It should work fairly rapidly; that is, at least within six to eight hours after being taken, other-wise if the action of the cathartic is too slow, the desired effect is lost. Cathartics are usually taken for the purpose of eliminating bad food, and especially to prevent the absorption of the harmful or poisonous ingredients of the bad foods. Hence it is essential that the action of the cathartic be fairly rapid. The best benefits of a cathartic are lost if it does not work rapidly to eliminate bad food.
Gripping or pains are unnecessary in a cathartic. Cathartics that take a day or two to be effective are bad. Such cathartics may do more harm than good. The healthier the person, the sooner and more effectively will a cathartic work. In really healthy people the same cathartic, and in the same amounts, will work more rapidly and effectively than in sickly people.
Contrary to generally accepted opinions, the frequent taking of cathartics is harmless. The frequent taking of cathartics will not make people thin; nor do cathartics materially interfere with nutrition.
Next to the usefulness of the antisepticizing treatments, the writer would give cathartics second place.