CHAP. 41. (8.)—HYDRARGYROS. REMEDIES DERIVED FROM MINIUM.
Human industry has also discovered a method of extracting
from the inferior minium, a substitute for quick-silver,
the further mention of which was deferred, a few pages
to the present occasion. There are two methods of
preparing this substance; either by pounding minium and
vinegar with a brazen pestle and mortar, or else by putting
minium into flat earthen pans, covered with a lid, and then
enclosed in an iron seething-pot well luted with potter's clay.
A fire is then lighted under the pans, and the flame kept continually
burning by the aid of the bellows; which done, the
steam is carefully removed, that is found adhering to the lid,
being like silver in colour, and similar to water in its fluidity.
This liquid, too, is easily made to separate in globules, which,
from their fluid nature, readily unite.3
As it is a fact generally admitted, that minium is a poison,4
I look upon all the recipes given as highly dangerous which
recommend its employment for medicinal purposes; with the
exception, perhaps, of those cases in which it is applied to the
head or abdomen, for the purpose of arresting hæmorrhage,
due care being taken that it is not allowed to penetrate to the
viscera, or to touch any sore. Beyond such cases as these, for
my own part, I should never recommend it to be used in