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Title: New York Journal of Pharmacy, Volume 1 (of 3), 1852 - Published by Authority of the College of Pharmacy of the - city of New York.
Author: Various
Language: English
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JANUARY, 1852.


The College of Pharmacy was founded with a view to the elevation of the
professional standing and scientific attainments of Apothecaries, as
well as to guard their material interests by raising a barrier against
ignorance and imposture. What they have accomplished and how far they
have been successful it does not become the Board of Trustees to state;
if the results have not, in all respects, been what might be desired,
it has not arisen from want of earnest effort and honest intention
on their part. As a further means of benefiting their profession,
of keeping its members acquainted with the progress it is making at
home and abroad, and of inspiring among them a spirit of scientific
inquiry, they believe that the establishment of a Journal, devoted to
the pursuits and the interests of Apothecaries, would be of the highest

By far the wealthiest and most populous city in the Union, New York,
with its environs, contains several hundred Apothecaries, among whom
are many of great experience and eminent ability; it contains numerous
Laboratories where chemicals are manufactured on a large scale, and
where the appliances and refinements of modern science are compelled
into the service of commerce; it contains within itself all the means
of scientific progress, and yet these means lie, for the most part,
waste and idle; the observations that are made and the processes that
are invented profit only the observer and the inventor. Both they and
their consequences—for even apparently trivial observations may contain
in themselves the germ of important discoveries, and no man can tell
what fruit they may produce in the minds of others—are lost to the

New York is the commercial centre of the Union, the point to which our
products are brought for exportation, and from which various goods, {2}
obtained from abroad, are distributed to the remainder of the United
States. It is the chief drug mart of the Union; the source from which
the largest part of our country draws its supplies of all medicines
that are not the products of their own immediate vicinities. It is thus
connected more intimately with the Druggists of a large portion of our
country than any other city; many visit it annually or oftener; most
have business relations with it. Is the spirit of trade incompatible
with that of science? Is money-getting to absorb all our faculties
to the exclusion of anything nobler or higher? Are we ever to remain
merely the commercial metropolis of our Union, but to permit science
and art to centre in more congenial and less busy abodes? Shall we not
rather attempt to profit by our many advantages, to use the facilities
thrown in our way by the channels of trade for the diffusion of
scientific knowledge, and in return avail ourselves of the information
which may flow into us from the interior?

But it is not alone, we hope, by the information it would impart that a
Journal such as is contemplated would be useful. A higher and no less
useful object would be that it would excite a spirit of inquiry and
emulation among the profession itself; it would encourage observation
and experiment; it would train our young men to more exact habits of
scientific inquiry. In diffusing information it would create it, and
would be doubly happy in being the means of making discoveries it was
intended to promulgate.

Such are the views which have determined the Trustees of the College
to publish a Journal of Pharmacy. It will appear on the first day
of every month, each number containing thirty-two octavo pages. It
will be devoted exclusively to the interests and pursuits of the
Druggist and Apothecary. While it is hoped that its pages will present
everything that is important relating to the scientific progress of
Pharmacy, it is intended to be mainly practical in its character,
subserving the daily wants of the Apothecary, and presenting, as far
as possible, that kind of information which can be turned to immediate
account, whether it relates to new drugs and formulæ, or improved
processes, manipulations, and apparatus. Such are the aims and ends
of the New York Journal of Pharmacy; and the Druggists of New York
are more particularly appealed to to sustain it, not only by their
subscriptions, but by contributions from their pens. This last, indeed,
is urgently pressed upon them; for, unless it receives such aid,
however successful otherwise, it will fail in one great object for
which it was originated. When special information is wanted on any {3}
particular subject, the conductors of the Journal, if in their power,
will always be happy to afford it.

It is no part of the intention of the College to derive an income from
the Journal. As soon as the state of the subscription list warrants it,
it is intended to increase its size so that each number shall contain
forty-eight instead of thirty-two pages.


The Committee to whom was referred the subject of the establishment
of a Journal of Pharmacy in the city of New York, have given their
attention to the subject, and beg leave to report as follows:

1. That in their opinion it is all important that a Journal of Pharmacy
should be established in this city as soon as practicable, for reasons
well known, and therefore unnecessary here to enumerate.

2. They recommend that the first number of a Journal of thirty-two
octavo pages be issued on the 1st day of January next, and one number
each month thereafter, to be called the New York Journal of Pharmacy.

3. The general control of the Journal shall be vested in a committee
of five, which shall review every article intended for publication,
four of whom shall be elected annually by the Board of Trustees at the
first stated meeting succeeding the annual election of officers; and a
committee of the same number shall be now elected, who shall act until
the next annual election, to be denominated the Publishing Committee.
The President of the College of Pharmacy shall be “ex officio” a member
of this Committee, and the whole number of this Committee shall be
five, two of whom may act.

4. That an Editor be appointed by the Publishing Committee who shall
attend to all the duties of its publication, and cause to be prepared
all articles for the Journal, and to have the entire management of it
under the control and direction of the Publishing Committee.

5. The compensation for the services of the Editor, together with all
financial matters connected with the Journal, shall be subject to the
control of the Publishing Committee. {4}

6. The matter to be published in the Journal shall be original
communications, extracts from foreign and domestic journals, and
editorials. No matter shall be published except what may relate
directly or indirectly to the subject of Pharmacy, and the legitimate
business of Druggists and Apothecaries. No advertisements of nostrums
shall be admitted.

7. The subscription list shall be kept in the hands of the Publishers,
subject to the disposal of the Publishing Committee.

 (Signed) T. B. MERRICK,


The Board then balloted for members of the Publishing Committee, when
the following were found to be elected.

                  THOS. B. MERRICK,
                  C. B. GUTHRIE,
                  EUGENE DUPUY,
 with Ex Officio, GEO. D. COGGESHALL,
                  _President of the College_.



Two different roots have for some time back been brought to the
New York market, for the purpose of adulterating or counterfeiting
the various preparations of Jalap. They differ materially from the
Mechoacan and other varieties of false Jalap which formerly existed
in our markets, as described by Wood and Bache in the United States
Dispensatory, while some of the pieces bear no slight resemblance
to the true root. The specimens I have been able to procure are so
imperfect, and so altered by the process of drying, that the botanists
I have consulted are unable to give any information even as to the
order to which they belong. I have not been able either to trace
their commercial history, nor do I know how, under the present able
administration of the law for the inspection of drugs, they have
obtained admission to our port. The article or articles, since {5}
there are at least two of them, come done up in bales like those of
the true Jalap, and are probably brought from the same port, Vera Cruz.

No. 1 appears to be the rhizome or underground stem of an exogenous
perennial herb, throwing up at one end each year one or more shoots,
which after flowering die down to the ground. It comes in pieces
varying in length from two to five inches, and in thickness from the
third of an inch to three inches. In some of the pieces the root has
apparently been split or cut lengthwise; in others, particularly in the
large pieces, it has been sliced transversely like Colombo root. The
pieces are somewhat twisted or contorted, corrugated longitudinally
and externally, varying in color from a yellowish to a dark brown.
The transverse sections appear as if the rhizome may have been broken
in pieces at nodes from two to four inches distant from each other,
and at which the stem was enlarged. Or the same appearance may have
been caused by the rhizome having been cut into sections of various
length; and the resinous juice exuding on the cut surfaces, has
hindered them from contracting to the same extent as the intervening
part of the root. On the cut or broken surfaces are seen concentric
circles of woody fibres, the intervening parenchyma being contracted
and depressed. The fresh broken surfaces of these pieces exhibit in a
marked manner the concentric layers of woody fibres. The pieces that
are cut longitudinally, on the other hand, are heavier than those just
described, though their specific gravity is still not near so great as
that of genuine Jalap. Their fracture is more uniform, of a greyish
brown color, and highly resinous.

This variety of false Jalap, when exhausted with alcohol, the tincture
thus obtained evaporated, and the residuum washed with water, yielded
from 9 1/2 to 15 1/2 per cent. of resin, the average of ten
experiments being 13 per cent. Its appearance was strikingly like that
of Jalap resin. It had a slightly sweetish mucilaginous taste, leaving
a little acridity, and the odor was faintly jalapine. It resembled
Jalap resin in being slowly soluble in concentrated sulphuric acid, but
unlike Jalap resin it was wholly soluble in ether. In a dose of ten
grains it proved feebly purgative, causing two or three moderate liquid
stools. Its operation was unattended with griping or other unpleasant
effect, except a slight feeling of nausea felt about half an hour after
the extract had been swallowed, and continuing for some time.

This variety of false Jalap is probably used, when ground, for the
purpose of mixing with and adulterating the powder of true Jalap, or
is sold {6} for it, or for the purpose of obtaining from it its resin
or extract, which is sold as genuine resin or extract of Jalap. The
powder strikingly resembles that of true Jalap, has a faint odor of
Jalap, but is destitute, to a great extent, of its flavor. The dust,
too, arising from it, is much less irritating to the air passages.

The second variety is a tuber possibly of an orchidate plant, a good
deal resembling in shape, color and size, a butternut, (Juglans
cinerea.) Externally it is black or nearly so, in some places shining
as if varnished by some resinous exudation, but generally dull, marked
by deep longitudinal cuts extending almost to the centre of the tubers;
internally it is yellow or yellowish white, having a somewhat horny
fracture, and marked in its transverse sections with dots as if from
sparse, delicate fibres. When first imported the root is comparatively
soft, but becomes dry and brittle by keeping. Its odor resembles that
of Jalap, and its taste is nauseous, sweetish, and mucilaginous.

This root contains no resin whatever. Treated with boiling water it
yields a large amount (75 per cent.) of extract. This is soluble, to
a great extent, likewise in alcohol. With iodine no blue color is

The extract obtained from this drug appears, in ordinary doses,
perfectly inert, five or ten grains producing, when swallowed, no
effect whatever. Is this root employed for the purpose of obtaining its
extract, and is this latter sold as genuine extract of Jalap?

Of the effect which frauds of this kind cannot fail to have on the
practice of medicine it does not fall within my province to speak, but
commercially its working is sufficiently obvious. One hundred pounds
of Jalap at the market price, 60 cents per pound, will cost $60. In
extracting this there will be employed about $5 worth of alcohol,
making in all $65. There will be obtained forty pounds of extract,
costing thus $1 62 1/2 per pound.

One hundred pounds of false Jalap, No. 1, may be obtained for $20;
admitting the alcohol to cost $5, it will make in all $25. This will
produce thirty-six pounds of extract, costing rather less than 70 cents
per pound.

One hundred pounds of variety No. 2 may be had for $20, and no alcohol
is necessary in obtaining the extract. The yield being seventy-five
pounds, the extract will cost rather less than twenty-seven cents per





The more extended use in medicine which this substance has acquired
within a few years, and its consequent greater consumption, render the
knowledge of its peculiarities and the modes of ascertaining its purity
doubly important to the druggist and apothecary.

An instance occurred a few weeks since, showing the necessity of
careful and thorough examination of every parcel of this drug, and
possessing some interest, from the fact that no description of any
similar attempt at falsification has, I believe, been before published.

The commercial house with which I am connected, purchased a parcel of
what purported to be virgin scammony from the importer, who obtained it
direct from Smyrna. A sample of it was examined and found to contain
seventy per cent. of resinous matter, but when the whole lot was
received, it was found to consist evidently of two different grades of
the article.

The whole of it was composed of amorphous pieces, possessing externally
a similar appearance. Upon breaking them, however, a manifest
difference was observable. Some of the pieces possessed the resinous
fracture, and the other characteristics of virgin scammony, while the
remainder, which constituted about five eighths of the whole, exposed a
dull, non-resinous surface when freshly broken.

I selected two samples, each possessing in the highest degree the
characteristics of the two varieties, and subjected them to the action
of sulphuric ether with the following results, designating the resinous
or best No. 1, and the other specimen No. 2:―

                                           No. 1.    No. 2.
 Specific gravity                          1,143     1,3935

                                         Per cent.  Per cent.
 Resinous matter and water                 94.35      49.86
 Vegetable substance insoluble in ether     3.20      45.16
 Inorganic matter                           2.45       4.98
                                            ────       ────
                                          100.00     100.00


The vegetable substance in No. 2 was principally, if not entirely,
farinaceous or starchy matter, of which the other contained not a
trace. The result shows that this parcel of scammony was composed
partly of true virgin scammony mixed with that of an inferior quality;
and also indicates the necessity of examining the whole of every
parcel, and of not trusting to the favorable result of the examination
of a mere sample.

The powder in the two specimens was very similar in shade, and they
possessed in about the same degree the odor peculiar to the substance,
showing the fallacy of relying upon this as a means of judging of
the comparative goodness of different samples. This fact may appear
anomalous, but on different occasions the powder of No. 2 was selected
as having the most decided scammony odor.

Since examining the above, I have had an opportunity of experimenting
upon a portion of scammony imported from Trieste as the true Aleppo
scammony, of which there are exported from Aleppo not more than from
two hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds annually.

The parcel consisted of a sample of one pound only, which was obtained
from a druggist of respectability in that place by one of my partners,
who was assured that the sample in question was from the above source,
and the kind above alluded to. This scammony was in somewhat flattish
pieces, covered externally with a thin coating of chalk in which it
had been rolled, the structure was uniformly compact, the color of the
fracture greenish, and it possessed in a high degree the caseous odor.

The fracture was unusually sensitive to the action of moisture. By
merely breathing upon a freshly exposed surface, a film resembling the
bloom upon fruit was at once perceived. Its specific gravity was 1,209,
which, it will be observed, approximates with unusual accuracy to that
given by Pereira as the specific gravity of true scammony, viz. 1,210.
It contained―

 Resinous matter and water                89.53 per cent.
 Vegetable substance insoluble in ether    7.55 per cent.
 Inorganic matter                          2.92 per cent.

There was no starchy matter present in the portion examined.

The mode of deciding upon the value or goodness of different samples
of scammony, by ascertaining the amount of matter soluble in sulphuric
ether, has seemed to me productive of a negative result in showing
{9} how much non-resinous matter was present, rather than a certain
method of ascertaining the actual amount of scammony resin present; but
some experiments upon the resinous residuum lead to a more favorable

The results of the analyses made by Johnston, who seems to be the only
chemist who has paid any attention to its ultimate composition, show
that it varies in composition materially from many other resins.

 According to his analyses, as contained
     in Löwig, it has the formula           C‗{40} H‗{33} O‗{8}
 While that of Guaiac resin is              C‗{40} H‗{23} O‗{10}
 Of Colophony                               C‗{40} H‗{30} O‗{4}

Or expressed in per cents:―

                        Scammony.   Guaiac.   Colophony.
 Carbon                  56.08       70.37       79.81
 Hydrogen                 7.93        6.60        9.77
 Oxygen                  35.99       23.03       10.42
                        ──────      ──────      ──────
                        100.00      100.00      100.00

The resin analysed by Johnston was obtained by evaporating the
alcoholic solution, and he describes it as opaque, pale yellow, hard,
and brittle; when obtained, however, by evaporating the ethereal
solution I have found it transparent.

It might be inferred that, with a composition so different from that
of the substances above adduced, its behavior with re-agents would be
different from theirs; and its action with strong acids confirms the
supposition, as may be seen by reference to the appended papers from a
late number of the Paris Journal of Pharmacy.

The Edinburgh Pharmacopœia has an extract of scammony among its
officinal preparations, prepared by treating scammony with proof
spirit, and evaporating the solution. It is described as of a dirty
greenish brown color. This color, however, is not a necessary
accompaniment, but is owing either to some coloring matter being
dissolved in the menstruum or to the partial oxydation of the dissolved
substance under the influence of the air and the heat of the operation.

The ethereal solution of scammony resin, when gradually evaporated, and
without exposure to heat, leaves a colorless or amber-colored resin,
perfectly transparent and soluble in alcohol; when heated, however,
{10} during the operation, more or less insoluble matter of a dark
color is found. Sometimes the ethereal solution, when spontaneously
evaporated, leaves a dark residuum, but a second solution and
evaporation leave it as above described.

This product, obtained from several different parcels of virgin
scammony, I have considered free from admixture with any of the
substances with which scammony is said to be adulterated, and from the
similarity of their behavior, and, as the circumstances under which the
sample from Trieste above alluded to was obtained are such as to make
its genuineness very certain, feel warranted in so doing.

Sulphuric acid does not immediately decompose it, but produces the
effect described by M. Thorel.

Nitric acid produces no discoloration, nor does hydrochloric acid

If scammony should be adulterated with colophony, sulphuric acid would
be a very ready method of detection, though it would seem that this
substance would hardly be resorted to, unless an entirely new mode of
sophisticating the article should be adopted abroad.

The introduction of farinaceous substances and chalk is effected
while the scammony is in a soft condition, in which state it would be
difficult to incorporate colophony completely with the mass.

An admixture of resin of guaiac is also detected by the same agent, a
fact which seems to have escaped observation.

When brought in contact with sulphuric acid, resin of guaiac
immediately assumes a deep crimson hue, and this reaction is so
distinct that a proportion of not more than four or five per cent. is
readily detected.

The deep red mixture of sulphuric acid with resin of guaiac becomes
green when diluted with water, a remarkable change, which adds to the
efficacy of the test. Scammony resin, on the contrary, suffers no
alteration by dilution.

In addition, nitric acid affords a ready mode of ascertaining the
presence of resin of guaiac. It is well known that nitric acid, when
mixed with an alcoholic solution of guaiac, causes a deep green color,
which soon passes into brown, or if the solution is dilute, into yellow.

This reaction is manifest when scammony resin is mixed with guaiac
resin in the proportion above mentioned, though the greenish blue tinge
is then very transient, and sometimes not readily perceived.

Chloride of soda is a delicate test for the presence of guaiac resin.
{11} Added to an alcoholic solution, a beautiful green color appears,
while it produces no effect on scammony resin. This reaction is very
evident, though transient, when a very small proportion of guaiac
is present. Nitrate of silver causes a blue color in a solution of
guaiac resin, as does also sesqui-chloride of iron, neither of which
agents affects the color of a solution of scammony resin. In fact, the
evidences of the presence of guaiac are so numerous and distinct that
there can be no possibility of an undetected adulteration with this

The high price of resin of jalap would seem to be sufficient to
prevent its being resorted to as a means of sophisticating scammony;
but in case this substance should be made use of, the method proposed
for detecting it by means of ether is defective, since, according to
authorities, resin of jalap is partially soluble in that substance.

It becomes of interest to know whether in the preparation of scammony
the juice of the plant from which it is obtained is ever mixed with
that of other plants of similar properties, or with that of plants
destitute of efficacy. This information can, of course, only be
furnished by those familiar with the localities and with the mode of
its preparation.

 [1]“In advancing the opinion that scammony should only be employed
 for therapeutic purposes in the state of resin, I mean that this resin
 should only be prepared by the apothecary himself. When, however, it
 is impossible for the apothecary to do so, and the commercial article
 is in consequence resorted to, there arises a liability to deception.
 We must then be enabled to recognise its purity.

 To avoid detection of the fraud, the admixture must either be in small
 quantity, or it must possess nearly the same action. In this latter
 case, resin of jalap would be employed as being less in price and
 nearly as active.

 The method I propose for detecting an adulteration of this nature, in
 case it should be attempted, is based on the one side upon the entire
 insolubility of resin of jalap in rectified sulphuric ether, and on
 the other, upon the solubility of scammony resin in this liquid.
 Nothing is easier than the detection of a mixture of these two resins,
 since eight grammes of ether dissolve completely ten centigrammes of
 scammony resin. {12}

 Thus by agitating for a short time a mixture of twenty centigrammes of
 suspected resin with sixteen grammes of sulphuric ether, we shall be
 certain of the presence of resin of jalap, provided there is no other
 admixture, if a portion remains undissolved. This undissolved portion,
 dried and weighed, gives the proportion of the two resins.

 Other more culpable sophistications may be attempted, either by
 the addition of resin of guaiac, or by that of colophony or other

 The resin of guaiac may easily be detected by means of the solution
 of gum, which I have specified as one of the most certain re-agents
 (Repertoire du Pharmacien, vol. iv., 1848), or by the means of nitrous
 gas, or bichloride of mercury.

 Many re-agents disclose the presence of common resin or of pitch in
 the resin of scammony. First, spirits of turpentine, which dissolves
 the common resin at the ordinary temperature, and which leaves
 scammony resin almost untouched. The most certain re-agent, however,
 in my opinion, is sulphuric acid. This acid possesses the property of
 dissolving many resins—modifying their composition more or less.

 Thus, if a small quantity is poured on common resin, an intense
 red color is produced by contact; poured on scammony resin, on the
 contrary, it does not produce an immediate change; only after some
 minutes, and with exposure to the air, does it become colored, and
 then but feebly, with the production of a color resembling the lees of
 wine, while in the first case the color is a very deep scarlet.

