An Account of the Extraordinary Medicinal Fluid, called Aether.
Matthew Turner

An Account of the Extraordinary Medicinal Fluid, called Aether.
By Matthew Turner (d. 1788?)



Printed by J. WILKIE, at the Bible in St. Paul's Church-yard.

The Publisher of the following short Account of the AETHER having
prepared, and successfully made Use of it in his private Practice,
for several Years, has at length determin'd to endeavour to extend
it's Utility, by thus making it public; as he knows of no one who
has ever published it's _medicinal virtues_; or offered it to Sale
in it's _Perfection_; or given the Criteria by which they who are
unacquainted with it might distinguish the _Genuine_ from the
_Spurious_: And he doubts not but every candid Person who examines
it, will agree with him, That it carries with it the strongest
Marks of a valuable Addition to the _Materia Medica_, and
therefore ought to lie no longer in Obscurity.


This truly extraordinary Chemical Preparation is not a new
Discovery, having been known and esteemed, as a valuable
Curiosity, by many of the greatest Chemists and Philosophers, both
Ancient and Modern; particularly by Sir _Isaac Newton_ [Footnote:
Quere 31st, at the End of his Optics.], and the Honourable
Mr. _Boyle_ [Footnote: Treatise on the Producibleness of Chemical
Principles.], who both mention it in their Works, tho' not by this
Name: And therefore before any Thing is said of it's Virtues as a
Medicine, it may not be improper to explain the Nature of it, and
enumerate a few of it's remarkable Properties, considered as a
Curiosity in Chemistry, in which Light chiefly it has hitherto
been view'd by those who have been acquainted with it.

It is a kind of ETHEREAL OIL, produced by the Decomposition of the
Vinous Spirit by Means of the Vitriolic Acid, and differs
essentially both from Vinous Spirits and Essential Oils in several
Respects, tho' it agrees with them in some, as will appear
hereafter: But as the Vinous Spirit may be decomposed by means of
all the three Mineral Acids, _viz._ the _Vitriolic_, the _Nitrous_
and the _Marine_, and as these all act differently on the Spirit,
they will, of Course, produce three different Kinds of AETHER,
which, from the Name, of the Acid employ'd in making them, are
term'd _Marine, Nitrous_, or _Vitriolic_: the last only is the
Kind here understood, it's Properties being more singular and
extraordinary, and, as an AETHER, more perfect than either of the
others; the Reason of which seems to be, that the _Vitriolic Acid_
is a much stronger Agent on the Spirit, and more perfectly
decomposes it, than either the _Nitrous_ or _Marine_.

It is the most light, most volatile, and most inflammable, of all
known Liquids: It swims upon the highest rectified Spirit of Wine
as Oil does upon Water, and flies away so quickly as hardly to wet
a Hand it is dropped upon; from which Properties it probably has
obtained it's Name. It is so readily inflammable, as to take Fire
at the approach of a Candle, before the Flame touches it. Any
Electrified Body will also produce the same Effect.

It is one of the most powerful Solvents known in Chemistry: It is
neither _acid_ nor _alcaline_, and therefore is perfectly free
from that saline Acrimony with which all the common Volatile
Spirits abound: It has a greater Affinity with Gold than _Aqua
Regia_ has, altho' it will not dissolve it in the Mass, or whilst
in it's Metallic Form; but if you add AETHER to a solution of Gold
in Aqua Regia, it presently takes all the Gold from it's former
Solvent, keeping it perfectly dissolved and suspended, without the
least Precipitation; and becomes of a yellow Colour: The AETHER,
thus saturated with the Gold, does not mix with the Aqua Regia,
but may readily be separated from it by simple Decantation, and
thus a true and safe _Aurum potabile_ is readily prepared for
those who want such a Medicine. The Union of these two Substances
is very remarkable, one being the heaviest solid Body we know, the
other the lightest Liquid.

The AETHER is remarkably cold, when dropped upon the Hand, and it
affects the thermometer in an extraordinary Manner; for if the
Ball of either a Mercurial or Spirituous Thermometer be immersed
in it, the Spirit or Mercury immediately sinks considerably, tho'
both the AETHER and the Thermometer have stood a sufficient Time
together to be brought to the temperature of the Room, before the
Experiment was made. The Thermometers dipt into Water, or Spirit
of Wine, in the same Manner, suffer not the least Alteration.

