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tartar emetic

tartar emetic, poisonous, odorless, transparent rhombic crystals or white powder with a metallic, sweetish taste. Chemically, it is potassium antimony tartrate, KSbC4H4O7·1/2H2O. It is used as a mordant in dyeing. Medically, it was formerly used as an emetic and expectorant, to produce sweating, and in the treatment of several diseases, but had frequent toxic side effects.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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