 By this method one twentieth part of colophony may be detected in
 scammony resin. It is sufficient to pour upon twenty-five or thirty
 centigrammes of resin, placed in a glass or porcelain mortar, four
 or five grammes of commercial sulphuric acid, and to give one or two
 turns of the pestle; if colophony is present, the mixture will redden
 immediately upon contact; if, on the contrary, it is pure, the liquid
 will only become colored after the lapse of some time.

 Colophony being more soluble in sulphuric acid is acted upon with more

 [2]“Scammony resin obtained by alcohol of 86 degrees occurs in form
 of powder or in thin transparent scales, if the alcoholic solution has
 been evaporated on a stove upon plates, or upon sheets of tin. {13}

 It is characterized by the peculiar odor of the substance from which
 it is obtained, the _odeur de brioche_, or of rancid butter.

 If scammony resin has been mixed with one twentieth of common resin,
 trituration in a mortar developes the odor of the latter to a
 sufficient degree to cause detection of the fraud. Heated in a tube,
 a peculiar odor manifests itself with sufficient distinctness to
 indicate its purity.

 This pure resin is soluble in all proportions in ether of 56 degrees
 (·752). This property affords a means of purifying it, by means of
 which it is obtained in thin flakes, by exposure to the air on plates.

 Solution of ammonia at 24 degrees (·910) dissolves scammony resin
 completely. The solution has a more or less green color. These
 different properties, which the resin of scammony, obtained
 by alcohol, possesses, are sufficiently distinct to assist in
 distinguishing it from other resins or to establish its purity.”

 _December, 1851._

[1] Methods for detecting Resin of Jalap, Resin of Guaiac, and
Colophony, in Resin of Scammony. By MR. THOREL.—_From the Journal de
Pharmacie et de Chimie, for Nov. 1851._

[2] Note by MR. DUBLANC.—_From the Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie,
Nov. 1851._



The powerful narcotic and sedative properties of the Datura stramonium;
added to the fact of its luxuriant growth in the vacant grounds of the
inhabited districts of the United States, has made its use popular
with most of our practising physicians. Besides its use smoked as
tobacco in asthmatic cases, its properties analogous to those of
hyosciamus and belladonna, have enabled practitioners to use it
with success for producing dilatation of the pupil and in anodyne
fomentations. In fact, the consequence of its demonstrated efficient
activity as a remedial agent, has prompted its adoption in the United
States Pharmacopœia, where the leaves and seeds are recognised, and
the Tincture, Extract, and Ointment are officinal. According to our
Pharmacopœia, last edition, to prepare the ointment, one drachm of
the extract of stramonium is mixed to the proportion of one ounce of
lard. Such a mixture, though possibly as effectual as need be, lacks
the green color and homogeneity to which both patients and physicians
have been accustomed. To remedy these objections, I have found the
{14} following process to give a good preparation both in quality
and appearance. I am inclined to think that the objections which have
been made to the former officinal ointment are chiefly ascribable to
the difficulty of obtaining readily an ointment which would keep one
year, that is free from water of vegetation or not impaired by a too
protracted ebullition, and consequent decomposition, which deprives it
of its properties, spoiling its appearance, and giving it an unpleasant
pyrogenous odor, which shows the extent of the alteration it has
undergone, making of it an irritating rather than a soothing unguent.
In the process I now submit to the opinion of the profession, I had
in view, 1st. To obtain at all seasons an ointment fulfilling the
reasonable expectations of practitioners; 2d. Which could be easily
prepared by competent Pharmaceutists throughout the United States. It
is as follows:

 Stramonium Leaves,    half a pound.
 Alcohol at 95°,       a sufficient quantity.
 Prepared lard,        fourteen ounces.

Moisten the leaves, previously reduced to a coarse powder, with
sufficient alcohol, in a tight vessel having a suitable cover; melt
the lard in a pan three times in capacity to the bulk of the lard, and
stir in it gradually the prepared stramonium; keep the mixture in a
warm place for five hours, stirring occasionally, till the alcohol has
disappeared from the ointment, which may be ascertained by placing a
lighted match on the surface of the warm ointment just stirred. Filter
the mixture through flannel, in an appropriate vessel. The stramonium
ointment thus prepared is a reliable preparation, possessed of a
handsome green color, a rather pleasant herbaceous odor, and forms a
homogeneous mass containing all the valuable constituents of the Datura
stramonium, if the leaves have been gathered while the plant is in bud,
and properly preserved. For the warm days of summer the substitution
of two ounces of beeswax for the same quantity of lard gives it the
consistence which it has at the low temperature of the remaining




 Senna (officinal),                  two pounds.
 Torrefied Dandelion Root,           one pound.
 Chamomile,                          quarter of a pound.
 Sugar,                              twenty ounces.
 Carbonate of Potash or Soda,        one ounce.
 Oil of Gaultheria,                  half a drachm.
 Alcohol,                            two ounces.
 Water,                              half a gallon.

Mix the dry plants, previously reduced to a coarse powder, with the
water holding the alkaline carbonate in solution; let the mixture stand
twelve hours; introduce it in a percolator, and gradually pour in water
until a gallon of liquid shall have passed; evaporate it to twenty
ounces by means of a water bath, then add the sugar, filter, and make
the addition of the alcoholic solution of gaultheria when cold. By
following this process, I believe that a kind of saponification takes
place, which allows of the more ready solution of the active principle
of the senna in the aqueous vehicle, probably because chlorophylle
being united to a dried essential oil, participating in the properties
of resins, is rendered soluble, and the extractive portion being
denuded of its resinoid covering, is more readily extracted by
the percolating liquid. I make use of a percolator possessed of a
convenient hydraulic power; it has rendered readily, within thirty
hours, a highly saturated liquid, containing in a gallon all the
soluble principles of this extract. Ordinary percolators will answer
also; but the ingredients needing to be more loosely packed, do not
yield so fully or so readily. The addition of torrefied dandelion root
is intended to give to this fluid extract some greater value on account
of its peculiar action on the hepatic system. I employ in preference
the German chamomile (Camomila vulgaris[3]), because of its pleasant
aroma and its carminative properties, joined to a bitter principle,
which seems to increase the purgative effect of the senna.

[3] Matricaria.

This extract has become a favorite anti-bilious purgative with many of
{16} our practitioners, who, some of them at least, have used it with
success with children, who can take it readily, as well as for adults,
where an anti-bilious purgative is desirable, seldom producing pain or
nausea, and not liable to induce constipation.


Santonine, being a tasteless vermifuge, is easily given to children,
consequently its employment becomes daily more and more frequent; we
therefore think it useful to expose the accidents which may follow
the use of this medicine, when given in too large a dose. We refer
to a case given in the Bulletin de Thérapeutique, by Dr. Spengler
(d’Herborn). The patient, a child of four years old, who had been
suffering for several months from intestinal worms, had taken at
different times, and with success, a dose of a grain and a half. One
day they gave him three grains in two doses; after the first dose he
became troubled with pains in the epigastrium, colic, and vomiting.
He had frequent stools, in which were found a number of ascarides.
Notwithstanding these numerous evacuations, the bad symptoms continued
to increase; his body became cold, his face livid, his eyes had a blue
circle round them, a cold sweat broke out, his respiration became
embarrassed, and his extremities convulsed. Besides these symptoms,
M. Spengler mentions that there were dilatation of the pupils and
great pain in the abdomen (not, however, increased by pressure). He
prescribed milk in abundance, and after several evacuations, the potion
of Rivière in an oily emulsion. The little patient was placed in a very
warm bed; during the night he was much disturbed; the following day he
took some doses of calomel, after which several worms were evacuated,
and from that time he became convalescent. We have related this fact
as a caution against the accidents which may result from the use of
santonine, although the severity of the symptoms and the smallness
of the dose may make us doubt whether the santonine was pure, or
whether some other cause might not have produced the terrible results
attributed to it.—_Journal de Pharmacie et Chimie._



_Read before the National Academy of Medicine._


GENTLEMEN,—In laying before the Academy a memoir on Nicotine, on the
20th of last month, I stated that I did not think I ought to read it,
fearing that it might exercise some influence on the proceedings which
were to take place at Mons, eight days afterwards. My scruples are now
entirely removed, because I was present at the three first sittings of
the Court of Assizes at Hainault, and have heard the examination of
the accused persons, and the depositions of some of the witnesses. My
memoir, supposing it to be published to-morrow, and consequently much
before the sentence will have been pronounced, will not aggravate the
situation of the accused, nor increase the power of the ministers of
justice. You will see, in fact, that after describing nicotine, I came
to the conclusion, that it may be easily detected in the digestive
canal, the liver, the lungs, and all those organs into which it has
been carried after its absorption. Now, M. de Bocarmé confesses that
he prepared some nicotine, that Gustave Fougnies took an appreciable
dose of it, and died very shortly afterwards. Consequently, he cannot
dispute the fact of M. Stas having found this alkaloid in the body of
his brother-in-law. It is of little importance to us that Madame de
Bocarmé accuses her husband of being the author of the crime, whilst
he, on the other hand, attributes the death of Gustave to a mistake
of his wife’s, who might inadvertently have poured the nicotine into
a glass instead of wine. It will be for the jury to decide what truth
there is in these assertions; as scientific men, we ought to confine
ourselves in this case to the solution of the chemical and medical
problems relating to this subject.

I think I ought to read to the Academy the textual memoir, without
the preamble, which I composed a fortnight ago, when the principal
circumstances, which have since been developed, were but imperfectly

The principal object of this paper is to show:―

1. That we may characterize pure nicotine as easily as we can a poison
derived from the mineral kingdom.

2. That we may detect this alkali in the digestive canal, and assert
its existence there, although it is present only to the extent of a few
drops. {18}

3. That it is sufficiently easy to prove its presence in the liver and
the other organs, after it has been absorbed.

1. _Pure Nicotine may be characterised as easily as a Poison derived
from the Mineral Kingdom._—Nicotine, discovered in 1809 by the
illustrious Vauquelin, was studied in 1828 by Messrs. Posselt and
Reimann, who found it in different species of nicotiana, in macrophylla
rustica, and glutinosa. Messrs. Boutron, Charlard, and Henry described
some of its properties in 1836. Havanna tobacco contains two per cent.,
that of Maryland 2·3, that of Virginia 6·9, that of Alsace 3·2, that
of Pas-de-Calais 4·9, that of the Nord 6·6, and that of Lot 8. It is
classed among the _natural volatile_ vegetable alkalies, which are only
three in number, namely, _conicine_, _theobromine_, and _nicotine_.
This last is entirely composed of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. It
may be represented as a compound of one equivalent of ammonia (H‗{3}N),
and of one of a hydro-carbon containing four equivalents of hydrogen
and ten of carbon (H‗{4}C‗{10}). It is now obtained by a much more
simple process than was formerly adopted, which consists in passing the
vapor of tobacco into water acidulated with sulphuric acid. Sulphate
of nicotine is thus speedily produced, and this has to be decomposed
by a strong alkali. It is then only necessary to apply sufficient heat
to volatilize the nicotine. This mode of preparation indicates that
smokers in respiring the smoke of tobacco introduce into their bodies a
certain quantity of the vapor of nicotine.

_Characters of pure Nicotine._—It is in the form of an oleaginous,
transparent, colorless, tolerably fluid, anhydrous liquid, of the
density of 1·048, becoming slightly yellow with keeping, and tending
to become brown and thick from contact with the air from which it
absorbs oxygen; its acrid odor resembles but slightly that of tobacco;
its taste is very burning. It volatilizes at 77° F., and leaves a
carbonaceous residue. The vapor which rises presents such a powerful
smell of tobacco, and is so irritating, that it is difficult to
breathe in a room in which one drop of it has been spilt. If this
vapor be approached with a lighted taper, it burns with a white smoky
flame, and leaves a carbonaceous residue as an essential oil would
do. It _strongly blues_ reddened litmus paper. _It is very soluble in
water_, in alcohols, and in fat oils, as also in _ether_, which easily
separates it from an aqueous solution. The great solubility of nicotine
in both water and ether forms an important fact in its chemical
history, as the greater number of vegetable alkalies, not to say all,
if they dissolve easily in one of these liquids, are not readily
soluble in the other. {19}

Nicotine combines directly with acids, disengaging heat. Concentrated
pure sulphuric acid, without heat, produces with it a wine-red color;
on the application of heat to this it becomes thick, and acquires the
color of the dregs of wine; if it be boiled it blackens and disengages
sulphurous acid. With cold hydrochloric acid it disengages white
vapors as ammonia does; if the mixture be heated it acquires a violet
color, the intensity of which increases with prolonged ebullition.
Nitric acid, aided with a little heat, imparts to it an orange-yellow
color, and white vapors of nitric acid are first given off, then red
vapors of hyponitrous acid. If it be further heated the liquor becomes
yellow, and by ebullition it acquires a red color resembling that of
chloride of platinum. Prolonged ebullition gives a black mass. Heated
with stearic acid it dissolves and forms a soap, which congeals on
cooling, and is slightly soluble in water, and very soluble in heated
ether. The simple salts of nicotine are deliquescent, and difficultly
crystallizable. The double salts which it yields with the different
metallic oxides crystallize better.

The aqueous solution of nicotine is colorless, transparent, and
strongly alkaline. It acts like ammonia on several reagents; thus,
it gives a white precipitate with bichloride of mercury, acetate of
lead, protochloride and bichloride of tin; a canary yellow precipitate
with chloride of platinum, which precipitate is soluble in water; a
white precipitate with salts of zinc, which is soluble in excess of
nicotine; a blue precipitate with acetate of copper. This precipitate
is gelatinous and soluble in excess of nicotine, forming a blue double
acetate, similar to that formed by ammonia with the same salt. It
gives an ochre-yellow precipitate with salts of the sesqui-oxide of
iron, insoluble in excess of nicotine. With sulphate of protoxide of
manganese it gives a white precipitate of oxide, which speedily becomes
brown by contact with the oxygen of the air. It separates the green
sesqui-oxide from the salts of chromium. The red permanganate of potash
is instantly decolorized by nicotine, as by ammonia, although this
latter alkali acts more slowly and must be used in larger proportion.

The following reactions may serve to distinguish the aqueous solutions
of nicotine from ammonia. Chloride of gold yields a reddish-yellow
precipitate, _very soluble in an excess of nicotine_. Chloride of
cobalt yields a blue precipitate, which changes to green; the oxide
thus formed does not readily dissolve in excess of nicotine, whilst
ammonia dissolves the green precipitate and forms a red solution.
Aqueous solution of iodine gives a yellow precipitate with solution
of nicotine, as chloride of platinum would {20} do; with an excess
of nicotine it acquires a straw color, and it is decolorized by the
action of heat. Ammonia, on the contrary, immediately decolorizes the
aqueous solution of iodine without rendering it turbid. Pure tannic
acid gives with nicotine an abundant white precipitate. Ammonia gives
no precipitate, but imparts a red color.[4]

[4] It is interesting to compare the physical and chemical properties
of nicotine with those of conicine.

Conicine is yellow; _its smell resembles that of the urine of the
mouse_, and differs entirely from that of nicotine; it strongly blues
reddened litmus paper. Added to water and shaken with it, it floats on
the surface and is not readily dissolved. Ether dissolves it easily.
When heated in a capsule it forms white vapors, _having a strong smell
of celery mixed with that of the urine of the mouse_. Weak tincture of
the iodine yields a white precipitate, which acquires an olive color
with excess of the tincture. Pure and concentrated sulphuric acid _does
not alter it_; when the mixture is heated it acquires a greenish brown
color, and if the heat be continued it becomes blood-red and afterwards
black. Nitric acid imparts to it a _topaz color_, which is not changed
by the action of heat. Hydrochloric acid yields white vapors as ammonia
does, and renders it violet, especially when heated. Tannic acid gives
a white precipitate, and chloride of platinum a yellow precipitate.
The red permanganate of potash is immediately decolorized. Corrosive
sublimate yields a white precipitate. Acetate of copper gives a
gelatinous blue precipitate, less soluble in an excess of conicine than
is that formed with nicotine. Chloride of cobalt behaves with it as it
does with nicotine. Chloride of gold gives a light yellow precipitate.
_Neutral acetate of lead does not give any precipitate_; neither does
the subacetate. Chloride of zinc gives a white gelatinous precipitate
soluble in excess of the conicine. Sulphate of sesquioxide of iron
gives a yellow precipitate. The words in italics indicate the means of
distinguishing conicine from nicotine.

If to these chemical characters which permit one so easily to
distinguish nicotine, we add those resulting from the action which
it exercises on the animal economy, it will no longer be possible to
confound it with any other body. The following are the results of the
experiments I undertook in 1842 on this alkali, and which I published
in 1843. (See the 4th edition of my work on Toxicology.)

_First Experiment._—I applied three drops of nicotine on the tongue
of a small but sufficiently robust dog; immediately afterwards, the
animal became giddy, and voided urine; at the end of a minute, its
breathing was quick and panting. This state lasted for forty seconds,
and then the animal fell on its right side, and appeared intoxicated.
Far from showing any stiffness or convulsions, it was feeble and
flabby, although the fore paws slightly trembled. Five minutes after
the administration of the {21} poison, he uttered plaintive cries, and
slightly stiffened his neck, carrying his head slightly backwards. The
pupils were excessively dilated; the respiration was calm, and in no
way accelerated. This state lasted ten minutes, during which the animal
was not able to stand. From this time the effects appeared to diminish,
and soon after it might have been predicted that they would speedily
disappear entirely. Next day, the animal was quite well. The nicotine I
used was evidently not anhydrous.

_Second Experiment._—I repeated the experiment with five drops of
nicotine on a dog of the same description. The animal showed the same
effects, and died at the end of ten minutes, although during four
minutes he showed slight convulsive movements.

_Opening of the Body the day following._—The membranes of the brain
were slightly injected, and the superficial vessels were gorged with
blood; this injection was especially observed on the left side, and
in the lower part of the brain. The brain itself of the ordinary
consistence, had the two substances of which it is composed, slightly
disintegrated, the striated substance was much injected, as well as
the _pons varolii_. The membranes which envelope the cerebellum were
still more injected than the other parts. Between the first and second
cervical vertebræ on the right side, that is, on the side on which the
animal fell, there was a rather considerable effusion of blood. The
lungs appeared to be in their natural state. The heart, the vessels
of which were gorged with blood, was greatly distended, especially
on the right side, with clots of blood; the auricles and the right
ventricle containing much, and the left ventricle none. The superior
and inferior _vena cava_, and the aorta, were equally distended with
clots of semi-fluid blood. The tongue was corroded along the middle
line, and towards the posterior part, where the epithelium separated
with facility. In the interior of the stomach there were found a black
pitchy matter and a bloody liquid, which appeared to have resulted from
an exudation of blood. The duodenum was inflamed in patches; the rest
of the intestinal canal appeared in a healthy state.

Since the above period I have made the following experiments, which
I have frequently repeated with the same results, only that in some
cases I have found the blood contained in the cavities of the heart in
a fluid state, even when proceeding to dissection immediately after
death; nevertheless the blood speedily coagulated.

_Third Experiment._—At eleven o’clock I administered, to a dog of
moderate size, twelve drops of nicotine. A few instants afterwards {22}
giddiness came on, and _he fell on the right side_; he soon manifested
convulsive movements, slightly at first, then sufficiently strong to
constitute a tetanic fit with opisthotonos; he was in a remarkable
state of drowsiness, and uttered no cry. His pupils were dilated; there
was no action of the bowels, nor vomiting. He died at two minutes after
eleven. The body was immediately opened. The abdomen and thorax, on
being cut open, _sometimes_ emitted a very decided smell of tobacco.
The heart contained a considerable quantity of _black coagulated_
blood. There was more in the right auricle and ventricle than in the
left. The lungs appeared in a normal state. The stomach contained
about forty grammes of a thick, yellow, slimy liquid; and here and
there parts of the mucous membrane were inflamed. The œsophagus, the
intestines, the liver, the spleen, and the kidneys, were in a normal
state. The epithelium was easily detached from the tongue; the base of
this organ was red and slightly excoriated. The brain was more injected
than its enveloping membranes; the _pons varolii_ was the same as in
the second experiment.

_Fourth Experiment._—I applied on the eye of a dog of moderate size one
drop of nicotine; the animal instantly became giddy and weak in its
limbs; a minute afterwards he fell on his right side and manifested
convulsive fits, which became more and more powerful; the head was
thrown back. At the end of two minutes the convulsions ceased, and
extreme weakness ensued. Five minutes afterwards the animal could
stand, but was unable to walk. Ten minutes later he was in the same
state without having vomited or had any action of the bowels. Urged to
walk, he made a few undecided steps, then vomited about one hundred
grammes of a greyish alimentary paste. At the end of half an hour he
was in the same state. It was evident that he was recovering. The
conjunctiva was sensibly inflamed, and the transparent cornea was, to a
great extent, opaque.

