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May 1, 1886


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1886;VI(18):482-483. doi:10.1001/jama.1886.04250050006003

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The earliest of medical writers knew of the antiseptic qualities of boric acid, and its healing and purifying properties have been recognized for centuries. It has been recommended for use in solution, in powder and in ointment for the treatment of wounds, burns, and sores of all kinds, and yet when the dangerous properties of carbolic acid, iodoform, and the bichloride solution had been proved over and over again, and no satisfactory substitute discovered, borax still remained in great obscurity. Although its value was known so well, yet it was not considered worthy of rank as an antiseptic, and few believed that it posessed germicide properties.

The writer first became interested in the subject of antiseptics while attending the surgical clinics of Prof. Lister, in Edinburgh, in 1870, and subsequently in the Continental hospitals opportunities were afforded for witnessing the effects of carbolic acid, salicylic acid, iodoform, bichloride solution, etc.

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