They who chuse to see a further Account of the singular Effects
which this curious Fluid produces, may peruse what Doctor
_Frobenius_, a _German_ Chemist, has published concerning it, in
the Philosophic Transactions for the Years 1733 and 1741.

But the most valuable Qualities of the AETHER are it's _medicinal_
ones; it having been found by repeated Experience to be an
excellent Remedy in most _nervous Diseases_; particularly in FITS
of all sorts, whether _Epileptic, Convulsive, Hysteric,
Hypochondriac, or Paralytic_: In habitual HEAD-ACHES, GOUT,
DEAFNESS, all which Diseases have, in a singular Manner, been
removed by it; and that the Publisher may contribute all the
Assistance he can in extending the use of this Medicine, the
following Methods of applying, it are given, which have been
attended with Success.

_Particular Directions for using the_ AETHER.

In the HEAD-ACH.

A fit of the Head-ach is almost instantly removed by applying the
AETHER externally to the Forehead, by means of a bit of Linen Rag,
in the Manner hereafter directed for it's external Application. Or
it may be applied to any other Part of the Head where the Pain
lies, being first shaved, if necessary. If the Pain is violent, a
Dose of it should be also taken inwardly. In stubborn Cases it
will likewise be serviceable to snuff a little of the AETHER up
the Nostrils, either alone or mixed with equal Parts of Lavender
Water, _Hungary_ Water, or Brandy; or it may be more convenient to
apply a bit of Linen Rag, wetted with AETHER, up the Nostrils. Any
of these Means, or all of them, must be repeated if the Pain is so
urgent as to require it. To cure this Disorder radically, when it
is of long standing, and to prevent it's Return, the Medicine must
be taken inwardly for a considerable Time every Night at Bed-time,
or in violent Cases, every Night and Morning in a small Draught of
cold Water, according to the General Direction for taking it
inwardly, given p. 11. In some particular Cases, Vomits are very


A Vertigo, Giddiness, or Swimming in the Head, will generally be
removed by proceeding in the same Manner as for the Head-ach.


No Disease is more difficult to cure than the Epilepsy or Falling-
Sickness; yet several Instances have occurred where the most
violent Degrees of it, have been cured, even in grown Persons, by
taking a Dose of this Medicine regularly every Night and Morning
for a considerable Time. The Dose must be regulated according to
the Age of the Patient, as mentioned in the General Direction,
Page 11. If a Pain is felt in any Part of the Head, the AETHER
must be applied to that Part occasionally, and it must be
previously shaved, if necessary. It will be proper to give a small
Dose of _Tinctura Sacra_, or of the _Pill. Rufi_, at proper
Intervals, as once a Week or Fortnight. It will also, in most
Cases, be necessary to give now and then a Vomit. If it be
suspected that the Patient has Worms, proper Medicines to destroy
them ought also to be given.


In Convulsions, or Convulsive Disorders, give the AETHER inwardly,
a Dose two three Times a Day, or oftener, according to the
exigence of the Case; and it should also be applied externally to
the Forehead, or any other Part of the Head, during the Fit. If
the Patient is full of blood, bleeding is necessary, and if
Costive, a Dose of _Manna, Senna,_ or any gentle Laxative, or a
Clyster, should be given.

Hysteric and Hypochondriac DISORDERS.

This Medicine has excellent Effect in _Hysteric Fits_, and in all
that Train of Symptoms which Hysteric and Hypochondriac Persons
are subject to; such as Risings in the Throat threatning
Suffocation, difficult Breathing, Flutterings and Palpitations of
the Heart, frequent Fainting, Lowness of Spirits, violent Pains in
the Head, Languor of the whole Body, Dullness of the Mind and
Senses, with constant Anxieties and Inquietude, &c. The Dose must
be repeated according to the urgency of the Symptoms; and the
Medicine must be continued some Time after the Complaints
disappear, to prevent a Relapse. It will be serviceable during the
Use of the AETHER, especially in Case of Costiveness, to take at
proper Intervals a gentle Purge, such as _Tinctura Sacra, Pill
Rufi, Rhubarb,_ or _Glauber's Salts_. Bodily Exercise of all sorts
contributes greatly to the Cure of these Complaints, especially
Riding on Horseback.