2. _We may detect nicotine in the digestive canal, and affirm its
existence there, although it may be only present to the extent of a few
drops._ I would call the particular attention of the Academy to this
paragraph; I have never, in the course of my numerous experiments, seen
animals whose death has been almost instantaneous, either vomit or have
any action of the bowels.[5] If it be the same with man, as everything
tends to prove it is, the Chemist will, under such circumstances, be in
the most favorable {23} condition for detecting the poison, as there
will most frequently be a sufficient quantity in the canal to determine
its presence.

[5] If life is prolonged the animals vomit.

Before describing the two processes to which I had recourse for the
determining the existence of nicotine in the stomach and intestines, as
well as in the œsophagus, it may be observed that I acted separately
on the liquid and solid matters contained in these organs, and on the
organs themselves.

_First Process._—The contents of the stomach and intestines, or the
organs themselves, are placed in a considerable proportion of sulphuric
ether; after twelve hours of maceration, it is to be filtered; the
ether passes through, holding nicotine in solution; most frequently
when the matters on which the ether has acted are fatty, the ether
holds in solution a soap composed of nicotine and one or several fatty
acids; it may also happen that it contains non-saponified nicotine.
The ethereal liquid is evaporated almost to dryness by very gentle
heat. The greasy and soapy product obtained rarely shows any alkaline
reaction. It is to be agitated, without heat, with caustic soda
dissolved in water, to decompose the soap and set free the nicotine.
The whole is then to be put into a retort furnished with a receiver
plunged in cold water, and heat applied to the retort until no more
liquid remains in it. The liquid condensed in the receiver contains
either all, or at least a large proportion of the nicotine. It is well
to know that, 1st, when heat is applied to the retort, the matter
froths, augments in volume, and would certainly pass into the receiver,
if the retort was not very large in relation to the quantity of liquid
operated upon; 2ndly, even at a temperature of 212° Fahr., the vapor
of water carries with it a certain quantity of nicotine, therefore the
operation should be carried on as much as possible in close vessels.
If these precautions be observed, the distilled liquid will be limpid
and colorless; it suffices then to concentrate it over a water-bath,
to about a sixth of its volume, to obtain with it all the reactions of

_Second Process._—The method of which I am now going to speak is
evidently superior to the preceding. The matters contained in the
stomach and intestines, or the organs themselves, as well as the
œsophagus, are macerated in water acidulated by pure and concentrated
sulphuric acid, taking, for instance, four or five drops of acid to one
hundred and fifty or two hundred grammes of water. At the end of twelve
hours it is to be filtered; the liquid, which is generally of a yellow
color, contains sulphate of nicotine and a certain quantity of organic
matter. It is then to be {24} evaporated almost to dryness in close
vessels over a water-bath; then treated with a few grammes of distilled
water which dissolves the sulphate of nicotine, leaving the greater
part of the organic matter undissolved; it is now to be filtered;
the filtered liquor is to be saturated with a little pure hydrate of
soda or potash, in order to take the sulphuric acid, and set free the
nicotine. The mixture of nicotine and of sulphate of soda or potash is
to be put into a retort, and heated as described in the first process;
the distilled liquid is to be evaporated over a water-bath in order to
concentrate the solution of nicotine.

Instead of distilling the liquor by heat, I have often treated it with
ether; this latter decanted and submitted to spontaneous evaporation
leaves the nicotine.

Everything tends to show that nicotine may be detected by other
processes. Thus by treating the digestive canal with absolute alcohol,
with the addition of a little soda, it would be dissolved, and by the
reaction of the soda, a soap would be formed with the fatty matter,
which would set free the nicotine; it would then only remain to distil
it by heat, after having evaporated to dryness. Perhaps, also, it might
be separated by acting on the tissues with pure soda or potash, then
evaporating to dryness and heating it in closed vessels.

3. _It is sufficiently easy to prove the presence of nicotine in the
liver and other organs after it has been absorbed._—In 1839 when I
had shown that poisons after having been absorbed might be extracted
from the organs where they had been carried with the blood, I insisted
so strongly on the necessity of examining these organs with a view
to the detection of poisons, that it has now become the custom to
proceed in this way. How often does it happen, that, in consequence
of repeated vomiting and action of the bowels, and also from complete
absorption having taken place, there remains no trace of the poison
in the digestive canal? Moreover, it is evident, that, in getting the
poison from the organs to which it has been carried by absorption,
we obtain, in reality, that portion of the poison which has been the
cause of death, unless it be shown that it was carried to those organs
after death by absorption. M. Stas has conformed, most wisely, to this
precept. For my part, I could not, in my researches, neglect this
important branch of the investigation. The livers of those animals
which I had poisoned with twelve or fifteen drops of nicotine, when
submitted to one or other of the processes I have described, furnished
me with appreciable quantities of this alkali. I scarcely obtained any
from {25} the blood contained in the heart, but I had only operated
upon a few grammes. Moreover, experience teaches that a great number of
poisons absorbed rapidly pass from the blood into the organs, and most
especially into the liver.

It may be readily conceived that the research for absorbed nicotine
might be fruitless in those cases where death was occasioned by only
a few drops of this body; but then the presence of the alkali may be
detected in the digestive canal.

Gentlemen, after results such as those obtained by M. Stas and myself,
society may feel satisfied. Without doubt intelligent and skilful
criminals, intent on puzzling the Chemists, will sometimes have
recourse to very active poisons, but little known to the community at
large, and difficult to detect; but science is on the alert to surmount
all difficulties. Penetrating to the recesses of our organs, she
extracts evidence of the crime, and furnishes one of the great elements
of conviction against the guilty. Do we not know that at the present
time poisonings by morphine, brucine, strychnine, nicotine, conicine,
hydrocyanic acid, and many other vegetable substances which were
formerly believed to be inaccessible to our means of investigation, may
be discovered and recognised in a manner to be perfectly characteristic?

During my stay at Mons, and consequently since the deposit of this
memoir, I have had at my disposal the complete and remarkable Report of
M. Stas, and I have satisfied myself:―

1st. That this Chemist has obtained nicotine from the tongue, from the
stomach, and liquids contained in it, and also from the liver and lungs
of Gustave Fougnies.

2ndly. That he also obtained nicotine by properly treating the boards
of the dining-room where Gustave died, although these boards had
been washed with warm water, with oil, and with soap.—_Repertoire de

The Count Hippolyte Visarte de Bocarmé confessed his guilt, and was
executed at Mons.




Liquids which contain prussic acid, and are mixed with caustic potash
ley until they have a strong alkaline reaction, yield, on the gradual
addition of a diluted solution of nitrate of silver, a precipitate,
which, on being shaken, disappears to a certain extent. Alkaline
liquids containing prussic acid, may also be mixed with a few drops
of a solution of common salt without the production of any permanent
precipitate, until at last, on an increased addition, chloride of
silver falls down.

This phenomenon depends on the fact that oxide of silver and chloride
of silver are soluble in the generated cyanide of potassium, until
there is found a double salt, composed of equal equivalents of cyanide
of potassium and cyanide of silver, which is not decomposed by an
excess of alkali. Liebig’s method of estimating the prussic acid
consists in determining the quantity of silver which must be added
to an alkaline liquid, containing prussic acid, until a precipitate
appears. Each equivalent of silver corresponds to two equivalents of
prussic acid. Having caused several experiments to be made, which prove
the efficacy of this method; and having carefully observed that the
presence of formic acid and muriatic acid in the prussic acid, does not
interfere with the correctness of this method, the author gives the
following directions for examining different liquids containing prussic
acid:—The _aqua amygdalarum amarum_ being turbid, must be clarified by
the addition of a known quantity of water: 63 grs. of fused nitrate of
silver are dissolved in 5937 grs. of water; 300 grs. of this liquid
corresponds to 1 gr. of anhydrous prussic acid. Before applying the
test, the vessel with the solution of silver is to be weighed, and of
the latter so much is added to a weighed quantity (_e.g._ 60 grs.)
of prussic acid, mixed with a small portion of potash ley and a few
drops of a solution of common salt, shaking it in a common white
medicine glass until a perceptible turbidness takes place, and does
not disappear on shaking. The solution of silver is now again to be
weighed; and supposing 360 grs. are found to have been employed for
the test, the 60 grs. of the tested prussic acid contain 1,20 grs.
anhydrous prussic acid, or 100 grs. contain two grains. {27}

_Aqua laurocerasi_, which the author examined, contained in one litre,
one decigram, and the same quantity of _aqua amygdal. amar._ 7·5
decigrammes of anhydrous prussic acid.—(In Pharmaceutical Journal, from
_Ann. de Chem. U. Pharm. Bd._ lxxvii.)

National Convention, held at Washington A. D. 1850. Philadelphia:
Lippincott, Grambo & Co. 1851.

The appearance of a new edition of the Pharmacopœia is to the
apothecary always a matter of high interest; to it he looks for
the recognized improvements in the various processes which he has
constantly to perform; by it essentially he is to be guided in all
the officinal preparations which he makes; and from it he learns
what new articles, by their intrinsic merits and through the vogue
they have obtained, are deemed of sufficient importance to be
recognized officinally as additions to the materia medica. The general
arrangement of the new Pharmacopœia is the same as that of 1840.
Owing to the wise principles which governed the earlier framers of
the Pharmacopœia—though, from the progress of botanical science, the
scientific names of the plants to which many of the articles of the
vegetable materia medics are referred, have been changed, and with
improvements in chemistry, the nomenclature of several salts has been
altered—this has led to little alteration in the designations employed
in the Pharmacopœia. Assafœtida is now referred to Narthex Assafetida,
instead of Ferula A.; Diosma is, after the Edinburgh Pharmacopœia,
termed Barosma; Camphor to Camphora officinarum; Cardamom to Elettaria
Cardamomum; Cinchona flava to C. calisaya; Cinchona pallida to C.
condaminea and C. micrantha, while the source of Cinchona rubra is
not yet indicated. Colocynth is now termed the fruit of Citrullus
colocynthis; kino is said to be the inspissated juice of Pterocarpus
marsupium, and of other plants; quassia is referred to Simaruba
excelsa, and uva ursi to Artostaphylos uva-ursi.

Of the names of the articles of the materia medica, as was before
stated, very few are changed. Myroxylon, of the old Pharmacopœia, is
now Balsamum Peruvianum, Tolutanum, Balsamum Tolutanum; Diosma, {28}
after the Edinburgh Pharmacopœia, is now Buchu; Zinci carbonas is
changed to the old name, calamina; iodinum, following the British
Pharmacopœias, is iodinium, and brominum, brominium. Port wine has been
introduced, and consequently, instead of the Vinum of 1840, we have now
Vinum Album, Sherry, and Vinum Rubrum, Port Wine.

The secondary list of the materia medica, a peculiarity of our national
pharmacopœia, is still retained, to what good purpose it is hard to
understand. The framers of the book state that “it has the advantage
of permitting a discrimination between medicines of acknowledged value
and others of less estimation, which, however, may still have claims
to notice.” The advantage is not a very evident one. The distinction
that is attempted is very difficult to make satisfactorily; it will
vary with individuals, and, we fancy, too, with the place at which
it is made. Certainly few in New York would put Angostura bark with
Horsemint (Monarda), and Queen’s root (Stillingia) in the primary list;
while Apocynum cannabinum, one of the most active of our diuretics,
and Malefern, in tape-worm, one of the most certain anthelmintics,
are exiled to the secondary. If popular, instead of professional
reputation, is to be the criterion, are not Arnica, and Matricaria,
and Benne leaves, and horehound, quite as well entitled to a place in
the primary list as many of the articles that now figure there? And
are there not twenty simples in use among the old women of the country
that deserve a place in the national Pharmacopœia as well as may weed,
and frost wort, and fever root? Though, too, new articles should not
readily be admitted until time has fixed their value, we should like to
have seen some notice of Matico and of the salts of Valerianic acid. We
are sorry, too, to see the old definition of rhubarb still adhered to;
“the root of Rheum palmatum and of other species of Rheum;” that of the
Edinburgh Pharmacopœia, “the root of an unknown species of Rheum,” thus
rendering the Russian or Chinese rhubarb alone officinal, is very much

Of the substances introduced into the Materia Medica, the chief are
Aconite root (aconiti radix), Extractum cannabis (extract of hemp),
Oleum morrhuæ (cod liver oil), Oleum amygdalæ amaræ (oil of bitter
almonds), and Potassæ chloras (chlorate of potassa). By Arnica in the
last Pharmacopœia was understood the root and herb of Arnica montana;
for these, in the present—the name remaining unchanged—the flowers are
substituted. The additions to the Materia Medica have been made with
judgment, and certainly nothing has been admitted with the exception
perhaps of {29} Helianthemum (Frostwort), of doubtful utility, or that
has not for some time been submitted to the test of experience.

The preparations introduced are all familiar to the pharmaceutist, and
have for a long time been kept in most good shops. It is singular that
in the last Pharmacopœia, by nitrate of silver was understood the fused
nitrate. This oversight has been corrected, and by Argenti nitras now
is understood the salt in crystals, while the common lunar caustic
is Argenti nitras fusa. Among the new preparations are the active
principles of Aconitum Napellus (Aconitia), Oxide of Silver, Iodide of
Arsenic, Chloroform, Collodion, a number of fluid extracts, Citrate of
Iron, Glycerine, Solution of Citrate of Magnesia, the oils of Copaiba,
Tobacco, and Valerian, Iodide of Lead, Potassa cum calce, Bromide of
Potassium, Syrup of Wild Cherry bark—of gum—and Tinctures of Aconite
root, Kino, and Nux Vomica, and compound tincture of Cardamom.

The Iron by hydrogen, as it has been sometimes rather awkwardly
termed, the Fer réduit of the French, after the British Pharmacopœias,
is termed Ferri pulvis, powder of iron. Soubeiran’s formula for
the preparation of Donovan’s Liquor (Liquor Arsenici et Hydrargyri
Iodidi) is given as much simpler and of easier preparation than the
original formula of Donovan; there is, too, a good formula for the
extemporaneous preparations of pills of iodide of iron. The solution of
the Persesquinitrate of Iron, as it has been sometimes termed, appears
as solution of Nitrate of Iron; it is a preparation that soon becomes
altered by keeping. Tincture of Aconite root is directed to be made by
macerating a pound of bruised Aconite root for fourteen days with two
pints of alcohol, expressing and filtering. A process by percolation is
also given. This is weaker than the tincture of either of the British
Pharmacopœias, and weaker, we believe, than the tincture ordinarily
employed here. As an external application, for which it is chiefly
used, this is a great disadvantage, and when administered internally,
the varying strength of a medicine so powerful will be attended with
serious evils.

The old formulæ for the preparation of the alcoholic extract of aconite
and of the extractum aconiti (expressed juice), are retained, both
being made from the leaves. The extracts when thus made, even when
properly prepared, are for the most part inert. No formula is given for
the preparation of an alcoholic extract from the root.

There are three new preparations among the ointments:—Unguentum
Belladonnæ, Potassii Iodidi, and Sulphuris Iodidi. The ointment of
Iodide {30} of Potassium is directed to be made by dissolving a
drachm of the iodide in a drachm of boiling water, and afterwards
incorporating the solution with the lard.

On the whole, there is much more to praise than to find fault with in
the Pharmacopœia. Upon some of the preparations we will hereafter find
further occasion perhaps to comment.


In pursuance of a call issued by the College of Pharmacy of the City
of New York, a Committee of Delegates from the different Colleges of
Pharmacy in the United States assembled at the College Rooms in New
York at 5 o’clock P. M. on Wednesday, the 15th of October.

Delegates from Philadelphia and Boston were in attendance. The Maryland
College (at Baltimore) and the Cincinnati College were not represented,
although Delegates from each had been previously reported to the
Committee of Arrangements in New York. A communication of some length
was received from the Cincinnati Delegation.

The Convention was organized by the appointment of Mr. Charles Ellis
of Philadelphia as Chairman, and Dr. Samuel R. Philbrick of Boston as
Secretary, pro tem. A Committee was then appointed by the nomination
of each delegation, consisting of Messrs. Samuel M. Colcord of Boston,
Alfred B. Taylor of Philadelphia, and George D. Coggeshall of New
York, to examine credentials and nominate officers for the Convention.
The Committee retired, and on their return reported the credentials
satisfactory, and proposed Dr. B. Guthrie of New York as President, and
Mr. Alfred B. Taylor of Philadelphia as Secretary, who were unanimously

Dr. Guthrie, on taking the chair, made a few remarks expressive of his
sense of the honor conferred by appointing him presiding officer of
the first Convention of the kind ever held in the United States, and
explanatory of the objects of the Convention, which were in accordance
with the growing feeling amongst druggists and pharmaceutists of its
necessity to establish standards of the qualities of imported Drugs and
Medicines for the government of the United States Inspectors at the
different ports, and in addition to act upon such matters of general
interest to the Profession as may be presented to the consideration of
the Convention.

Reports were presented by the majority (Messrs. Guthrie and Coggeshall)
and the minority (Mr. Merrick) of the New York delegates, embodying
their views upon the subject of standards, and also in regard to false
drugs which should be excluded.

A communication from the Cincinnati Delegates was read, and Mr.
Restieaux of Boston read an interesting statement of the working of the
Drug Law in that city. {31}

A general discussion ensued upon various topics connected with the
business of the Convention, and resulted in the appointment of a
committee, consisting of Messrs. Proctor of Philadelphia, Restieaux
of Boston, and Coggeshall of New York, to consider the several
communications, and to arrange the general plan of business, and report
at the next sitting.

The Convention then adjourned to Thursday, at 12 o’clock.

_Second sitting, Oct. 16th._—The Convention met at 12 o’clock. The
Committee appointed yesterday made a report, reviewing the numerous
propositions presented by the different Colleges, and submitting a
general system for regulating standards, which, in their judgment,
should prevail uniformly at the ports of entry, with numerous
specifications of prominent articles to which their attention was
called by their importance, and the difficulty that has been sometimes
found in deciding upon them.

The report was considered in sections in a lengthy and very interesting
discussion, in which the members generally participated. With some
amendments it was adopted.

The Committee also offered the following preamble and resolutions,
which were adopted, viz.

WHEREAS, The advancement of the true interests of the great body of
Pharmaceutical practitioners in all sections of our country is a
subject worthy earnest consideration; and whereas Pharmaceutists, in
their intercourse among themselves, with physicians and the public,
should be governed by a code of ethics calculated to elevate the
standard and improve the practice of their art; and whereas, the means
of a regular pharmaceutical education should be offered to the rising
Pharmaceutists by the establishment of Schools of Pharmacy in suitable
locations; and whereas, it is greatly to be desired that the united
action of the profession should be directed to the accomplishment of
these objects; therefore,

_Resolved_, That, in the opinion of this Convention, much good will
result from a more extended intercourse between the Pharmaceutists
of the several sections of the Union, by which their customs and
practice may be assimilated; that Pharmaceutists would promote their
individual interests and advance their professional standing by
forming associations for mutual protection, and the education of their
assistants, when such associations have become sufficiently matured;
and that, in view of these important ends, it is further

_Resolved_, That a Convention be called, consisting of three delegates
each from incorporated and unincorporated Pharmaceutical Societies, to
meet at Philadelphia on the first Wednesday in October, 1852, when all
the important questions bearing on the profession may be considered,
and measures adopted for the organization of a National Association, to
meet every year.

On motion, it was resolved that the New York Delegation be appointed
a Committee to lay the proceedings of this Convention before the
Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and afterwards have
them published in pamphlet form.

Dr. Philbrick of Boston offered the following preamble and resolution,
which were adopted:― {32}

WHEREAS, To secure the full benefits of the prohibition of
sophisticated drugs and chemicals from abroad, it is necessary to
prevent home adulteration; therefore,

_Resolved_, That this Convention recommend to the several Colleges
to adopt such measures as in their respective states may be best
calculated to secure that object.

On motion of Mr. Colcord of Boston, it was

_Resolved_, That a committee of three be appointed by this Convention
to act as a Standing Committee to collect and receive such information
as may be valuable, and memorials and suggestions from any Medical and
Pharmaceutical Association, to be presented at the next Convention.

The President appointed G. D. Coggeshall of New York, S. M. Colcord of
Boston, and W. Proctor, Jr., of Philadelphia, as the Committee.

A vote of thanks to the officers was passed, and then the Convention
adjourned, to meet in Philadelphia on the first Wednesday in October,

The following circular letter has since been issued by the President of
the Convention, and addressed to the leading Pharmaceutists throughout
the Union:―

 NEW YORK, November 25, 1851.

