The elements of materia medica and therapeutics: Terrae Aluminosae.

The elements of materia medica and therapeutics
by Jonathan Pereira, M.D. F.R.S. & L.S.
Fourth Edition, enlarged and improved, including notices of themost of the medicinal substances in use in the civilized world, and forming an Encyclopædia of Materia Medica.
Vol. I.
London: printed for Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Paternoster Row.


1 Pharmacologia, 3tia cd. 1837.

2 Jameson's Mineralogy, vol. i. p. 408, 2d edit. 1816.
From the most ancient times various aluminous earths have been employed in medicine. They consist chiefly of silica and alumina, usually more or less coloured by iron; their medicinal properties being for the most part due to alumina. They were employed principally as astringents in alvine fluxes. Dale1 has given a very complete notice of them. He arranges them under two heads, boles (boli) and clays (argillae). The marls (margae vel lutrae) are intermediate between clay and chalk.

The only substances of this kind now professed to be kept in the shops is red Armenian bole (bolus armena rubra) or, as it is commonly called, bole armeniack. It is found in Armenia (whence its name), as well as in various parts of Europe. According to Bergmann, it consists of silica 47, alumina 19, magnesia 6.2, lime 5.4, iron 5.4, and water 7.5. But the substance usually sold as red Armenian bole is an artificial mixture prepared by grinding together, in a mill, pipe clay and Venetian red (red oxide of iron), and afterwards levigating the mixture. Its principal use is as a tooth-powder.

Lemnian earth, or the earth of Lemnos (terra Lemnia) is dug up at Lemnos once a year (on the 15th of August), in the presence of the clergy and magistrates of the island, after the reading of prayers2 It is formed into flat cylindrical discs, which are stamped and sold as sealed earth or terra sigillata. According to Klaproth, it consists of silica 66, alumina 14.5, magnesia 0.25, lime 0.25, natron 3.5, oxide of iron 6, and mater 8.5. Galen went to Lemnos on purpose to examine this earth.

Fuller's earth (smectis vel terra fullonica; the creta cimolia of Pliny) is dug in Buckinghamshire, Surrey, and Hampshire. According to Klaproth, that obtained at Reigate consists of silica 5.3, alumina 10, magnesia 1.25, lime 0.50, common salt 0.10, potash a trace, oxide of iron 9.75, and water 24. It is desiccant and astringent. Nurses some times apply it to surfaces irritated by acrid discharges, urine, &c.

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