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An inaugural dissertation on opium: submitted to the examination of John Ewing, S.T.P. provost; and to the trustees and medical professors of the University of Pennsylvania; for the degree of Doctor of Medicine: on the second day of May, A.D. 1792.

Seaman describes opium’s effect on the body, which he discovered through experiments he conducted. He discusses the discovery that opium works primarily on the nervous system, that it exacerbates pain and illness in some cases and relieves it in others, that it doesn’t cause drowsiness but may make conditions ideal for falling asleep, that it slows vital functions like digestion, respiration, and circulation, etc. In the late 18th century, the use of opium in medical care increased, and by the middle of the next century, physicians were prescribing it widely, starting and fueling many addictions.

Picture of title page
  • Author/Artist:

    Seaman, Valentine (1770-1817)
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