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Alteratives, Carminatives, and Dormitives

E. P. Scarlett, MB
Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(3):455-459. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870030135025.
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These columns are addressed to internists, and, therefore, to be wholly in character and to preserve professional memories, they should at least give some semblance of recognizing the vernacular. So on this occasion we lead off in good traditional pharmacologic style, appealing nostalgically to clinicians of every vintage. Our portmanteau title speaks for itself. An alterative restores healthy function and balance; a carminative relieves flatus; a dormitive (a word first used by Sir Thomas Browne in his Religio) induces peaceful slumber. These are all states of body and mind badly needed by modern man. Characterized in another and less medicated fashion, this collection of fugitive bits is what the French in their inimitable way call "un coq-à-l'âne," a conversation shifting from subject to subject without any particular connection (just who the rooster and who the donkey in this exchange is not apparent).

"Torticollic" Book Titles.  —During the past year (April


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