 SIR:—At a meeting of Delegates from the Colleges of Pharmacy of the
 United States, held in this city on the 15th of October, 1851, the
 following preamble and resolutions, explanatory of themselves, was
 offered, and, after a free and full discussion, unanimously adopted:―

 [Here follow the preamble and resolutions introduced by Messrs.
 Proctor, Restieaux, and Coggeshall.]

 The objects set forth in the above, I trust, will meet the hearty
 approbation of yourself and the apothecaries of your place, and lead
 to the formation (if not already in existence) of such an Association
 as will co-operate in the furtherance of the proposed association.

 Our medical brethren have, as you are doubtless aware, an
 organization, similar in character, holding its sessions annually,
 in which all matters pertaining to their profession are fully
 discussed—the beneficial effects of which are already apparent, though
 the association has been in existence but a few years.

 They cannot give to the subject of Pharmacy the attention it requires
 and deserves, neither is it a matter legitimately falling under their
 cognizance, but belongs to Pharmaceutists themselves.

 The medical profession and the community at large rightfully look to
 us for the correction of any existing abuses, the advancement of the
 science, and the elevation of the business of an apothecary to the
 dignity and standing of a profession.

 To this end we invite you to the formation of such Associations, in
 view of the Convention, to be held in Philadelphia, on the first
 Wednesday of October, 1852.

 Communications intended for said Convention may be addressed to
 William Proctor, Jr., Philadelphia, George D. Coggeshall, New York, or
 S. M. Colcord, Boston.

 Any communication touching the subject of the above letter will be
 cheerfully responded to by the President of the Convention.

 C. B. GUTHRIE, M. D.,
 President Convention of Colleges of Pharmacy.







In preparing pure potash compounds, it is highly necessary, especially
in order to avoid the possibility of the presence of soda, to select,
as a starting point, some compound of potash which differs considerably
in solubility from the corresponding soda compound. Either the
bitartrate or the sulphate, therefore, is usually preferred.

The bitartrate is ignited; the carbonaceous mass, washed with water,
and the solution of carbonate of potash, thus obtained, diluted and
boiled with slack lime, in the usual way, in an iron kettle; the
solution of hydrate of potash, thus obtained, is boiled to dryness, and
the alcoholic solution of the residue evaporated in silver dishes, to
obtain what is denominated _alcoholic potash_. This product should be,
and most usually is, entirely free from sulphate of potash and chloride
of potassium, since it is easy to crystallize the bitartrate free from
these salts.

But an almost invariable accompaniment of this alcoholic potash is a
trace of silicate of potash. The solution may assume no cloudiness on
the addition of solution of chlorohydrate of ammonia, or upon addition
of an excess of chlorohydric acid, and afterwards an excess of ammonia;
but on adding excess of chlorohydric acid, and evaporation to dryness
in a platinum {34} capsule, the aqueous solution of the residue will
be found to have flakes of silica floating in it. Very few specimens
that I have met with have stood this test. It is to be inferred that
the soluble silicates of potash are not wholly insoluble in alcohol;
but a question arises concerning the source from whence the silica is
so frequently derived. It may be from the lime used, in some cases,
or from silicium contained in the iron of the kettles employed. I am
enabled to state, in addition, that of many specimens of commercial
_carbonate of potash_ which I have examined, some of which purported
to have been prepared from cream of tartar by the method above alluded
to, none have been found entirely free from silica. I have even found
traces of this impurity in crystals of commercial _bicarbonate of

This constant contamination of potash, and carbonate of potash with
silica, being a very important matter in consideration of the frequent
use of these two substances in chemical analysis, I have been induced
to devise a means of separating the silica from the carbonate. This I
have accomplished by the use of carbonate of ammonia.

An aqueous solution of the carbonate which is to be freed from silica
is evaporated to dryness on the sand bath (best in a sheet iron dish),
adding from time to time lumps of carbonate of ammonia. The silicate
is thus converted into carbonate, and on dissolving the residue of the
evaporation in water, the silica appears in the form of flakes floating
in the liquid, and may be separated by filtration. This solution
of carbonate of potash, free from silica, may now be used for the
preparation of pure hydrate of potash, taking care to use lime which is
also free from silica.

I may here introduce a few words with regard to the preservation of
hydrate of potash for use in analysis. Its preservation in the solid
form is evidently no difficult matter; but when we attempt to keep the
solution in glass bottles for the sake of convenience in using it as a
re-agent, we generally find that it very soon takes up silica from the
glass. I have found, however, that flint glass bottles will preserve
such a solution much {35} longer than any other, lead glass not being
easily acted upon, probably because it contains very much less silica.
It might not be useless to make a trial of bottles made of thin soft
iron, or sheet iron, for this purpose; but it is probable that pure
_silver_ is the true material for bottles, in which solution of potash
is to be preserved. A very thin shell of silver might first be made,
and afterwards strengthened by coating it thickly with galvanic copper.

The ease with which sulphate of potash can be obtained, in a state of
purity, has long ago suggested its use as a material from which to
prepare pure potash. Schubert[6] proposed to treat pulverized pure
sulphate of potash with a concentrated solution of pure baryta, the
latter somewhat in excess, and during the evaporation of the solution
of hydrate of potash, thus obtained, the excess of the baryta is
precipitated by the carbonic acid of the air. This, however, appears to
be very expensive process. I have devised another method of treating
pure sulphate of potash so as to obtain pure hydrate of potash
therefrom; it consists merely in operating upon the sulphate of potash
in a manner similar to that in which sulphate of baryta is operated
upon to procure hydrate of baryta, that is in converting the sulphate
into sulphide by the conjoined application of a reducing agent and a
red heat, and to decompose the aqueous solution of the sulphide by the
action of an oxide of a metal whose sulphide is insoluble, such as
oxide of iron (?), oxide of copper or deutoxide of manganese. I use as
a reducing agent, instead of charcoal, oil, rosin, etc., _coal gas_.
This application of coal gas was proposed by Dr. Wolcott Gibbs. If it
is found that the decomposition is not perfect, and that the solution
of sulphide of potassium contains some sulphate of potash, or if a
little sulphate is formed in the solution by oxidation, it is removed
by the introduction of a little solution of baryta, according to the
method of Schubert. I am not yet prepared, however, to give the details
of this method.

[6] Erd. und Mar. Jour. 26, 117.




The remarks made in the last article with reference to the presence of
silica in alcoholic potash, apply also, though not so generally, to
commercial alcoholic soda. Few specimens of this product are met with
which are so free from silica that it cannot be detected by saturation
with chlorohydric acid, evaporation to dryness in a platinum vessel,
and redissolution in water. Whatever may be the origin of the silica in
this case, it is very often present.

I have selected, as the most convenient substance from which to prepare
pure hydrate and carbonate of soda, a product which occurs very
abundantly in commerce under the name of “carbonate of soda.” It is in
the form of a very fine white powder, and on examination turns out to
be the ordinary monohydrated _bicarbonate_ of soda.

 NaO, 2 C.O^2 + H.O.

For, upon ignition, 7.756 grns. lost, 2.7595 grns. of carbonic acid and
water, which is equal to 35.60 per cent.; bicarbonate of soda should
lose 36.88 per cent. It may be mentioned, in this connection, that a
preparation sent over here by Button, a London Pharmaceutist, under the
appellation of “Chemically Pure Carbonate of Soda,” upon examination
turned out to be also _bicarbonate_. 2.324 grns. lost by ignition;
0.845 grn. = 36.45 per cent.

The commercial bicarbonate above mentioned, contains, of course, all
the impurities of the carbonate from which it is made, this being an
inevitable consequence of the method by which it is manufactured,
which, as described in Knapp’s Chemical Technology, is simply to expose
commercial crystals of carbonate of soda to the action of carbonic
acid gas, which it takes up to the extent of one equivalent, falling
into a fine powder, with evolution of heat and loss of water of
crystallization. These impurities, in the case of the specimen operated
upon by {37} me, were, besides considerable silica, sulphate of soda,
chloride of sodium, a trace of phosphoric acid detected by monohydrate
of ammonia, and a little organic matter which imparted to the mass a
soapy smell.

The sulphate, phosphate and chloride are easily removed by washing with
water by decantation, with a loss, however, of at least one half of the
material. When the washings, after addition of excess of nitric acid,
no longer react with nitrate of silver, or with chloride of barium,
the mass is introduced into porcelain dishes, and dried on the sand
bath; when dry it is exposed to a high sand bath heat, though not to
a red heat, for two or three hours. By this treatment, not only are
one equivalent of carbonic acid, and one equivalent of water expelled,
but the greater part or the whole of the silicate is decomposed and
converted into carbonate, so that a solution of the mass in water will
now be found full of flakes of silica.

The filtered solution should now be tested for silica, and if not
yet entirely free from it, must be evaporated again to dryness, with
addition of lumps of carbonate of ammonia, exactly as proposed by me,
in the last article, to separate silica from carbonate of potash. The
residue of this last evaporation, on solution in water, filtration
and evaporation in platinum, silver, or even clean sheet iron (never
in glass or porcelain) dishes, will give pure carbonate of soda,
from which may be prepared the pure hydrate of soda, observing the
precaution of using lime which is free from silica.


STATES, 1851.


The Pharmacopœia of the United States is, or should be, to the
Pharmaceutist of the United States, his text book and standard.
In making its preparations he should not vary from the letter of
its directions, unless a change of process effects a quicker, more
uniform, or more elegant result; in regard to strength he should not
vary at all, except upon distinct understanding with the physician
prescribing, or with his customer. It is much to be regretted that
perfect conformity throughout the United States, with our National
Pharmacopœia should not prevail, so that our citizens, traveling or
removing with prescriptions, or copies of them, might not be subjected
to inconvenient, and even in some cases to dangerous alterations,
impairing confidence in the medicine relied upon, or involving the
safety of the patient in using it. With these important considerations
in view, the apothecary should, as far as circumstances permit, conform
strictly to the acknowledged standard, giving up his own opinions, if
need be, for the general good. But strict adherence to the formulæ
of our Pharmacopœia seems not to be practicable in all cases, in all
localities. When there is such diversity of practice in the City of
Philadelphia and in New York, within five hours of each other, with
intercommunication five times a day, in each of which the formation and
subsequent revisions of the Pharmacopœia have been of such especial
interest and attention, how can it be expected that in our widely
extended country, in communities diversified almost as much as those
of different nations, with many local habits, set by time and many
prejudices, a full and uniform compliance with the official standard
should prevail.

In New York it would disappoint the physician to put ʒss of the
officinal Solution of Sulphate of Morphia into a {39} prescription
of ℥iv cough mixture, as much, if not as unpleasantly, as it would
the Philadelphia physician for one of our brethren in that city to
put ℥j of Majendie’s strength into a mixture of the same bulk. In New
York the original strength of this solution has ever been preserved,
notwithstanding the change made officinal in three editions of our
Pharmacopœia, and it is generally understood and used accordingly. With
us the change has been remonstrated against, as unnecessary, because
the dose can be as easily regulated as that of Fowler’s, or Donovan’s,
or Lugol’s solution, the tinctures of aconite root, belladonna, iodine,
and many other potent preparations; it may just as easily be preserved
from doing mischief, and has often the advantage in mixtures of not
displacing desirable adjuncts with superfluous water. It is true, that
owing to the great difference in strength of the solution commonly
understood here, and that of the Pharmacopœia, our College has felt
it incumbent to request physicians to designate the intended one, by
affixing a term (in brackets or otherwise) as “Maj,” or “Ph. U.S,” to
avoid the possibility of misconstruction, except in clear cases as that
of the mixture above mentioned; and that we should not feel justified
in dispensing an ounce of Majendie’s solution alone, (especially if the
prescription was for “Liquor Morphiæ, Sulphatis”—the officinal term)
unless with an understanding of the strength wanted, or of the use to
be made of it. This great discrepancy between what is of original and
continued use and what is officinal, requires watchfulness, on our
part, against occasional exceptions to the general prescription of our
physicians, and in putting up prescriptions written in other places,
Philadelphia particularly. We must judge of the solution required, from
the context.

Our Pharmacopœia, in most of its formulæ, is undoubtedly entitled to
our full respect and adherence, exhibiting on the part of the Revising
Committee, laborious research and patient adjustment of details. But
some of them, I think, are fairly open to criticism and susceptible of
improvement. The formula given for preparing “CARBONIC ACID WATER,” is
one by which it {40} may safely be said, no practical man ever has
made, or ever can make, the article commonly known as mineral, or soda
water, the latter name given to it in its early manufacture; when a
portion of carbonate of soda entered into its composition, which is
now generally omitted, though the name is retained in many places. In
the first United States Pharmacopœia, 1820, the formula given is as

 “Take of water any quantity.

 Impregnate it with about ten times its volume of carbonic acid gas by
 means of a forcing pump.”

That was, probably, about the strength it was usually made at that
time. It is now, generally made about one fifth or one fourth stronger.
In the revision of 1830, the formula was changed as follows:―

 “By means of a forcing pump, throw into a suitable receiver, nearly
 filled with Water, a quantity of Carbonic Acid equal to five times the
 bulk of the Water.”

 “Carbonic Acid is obtained from the Hard Carbonate of Lime by means of
 dilute Sulphuric Acid.”

The latter formula is repeated in the revisions of 1840 and 1850,
substituting the term “Marble,” for “Hard Carbonate of Lime.” The
strength was altered from “ten times” of the first edition to “five
times,” in 1830, and reiterated in 1840 and 1850. Why? “Ten times” was,
perhaps, sufficient in the early use of this beverage, but was hardly
considered strong enough in 1830, certainly was not in 1840, and has
not been since. It is difficult to conceive a reason for such change.
Surely, it could not have been recommended by practical men; on the
contrary it was supposed to have been made by mistake or inadvertance.
It is still more difficult to find a good reason for repeating this
formula in the revisions of 1840 and 1850. Upon each of the latter
occasions the College of Pharmacy, in New York, remonstrated against
it and pointed out fully its absurdity. Carbonic Acid Water of that
strength, it was stated, would not be acceptable as a drink to any one
familiar with it, {41} nor refreshing to the sick. The formula was
also shown to be defective in several essential particulars, and where
it was not defective it was wrong. But our remonstrance seems not to
have been vouchsafed “even the cold respect of a passing glance.”

The formula is defective in not describing the vessel in which the
preparation is to be made. In other processes, not so much involving
the safety of those engaged in them, the vessels are specified, as
“glass,” “earthen,” “iron,” &c. In this case it is indispensable that
the vessel should be expressly and well adapted to the purpose. It
should be of undoubted strength to sustain the pressure, and it should
be of material not acted upon by the acid or water. These requisites
should not be neglected. We need not concern ourselves much, to be
sure, about “five times the bulk,” but to make carbonic acid water of
good quality, the “receiver” should be of sufficient strength to ensure
safety, and of internal material to avoid unpleasant or injurious
contamination. Copper fountains, lined with tin, are mostly used. Cast
iron, lined with tin, is also used, to some extent. So far the formula
is defective,—in the proportion both of water and carbonic acid it
is wrong. The “suitable receiver” should not be “nearly filled with
water.” How near full that is, is left to the chance of different
judgment in different persons; but if “nearly filled” should be
understood to mean within a pint, and force enough could be applied,
“the receiver” would burst before the “five times” could be got into
it, though the breaking in this case would not, probably, be attended
with danger to the operator, because it would be merely a dead strain
without much expansive force.

I do not propose to detail the process of making soda or mineral water,
“Carbonic Acid Water,” as it is properly called in the Pharmacopœia.
The minutiæ of its preparation may well be left to the experience
and practice of the operator. But the formula given in our standard
book should not be defective or wrong in prominent principles, it
should accord with experience and the improvement of the times. There
does not appear to {42} be any good reason for altering the formula
of 1820, which was comparatively “well enough” to that of 1830, ’40
and ’50, which is of no value. After designating the description of
fountain required, so far, at least, as regards strength (which ought
to be equal to the pressure of twenty atmospheres), and material, it
should direct it to be supplied with water to the extent of about
five sevenths of its capacity, in order to allow of due admixture of
gas and water, and of agitation which greatly facilitates it, and the
forcing carbonic acid into it to the extent of at least twelve times
the bulk of the water. Thirteen or fourteen times is often employed for
draught, and seventeen or eighteen times for bottling. It may be, as
it has been, said that “a formula for this preparation is not of great
moment.” It may be so; it may, perhaps, as safely be left to the skill
of the manufacturer and the taste of the consumer, as “Mistura Spiritus
Vini Gallici;” but “if it be worth doing at all, it is worth doing
well;” if placed in the Pharmacopœia, it should be in accordance with
knowledge, and the experience of practical men.

THE SOLUTION OF ARSENITE OF POTASSA has been made by some Apothecaries,
with myself, for several years, by substituting 92 grs. of bicarbonate
of potassa, as the equivalent of 64 grs. of the carbonate, by which
we feel more confident of obtaining a definite compound than by the
employment of the Carbonate, as generally procured, which mostly
contains silica and other contaminations. The resulting compound is
quite satisfactory, and keeps well. We also omit the compound spirit
of lavender, making up the measure of a pint with water. Our object
in this is two-fold. The solution is more permanent, according to our
observation, and the compound spirit of lavender only renders it (if
anything) more attractive in taste and smell, to children and ignorant

In making MISTURA FERRI COMPOSITA, it is peculiarly necessary to
proceed exactly according to rule, both in the order of its components
and in the method of adding them, to produce a correct result. In the
Pharmacopœia the six ingredients are set down thus:― {43}

 “Take of Myrrh a drachm.
 Carbonate of Potassa twenty-five grains.
 Sulphate of Iron, in powder, a scruple.
 Spirit of Lavender half a fluid ounce.
 Sugar a drachm.
 Rose Water seven fluid ounces and a half.”

We are directed to rub the first with the last, “and then mix with
these” the fourth, the fifth, the second, and “lastly,” the third.

In the written process for making a mixture, which more than most
others, requires exact method, and the adding of each of its numerous
components in its right order, it would seem to be desirable, for the
sake of perspicuity, to set them down in the order in which they are
to be used. Here we have to chase about, forwards and backwards, for
the one wanted next, and to read over and over the directions, to make
sure of getting them right; for few of us make this mixture so often
as to be perfectly familiar with the process, without referring to the
text. It is not less awkward in this case from the directions chancing
to be over leaf. But the formula is otherwise defective, I think, not
being quite equal to that of 1830, in which the rose water and spirit
of lavender are directed to be added together. Not only should these
be mixed before using, but the myrrh, carbonate of potassa and sugar
should be triturated well together, and rubbed with successive portions
of the mixed liquids, effecting thereby a better solution of the myrrh.
The mixture, then complete, except the sulphate of iron, should be put
into the vial, and the salt should, by all means, be directed to be
selected in clear crystals, to avoid any per salt of iron; it should be
quickly powdered in a clean mortar, and added to the contents of the
vial. The result is a bluish colored mixture, soon changing to olive
green. If the sulphate of iron be not properly selected, or if it be
rubbed in the mortar, as inferred from the formula, the mixture is more
or less brown and proportionably deteriorated. Of course, we should not
“take sulphate of iron in powder.” {44}

In giving directions for making a compound, something, certainly,
is to be expected from the knowledge and skill of the manipulator.
But essential points should not be left to him, and a formula for a
mixture, probably not very often made by Apothecaries throughout our
country towns, should be set down so clearly, that a person competent
to put up mixtures generally, could make this one the first time he was
called upon for it, without needless perplexity, and with sufficient
detail of essentials to ensure its being made correctly. I have been
frequently told by physicians that, even here, this mixture, requiring
so much nicety of manipulation, does not appear to be made right one
time in ten. This may not be so much the fault of the Apothecary as
of his guide. He makes the mixture but seldom, and if he make it by
his Pharmacopœia he does not make it as well as it can be made. For
convenient use in the shop, I have the following process written out:―

 “Take of Myrrh,
   Sugar each one drachm,
   Carbonate of Potassa twenty-five grains,

 _Triturate together, and add gradually_:
   Rose Water seven ounces and a half,
   Spirit of Lavender half an ounce, mixed.

 _Rub each portion well together, pour into the vial and add_:
   Sulphate of Iron one scruple,

 _To be selected in clear crystals, powdered in a clean dry mortar, and
 thrown in powder into the vial; then cork, shake well, and cover the
 vial with buff colored paper._”

I have often thought that if our formulæ, especially those that are
complicated, were given in proper rotation, placing the component
first to be used, first in the list, the second next, and so on,
with intermediate lines of direction, which might be in smaller type
or italics, it would derogate nothing from the dignity of the book,
while it would facilitate the process, and might sometimes obviate
misconstruction, or neglect of particulars essential to the best result.

