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a group of drugs with various chemical compositions that exert a calming effect on the central nervous system. Calmatives include sedatives proper, which consist mostly of bromine preparations (sodium or potassium bromide) and preparations of plant origin, for example, tinctures and extracts of heliotrope, motherwort, and passionflower. Synthetic and natural calmatives are often combined, for example, in Bekhterev’s mixture.
Calmatives intensify inhibition and reduce excitability. They are used to treat irritability, insomnia, neuroses, hypertension, and other conditions. Some of the psychotropic agents introduced in the second half of the 20th century were found to have a calmative effect as well (seeTRANQUILIZERS and NEUROLEPTICS). Soporifics taken in small doses and some cardiac agents, for example, Adonis preparations, also have a calmative effect.