Though used as a narcotic, antispasmodic, tonic, stimulant, and anodyne, it is chiefly as a sedative that laudanum is so invaluable, there being probably no disease, class, or nature of pain or suffering in which this article has not, or may not, be employed with more or less of benefit. There is no drug or compound used in the practice of physic that, properly employed, is capable of affording so much comfort and relief to the patient, in almost every disease with which he is affected, as laudanum, for it may, by skillful combination, and a judicious adaptation of the dose, be made to exert any special or general action desired; and … in conjunction with nitre and antimony, [may] be depended upon for the cure of nearly every inflammation that can assail the system, and thus entirely set aside the use of the lance in those diseases which were formerly thought only curable by depletion and bleeding.
Dictionary of Daily Wants, 1859
O’Neill, Gilda. The Good Old Days: Poverty, Crime and Terror in Victorian London (p. 60). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.