The consideration of some few other preparations, I must defer to
another number.



[THE following letter, addressed to a Commercial House in this City,
will be found to communicate some interesting information. We print it
as it is written. Perhaps our readers may derive some information from
the prices given; we can make nothing of them.]

 CONSTANTINOPLE, May 10, 1851.
 To ———— TRIESTE,

We received your honored letter, dated Messina, with great pleasure,
and hasten to give you the information you desire, hoping and
wishing that both an agreeable and useful connection may arise from
it, for which purpose we shall not fail to give your House direct
information, respecting the articles you mention. Opium is found
here in different qualities, the goodness of which chiefly depends
on the conscientiousness of those who prepare it. The best quality
coming from some districts of Asia consists of the pure juice, which
flows spontaneously from the incisions made in the poppy heads, is
inspissated and formed into little balls. It has eminently all the
qualities which are requisite in good opium, and contains from 8 to
10 per cent, and more, of morphia. This sort is the most in request
among the druggists in Germany and France, to be sold by retail to
the apothecaries, but scarcely forms the 8th or 10th part of all the
Turkish opium which comes to the market. Next to this is the ordinary
quality, coming from the other provinces of Asia Minor; where in
preparing it, they are less cautious, partly pressing the poppy heads,
in order to get as much juice as possible, partly scraping the juice
that has oozed out too hard, by which certain mucilaginous parts of the
plant, and shavings of the rind get mixed up with it; in this way that
kind of opium is produced, which is so often sold, and at Trieste bears
the name of Tarense opium.

By this proceeding, of course, the morphia is lessened, and often in a
great degree; but in the Chinese market, in proportion to which, the
consumption of the article in all other countries is scarcely to be
reckoned, little or no regard is paid to {46} this, which explains why
the latter inferior article always brings nearly as high a price as
the former pure quality. Besides these, several sorts of adulterated
opium are sold, some of which are prepared, (principally for the North
American market,) by mixing in the juice of the whole plant, or other
substances.—The difference of the qualities would be best perceived by
a collection of samples, which we should be glad to send you, if you
would tell us where to direct them. The price of the aforementioned
prime quality, which we call “Gúeve,” from the district which chiefly
produces it, is now 10 2/3c. for the English pound, free on board.
The current second quality, 10 1/3c. The price of the adulterated is
much lower, in proportion to the amount of the adulteration; which,
however, in most cases, is not discernible by the exterior. The prices
are, of course, principally regulated by the Chinese market; yet the
more or less considerable crop produced is not without influence. So
especially now, the growers show little inclination to sell, as the new
plantations are endangered by a continual want of rain.—Nevertheless,
probably after two months, when the new crop begins to come to market,
we may be able to buy cheaper than now, if the news from China should
not cause the price to rise.

As regards scammony, almost everything that has been said respecting
opium is literally applicable. The difference in quality depends
upon the way of preparing it, while the plant from which it is taken
is always the same. The best sort is the pure dried juice, which
spontaneously flows from the incisions made in the root of the plant;
the next quality is produced by a strong pressure of the root. These
two qualities go in commerce by the name of the 1st and 2nd scammony
d’Aleppo, which name, however, is wrong, as Aleppo produces the 1st
quality, but only in a very small quantity, whilst the greater part
comes from several districts of Asia Minor. Then follows the so called
quality of Skilip, a district that produces much, but where they have
the bad habit of trying to gain in the weight, by adulterating the
pure substance. The adulteration is made in several ways; the least
injurious of which perhaps is, {47} that they add (as in opium), the
pressed or boiled out juice of the whole plant; the not inconsiderable
quantities of this sort, which are yearly brought from the interior,
find a good sale in Europe, which would hardly last, if a sufficient
quantity of the before mentioned finer qualities were to be had.
Besides these, a number of other sorts are sold in Europe, under the
name of Smyrna scammony, which consist of a hard and heavy mass, but
contain only a very small part of the real scammony.

With this article it would also be necessary, as we said with the
opium, to explain our statements by sending you samples, which we will
do if you desire it. The finest prime sort is seldom found, and is
now entirely wanting. It would sell readily at the rate of 21 1/2c.
per pound, English. The good second quality brings according to the
sort, from 18c. to 15 3/4c. a pound, free on board, but is also
now very scarce, and will, in the course of two or three months, be
more abundant in fresh quality. Of the Skilip sort, there are several
quantities in the market, according to the quality, at the price of 13
to 10s. 10d. an English pound, free on board.

Of the oil of roses, there is, properly speaking, only one genuine
quality, with only little difference in odor, but with remarkable
variation in the facility with which it congeals, which property is
almost generally considered an essential proof of its being genuine,
but without reason; as we have ascertained by much experience, during
a long sojourn in the country where it is produced. Several reasons
may contribute to this difference in congealing, but the chief one
may be considered, the difference of soil, and method of preparation.
We give our principal attention to the article, and have founded an
establishment at Kissanlik, where it is chiefly produced, through which
alone we make our purchases, and must do so, in order to have the attar
genuine, as we have experienced, that all the essence without exception
that is sold here, second hand, is far from pure.

The common method and the one now almost exclusively adopted of
adulterating it, with geranium essence, may be known {48} to you, and
that it really is the most in use, you may conclude, from the price
of the genuine article having been for a long time much higher at the
places of production, than the price of that which is sold as prime in
Europe. This fact has only lately been noticed in Europe, therefore
in the price current of Trieste, for instance, you will find the
genuine article noted, beside the prime article, with a considerable
difference of price. What at London is designated as prime quality, is
only a mixture of 60 to 70 per cent. essence of rose, with 30 to 40 per
cent. essence of geranium. Samples will also prove this to you, more
clearly. The price of the genuine attar is, to-day, 22 3/4c. for an
ounce, at 10 drachms, according to which the English price current may
be understood; in six or eight weeks after the preparation of the new
crop, we hope to buy cheaper, but at what rate we cannot yet judge,
as this depends on the produce of the crop. There is some cheaper and
adulterated, and which is only bought by ignorant persons. This oil
comes by caravans from the interior of Asia, and in spite of all our
inquiries, we could not succeed in getting any sure information, about
the plant which produces it, or the method of preparation.



Hitherto, attention has been mainly directed to the manufacture of
chloroform, and the study of its anesthetic properties. Many chemists,
however, have casually noticed the power it possesses of dissolving
essential oils, fixed fatty matters, camphor resins, (even those which
dissolve with difficulty in alcohol and ether, such as copal resin, for
example,) iodine, bromine, vegetable alkalies, india rubber insoluble
in alcohol, and but slightly soluble in ether, and, finally, gutta
percha, insoluble according to M. Vogel, in both these menstrua. {49}

Having lately had occasion to experiment with chloroform, upon a
variety of substances, I have thought it might be useful, with a view
to its further application, to make known the results obtained.

1. Resinous substances, gum mastic, colophony, elemi, balsam of tolu,
benzoin, are very soluble cold, in all proportions of chloroform and
their solutions in this liquid form varnishes, some of which might,
I think, be usefully applied, when the price of chloroform shall be

Gum copal and caoutchouc dissolve equally and almost entirely in this
liquid, but more easily hot than cold.

Amber, sandarac, and shellac, are only partially soluble in chloroform,
whether hot or cold. The mixture of sandarac and chloroform separates
into two layers; the lower one which holds in solution a certain
quantity of resin, is fluid, whilst the upper one is of a gelatinous

Olibanum dissolves with difficulty in it, either hot or cold.

Gum guaiac and scammony resin, dissolve very easily in it; whilst on
the contrary, pure jalap resin is insoluble; it becomes soft by contact
with the liquid, and then floats on the top, as a pitch like mass. When
the resin is very pure, the lower layer of chloroform has an amber

Gamboge and gum dragon’s blood, also yield some of their substance
to chloroform. The solution of gamboge being of a magnificent golden
yellow, and that of the dragon’s blood of a beautiful red, these two
substances might be advantageously used as varnishes.

2. Fixed Fats. Oils of olive, œillettes, almond, ricinus, cod, rape,
euphorbia, lathyris, croton tiglium, lard, tallow, the concrete oils of
palm and cocoa, spermaceti, and probably all the fixed fats, dissolve
remarkably and in all proportions in chloroform. As to wax, according
to M. Vogel, six or eight parts of chloroform added to one part of this
substance when pure, dissolve only .25, whence this chemist supposes,
that whenever wax treated with this liquid in the above {50} named
proportions, leaves less than .75, it may be considered as having been
mixed with tallow or stearic acid.

I placed in a small tube, seven grammes of chloroform, and one gramme
of _pure_ white wax, shaking the mixture violently, at the end of
six or eight hours the piece of wax had entirely disappeared, and
the contents of the tube resembled an emulsion. The whole was passed
through a filter of the weight of one gramme. A transparent liquid
passed, which, exposed to spontaneous evaporation, left a residuum of
pillular consistence weighing twenty-five centigrammes; whilst the
filter which retained the portion of undissolved wax, left to the
action of the air, until it no longer lost weight, was found to weigh
one gramme, seventy-five centigrammes. The result of this experiment
therefore, confirms the statement of the learned chemist of Munich.

3. Volatile oils. All are soluble in chloroform.

4. Simple metalloid bodies. We already know that iodine and bromine are
soluble in chloroform, I have further ascertained that phosphorus and
sulphur are slightly so.

5. Immediate neutral principles. Stryacine, piperine, naphtaline,
cholesterine, are very soluble in chloroform. Pricrotoxine, slightly
so. Parafine will only dissolve when warm, and on cooling, again
floats on the top of the liquid. Amygdaline, phloridzine, salicine,
digitaline, cynisin, urea, hematin, gluten, sugar, &c., are insoluble
in it.

6. Organic acids. Benzoic and hippuric acids are very soluble in
chloroform. Tannin is but slightly soluble, tartaric, citric, oxalic
and gallic acids are insoluble in it.

7. Organic alkalies. Quinine, pure veratrine, emetine and narcotine
are easily soluble in chloroform. Strychnine dissolves pretty well
in it, and the solution, even when not saturated (one décigramme to
two grammes of chloroform, for instance,) deposits, in twenty-four
hours, a number of little tuberculiform crystals, which may perhaps
be a modification of this alkaloid (an isomeric state), for their
solution in dilute acids has appeared to me less bitter, and less
easily precipitable by {51} ammonia than that of ordinary strychnine.
Brucine is also quite soluble in chloroform. Morphine and cinchonine
are insoluble.

8. Salts of organic acids. Tartar emetic, the acetates of potash and
soda, lactate of iron, citrate of iron, valerianate of zinc, and
acetate of lead do not dissolve in chloroform.

9. Salts with organic bases. Sulphate and hydrochlorate of strychnine,
are tolerably soluble in chloroform, whilst sulphate of quinine,
hydrochlorate and sulphate of morphine are insoluble.

10. Haloid salts. Iodide and bromide of potassium, the chlorides of
sodium, potassium and ammonia, the iodides of mercury and lead, the
yellow prussiate of potash, the cyanides of mercury and potassium do
not dissolve in chloroform. Chloride of mercury is very soluble.

11. Oxysalts. The iodates, chlorates, nitrates, phosphates, sulphates,
chromates, borates, arseniates and alkaline hyposulphates are
completely insoluble in chloroform. The same may be said of nitrate of
silver, sulphate of copper, and probably of all the metallic oxysalts.

The above facts prove: 1st That chloroform dissolves, with a very few
exceptions, all bodies soluble in ether; but as it dissolves copal,
caoutchouc, &c., much better than this latter substance, this property
will become serviceable when the price of chloroform shall be lowered.

2nd. That contrary to what was formerly believed, it dissolves shellac
much less easily than alcohol.

3rd. That it may be employed instead of ether, to separate quinine from
cinchonine, narcotine from morphine, guaiac resin from jalap resin,
which substances are often found mixed together in commerce.

4th. That it dissolves in large proportions strychnine, brucine, and
emetine, alkaloids, which are almost insoluble in ether.

5th. Finally, that it does not dissolve tartaric, citric, oxalic and
gallic acids, amygdaline, phloridzine, salicine, digitaline, hematine,
gluten, &c., all which bodies are soluble in alcohol, {52} nor the
chlorides, bromides, iodides, or nitrates, salts, all soluble in the
same vehicle.

I think it right also to add the following observation, because it
tends to corroborate a fact recently stated in the _Journal de Chimie
Médicale_, by my friend and former colleague, M. Aujendre, assayer at
the mint of Constantinople, namely that chloroform possesses antiseptic
properties. Having accidentally left in a half filled, but corked
bottle, during a month (from April 10, to May 12), in my laboratory,
where the variations of temperature are very frequent, some milk mixed
with about a hundredth part of chloroform, I was rather surprised, on
examining the milk, to find that it had preserved the fluidity and
homogeneity of the liquid when freshly drawn, and that it could even
be boiled without turning.—_Journal de Chimie Médicale in L’Abeille

[NOTE.—Chloroform will preserve Anatomical and Pathological Specimens
without changing their color, or apparently their texture.]—ED. N. Y.


(_Published by order of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Coll.
of Pharm._)

The joint Committees of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, and
of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, appointed for the purpose
of considering the means best adapted to prevent the occurrence of
mistakes in the compounding of the prescriptions of Physicians by
Apothecaries, beg leave to report that they have given to the subject
all the attention that its importance demands, and present the
following hints as the results of their joint deliberations. They have
taken the liberty of adding, also, a few general hints on the relations
that should exist between physicians and pharmaceutists.


A. _In Respect to Physicians._

1. Physicians should write their prescriptions carefully and legibly,
making use of good paper, and, whenever possible, of pen and ink. When
obliged to write with a pencil, they should take the precaution to fold
the prescription twice, so as to prevent its being defaced.

2. The nomenclature of the United States Pharmacopœia is becoming
annually more in favor with pharmaceutists; a statement attested by the
fact that 1500 copies of the book of Latin Labels for shop furniture,
published by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, have been disposed
of within three years. Physicians are also becoming more alive to
the merits of our national Codex, and they are respectfully urged to
familiarize themselves with its nomenclature, and to adhere to it
strictly in their prescriptions.

3. The numerous treatises on Materia Medica, Pharmacy and the Practice
of Medicine, of English origin, that are reprinted in this country,
notwithstanding they are generally interlarded with the formulæ of
our own Pharmacopœia, tend, nevertheless, very much to confuse the
physician and apothecary, in the use and exact meaning of terms
in prescriptions. To obviate the difficulties thus occasioned,
the physician should, when he prescribes a medicine, which is not
officinal, nor in common use, state on his prescription, either in
a note at the bottom, or within parenthesis, following the article,
the authority or work from whence it is derived, as “Griffith’s
Formulary,”—“Ellis’ Formulary,”—“Braithwaite’s Retrospect,” etc.

4. Physicians would lessen the risk of errors in their prescriptions,
and increase the chances of their detection should they be made, by
observing the following hints.

1st. Write the name of the patient at the top of the prescription,
unless a good reason prevents this being done; in which case, it should
be expressed as for Mr. G—, Mrs. R—, or Mrs. S.’s child, or for Master
T—, so as to convey to the apothecary some idea of the age of the
patient. {54}

2d. The date and name of the physician or his initials, should
always be appended, and, whenever practical, the dose and mode of
administering the medicine directed.

3d. When an unusually large dose of an active medicine is prescribed,
as opium, morphia, elaterium, strychnia, etc., let such names be put in
_italics_, and the quantity or quantities repeated in writing enclosed
within a parenthesis; thus:—R Morphiæ Sulphatis grs. vj. (six grains.)
Div. in chart. vj.

4th. When an active substance is to be used externally, it should be
so stated on the prescription; thus, “For external application”—“To be
applied to the part as directed,” etc.

5th. The quantities of each article should be placed in a line with
the name, and not below it and in using the Roman numerals, the _i_’s
should be dotted correctly.

6th. The occasional practice of writing the directions intended for the
patient in _latin_, and especially in abbreviated latin, is uncalled
for, and attended with some risk; it is far safer to write them in
English, and without abbreviation or the use of figures, unless these
are well and distinctly formed.

B. _In Respect to the Apothecary._

1st. The apothecary should hesitate to dispense a prescription, the
handwriting of which is so imperfect as to render the writer’s meaning
doubtful—especially if it involves agents of a poisonous or irritating
character—unless he is able, from collateral circumstances, to satisfy
himself of the intent of the prescriber. In such a case he should
delay the delivery of the medicine to the patient until he can see the
physician, and in doing so he should avoid committing the latter, by
agreeing to send the medicine when it is ready.

2d. The apothecary is justified in the same means of delay, if he,
after deliberate consideration, believes that the physician has
inadvertently made a mistake in the quantity or dose of the article or
articles prescribed; always keeping in view the physician’s reputation
as well as his own. Every respectful application, in such cases, to a
physician, should be met in good faith {55} and with kind feeling,
even though no error should prove to exist.

3d. In his demeanor and language, the apothecary should cautiously
avoid compromising the physician, unless it be unavoidable, in which
case honesty is the best policy, and the patient or his messenger
should be told that it will be necessary to have an interview with the
physician previously to compounding his prescription.

4th. The apothecary is not justifiable in making inquiries relative
to the patient or his disease, or remarks relative to the character
or properties of the medicines prescribed, that are uncalled for, or
likely to convey a wrong impression, through an ignorant messenger,
to the patient, excepting it be done in a case where he has doubts in
regard to the prescription, and wishes to satisfy himself, and here he
should act with great discreetness.

5th. When an apothecary is asked his opinion of a physician’s
prescription in a manner that indicates want of faith in the
prescriber, he should waive the question, unless by a direct answer he
should be able to restore that confidence. When asked the nature of
the ingredients, he should be guided in his answer by circumstances,
avoiding to give the desired information, when he believes it would
be contrary to the wish of the physician, or attended with injurious
consequences. In other cases he should use his own judgment.

6th. Physicians being often unacquainted with practical pharmacy, pay
little attention to the order in which the several articles entering
into a prescription are arranged, with the view to facilitate the
operations of dispensing. It hence becomes the first duty of the
apothecary carefully to read the prescription and fix the proper
order in his mind. He should, at the same time, acquire the habit of
considering the quantities ordered in relation to the usual doses, and,
also, the general bearing of the prescription; and a constant resort to
this practice, based on due knowledge, must almost inevitably detect
mistakes, if any have been made. {56}

7th. Apothecaries should accustom their assistants to study
prescriptions in this light, and to acquire such a knowledge of the
doses and therapeutical uses of medicines as shall serve to guide them
in avoiding errors.

8th. The apothecary, when engaged in dispensing a prescription, should,
as far as possible, avoid mental preoccupation, and give his attention
fully to his task. He should acquire the habit of _always_ examining
the label of the bottle before using its contents, and he should
satisfy himself that he has read the prescribed quantity correctly, by
referring to the prescription anew before weighing out each article.
It is also, a useful precaution to have bottles containing mineral or
vegetable poisons, distinguished by some prominent mark.

9th. As the conscientious discharge of his duty should be the aim of
every apothecary, seeing that on his correct action depends, in no
slight degree, the usefulness of the physician, no pains should be
spared to secure the efficiency of the medicines dispensed, whether
they be drugs or preparations. The latter should always be prepared of
full strength, and according to the formulæ recognized by the United
States Pharmacopœia, unless when otherwise specially ordered.

10th. The apothecary should always label, and number correctly, all
medicine dispensed by him on the prescription of a physician; he
should, also, invariably, transcribe on the label, in a plain legible
hand writing, the name of the patient, the date of the prescription,
the directions intended for the patient, and the name or the initials
of the prescriber.

11th. The original prescription should always be retained by the
apothecary, whose warrantee it is, in case of error on the part of the
prescriber. When a copy is requested, if, as in many instances, no
objection can be urged, it should be a _fac simile_ in language and
symbols, and not a translation.

12th. In no instance is an apothecary justifiable in leaving his
business in charge of boys, or incompetent assistants—or in allowing
such to compound prescriptions, excepting under his immediate and
careful supervision. {57}

13th. In justice to his sense of the proper limits of his vocation, to
the medical profession, and to his customers, the apothecary should
abstain from prescribing for diseases, excepting in those emergencies,
which occasionally occur, demanding immediate action, or, in those
every day unimportant cases where to refuse council would be construed
as a confession of ignorance, calculated to injure the reputation of
the apothecary, and would be attended with no advantage to either
physician or patient.

14th. The sale of quack or secret medicines, properly so called,
constitutes a considerable item in the business of some apothecaries.
Many of the people are favorably impressed towards that class of
medicines, and naturally go to their apothecaries for them. It is
this which has caused many apothecaries to keep certain of these
nostrums, who are ready and willing to relinquish the traffic in them,
but for the offence that a refusal to supply them to their customers
would create. At present all that the best disposed apothecary can
be expected to do, is to refrain from the manufacture himself, of
quack and secret medicines; to abstain from recommending them, either
verbally or by exhibiting show bills, announcing them for sale, in his
shop or windows; and to discourage their use, when appealed to.

