Paregoric, or camphorated tincture of opium, also known as "tinctura opii camphorata", is a medication known for its antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic properties. It was a household remedy in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was widely used to calm fretful children. In the 20th century its use declined as governments regulated it. (In the United States, paregoric can still be found in the pharmacopeia, but it is a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act.)

The principal active ingredient is morphine (0.4 mg/mL) (approximately 2 mg per teaspoon). Other ingredients are benzoic acid, camphor, glycerin, and anise oil. The main effect of this preparation is to increase the muscular tone of the intestine, and also to inhibit normal peristalsis. Its main medicinal use is to control fulminant diarrhea. It is also an antitussive (cough suppressant). Problems with its use include opiate dependency and analgesia which can mask symptoms of diseases that need treatment.

Paregoric is sometimes confused with laudanum, because their chemical names are similar: camphorated tincture of opium (paregoric) vs. tincture of opium (laudanum). However, laudanum contains 10 milligrams of morphine per milliliter, 25 times more than paregoric. Confusion between the two drugs has led to overdose and deaths in several patients. Thus the term "paregoric" should be used instead of "camphorated opium tincture," since the latter may be confused with laudanum.

In popular culture

Paregoric is mentioned in the following works:


*Nelson Algren's short story "The Captain Has Bad Dreams"
*many works by William S. Burroughs, including "The Yage Letters", "Junky", "Queer" and "Naked Lunch".
*Robin Cook's "Harmful Intent" (1990)
*Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Three Gables"
*Richard Fariña's "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me"
*James T. Farrell's "Studs Lonigan"
*William Golding's "Rites of Passage" (laudanum is also mentioned in the book)
*Homer Hickham's "The Coalwood Way" (the user in the story is ironically named "Poppy")
*William Cowper Brann's "Brann the Iconoclast" (1898)
*Rick Moody's novel "The Ice Storm"
*John Steinbeck's "East of Eden"
*Eudora Welty's short story "June Recital" from "The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty" (1980)
*Kōbō Abe's "The Box Man"
*The "anonymous" work "Go Ask Alice"
*Ken Kesey's "Sometimes a Great Notion"
*Anton Myrer's "Once an Eagle"
*William Faulkner's "Pylon"
*Katherine Paterson's "Jacob Have I Loved"

tage play

*Alice Childress's play "Wedding Band" (as the reason for the lover's sudden illness)


*"Little House on the Prairie", in the episodes "A Matter of Faith" and "To Live with Fear"
*"M*A*S*H", in the episodes "The Yalu Brick Road" and briefly in "Sticky Wicket".
*"Murder, She Wrote", in the episode "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Part 2".


*"Paregoric" by Black River Circus: the music video for this song shows vintage photos of smoke pollution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and describes the antitussive effects of the medication ("Paregoric let my lungs breath deep").

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Paregoric — Par e*gor ic, a. [L. paregoricus, Gr. ?, from ? addressing, encouraging, soothing; para beside + ? an assembly: cf. F. par[ e]gorique. See {Allegory}.] Mitigating; assuaging or soothing pain; as, paregoric elixir. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Paregoric — Par e*gor ic, n. (Med.) A medicine that mitigates pain; an anodyne; specifically, camphorated tincture of opium; called also {paregoric elexir}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • paregoric — index narcotic Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • paregoric — PAREGÓRIC, paregorice, s.n. Mângâiere, consolare. – cf. p a r i g o r i e. Trimis de valeriu, 03.02.2004. Sursa: DEX 98 …   Dicționar Român

  • paregoric — (n.) medicine that soothes pain, 1704, from adjective (1680s) soothing, from L.L. paregoricus, from Gk. paregorikos soothing, encouraging, consoling, from paregorein speak soothingly to, from paregoros consoling, from para beside (see PARA (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • paregoric — [par΄ə gôr′ik] adj. [LL paregoricus < Gr parēgorikos < parēgoros, speaking, consoling, soothing < para , on the side of (see PARA 1) + agora, assembly, AGORA1] Archaic soothing or lessening pain n. 1. Archaic a medicine that soothes or… …   English World dictionary

  • paregoric — /par i gawr ik, gor /, n. Pharm. 1. a camphorated tincture of opium, containing benzoic acid, anise oil, etc., used chiefly to stop diarrhea in children. 2. any soothing medicine; anodyne. adj. 3. Archaic. assuaging pain; soothing. [1675 85; < LL …   Universalium

  • paregoric — n. (in full paregoric elixir) hist. a camphorated tincture of opium used to reduce pain. Etymology: LL paregoricus f. Gk paregorikos soothing (as PARA (1), agoros speaking f. agora assembly) …   Useful english dictionary

  • paregoric — noun Etymology: French parégorique mitigating pain, from Late Latin paregoricus, from Greek parēgorikos, from parēgorein to talk over, soothe, from para + agora assembly, from ageirein to gather Date: circa 1827 camphorated tincture of opium used …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • paregoric — noun /pærɪˈɡɒrɪk/ a painkiller; a medicine which soothes or relieves pain , 1922: Chloroform. Overdose of laudanum. Sleeping draughts. Lovephiltres. Paragoric poppysyrup bad for cough. Clogs the pores or the phlegm. James Joyce, Ulysses …   Wiktionary

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