In _Palsies_, and all Paralytic Complaints, the Patient, if a
grown Person, must take the quantity of a Tea Spoonful of the
AETHER every Night and Morning. The Dose must be lessened in young
People, according to their Age. It will also be proper to snuff a
little of it up the Nostrils once or twice a Day, or apply a bit
of Rag wetted with it up the Nostrils. The AETHER must also be
applied externally to the Part affected, at least once every Day.
It should likewise be applied now and then to the Forehead, or any
other part of the Head, especially if the Tongue, Eyes, or any
part of the Face or Head be affected. If the Arms or Hands are
Paralytic, the Application should be made to the lower and back
Part of the Neck, as well as to the Part affected. If the Disease
has seiz'd the Thighs, Legs, or Feet, the Application must not
only be made to them, but likewise to the Back Bone, at the Loins.
As this Medicine cannot, on account of it's Volatility and
Pungency, be properly applied to the Whole, of a Paralytic Limb at
once, but only to a small Part of it, the Application therefore
may be made sometimes to one Part, and sometimes to another, as
shall be thought proper.

This Disease will require a longer or shorter Continuance of these
Means, according to the Degree of it, and the Time it has
continued. A Vomit should be given, and repeated now and then as
the Patient can bear it; but if Vomits seem too fatiguing, a Dose
of _Tinctura Sacra_ may be given in their room. Paralytic Patients
should use as much Bodily Exercise as possible, and the Head,
Neck, and the whole Spine, as well as the Parts affected, should
be frequently rubbed with a hot and dry Cloth till they appear


This Medicine is of singular Service in the _Gout_, not only while
it continues in the Limbs, but particularly when it flies inwards,
and attacks the Head, Stomach, or any of the internal Parts; in
which Cases a few Doses will not fail to give present Relief. It
should be taken in the Quantity of a Tea Spoonful, two or three
Times every Day, or oftener, if the Case be violent, during the
Gouty Fit. It carries off the Gouty Matter, by Urine, which it
renders very thick and turbid. At any Time when there is a
Necessity to abate the excessive Pain in the Part affected, the
AETHER may be applied to it externally, according to the Method
given p. 12. It will be proper to continue taking the AETHER once
or twice a Day for some Time after the Fit is gone, and to begin
taking it again about the Time of it's expected Return; by which
Means, tho' it may not prevent the Return of the Fit, which in
many Cases perhaps ought not to be desired, yet it will shorten,
it's Continuance, and moderate the Pain of it.


In Rheumatic Complaints the Patient must take a Dose of this
Medicine every Night and Morning, or oftener, if the Pains are
violent; and it must be continued till the Disease is removed, or
longer, to prevent a Relapse. If the Pain is fixed in any
particular Part, the AETHER must be applied to it twice a Day, as
directed hereafter. It must be observed, that Bleeding very much
conduces to the Cure of obstinate Chronic Rheumatisms, must be
repeated at proper intervals if necessary; the Blood in this
Disease being generally very sizy.

_Disorders of the_ Stomach _and_ Intestines.

This Medicine presently cures Flatulent Cholics, removes all
Windy Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines, and corrects
Acidities lodged there. It is also found to have excellent Effect
in correcting that Weakness, or bad Habit of the Stomach and
Intestines, which studious Persons, and such as lead sedentary
Lives, are particularly subject to, and is attended with sour
Belchings, Heart-Burn, Windy Distensions, Pain and Uneasiness in
the Stomach and Bowels. It must be taken every Night and Morning,
according to the General Direction below. Care should be taken to
prevent Costiveness in these Cases, which, is best removed by
chewing _Rhubarb_, or taking it any other way, or by a Dose of
_Manna_, or _Glauber's Salts_, taken occasionally.

The AETHER is an extraordinary Diuretic in DROPSIES: It is an
excellent Medicine in an ASTHMA, and the HICCUP; and may be looked
upon as a Specific in that Disease of Children called the HOOPING-
COUGH, or CHIN-COUGH; in all which Cases it must be taken
inwardly, according to the General Direction below, and the
repetition of the Dose must be regulated by the violence of the

A Dose of it taken at going to Bed after Drinking too freely, has
been found to prevent the Head-Ach, Sickness, &c, which usually
follow next Morning.

It has removed DEAFNESS, and Hardness of Hearing, by Moistening a
little Cotton with a few Drops of it, putting it into the Ear, and
holding the Finger for a few Minutes over it, at the same time
snuffing a few Drops of it, mixed with Spirit of Lavender, up the
Nostrils, or putting a bit of Rag wet with the AETHER, up the Nostrils.

It has frequently removed a temporary DIMNESS OF SIGHT, attended
with a Swimming or Uneasiness in the Head, by external Application
to the Forehead; and is a promising Medicine in that Sort of
Blindness called a GUTTA SERENA, and in Beginning CATARACTS, in
which Cases it should be taken inwardly, as well as applied to the
Forehead, and up the Nostrils.

