alterative (plural alteratives)
- (medicine, now historical) A medicine or treatment which works by changing processes within the body, rather than by evacuating something etc. [from 14th c.]
- 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):, II.5.1.v:
- Amongst this number of cordials and alteratives I do not find a more present remedy than a cup of wine or strong drink, if it be soberly and opportunely used.
- Causing alteration. Specifically: Gradually changing, or tending to change, a morbid state of the functions into one of health. [from 15th c.]