15th. Having in view the welfare of the community and the advancement
of pharmaceutic science and interest, it is all important that the
offices of prescribing and compounding medicines should be kept
distinct, in this city and surrounding districts. All connection with,
or moneyed interest in apothecary stores, on the part of physicians,
should, therefore, be discountenanced. With respect to the pecuniary
understanding said to exist, in some instances, between apothecaries
and physicians, we hold, that no well disposed apothecary or physician
would be a party to such contract, and consider the code of Ethics of
the College of Pharmacy and the Constitution of the Philadelphia County
Medical Society as sufficiently explicit on this subject. {58}

16th. In reference to the patronage on the part of Physicians of
particular apothecaries, we are of opinion, as a general rule, that
Graduates in Pharmacy should be encouraged in preference to others of
the same date of business, and whilst admitting the abstract right of
the physician to send his prescription where he pleases, we think that
justice should dictate the propriety of his encouraging the nearest
apothecary deserving of his confidence and that of the patient.

 _Committee of County Medical Society:_

 _Committee of Phila. College of Pharmacy:_
   H. C. BLAIR,

[We republish the above Report from the American Journal of Pharmacy,
as its “hints” are, in the main, practical and judicious. On one or two
points, however, we differ from the author of the report. We do not
think (B. Article 4th,) that the apothecary is ever justified in making
inquiries relative to the disease of a patient. If his very inquiries
may “convey a wrong impression to the patient, through an ignorant
messenger,” how can that ignorant messenger give information regarding
the disease of a patient, which can guide the apothecary, himself not
supposed to be versed in therapeutics, in judging of the correctness
of a prescription? The apothecary, where he is in doubt, may inquire
the dose and the age of the patient, and then, if he deems necessary,
may have recourse to the physician himself. And in regard to the next
article, when the apothecary is asked the “nature of the ingredients”
in a prescription, it is wisest to refer the patient, _as a rule_, to
the prescriber.]—ED. JOURNAL OF PHARMACY.


At a recent meeting of the Society of Pharmacy, M. Poulenc, submitted
a method which he has employed for eight years in his laboratory, for
suspending gum resins in medical prescriptions. It is well known how
much difficulty there is in suspending either in a mixture, or lotion,
one or more grammes of gum ammoniac, assafœtida, myrrh, &c. In dividing
the {59} assafœtida with yolk of egg alone, the manipulation is long;
but if instead of the egg, we employ 6 or 8 drops of oil of sweet
almonds per gramme, the gum resin, even when entire, is easily reduced;
when the oil is well mixed, and the paste as homogeneous as possible,
a little water is first added, then gradually the quantity of the
prescribed vehicle, as for the mucilage of a linctus; the product of
this operation will be a speedy and very perfect emulsion. One of the
advantages of this _modus faciendi_, is, that the product can be warmed
without danger of coagulation, besides which, it is generally more easy
to obtain a few drops of oil of sweet almonds, or any other kind of oil
than the yolk of an egg.

M. Poulenc has recently applied the same method to the manufacture of
diachylon plaister, in the following manner: take some entire pieces of
gum resin, and triturate them briskly in an iron mortar, after which
in a marble, or porcelain mortar, mix in the oil, and add a sufficient
quantity of water to obtain an emulsion about as thick as liquid honey;
strain this through a coarse cloth; there will be hardly anything left
on the cloth, and the strained substance will be perfectly homogeneous.
Evaporate in an earthen vessel, by the water-bath, the water which had
been mixed in, and when the mass presents the appearance of a soft
extract, the other ingredients of the plaister may be mixed in with
the greatest ease. This plaister presents a very beautiful appearance,
and exhales a very decided odour of the gum resins employed in its
composition. Should it be feared that the small quantity of oil,
might weaken the consistence of the plaister, M. Poulenc thinks that
the quantity of turpentine might, without inconvenience, be slightly

We have tried with success the method of M. Poulenc for emulsions with
gum resins; as to its further use in the preparation of diachylon
plaister, we cannot speak with certainty.—There is a chemical question,
which, in all cases governs the preparation of pharmaceutical
agents.—_Stan. Martin, L’Abeille Medicale._




The liquid sold under this name, and which has been for some time in
use by confectioners, is the _acetate of the oxide of amyle_.

It is prepared with great facility by submitting to distillation
a mixture of one part of amylic alcohol (better known by the name
of oil of grain,) two parts of acetate of potash, and one part of
oil of vitriol. The distilled liquid is to be washed with alkaline
water, dehydrated by chloride of calcium, and afterwards rectified by
distillation from protoxide of lead.

Its properties are thus stated by Dumas:—In the state of purity it is
a colorless, very limpid, volatile liquor, which boils at 257° F. It
possesses an ethereal aromatic odor, somewhat resembling acetic ether;
its sp. gr. is less than that of water. It is insoluble in water, but
soluble in alcohol, ether, oil of grain, &c. Concentrated sulphuric
acid does not color it in the cold; but by heating the mixture,
it becomes reddish-yellow, and when the temperature is elevated,
destructive reaction takes place, the mixture blackens and evolves
sulphurous acid. Placed in contact with a watery solution of potash
it is very slowly altered; but an alcoholic solution of this base
rapidly decomposes, an alkaline acetate is formed, and the oil of grain
regenerated. Its ultimate composition is

 14 equivalents of carbon,         84
 14 equivalents of hydrogen,       14
  4 equivalents of oxygen,         32

But its proximate composition is amyle, (an hypothetical radical)
oxygen, and acetic acid.

 1 equivalent amyle (C‗{10} H‗{11})             71
 1 equivalent oxygen,                            8
 1 equivalent acetic acid, (C‗{4} H‗{3} O‗{3})  51

Its formula is thus stated by Brande, AylO, AcO‗{3}; by Fownes,
AylO, C‗{4} H‗{3} O‗{3}.

_Amylic alcohol_, or _oil of grain_, called by the Germans _fuselol_;
is the hydrated oxide of amyle, AylO, HO. It is {61} largely produced
in the distillation of spirit from corn. It is officinal in the Dublin
Pharmacopœia, where it is termed “_Alcohol amylicum—Fusel oil_,” and
is employed to yield valerianic acid in the process for making “Sodæ

From information which we have received, we have reason to believe that
the use, by very young children, of articles of confectionery, flavored
with essence of pear, is not without danger. A child on two occasions
became partially comatose, with livid lips and feeble pulse, after
eating some confectionery which it was calculated contained about one
drop of the essence.—_London Pharmaceutical Journal, November, ’51._

_On the Growth of Plants in Various Gases, Especially substituting
Carbonic Oxide, Hydrogen, and light Carburetted Hydrogen for the
Nitrogen of the Air._ By MESSRS. GLADSTONES. DR. GLADSTONE gave the
results of experiments made and still in progress, with his brother,
Mr. G. Gladstone. After describing the effect on some flowers, as the
pansy, the crocus, &c.—a discussion ensued—Mr. R. Warrington suggesting
that in such experiments the plants be allowed to take root well before
immersing them in the gases; next, that the combined atmospheres were
too much saturated with moisture, often causing rapid growth and
decay; and that these flowers and roots should be compared with others
grown in similar volumes of confined common air. Prof. Dumas spoke
of the great, and, indeed, almost unsuspected influence of carbonic
oxide gas. The judicial investigations in France had disclosed the
fatal effects of this gas as being so much greater than carbonic acid
gas. In the atmosphere produced by the burning of charcoal, 1-200th
part of carbonic oxide was fatal, while with one-third the volume of
carbonic acid the animal was asphyxiated, but afterwards revived. The
Chairman said that he had reason to believe that in the combustion of
anthracite, much carbonic oxide gas is produced.—_Pharmaceutic Journal,
from Report of British Association in the Athenæum._



attention of our readers to the following strange bill, which has been
introduced into the Legislature of this State:

 “_The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and
 Assembly, do enact as follows_:

 SECTION 1st. It shall not be lawful for any Physician, Druggist,
 Apothecary, or any person or persons dealing in Drugs or Medicines,
 or engaged in preparing any compound to be given or administered as
 a medicine, to offer the same for sale without first affixing or
 attaching thereto, in a conspicuous manner, a written or printed
 recipe in the English language, stating the drug or drugs, medicine or
 medicines, or ingredients of which it is composed, together with the
 proportions of each.

 SECTION 2. Any person or persons violating the preceding section
 of this Act, shall be considered guilty of a misdemeanor, and on
 conviction thereof shall be fined for each offence in a sum not less
 than ten dollars, nor exceeding one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned
 for a term not exceeding six months.

 SECTION 3. This Act shall not take effect until the first day of July,

 Albany, February 6th, 1852.”

On reading this bill, carelessly, we thought that it was intended to
be levelled at nostroms and quack medicines. If it were so, however
laudable the motives of its originators, its policy is much to be
doubted. The public are not prepared for it; it would, at once, raise
a clamour about selfish motives and private interests; it would never
be enforced: and would tend to bring more moderate and judicious
legislation into contempt. But a careful perusal of the bill shows that
it applies to Apothecaries and venders of medicines in the ordinary
prosecution of their business. Should it become a law, no Apothecary
could sell six cents worth of paregoric, or an ounce of spiced syrup
of rhubarb, unless he accompanies the article sold with a detailed
enumeration of the substances composing it, with the proportions of
each “written or printed in the English language,” without rendering
himself liable to fine and imprisonment! It is not necessary to
characterize such a law to Druggists. It is worthy of notice, however,
as an instance of that spirit of pseudo reform which is at present so
rampant. As a general rule, we believe, Physicians have no objection
to their patients knowing the remedies they prescribe, particularly
when the patients themselves are people of sense and information, but
in many instances, of what use would it be to the sick man and his
conclave of friends to be able to spell {63} out the ingredients of
a prescription? Would it help them to a knowledge of its effects? Are
they the best judges of its propriety? And if so, had not the law
better proscribe educated Physicians altogether?

And then “written or printed in the English language”! The framers of
such a law could not be expected to recognize a National or any other
Pharmacopœia; which of the twenty trivial names, that in different
times and different places have been bestowed upon the same article,
should we choose? Should we follow strictly the modern chemical
nomenclature, or should we take that of a few years back or should we
go to the fountain head and return to the names of the old Alchemists?
The whole matter is unworthy serious comment.

COFFINISM.—England for a long time supplied the United States to a
great extent with quacks and quack medicines. We now begin to produce
these articles not only in quantity sufficient to supply the home
market, but are enabled to spare some of our surplus for the mother
country. Thomsonianism has been transplanted to Great Britain, where
it flourishes under the auspices of a man named Coffin, and is thence
termed Coffinism. Coffin has already numerous disciples among the
illiterate classes of the community. He gives instruction in his
physic made easy, and furnishes his followers with certificates of
their acquaintance with the mysteries of steam, hot drops and lobelia.
Each of his graduates, too, pays a certain sum into a fund created to
defend those of the associates, who may fall within the grasp of the
law. Already several of them have been tried for manslaughter, but the
“Anglo Saxon race,” among its other peculiarities, is determined to be
quacked when it chooses, and the Coffinites hitherto have got off scot

CAMPHOR AS A STIMULANT.—A lady who for a long time had suffered from
occasional attacks of hemoptysis, and other signs of consumption, and
who likewise from reduced circumstances, was subject to great moral
depression, applied for advice concerning an epileptic seizure from
which she had suffered for the first time on the preceding night. On
inquiry it came out that she had for a long time been in the habit
of taking large quantities of Camphor. She had begun the practice a
number of years previously, by taking the camphor mixture which had
been ordered for her invalid husband. Gradually she acquired a fondness
for it, and constantly increasing the dose, she, at the time of her
seizure, took daily from two drachms to half an ounce. She was in the
habit of taking it crude, gradually nibbling her allowance in the
course of the day. She described its effects as exceedingly agreeable,
renovating her strength, inspiring her with hope and confidence, and
enabling her to get through with the fatigues of the day.—When not
under its influence she was languid, feeble and depressed. Taking into
account the condition of her lungs, her general health did not seem to
have been affected by the habit.


CAVENDISH SOCIETY.—We give place willingly to the following circular
of Mr. Procter, convinced that in so doing we are subserving the best
interests of our readers. The names of the officers and council of the
society, give ample assurance of the value of the works selected for


 VICE PRESIDENTS—Dr. Faraday, Prof. Brande, Sir Robert Kane, Arthur
 Aiken, and others.

 COUNCIL—Jabob Bell, Dr. Pereira, Dr. Golding Bird, Robert Warrington,
 Alfred S. Taylor, and others.

 TREASURER—Dr. Henry Beaumont Leeson.

 SECRETARY—Theophilus Redwood.

 The Cavendish Society was instituted for the promotion of Chemistry,
 and its allied sciences, by the diffusion of the literature of these
 subjects. The society effects its object by the translation of recent
 works and papers of merit; by the publication of valuable original
 works which would not otherwise be printed, from the slender chance
 of their meeting with a remunerative sale, and by the occasional
 republication or translation of such ancient or earlier modern works,
 as may be considered interesting or useful to the members of the

 Heretofore persons in this country were admitted to membership on
 application to Mr. Redwood the general Secretary of the Society,
 at London. To facilitate communication between the Society and
 its American members, the undersigned has been appointed _Local
 Secretary_, at Philadelphia, and to whom application should be
 made. The payment of five dollars U. S. Currency or its equivalent,
 annually, entitles each member to a copy of every work published by
 the Society for the period during which their membership continues.
 No member shall be entitled to the Society’s publications unless
 his annual subscription shall have been duly paid, and it is to be
 understood that the charges for duty and freight on the books arising
 from their shipment to this country are to be paid to the Secretary on

 The number of Works published will necessarily depend on the number of
 annual subscribers; hence it is of great importance to the individual
 interest of the members that their aggregate number should be
 large. The Society now issue two or three volumes yearly. The books
 are handsomely printed on a uniform plan, for members only, their
 publication being conducted by the Council who are elected annually by
 Ballot from among the members; every member having a vote.

 Members by subscribing for all or any of the past years, may get the
 works issued during those years except the first volume, published by
 the Society in 1848, entitled “Chemical reports and Memoirs by Thomas
 Graham, F. R. S.” which is now out of print. The other volume of that
 year which is the 1st volume of Gmelin’s Handbook of Chemistry, can be
 obtained by paying half the subscription.

 The subscribers for 1849 are entitled to the 2d and 3d volumes of
 Gmelin’s Chemistry—and the Life of Cavendish by Dr. George Wilson of
 Edinburgh. The subscribers for 1850 receive the 4th and 5th volumes
 of Gmelin’s work, and those of the Current year will receive the 1st
 volume of Lehmann’s Physiological Chemistry translated by Dr. Day, and
 the 6th volume of Gmelin.

 As the sole object of the Cavendish Society is the encouragement of
 an important branch of scientific literature, all who feel interested
 in Chemistry should assist in that object by subscribing, or using
 their influence with others to extend the list of members, which now
 amounts to more than 850. All those who may desire to become members,
 to examine the works already issued, or to gain further information
 regarding the Society, are requested to apply to the undersigned.


 October, 1851.      166 South 9th Street, Philadelphia.




MARCH, 1852.



Having occasion to use a little of the officinal oil of wine, I applied
to one of our wholesale Druggists, who furnished me with an article,
which I found to be useless. On testing a sample, it _mixed with water_
and produced a slight milkiness. It was evidently alcohol, containing a
trace only of oil. The price of this was $4 per pound.

Samples were then obtained from all of the wholesale Druggists from
whom it could be procured, and each of these was proved to be equally
worthless, as the results of the following tests will show.

The second sample, when agitated with water, separated into two
portions, one of which was aqueous and the other ethereal. The latter
exposed to the air, to separate the ether by spontaneous evaporation,
left a residue which was completely _soluble_ in water, and proved to
be alcohol. The price of this mixture of alcohol and ether was $4,50
per pound.

The third sample when agitated with water, became slightly turbid, and
was dissolved. It had a pale yellow color, ethereal odor, and the sp.
gr. was .909. A portion of it, exposed twelve hours to spontaneous
evaporation in a graduated measure, lost one-eighth of its bulk, and
on the application of a taper, burned with a _blue_ flame. It is quite
evident that this also was alcohol with a small portion of ether, and a
trace of oil. The price {66} of this was $4,50 per pound, and it was
labelled “Ol. Aetherii.” It bore also the name of the _importers_.

The fourth sample, when agitated with water, became slightly turbid,
and dissolved. It was colorless, had an ethereal odor, and the sp.
gr. was .844. This also burned with a _blue_ flame. The price of this
worthless article was $6,50 per pound. It was labelled “Ol. Vini Pur,”
and bore also the name of the _London_ manufacturer.

It may be well to remark, that the officinal oil of wine, when agitated
with water, separates and falls to the bottom, being heavier than
water, whence its name. The sp. gr. of the pure oil is not less than
1.05, and it has a yellow color.

The labels on the third and fourth samples above mentioned, are alone
not sufficient evidence to prove that they were _imported_, but, in
addition to the label, I was informed that one of them _was recently
imported_, and also that the manufacturing Chemists in this country do
not make or sell the oil of wine.—In view of this statement (if true)
the question naturally arises: How did the above worthless articles
pass the Custom House under the existing law for “the prevention of the
importation of spurious and adulterated drugs?”

I have examined another sample which is not offered for sale as oil of
wine, but as it has properties resembling more nearly the officinal oil
than either of the four samples above mentioned, it might possibly be
confounded with the oil of wine. This sample had an agreeable _vinous
odor_, and a _yellow_ color.—When agitated with water a considerable
quantity of oil separated, which was _lighter_ than water. A portion of
the original oil, distilled in a glass retort with a thermometer passed
through a cork, inserted into the tubulare, gave about half its bulk of
a colorless liquid below 180º F., which proved to be alcohol containing
a small quantity of acetic ether and œnanthic ether.—The residue
left in the retort had the properties of a mixture of œnanthic ether
and œnanthic acid. The above article has been, extensively used (in
connection with acetic ether) for the {67} manufacture of factitious
brandy, and is sold for about $1,50 per ounce.

After having tested samples of all the different articles offered for
sale under the name of “oil of wine” by the wholesale Druggists in New
York, without being able to find either of them worthy of the name, I
prepared a little for my own use, by the following process, which is
that of the London Pharmacopœia:

2 lbs. oil of vitriol were carefully mixed with 1 lb. commercial
alcohol, and distilled very slowly in a glass retort. The product
consisted of two portions, the lightest of which was an ethereal
solution of oil of wine measuring 6 oz. This was exposed to the air
for twenty-four hours to remove the ether by spontaneous evaporation.
The residue, washed with a little dilute solution of potash and dried,
was pure “Heavy Oil of Wine,” and weighed half an ounce. The quantity
obtained, though small, corresponds exactly with the proportion
obtained by Hennell at the Apothecaries’ Hall, London, viz: 17 oz. oil
of wine from 34 lbs. alcohol, and 68 lbs. oil of vitriol.

By a simple calculation of the cost of manufacture, and expense of
importation, it will be seen that pure oil of wine could not be
imported and sold at the prices asked for the samples above mentioned.
In making this calculation it will be necessary to observe that under
the existing excise law, the price of alcohol in England is much higher
than in the United States, and is now, I am informed, from 17 to 18
shillings sterling per gallon. The following calculation (based on the
results of Hennell’s process) gives the cost of _pure_ oil of wine,
manufactured in England and imported into this country, at $35 per
pound; but the spurious articles now sold for oil of wine, are offered
at prices varying from $4 to $6,50 per pound.

 34 lbs. alcohol (about 5 gallons)
   at 17 shillings sterling per gallon,                $18 70
 68 lbs. oil of vitriol, at 2 1/2 cents per pound,       1 70
 Labor, fire, packing, bottle, &c.                       1 50 {68}
 Cost of 17 oz. oil, to the English manufacturer,      $21 90
   Or per pound,
 Cost of making 1 lb. pure oil in England,             $20 61
 Manufacturer’s profit, say 10 per cent.,                2 06
 Wholesale price in England,                           $22 67
 Duties paid by importer, 30 per cent.                   6 80
 Charges paid by importer, 10 per cent.                  2 26
 Cost of importation,                                  $31 73
 Profit on importation,                                  3 27
 Wholesale price of the imported oil,                  $35 00

I regret that I have been unable to find the price of pure oil of wine
quoted in the lists of any of the manufacturing chemists, but think
it fair to infer that if the article is offered for sale, of English
manufacture, at less than $2 per ounce, that impurity or adulteration
may be suspected, and in this case, I would recommend the following
process for testing its purity.