It is likewise found to, be of great service in removing PLEURITIC
PAINS, and STITCHES in the Side, by applying it to the affected
Part, in the Manner directed for external Application.

_The Method of taking the AETHER Inwardly._

The General Dose for a grown Person is a common Tea Spoonful; and
the best Vehicle to take it in is a Draught of Cold Water. If it
be only stirred, in the Water with the Spoon, and the Mixture
drank immediately it strikes the Nostrils by it's Volatility, but
may be thought by some as agreeable when so taken as when the two
Liquors, are more intimately mixed, by shaking them in a Phial,
and from thence pouring them into a Glass to be drank; for tho' it
has but little Smell in this Manner, it is more warm to the Palate
than in the other. The Patient may use, the Way of Mixing he likes
best, and if he has any Objection to Water, may take it in any
other agreeable cold Liquor. Children in the Month may take two or
three Drops for a Dose; those of a Year old may take seven or
eight Drops; those of five or six Years old may take from twenty
to twenty-five Drops, and so encreasing according to their Years:
Or it may perhaps be better, in giving it to Children, to mix a
Tea Spoonful of AETHER, with a convenient Quantity of Water, and,
shaking it well, give at a Dose about one twentieth Part of this
Mixture to a Child a Month old; about one eighth Part to a Child
twelve or fourteen Months old; to those about five Years old one
third Part of the Mixture; half of the Mixture to those about
seven Years old, and two thirds of it to those about fourteen
Years old.

_The Method of applying the AETHER Externally._

To apply it Externally, you must procure a Bit of Linen Rag, of
such a Dimension as to be conveniently covered by the Palm of the
Hand; moisten this Rag with a little of the AETHER as it lies upon
your Palm, and instantly apply it to the Part affected, pressing
it very close, so as to prevent the Escape of it's Fumes, for two
or three Minutes, in which Time the Rag will be found dry, and may
be taken away. It will be more convenient, on some Occasions, (as
in applying it to Paralytic Parts, Rheumatic Pains, and the Gout,)
to place the Rag upon a Piece of a soft, thin Bladder and, when
moisten'd with the AETHER, to bind it gently upon the Part. A
slight Redness usually appears upon the Part after the Application,
but it quickly vanishes; but it may sometimes happen, where the
Skin is very tender and too much AETHER has been applied to the
Forehead, or within the Ears, that it may affect the Skin more
than the Patient chooses; which is avoided by applying a less
Quantity for the future. This is the Secret of a present famous
Practitioner, who having a Method sometimes of concealing his
Application, is said to, cure the Head-ach, fixed Rheumatic Pains,
&c. by the Touch of his Hand.

It is very easy to conceive, from the extreme Subtlety of this
Medicine, that it must produce many excellent Effects in such
Diseases as those above mentioned, as it is converted into Vapour
by a much less Heat than the common Animal One; so that being
swallowed, it can hardly subsist in any Part of the human Body
under any Form but that of an extremely penetrating volatiliz'd
Vapour; and it is perceptible by it's Smell, as it passes thro'
the Pores of the Skin, several Hours, after taking; so that it's
stay in the Body is longer, and, it's Effects there more durable,
than might be expected from such a subtle Substance.

Notwithstanding the extreme Subtlety of the AETHER, it is
perfectly innocent and safe to take, as it contains nothing that
is acrimonious or corrosive; so that it may be given even to the
youngest Children without Hesitation. It neither purges nor
vomits; nor does it encrease any of the sensible Evacuations,
except that of Urine, and sometimes that of Sweat, if taken when
in Bed; but as it is so distinctly perceived by the smell passing
thro' the cutaneous Pores of those who take it, it is probable
that it encreases insensible Perspiration. Another observable
Property in this Medicine is, that it does not coagulate or
thicken the Serum of the Blood, but thins it; and therefore has
direct contrary Effects to all the common Spirituous Compositions,
when either taken inwardly, or externally applied, and is
essentially different from the most subtiliz'd Vinous Spirits; for
tho' Spirit of Wine is used in making it, yet it is so far
decomposed by the Process, that it's Nature is entirely changed.
In consequence of this Quality in the AETHER, the Publisher has
successfully dissolved some particular obstinate Tumours, by
applying it to them, when other Means have failed.----This Hint He
hopes will not pass unnoticed by the Gentlemen of the Faculty, as
it is evident no Application whatever can equal it in Subtlety and
Dissolving Power.

