June 17th, 2008

Party Guy

Belated Birthdays!

Happy belated birthdays to blackfeather and indigoangelcat! For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

errhine


A medicine which when applied to the mucous membrane of the nose increases the natural secretions and produces sneezing. Having the action of an errhine.
—Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 1897


Feast Day of St. Herve,


a patron of allergy-sufferers. Errhine described liquefied medications that were steeped into plugs of "lint" before nasal insertion, as well as those "snoached," or inhaled dry, or sometimes blown into the nose by a doctor using a quill or pipe, to increase secretions. Another practitioner employing errhines was the midwife, who induced sneezing during childbirth as a technique to facilitate a pushing action in the mother. During the nineteenth century, "nasal douches" composed of various ingredients were used as a remedy for colds and influenza, as well as their prevention, just as Nicholas Culpepper's The English Physitian (1653) had recommended two centuries earlier for more general purposes: "Snuff up the juice of red beet-root; it will cleanse not only the nose, but also the head. This is a singular remedy for such as are troubled with hard congealed stuff in their nostrils."

Thar she blows!

-The Gneech