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August 1929


Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology and Syphilology, and of Pharmacology of Western Reserve University, with the collaboration of the Cleveland City Hospital and Lakeside Hospital.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1929;20(2):176-183. doi:10.1001/archderm.1929.01440020028005

Étienne François Geoffroy, a Paris physician famous during the first third of the eighteenth century, in his "Tractatus de Materia Medica"1 gave an interesting description of the method of mercurial inunction employed at that time, which differs especially in dosage from the present method. The patient was seated near a fire, and the parts to be anointed were rubbed until they became red and hot; the parts were then rubbed with the mercury ointment, the patient being removed a little farther away from the fire, so that the ointment would not become too much softened. On one day, the feet, knees and thighs were rubbed; on alternate days, the nates, wrists, arms and forearms. The inunctions were repeated daily or on alternate days, according to the constitution of the patient, until an abundant flow of saliva appeared. This method is not much different from the present practice. At this

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