From Cumsalisgrano's annotation of 18 July 2007 here:
1. a. A term applied originally (as in Gr. and Lat.) to the semifluid resin of the terebinth tree, Pistacia Terebinthus (Chian or Cyprian turpentine); now chiefly to the various oleoresins which exude from coniferous trees, consisting of more or less viscid solutions of resin in a volatile oil.
Turpentine:[turpin] from pine trees: verb to rub:
Pliny : in Syria they used to pluck the barke from the Terebinthe tree.[C10H16 now good for cleaning lead based paints from brushes]
1660 BOYLE New Exp. Phys. Mech. xxiv. 188 Common Oyl or Spirit (for in the Shops..the same Liquor is promiscuously call'd by either name) of Turpentine.
1728 CHAMBERS Cycl. s.v. Turpentine, What is commonly sold under the name of Oil of Turpentine, or Etherial Oil, is only a Distillation of the Rosin called Galipot, fresh from the Tree.
1799 Wilmington (N. Carolina) Gaz. 12 Dec. 2/1 Will be sold..at Public Sale... Two *turpentine stills.
1935 Z. N. HURSTON Mules & Men I. iv. 86 One woman had killed five [men] when I left that turpentine still where she lived.
Containing turpentine; having the smell or other properties of turpentine; smeared with turpentine.
1. A cathartic drug prepared from the root of East Indian jalap, Ipoma Turpethum, an Indian and Australian plant; also, the plant itself, or its root.
1658 PHILLIPS, Turbith,..a red Mineral, which being beaten to powder, is used in physick.
1675 Phil. Trans. X. 299 Mercury..having been..reduced into water, turbith and ashes.
1735 Dict. Polygraph. I. Sij, The best wood for this purpose,..provided it be not turpentiny.
1866 Treas. Bot. 718/2 Manna of Briançon, a turpentiny saccharine exudation from the larch.
Cumsalisgrano • Link
The Navy wanted Turpentine too, besides Culpepper Adicts.
The forest also provided tar, pitch and turpentine (a.k.a., naval stores) essential to the Royal Navy to maintain its ships.
Government and virtues. Jupiter owns this tree. The leaves and tops of both sorts are used in diet-drinks for the scurvy, for which they are highly commended by the inhabitants of the northern countries. It is said a good quantity of them are put into Brunswick mum. From this tree, of which there grow great numbers in several parts of Germany, is gotten the Strasburg turpentine, which is clearer, of a pale colour, and of a thinner consistence than Venice turpentine, of a bitterish taste, and of a pleasant smell, a little like lemon-peel. It is of a mollifying, healing, and cleansing nature; and, besides its uses outwardly in wounds and ulcers, is a good diuretic, and of great use in a gonorrhoeœa and the fluor albus; given in glysters, mixed with the yolk of an egg it is very serviceable against the stone and gravel. It is likewise a good pectoral, and often given in affections of the breast and lungs.
Pills of boyled Turpentine.
Take of Venice Turpentine, boyled till it is hard in Radish Water, or in the Water of Winter Cherries, four Ounces ; of Liquorish cleansed, and finely powdered, one Ounce; boyl the Turpentine over a soft Fire, in the distilled Water of Radishes, or Winter Cherries, or in any other Plant that forces Urine, till it be so hard, that you may make it into Pills. Then pour away all the Water from the Turpentine, and before it is cold, incorporate with it the Liquorish finely powdered. These Pills force Urine when it has been stopt by Flegm, and Gravel, or by the French Disease. They are also good at the Beginning of a Gonorrhea, to make it run. One Dram or two of it may be taken several Days together.
---A Plain Introduction to the Art of Physick. John Pechey, 1697
An article about medical turpentine ... no Pepys mention, sadly:
TURPENTINE IS A COMMON SIGHT in hardware stores and art cabinets. Made from pine resin distilled until clear, the oily liquid been used for hundreds of years as a water repellant, paint thinner, solvent, and lamp oil. But for thousands of years, it was also used as a medicine, although modern doctors would strongly advise against ingesting it at all.
Turpentine has deep roots in medical history. In Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest, author Lawrence S. Earley explains that the Romans used it to treat depression, naval surgeons during the Age of Sail injected it (hot) into wounds, and medics used it to try and stop heavy bleeding.
Doctors found it appealing, although they knew about its less-desirable effects.
“The rectified oil of Turpentine is a medicine much less used than it deserves to be. The reason probably is, the fear of its producing violent effects on the alimentary canal and urinary organs,” one doctor wrote in 1821. He also wrote that turpentine could greatly be put to use killing internal worms, since insects instantly died if exposed to the liquid. He ordered one patient afflicted with tapeworms to drink turpentine every few hours.
The problem with turpentine oil was not just some harsh side effects. Ingestion is often toxic, causing kidney damage and bleeding in the lungs. So why was it used?
Viewed in context, it’s easier to understand why doctors once used it as medicine.
Pine tar, another related product, is still a useful medicine ingredient for rashes and skin problems, while turpentine oil, which was also considered good for lung health, is still an ingredient in Vick’s Vapor-Rub (although it’s listed as an inactive ingredient).
Turpentine is antiseptic, and the terrible taste and harsh effects could have been interpreted as signs that it was working.
Turpentine had three important medical requisites: It smelled loud, tasted bad, and burned like the woods on fire.” It also had the strange side effect of making urine smell like violets.
When sailing meant wooden ships, pine products were in high demand for sealing leaks and preserving wood. The British especially valued pine forests, and almost immediately on reaching the Americas, they went in search of enough pines to produce the favored products. A “turpentine belt” developed in the South, and whole forests were tapped for resin.
For many years, slaves were forced to do the difficult, painstaking work of making turpentine by “boxing” pine trees. Unfortunately, they were also compelled to take it as medicine, along with castor oil, for any number of illnesses.
A few highlights from https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/is-turpenti… d=8eeadcaf45
In later life, Queen Anne consulted oculists who recommended an eyewash of sulphur, turpentine, vivum and honey of roses.
Sooner you than me, Queen Anne!
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.