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Tin of amyl nitrite capsules, London, England, 1910

Amyl nitrite, when inhaled, has the effect of relaxing muscles. It has primarily been used in the treatment of heart conditions, such as angina, by helping to reduce constriction of the coronary arteries. It has also been used as a muscle relaxant during childbirth. The brief euphoria that amyl nitrite can produce in the patient has led to its extensive use as a recreational drug. A label on the bottom of this tin suggests that these particular capsules were made for the Ministry of Marine of the Turkish Government.

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    Glossary: anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).

    Glossary: resuscitation

    The act of restoring life to someone near death. This is done by such measures as artificial respiration (kiss-of-life) and cardiac massage.

    Glossary: chloroform

    A liquid formerly used as a general anaesthetic although no longer used for this purpose as it causes liver damage and affects the heart rate. It is now used in low concentration to treat flatulence.

    Glossary: amyl nitrite

    A liquid that is used to treat heart disease by causing the blood vessels to widen.