Ammonia, Camphor, Ether, etc . Spinal Stimulants exalt the functions of the spinal cord, as Strychnine. Cerebral Stimulants those of the brain, as Opium. We also have Cardiac, Vaso-motor, Renal, Stomachic, Hepatic, Intestinal, and Cutaneous Stimulants, and many others, according to the special seat of the action in each case.

Sedatives, (Sedo, I allay),—are agents which lessen the functional activity of organs, lower motility and diminish pain, and so exert a soothing influence on the system. So we have General Sedatives, which include the narcotics, and anaesthetics,—the Local Sedatives, which affect a part only,—also Pulmonary, Spinal, Nervous, Vascular, Cardiac Sedatives, etc., all of which will be indicated under their appropriate titles.

All the groups which follow are merely local applications of the two foregoing grand divisions.

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