Agitate a small portion of the oil in a test tube, with an equal
measure of water. If it dissolves, reject the sample as impure, but if
the mixture separates into two portions, after standing at rest for
a few moments, put it on a paper filter, previously well moistened
with water. The water in the mixture will pass through the moistened
filter, leaving ether or oil upon it. If this is colorless or very pale
yellow, it should be exposed a few hours to spontaneous evaporation,
to ascertain if it contains oil. But if it is yellow and heavier than
water, this portion may consist of oil of wine; this, however, should
be verified by observing the odor and sp. gr. of the oil. By carefully
operating upon a _known_ quantity in the above manner, the _proportion_
of alcohol or ether (if present) may be easily determined.

As the efficacy of Hoffman’s Anodyne is due to the heavy oil of wine
contained in it, and as the proportion of this oil to the other
constituents is small, it is particularly necessary that {69} the oil
should be pure. The high price of alcohol in England, and a defect in
the directions formerly given for its preparation in the United States
Dispensatory, are the probable causes of the absence of pure oil of
wine in New York. In recent editions of the above work, the defective
proportions have been substituted by those of the London college, and
there is now no reason why pure oil of wine should not be made in the
United States, where alcohol is cheaper, probably, than in any other
part of the world. I hope that our manufacturing chemists will turn
their attention to this subject, and displace all worthless chemical
and pharmaceutical preparations by such as will be useful to the
public, and creditable to the manufacturers.

[The United States Pharmacopœia directs two pints of alcohol (sp. gr.
.835) to be mixed with three pints of sulphuric acid (sp. gr. 1.845);
by weight rather better than 3.3 of the acid, to one part of alcohol,
and gives 1.096 as the sp. gr. of the oil.]—ED.



The prosecution of the business of preparing and vending medicines,
has been and still is too exclusively confined to the dollar and cent

Buyers take too much for granted. Ipecac is Ipecac all the world over,
and he who can sell Ipecac at the lowest price is likely to sell the
most and make the most money. To the credit of the craft, in part
however, a manifest improvement in this respect, has taken place within
the last few years, to their credit in part, I say, because the demand
for good medicines has of late increased, _compelling_ some druggists
to furnish better qualities than they otherwise would.

It is a common remark that the late law, passed by Congress, relating
to the introduction or importation of adulterated and inferior drugs,
has produced a more desirable state of things in {70} our community,
by opening the eyes of consumers to the fact that inferior drugs are
imported and are consumed. This is only in part true. An improved
state of public opinion first caused the law to be passed; this,
in connection with the law when passed, caused a further progress.
The stone, thus set in motion, will no doubt roll on till an entire
revolution takes place both with venders and consumers.

It is not to be supposed that the person who swallows a dose of
medicine dreams that it is not of good quality, or that he would
hesitate in the value of six cents when purchasing his dose, between
the best of its kind and that which is comparatively inert. The root
of this great evil, viz: the purchasing, selling, and administering
inferior medicines is _ignorance_. The patient can have little or no
knowledge of the efficacy of what is given to him to take, and to the
shame of a large portion of the medical profession be it spoken, the
doctor knows but little more. I speak with confidence when I say that
the knowledge of the sensible properties of drugs is almost exclusively
confined to the druggist and apothecary. Hence in the purchase of his
supplies of medicines of the apothecary, the only guide the physician
has, is the price and the word of the seller,—this ought not so to
be. At this time I do not profess to offer a remedy. The object of
the present communication is to offer a few practical hints to the
druggist, connected with the purchase of his stock; many, if not all,
desire to purchase reliable medicines, but from want of knowledge
between good and bad have only the price, and the reputation of the
seller to guide them.

I now propose to take up articles of general use, and suggest a few
simple tests of their quality and condition, which any one can apply
with such means as an ordinary drug store furnishes.

Before proceeding with this subject, however, I beg leave to urge upon
every druggist and apothecary, the great importance of having, at his
disposal, a set of reliable hydrometers for liquids heavier and lighter
than water, and a properly constructed thermometer for determining
the temperature of liquids. He will find them his right hand helps,
not only for {71} detecting adulterations, but for determining the
strength or quality of nearly all the liquids which come under his

Certain arbitrary terms have been applied to solutions of ammonia
and ethers, such as F.; F. F.; F. F. F.; and so on. These terms were
originally intended to indicate the exact strength of those liquids to
which they were applied; but, unfortunately, every manufacturer has a
standard of his own, indicating the value of an F, or in other words
these terms mean nothing, and should be banished from the books of
every intelligent dealer. The hydrometer will determine the strength
accurately and beyond all question, the dealer therefore should make
his purchases, estimating the strength by the specific gravity either
in decimals or degrees.

In detecting adulterations of essential oils, the Hydrometer is
invaluable. If the specific gravity of an oil does not accord with the
standard, it is proof positive that the oil is not pure; the reverse,
however, is not so clear. If the specific gravity does accord with the
standard, it is not a positive proof that it is pure, for the reason
that the adulteration may be of the same specific gravity as the oil

The strength of acids such as muriatic, nitric, sulphuric, aqua fortis,
and the like, is accurately determined by this means.

A set of these instruments, on which dependence may be placed, can be
obtained at a price varying from $5 to $12.

Let the dealer apply these instruments (where applicable) to all his
purchases, and he will soon find out what he sells and who deals
honestly by him.

MAGNESIA (CALCINED). Nearly all that is used in this country is
imported from England. The quality, notwithstanding the drug law, is
usually quite inferior. The impurities generally are carb. magnesia,
lime, alumina and silica.

To detect carb. magnesia, put into a vial a small portion, and add two
or three times its bulk of water; after mixing them well, add a small
portion of sulphuric acid—effervesence will indicate the presence of
a carbonate. On the addition of an {72} excess of acid, the solution
should be perfectly clear; whatever is deposited is impurity of some
kind; if lime is present an insoluble sulphate is formed.

The presence of moisture is indicated by the magnesia being lumpy, and
when shaken, the particles do not flow among themselves easily. Good
magnesia has a light, lively appearance, and is pearly white.—(TO BE



The successful researches of Robiquet in his labors on the Cantharis
Vesicatoria, have demonstrated that the cristallisable neutral
substance to which he gave the name of _Cantharidine_, is the proximate
epispastic principle of the blistering cerate on which the physician
depends in most cases, where an extended and yet deep revulsive action
is necessary, whether it is derived from the cantharis vesicatoria or
from other members of the trachelid family. The experiments of Mess.
Lavini & Sobrero of Turin, have confirmed the supposition made by
analogy, of the indentity which exists in the vesicating principle
of all these coleopters, and there is a strong presumption that our
commerce will soon be enriched with the beautiful cantharis, (C.
nutalli,) abounding in the midst of our rising South Western States,
and that it will eventually supersede the cantharis vesicatoria we
obtain from abroad. If adulteration would not destroy, by its baneful
influence, the advantageous form of complex extracts, we could obtain
a desirable amelioration of our officinal cerate, by substituting for
the powdered cantharides an equivalent proportion of the oleaginous
liquid, with which they are saturated in the fresh state, and which is
possessed of all the vesicating properties of the insect. That liquid
is prepared in various parts of the Sardinian kingdom, especially
at Verceil, where it is extensively used by veterinary surgeons in
preference to the preparations from the powdered insect, it {73}
producing deeper revulsion. It is also used, diluted in bland
oleaginous substances for stimulating the activity of feeble serous
exudations. As for the present we have not generally access to that
natural product of the cantharis, we must select those insects in the
best possible conditions, and endeavor to fix their active principle
in such a manner as will diminish the liability to spontaneous
volatilisation of which it is susceptible, even at ordinary temperature.

I have been for many years in the habit of preparing a blistering
plaster which, I think, has some advantages over our officinal cerate,
because it fixes the volatilisable principle, and at the same time
rather increases than diminishes its energy.

To the officinal plastic mixture in which the powdered cantharides
have been gradually incorporated, I add about 5 per cent of a mixture
containing equal parts of strong acetic acid (prepared by distillation
of the acetates of copper or lead), and pulverised camphor. The acetic
acid transforms the cantharidine into an acetate of the same which is
not volatilized at ordinary temperatures, and the camphor diminishes
the symptoms of strangury which some patients have to endure when the
application of a blistering plaster is resorted to. I also usually
spread the blister on adhesive plaster on account of the convenient
adhesion of that material.



_Demonstrator of Chemistry in the New York Medical College_.

Since the establishment of the Office of Inspector of drugs in the
United States custom houses, a vast amount of spurious and adulterated
articles has been prevented from finding its way into our market. By
reference to the report of the {74} inspector of drugs for the port
of New York, through which is received the great bulk of medicinals
imported into this country, some idea may be formed of the enormous
quantity of spurious opium, jalap root, scammony, iodine, iodide of
potassium, etc. annually introduced from abroad. We find that in ten
months, from July 1848 to April 1849, inclusive, 90,000 pounds of
adulterated drugs were rejected at the above named office. During the
years 1848 and ’50, numerous specimens of adulterated articles were
submitted to me for examination by Dr. Baily the inspector of drugs.
From a long list I may select one as an instance of the impudence
exhibited by foreign manufacturers, in attempting to thrust upon
us their villainous compounds, “as standard articles.” I found a
specimen of iodine, purporting to be pure, to contain 2 per cent. of
non-volatile matter and _40 per cent. of water_. The solid materials
may be passed over as accidental, but the water is undoubtedly a
fraudulent addition.

Beneficial as the establishment of this office may be in preventing
the admission of any but genuine articles from abroad, in the present
state of pharmaceutical regulations, it merely serves as a stimulus to
the exercise of ingenuity at _home_, for producing those adulterations
no longer supplied from the other side of the water. It is hardly
necessary to say that rogues are to be found in every nation and in
every clime, but I am justified (as I believe) in asserting that the
spurious articles, at present met with in our market, are manufactured
by foreigners whose métier has been destroyed by the passage of the
drug bill. It is positively certain that parties who some years since
conducted a factory in Brussels, from which spurious sulphate of
quinine, sulphate of morphine, narcotine, &c., were palmed upon the
citizens of the United States as genuine, are now at work in a city not
one hundred miles distant.

How is this home adulteration to be met? The appointment of a home
inspector of drugs, whose duty it should be to visit, from time to
time, our apothecaries’ establishments, and to inspect the quality
of the drugs therein, would be at variance {75} with republican
ideas; too much like the excise law of England so obnoxious to the
semi-republican inhabitants of Great Brittain. This question, however,
has been sufficiently discussed by others more able than myself.
The remedy for these abuses rests with the druggists themselves.
Legislative enactments are useless. The present college of pharmacy
which includes in its list of trustees, some of the leading
pharmaceutists of the country, has done much towards elevating the
profession. It is to be hoped that the laws under which they act will
be extended to other states, and that no apothecary, unless duly
licensed by the society, shall have any right to pursue his profession
without the diploma of the college.

It is a matter of congratulation that some houses in this city, and
those doing an extensive business, and of the highest reputation, have
associated with themselves partners possessing a competent knowledge of
chemistry. From these houses nothing can be obtained which is not up to
the standard. Our apothecaries will find it to their advantage in the
end, to employ persons possessing sufficient knowledge to enable them
to detect adulterations in drugs, and not only that, but to be able to
prepare the most difficult articles.

I shall relate in this paper some instances of _home adulterations_
which have recently come under my notice. I have been furnished by
retail druggists in the city with several specimens of the bitartrate
of potassa. The results of the examination of five different specimens
are here given:

 No. 1. Bitartrate of Potassa,      50 per cent.
        Sulphate of Lime,           50 per cent.

 No. 2. Bitartrate of Potassa,      65 per cent.
        Sulphate of Lime,           35 per cent.

 No. 3. Bitartrate of Potassa,      70 per cent.
        Sulphate of Lime,           30 per cent.
                                   100 {76}

 No. 4. Bitartrate of Potassa,      75 per cent.
        Sulphate of Lime,           25 per cent.

No. 5 contains a small per centage of carbonate of potassa and a
considerable amount of carbonate of lime. No weighings were made, but
the amount of adulteration was apparently much less than in the other

I have also had occasion to examine some specimens of iodide of
potassium, procured from some of the first druggists in the city.

 Specimen No. 1, contained:
                 Iodide of Potassium,           64 per cent.
                 Chloride of Potassium,         36 per cent.

   No. 2. Iodide of Potassium,                  70 per cent.
          Chloride of Potassium and Carbonate
          of Potassium,                         30 per cent.

   No. 3. Iodide of Potassium,                  35 per cent.
          Chloride of Potassium and
          Chloride of Sodium,                   65 per cent.

In numerous examinations made of the bitartrate of potassa and of the
iodide of potassium from foreign sources, I have never detected in the
iodide of potassium more than 15 per cent of impurities, nor in the
bitrate of potassa, as imported from France, more than 8 per cent. Of
course the crude commercial argol always contains a small amount of
tartrate of lime.

In a sample of so called “cod liver oil,” submitted to me for
examination by Professor Davis, of the New York Medical College, I
am unable to detect a single trace of iodine. The {77} oil is rank,
_almost black_, and is evidently a mixture of whale oil and linseed
oil; in fact it contains no cod liver oil whatever. This article has
been sold by a fellow professing to be a druggist and physician.

It is certainly most important that druggists and their employers
should possess a sufficient knowledge of chemical tests to enable them
to detect sophistications. I propose to give hereafter the details of
examinations of adulterated medicines and the simplest methods I can
devise for the detection of such adulterations, and I trust others
beside myself will turn their attention toward a subject so fraught
with interest to the Pharmaceutist.



Woorara is a violent poison, prepared by some of the tribes inhabiting
the forests bordering the Upper Oronoco, the Rio Negro, and the Amazon.

Although the existence of this poison has been long known, very vague
notions are still entertained regarding its component parts. Amongst
the savages who sell or barter it, its preparation remains secret; and
has only been made known through their priests or sorcerers. According
to Humboldt, woorara is simply a watery extract of a creeper, belonging
to the genus Strychnia. According to M. M. Boussingault and Roulin,
it contains a poisonous substance, analagous to a vegetable alkali,
woorarine. The information given us by M. Houdet, differs from that of
M. Humboldt only in this respect, that he observes, before the extract
is quite dry, the Indians of Messaya pour on it a few drops of the
venom gathered from the glands of the most venomous serpents. This
last circumstance is important, as we shall see that the physiological
effects of woorara must {78} cause us to regard its mode of action as
entirely analogous to that of venoms.

Woorara is a solid extract, black, resinous looking, soluble in water.
We shall have occasion hereafter to advert to its chemical properties.
Our attention will now be directed to its physiological effects when
exerted on living animals. Woorara resembles venom in this, that it
can be eaten, that is, taken into the digestive canal of man and
other animals with impunity, whilst when introduced by puncture
under the skin, or in any other part of the body, its absorption is
invariably attended with fatal results in all animals. This fact we
have repeatedly tested. The action of this poison is instantaneous,
when it is injected directly into the blood vessels. A weak, watery
solution thrown into the jugular vein of a dog or a rabbit, has always
produced sudden death, the animal uttering no cry, nor manifesting any
convulsive agitation. The effect on the whole organization is electric,
and the vital functions are arrested as by lightning. When introduced
under the skin in solution or in solid fragments, its poisonous action
manifests itself more slowly, and the time is varied by the dose, the
size of the animal, and its species. Other things being equal, birds
die soonest, then the mammalia, and then reptiles; thus, with the same
specimen, birds and mammalia die in a few minutes, whilst a reptile
will survive for several hours. But death is invariably accompanied
by similar, and very remarkable symptoms; in the first place, when
pricked, the animal apparently feels nothing. If a bird, for example,
it flies as usual, and at the end of a few seconds, when the woorara
is very active, it drops dead without uttering a cry, or appearing to
suffer; if it be a rabbit or a dog, it runs about as usual after the
puncture, without any abnormal symptom, then, after some seconds, as if
fatigued, it lies down, appears to sleep, its respiration stops, and
life is terminated, without a groan or sign of pain. Rarely do we see
even slight contraction of the sub-cutaneous muscles of the face and

On examining immediately after death, the bodies of {79} animals
thus poisoned, we have always observed phenomena which indicate a
complete annihilation of all the properties of the nervous system. It
is generally found that when death has been sudden, the nerves retain
for some time the power of reaction under the influence of mechanical
or chemical excitement; if a nerve of motion be excited, convulsions
supervene in the muscles to which it leads; if the skin be pinched, it
causes reflex motion. But none of these are observed after death by
woorara. The nerves of the still warm animal, in whom life has been
extinct but a minute, are inert as if it had been dead and cold for
several hours.

Again, in animals poisoned by woorara, the blood is invariably black,
and frequently so changed as to coagulate with difficulty, and not to
become bright on re-exposure to air.

If we compare this effect of woorara with that of the viper, we shall
observe a great analogy between them, varying only in intensity. We
may further remark, that woorara, like the poison of the viper, may be
introduced with impunity into the intestinal canal. We might be led
to suppose from its perfect innocuousness when introduced into the
stomach, that it became modified, or in a word, digested by the gastric
juice, so as to destroy its deleterious properties. To verify this
supposition, we caused some woorara to be digested in the gastric juice
of a dog, at a temperature of between 38° and 40° of centigrade. After
leaving it for forty-eight hours, we introduced it by puncture into
the veins of some animals, who died with the before-named symptoms;
establishing the fact, that a prolonged contact with the gastric juice
in no way modified its deleterious properties. This experiment has
been repeated in various ways, and on the separate parts, as well as
on the living animal. We made a dog, in whose stomach we had formed a
fistulous opening, swallow some fragments of woorara mixed with his
food; after a little time we obtained some of his gastric juice, and on
analysis found it to resemble in every respect a solution of woorara.
Thus we have the singular phenomenon of an animal, carrying in its
stomach, harmless to itself, a liquid {80} which would cause instant
death to any others who should be inoculated with it. Not only did the
dog which swallowed the poison experience no fatal result from it, but
its digestion was not even affected by it; the gastric juice thus mixed
retaining all its digestive properties.

These facts prove that the innocuousness of woorara when introduced
into the stomach, is not attributable to the action of the gastric
juice. The other intestinal liquids, saliva, bile, pancreatic juice,
were attended with similar results, none of them producing by contact
the least difference in the poisonous effect of woorara.

The explanation of these facts appears to be simply this: there
is a want of absorption of the venomous substance through the
gastro-intestinal mucous membrane. This can be shown by the following
experiment:—Take the fresh gastric mucous membrane of a dog or rabbit,
recently killed; adapt it to an endosmometer in such a manner that
the mucous surface remains outwards; then plunge the endosmometer
containing sweetened water into a watery solution of woorara, and we
shall find, after two or three hours, that the endosmosis will be
complete. The level will have risen in the endosmometer, and yet the
liquid contained in it will shew no trace of the poison, as can be
proved by inoculating other animals with it.

If the experiment were to last longer, the endosmose of the poison
might take place, but we should then find that the epithelium which
covers its surface, had become changed, and had permitted the
imbibition and endosmosis of the poisonous principle. This is so
true, that if a partially decomposed membrane should be used instead
of a fresh one, the endosmose of the poisonous principle takes place
immediately. On the living animal, we can establish this property
of the intestinal mucous membrane, and can demonstrate that amongst
substances perfectly soluble in appearance there are some which when
lodged on the surface of the intestinal membrane, may remain there
without being absorbed, or without affecting the system. The active
principle of woorara is of this kind. {81}

It was necessary to ascertain whether other mucous membranes, besides
those of the digestive organs, were possessed of this same property
with regard to woorara. We have tried it successively on those of
the bladder, the nasal fossæ and the eyes, and in all we have found
an equal resistance to the absorption of the poisonous principle. An
injection of this poison into the bladder of a dog, was retained six or
eight hours, with no bad effects; but the urine voided after that time
had all the poisonous properties of woorara.

One mucous membrane alone offers a remarkable exception; it is the
pulmonary. This acts, in regard to the absorption of woorara, precisely
like the sub-cutaneous cellular tissue; and on the introduction of
some drops of the poisonous solution into the air passages, when every
precaution is taken, death takes place as rapidly as when the skin has
been punctured.

We readily perceive that this membrane, destined solely for the passage
of the air to accomplish the phenomena of respiration, possesses a
peculiar structure, and is unprovided with that protecting mucous which
lubricates the other membranes communicating with the exterior. This
similarity between the pulmonary mucous membrane and cellular tissue,
supports the ideas which M. Majendie, long ago, promulgated on the
structure of the lungs.