The Medicine so much celebrated in _Germany_, and so frequently
commended and used in Practice by the late famous Professor
_Hoffman_, under the Title of his _Liquor Mineralis Anodynus_, was
nearly of the same Nature with the AETHER, but not so powerful,
nor so highly subtilized.

Repeated Experience has confirmed the Efficacy of this Medicine in
all the Diseases before mentioned; and from the Consideration of
it's uncommon Qualities, it may be presumed to be an excellent
Remedy in many others, if judiciously given: Hence it seems
surprising that so valuable an Addition, to the _Materia Medica_
as the AETHER doubtless is, should have been so much neglected, or
so little known; but the Reasons are, that the Process whereby it
was made was kept secret by some who rated the Preparation at a
very extravagant Price, and not sufficiently attended to by
others, who consider'd it only as a Chemical Curiosity, not as a
Medicine. The chief Merit the Publisher of this Account pretends
to, is, _the ascertaining the Medicinal Virtues of this curious
Preparation_, by several Years Experience, and making them more
publickly known; _the reducing it's Price_, which has hitherto
been so extravagant that had it's Virtues and Properties been
known, only a small number of the afflicted could have enjoy'd the
Benefit of it; and, _the bringing it to a greater Degree of
Perfection than any hitherto sold_; what he offers being a
perfectly rectified Vitriolic AETHER.

It may not be improper to give the Marks by which good AETHER may
be known. It is perfectly colourless, except it has receiv'd some
accidental Tinge from the Cork of the Phial in which it has been
kept; and so volatile as to strike the Nose very powerfully. It's
Smell is more or less sulphureous, according to the management of
some Part of the Process. Wetting the Finger with it, or dropping
a little upon the Hand, it vanishes instantly, and leaves no
Moisture behind; so that the Part scarcely seems to have been wet.
Half a Dozen Drops, dropped together upon a Table will disappear
in a few Seconds of a Minute, and leave only the Appearance of a
large oily Ring behind; but if it leaves the least Watery or
Spirituous Moisture, or does not evaporate in much less than a
Minute, it is not good. The best AETHER will dissolve in, or mix
with, a certain Quantity of Water; and that is the best which
requires the largest Quantity of Water to dissolve it: If,
therefore, to fix Tea Spoonsful of Water in a small Phial, you add
one of the AETHER to be examined, cork up the Phial, and shake
them very well together, and upon standing a little while some
part of the AETHER appears at Top, in form of Oil, sufficient to
cover the surface of the Mixture, it may be pronounced good
(provided it also answers, in the other Methods of Trial) and the
more appears the better is the AETHER; but if none appears, or not
enough to cover the surface of the Mixture, it was either
adulterated, or not well rectified. If to this Mixture of AETHER
and Water you add a little _Salt of Tartar_, and any Fermentation
ensues, the AETHER was not well rectified. Upon shaking briskly a
Phial containing AETHER, if the Bubbles, or Proof as they are
usually called, do not disappear in less Time, and in larger
Bubbles, than any other Liquor, (the Vinous Alcohol perhaps
excepted) 'tis not Genuine.

It is the more necessary to observe these Rules of proving the
Quality of the AETHER, as the imperfect Sorts have been found to
disagree with the Stomach, and produce other bad Effects, besides
disappointing the Patient's Expectation. The AETHER that has the
foremention'd Properties, (for there are Preparations sold by the
same name, which are very imperfect Imitations of it) is made and
sold by M. TURNER, Surgeon, in _Liverpool_. The Ounce Phial _two
Shillings_; the Half Ounce _one Shilling_. The Phials are square;
the Word AETHER, inscribed on one Side, and M. TURNER on the
opposite, and sealed with a Lion gardant, &c. Proper Abatement
will be made to Druggists, Apothecaries, or the Gentlemen of the
Faculty who use any considerable Quantity. To prevent it's escape
and loss, a small Quantity of Water is put into each Phial, which
should be kept with the Cork downwards, by which Means the AETHER
is prevented, by the interposition of the Water, from evaporating.

The Publisher has also appointed it to be sold by Mr. _R. Board_,
Chemist and Druggist, in _Grace-church-street_; and Mr. _J. Wilkie_,
Bookseller, at the Bible in St. _Paul's_ Churchyard, LONDON:
and Mr. _Peter Wilson_, Bookseller, in _Dame-street_, DUBLIN.


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