BITTERS, the name given to aromatized (generally alcoholic) beverages containing a bitter substance or substances, used as tonics, appetizers or digestives.
Many species had a great repute as demulcents, febrifuges, astringents, tonics, purgatives and anthelmintics.
White Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier county, impregnated with sulphur, with therapeutic application in jaundice, dyspepsia, &c.; Alleghany Springs, in Montgomery (disambiguation)|Montgomery county, calcareous and earthy, purgative and diuretic; Rawley Springs in Rockingham county, Sweet Chalybeate Springs in Alleghany county, and Rockbridge Alum Springs in Rockbridge county, classed as iron springs and reputed of value as tonics, and the thermal springs, Healing Springs (88° F.) and Hot Springs (Iio F.), both in Bath (disambiguation)|Bath county are noted medicinal springs.
When the secretion of gastric juice is deficient it may be excited by gastric tonics, such as ten grains of bicarbonate of soda and a drachm of compound tincture of gentian in water shortly before meals, and may be supplemented by the administration of pepsin and hydrochloric acid after meals.
When the nervous system is below par, and both secretion and movements are deficient in the stomach, nervine tonics, such as nux vomica or strychnine, are most useful.
Tonics are drugs which increase the muscular tone of the body by acting either on the stomach, heart, spinal cord, &c.