We shall not expatiate, at present, on the remarkable difference in
the absorbent properties of the various mucous membranes of the body.
We shall have occasion again to revert to the subject, and shall only
state that this fact, in relation to the absorption of woorara, is
not isolated, and that in the intestines, for example, many active
principles, although soluble, cannot be absorbed, and are consequently
forced to act locally, or as if shut up in a closed vessel.

For the present we will content ourselves with these conclusions:

1st. That woorara acts upon animals in the same manner as venom.

2nd. That its harmlessness, when injected into the intestinal {82}
canal, cannot be explained by any change which the poisonous principle
undergoes, but rather by a special property of the gastro-intestinal
mucous membrane which resists its absorption.—_Journal de Pharmacie et


Sumbul, the name and therapeutical properties of which are almost
unknown to French physicians, appears to have been employed in India
from a very remote period. Pietro Della Valle, who travelled through
the different countries of Asia, in 1623, 1624 and 1625, mentions that
sumbul is a root, and not a stem, although the Arabic word, sumbul, he
observes, refers to the whole plant. It appears that the word sumbul is
applied in India to a plant and portions of a plant, used as a perfume,
as an incense in religious ceremonies, and again, as a medicinal
substance. Sir William Jones thought that the true sumbul was a species
of valerian, known both to the Hindoos and Brahmins, under the name of
yatamansi. But, according to M. Granville, it appears to be an aquatic
umbelliferous plant, found in the neighborhood of rivers.

It is erroneously asserted that it grows in Hindostan. It is not found
in any part of the Indian territory, occupied by the English. The
plant grows in Bootan and the mountains of Nepaul; and although large
quantities of the dried plant have been exported, no botanist has yet
been able to describe its characteristics from a living specimen. It
is said that the native laws forbid the exportation of a living plant,
without an order from the sovereign.

Sumbul has been described as a mass of roots and leaves of a greenish
color, crumpled and pressed one against the other. This is an error,
and arises from the fact of some having been first shown at St.
Petersburg, which had been mixed with a {83} strong decoction of
this substance of a greenish color. Sumbul appears, on the contrary,
under the form of a root, thick, homogeneous, of two, three, and even
four inches in diameter, cut in pieces of an inch to an inch and a
half long, and whose section presents a fibrous aspect, and a white
and yellowish tint. It is brought from the centre of Asia, to Moscow,
via Kiatcha. In all the good specimens of sumbul, the epidermis, or
external covering, is of a dark shade, approaching to brown; if the
color be strongly marked, it indicates that the plant was old. The
epidermis is very thin, and much wrinkled. The interior substance is
composed of thick, irregular fibres, which may be separated from one
another, after the outer covering is detached, and which indicate a
porous structure, common to aquatic plants. If, after taking off the
outer covering, we make a transverse cut, we shall perceive an external
layer, white and marbled, and an internal layer, thicker and yellowish.
With a powerful lens we can distinguish transparent points, which look
like grains of fecula.

Two very remarkable physical characteristics demand our attention when
we examine this root: first, its perfume, resembling the purest musk;
then the powerful aroma which it exhales when under mastication. This
odor of musk is so marked, that some had thought it owed this quality
to its contact with musk, in the transportation of drugs from Asia to
Europe; but such an idea is negatived by the fact that sumbul retains
this odor, even when very old; that even when the external parts have
lost it, it continues in the interior; that this odoriferous principle
may be extracted from it by chemical manipulation; and again, that it
has received from botanists the name of moschus-wurzel or musk-root.
Its aromatic taste is also a distinguishing characteristic. The first
impression on the palate is slightly sweet, this is rapidly replaced by
a balsamic flavor, and then by a bitter, but not unpleasant taste.—As
mastication proceeds, the mouth and throat experience a strong
aromatic and pungent taste, and the breath becomes impregnated with
the penetrating odor of the {84} substance.—This flavor is still more
decided in the alcoholic tincture than in the root.

The chemical analysis of sumbul has occupied several German chemists,
Reinsch, Schnitzlein, Frichinger, and Kalthover. According to Reinsch,
the root of sumbul contains, besides water, traces of an ethereal oil,
two balsamic compounds, (resins) one soluble in ether, the other in
alcohol, wax, aromatic spirit, and a bitter substance, soluble in water
or alcohol. The solution of this bitter substance, treated with lime,
and chloride of sodium, gives a sediment composed of gum, starch and
saline materials. The perfume appears to be contained in the balsams,
and its intensity is increased by being diluted with water. Finally,
sumbul contains an acid, which Reinsch proposes calling _sumbulic acid_.

Kalthover directed his attention further to its pharmaceutical uses,
and obtained an alcoholic tincture of a yellowish color, musky odor,
and bitter taste; an ethereal tincture, yellowish, musky, and of
a sharp taste; and a substance resembling wax, precipitated after
repeated decoctions in water.

It appears then, that we may obtain from sumbul for medical purposes,
two tinctures, one alcoholic, the other ethereal, which seem to differ
in their principles, and which may be given in drops alone, or combined
with other medicines; and a bitter extract, soluble in water, which may
be administered in pills. The powdered root may also be given crude, or
in pills.—_(Union Médicale) in Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie._

[Sumbul has been used as an anti spasmodic and a nervine; further
investigation is needed however to ascertain its true place in the
Materia Medica. In the mean time it has been imported by one of our
apothecaries, Mr. Delluc, and we may soon hope to learn something more
concerning its effects upon the system.] ED. JOURNAL OF PHARMACY.




Professor of Materia Medica at University College, and Physician to
University College Hospital.

As many discrepant statements are to be found in works on Materia
Medica, in various dispensatories, &c. concerning the strength of the
tincture of opium of the London Pharmacopœia, it may not be either
uninstructive or uninteresting at least to the medical profession,
to have the subject brought under notice and discussion at this
society, in order that they may arrive at some definite conclusion
concerning the strength of a preparation they are in the daily habit of
prescribing. If we refer to the London Pharmacopœia of 1836, we find
the following directions for making the tincture of opium:―

 Take of hard opium powdered, 3 ounces,
 Proof spirit, 2 pints,
 Macerate for fourteen days, and strain.

In the Pharmacopœia of 1851, we are ordered to―

 Take of opium powdered, 3 ounces,
 Proof spirit, 2 pints,
 Macerate for seven days, press out, and strain.

The only difference in the directions being that powdered _hard_
opium, and digestion for _fourteen_ days, are ordered in the one case,
and simply powdered opium and seven days digestion in the other. If
we look at the authorised edition of the Pharmacopœia by Mr. Philips
of 1836, (and also at the present edition) we find stated, that the
preparation has a deep brownish red color, possesses the peculiar odor
and taste of opium, has sp. gr. 0.952, and about 19 minims contain 1
grain of opium, which is said to be proved by the following data: 1st,
by evaporating the tincture, and finding the amount of solid extract
left; 2d, by ascertaining the quantity of opium remaining undissolved.
The conclusion at which Mr. Phillips arrived, viz: that 1 grain of
opium was contained in 19 minims of the Pharmacopœia tincture, has
been copied into most English works on Materia {86} Medica, and
most medical men have been and are still in the habit of prescribing
the tincture considering it to be of the _above_ strength. Were Mr.
Phillip’s conclusions correct?

With regard to the amount of solid extract left on evaporation of
the tincture, it appears from the experiments of Mr. Allchin, which
are also confirmed by those which I have myself made, that 19 minims
yield about 1 grain of extract; but in these cases the Turkey opium of
commerce must be first exsiccated; and the tinctures of commerce yield
quantities varying from 1 in 19 to 1 in 28 minims of the tincture.
Tincture of opium made with Turkey opium in small masses not previously
dried, fl. ℥j. gave on drying 2.7 of solid residue, or 1 grain in about
22.2 minims. Tincture of opium made with good Turkey opium, previously
dried and reduced to powder (Pharmacopœia directions) fl. ℥j. gave on
drying—three experiments—3.1, or 1 grain of residue in 19.3 minims.

If made with opium capable of being reduced to a state of powder,
the average quantity of extract would be about 1 grain in 20 minims;
this proportion would indicate that one-third of the solid ingredient
(opium) is left undissolved, which was found by Mr. Phillips to be
the case. I believe all good specimens of Turkey opium yield about
this amount of residue. An experiment made within the last week at Mr.
Bell’s establishment gave this result. If then the strength of tincture
of opium be considered to be that indicated by Mr. Phillips, we must
assume that the undissolved portion possesses the same therapeutic
effects as the dissolved portion. Is this correct?

It has been stated by some that morphia can be extracted from the
residuum, and in Dr. Pereira’s _Materia Medica_, we find the following
observations: “Proof spirit dissolves the same constituents as water
does, but it takes up a larger proportion of _narcotine_, _resin_,
_oil_. I have repeatedly prepared morphia from the insoluble residue
left behind in the preparation of the tincture.” Again, in Dr.
Thomson’s _Dispensatory_ it is stated that Mr. Brande finds that the
whole of the morphia is not taken up; but is found in no inconsiderable
quantity in the filter. {87} We suspect occasionally _narcotine_ has
been taken for _morphia_,[7] and in the cases where _morphia_ has
really been found, unless the residue had been previously washed, an
error may have arisen from the alkaloid being contained in the tincture
of opium adhering to the dregs, and not from any contained in the
residue itself. I have recently endeavoured to ascertain the true state
of the case, and chiefly by means of a therapeutic inquiry into the
strength of the residuum. The residue of tincture of opium prepared
in the ordinary way at University College Hospital, was taken for
experiment; it was first washed with a little cold water to remove any
adhering tincture, and afterwards dried in a water-bath. By digestion
with ether, it was found to yield abundance of _narcotine_, and was
also found to contain _meconic acid_ sufficient to strike a claret
color with the persalts of iron; but at the same time nitric acid
gave no evidence of the presence of _morphia_. It was found also by
experiment that proof spirit at the ordinary temperature dissolved but
a very small portion of narcotine; the bulk of the narcotine therefore
remains in the residuum from the tincture of opium, perhaps united with
meconic acid; for when treated with water acidulated with acetic acid,
both _narcotine_ and _meconic_ acid were dissolved.

[7] In the sixth edition of Dr. Thomson’s _Dispensatory_, page 1061,
the following method is given for obtaining “meconate of morphia,”
extracted from the _Quarterly Journal of Science_, vol. xx., from
which it will be at once observed, that _narcotine_ was mistaken for
crystallized _meconate of morphia_.

“Reduce good opium to powder, put it into a paper filter, add distilled
water to it, and slightly agitate it; and in this way wash it till the
water passes through colorless, after which, pass a little diluted
alcohol through it; dry the insoluble portion (now diminished to
one-half,) in a dark place; digest it, when dry, in strong alcohol for
a few minutes, applying heat; separate this solution, which by boiling,
and after evaporation, will yield crystallized meconate of morphia of a
pale straw color.”

A portion of the residue was given internally; _one grain_ to a healthy
adult produced no effect; _two grains_ were given with no result; the
dose was then successively increased to _four grains_ then to _six
grains_, afterwards to _thirteen_, and lastly to _thirty grains_,
without causing the slightest effect on the individuals to whom it
was administered; the only limitation to the quantity given being
the unpleasantness of taking so large an {88} amount of so bulky a
matter. It appears, therefore, that the residue is, to all intents and
purposes, inert.

From these experiments, it is evident that even _should_ traces of
_morphia_ be contained in the dregs, still the quantity must be such
(when the tincture is prepared according to the London Pharmacopœia) as
to make no appreciable diminution of the strength of the preparation,
and that the tinctura opii contains the active matter of the whole
of the drug used in its formation, and therefore about 12 minims of
tincture of opium possesses all the activity of 1 grain of crude opium,
assuming that it loses only 12 per cent. in the drying. If dry opium is
taken for comparison, 1 grain is contained in about 13 1/2 minims;
and, therefore, _one_ fluid drachm of tinctura opii contains about 5
grains of the drug, or 4 1/2 grains (according as it is compared
with the dry or moist opium), in place of 3 grains; or 1 fluid ounce
contains 40 or 36 grains in place of 24 grains usually assumed to be
contained in it: a difference of strength of the highest importance
when we consider the highly poisonous and powerful therapeutic action
of the drug.

In the Edinburgh preparation the amount of tincture containing a grain
of opium is about 13 1/2 minims, for the opium is ordered in the
same proportion but not previously reduced to powder or dried. In the
Dublin preparation the opium is ordered to be coarsely powdered, but
avoirdupois weight is used in place of apothecaries, which makes the
strength of the tincture such that 12.75 minims contain _one_ grain.

The error as to the strength of the tincture of opium, which is found
in so many works, has been recently commented on. Thus Dr. Christison
objects to Mr. Phillip’s statements; Dr. Royle also alludes to it, and
so does Mr. Squire, in his recent work on the Pharmacopœias; and even
those writers who have copied the statement must have done so without
much thought on the subject, as they have calculated the strength of
other preparations of opium, as that of the tinctura opii ammoniata,
tinctura camphoræ composita, assuming that all the active properties
of the opium used in the preparation had been taken up {89} by the
menstrua. And this is the case even with Mr. Phillips himself, in the
case of the compound tincture of camphor, when he states that _nearly
two_ grains of opium are contained in the ounce, the Pharmacopœia
proportions of opium being 1.6 grains only.

I have brought the question before the Society more for the purpose
of eliciting the opinions of the members on the point, than with
the idea of bringing forward much that is novel on the subject; if
the conclusion to which we have arrived, namely, that 12 minims of
tincture of opium contain all the medical properties of 1 grain of the
crude drug, I think it very important that the members of the medical
profession should be made fully aware of the delusion under which they
have labored for so many years with regard to the strength of this
important preparation.



(_In a Letter to Dr. Pereira._)

Sandi is a resinous gummy substance, produced in abundance by a tree
known by this name, on making an incision in its bark. At first it
presents itself white, or liquid like milk, and it is called in the
province of Barbacoas, “milk of sandi.” In a few days it acquires the
consistency of resinous gum. In this state it is applied to various
medicinal uses in different parts of New Granada, especially in the
province of Barbacoas, a warm and damp country near the Ecuador, from
whence the present sample comes. Its principal therapeutic property is
_resolutive_; applied as a plaster upon lupus, fleshy excrescencies of
the skin, cold and indolent tumors, &c. it produces their resolution;
and this result is frequently confirmed by the {90} inhabitants of
those countries. I have obtained it almost always when I have made use
of the milk in similar cases. At present my father has applied this gum
in the valley of Cauca, and with extraordinary success, for the cure
of “bocios,” or obstructions of the thyroid gland. He has been able
to purify it, taking away the part of potass which it contains in its
original state, and has been able to give it the consistence and color
of gum Arabic; with this substance he makes a plaster, which destroys
the “bocios,” which so much abound in New Granada; and its general
benefits are felt and acknowledged.

It is likewise used as an agent against sterility in women, applying it
as a plaster upon the hypogastric region. In ulcers of a good character
I have obtained frequent and quick cicatrisation by applying it in
the same manner; I have also used it as a vehicle for preparing and
applying blisters.

ACEITE DE PALO (oil of wood) is produced by a tree called “manteco,”
in the same province. Its principal therapeutic qualities are topical
and blistering. By using it as an embrocation I have destroyed
the epidermis, and have thus been able to get rid of freckles and
superficial stains on the face and other parts of the body. Applied
in larger quantities it produces the effect of a strong blister,
excoriating and inflaming the skin. This oil is used in its natural
state as an ointment, on arms and instruments of steel: it destroys
their temper and softens them. By decoction it loses these qualities,
and might be used as an ointment without any risk. It cannot be used
as a lamp-oil, because it exhales a very thick smoke and the most
disagreeable smell. It has no known internal medicinal qualities; it
may be classed amongst the corrosive poisons; its color is purple, its
taste _sui generis_.

LECHE DE POPA (milk of the cow-tree).—This substance, in its natural
state, possesses the physical properties of animal milk. It is obtained
by incision in the bark of the tree, which is very abundant in the
province of Barbacoas. The Indians and the African race take it
instead of cow milk; it is very nutritive, but has no known medicinal
qualities. It is used also {91} for whitewashing houses, combining
it with earthy substances, because, being glutinous, it makes the
whitewashing last longer, and prevents its staining or rubbing off.

MIEL DE ABEJA DE BREA (honey of the pitch bee).—This honey is extracted
from the hive of a bee, very different from the one known in Europe,
and very much smaller. It is acid. Its medicinal qualities are for
interior refrigeration. I have applied it externally for contusions
and ecchymosis, caused by blows or falls, and I have always obtained
a good result. The pitch is a resinous substance, of a dark yellow
color, and constitutes the hive made by this bee. It has a peculiar
taste and smell, is very combustible, and is used by the common people
for torches. It is soluble in alcohol. I have applied it as a plaster
for nervous rheumatic pains, and it has always relieved the pains and

CANEDILLO.—This is the name of a cane with a bitter and aromatic bark,
and, in my opinion, it belongs to the family of Winter’s bark. It
has many therapeutic qualities; amongst others it has particularly
attracted my attention as an antidote against the bite of snakes and of
other venomous animals. I consider it the best and safest of all the
antidotes known. Put two ounces of this bark in a bottle of alcohol,
allow it to macerate for three or four hours, to obtain a tincture.
Use two parts of this mixture with common water; a wineglass every two
hours until you allay the headache of the bitten person—an infallible
consequence of the bite, cupping at the same time, and extracting the
tooth, which often remains in the part, which is then to be washed and
covered with lint wetted with the tincture. By this simple method I
have cured hundreds, without the loss of a single life. This antidote
is now generally kept by all the owners of mines, as a certain cure for
bites of snakes, in preference to other antidotes formerly used. It has
this advantage over them, that it may be taken in any quantity without
danger. It is, besides, a tonic and anti-spasmodic. I have used it also
as a febrifuge; in rheumatism (by friction); and in the windy colic,
taken in the same way as for bites by snakes. {92} For indigestion
caused by weakness, and for amenorrhœa, from the same cause, it is also

SANDALO.—This is the bark of a tree which grows in the province of
Esmeraldas, in the republic of the Ecuador. When burned, it produces
a balsamic smell; by boiling the bark when fresh, it produces a very
aromatic balsam, which, like the balsam of tolu is used in catarrh,
spasmodic cough, ulcers, &c.

NOTE.—All these substances are indigenous in the province of Barbacoas.
Popa and sandi are found in great abundance. Manteca de palo (oil, or
literally butter of wood), is obtained only from young trees which grow
in the plains.



My attention was attracted some time back by an ingenious paper of
Mons. Persoz on the double pyrophosphoric salts, published in the
_Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie_ for 1848. In the latter part of that
paper, the author expresses an opinion that the pyrophosphoric salts
are likely to prove of importance as medicinal agents. It is well known
that iron is rendered very eligible for internal use, if administered
in the form of a triple salt, as when combined, for example, with
tartaric acid and potash; because the iron then is no longer
precipitable by the alkaline hydrate. It would appear, however that the
soda pyrophosphate of iron is in many respects superior as a medicine
to the triple salts into which the vegetable acids enter.—Thus, the
pyrophosphoric salt, from being saturated with oxygen, cannot in
passing through the system absorb more, whereas the latter salts under
like circumstances, are constantly undergoing a process of combustion,
according to Millon; and by withdrawing oxygen in this manner, must
necessarily impair the efficacy of the oxide of iron as an oxydizing
agent. It deserves notice, moreover, that the constituent ingredients
of the soda-pyrophosphate of iron are to be found in the organism. {93}

I have prescribed this salt to various patients, and found it to act
as a mild but efficient chalybeate. One little scrofulous girl, now
under my care in St. Mary’s Hospital, for disease of the hip-joint, has
taken it in solution during several months with the best effect. The
remedy was accurately prepared by Mr. Blyth, dispenser to the hospital,
according to the subjoined directions of Mons. Persoz: 32.5 grammes
of green sulphate of iron in crystals are to be mixed in a porcelain
capsule with 5 grammes of sulphuric acid, 30 grammes of water, and as
much nitro-muriatic acid as will suffice to effect the oxidation of the
protoxide of iron. The above mixture is to be evaporated to dryness
in order to get rid of the free acid, and then treated with water
to the amount of one litre. From 107 to 110 grammes of crystallized
pyrophosphate of soda are to be dissolved likewise in a litre of water,
of course in a separate vessel. The two solutions are next to be mixed
together, and provided the iron solution has been rightly prepared
there will be no precipitate whatever.

Each litre of liquid will contain as much iron as 16.5 of the green

This solution is not affected by dilution with rain or distilled water,
but from being faintly alkaline, is rendered slightly turbid on the
addition of water impregnated with lime.



A tree, which has attained great celebrity, is that called _Cedron_
(_Simaba Cedron_, Planch.). The most ancient record of it which I can
find is in the _History of the Buccaneers_, an old work published in
London in the year 1699. Its use as an antidote for the bite of snakes,
and its place of growth, are there distinctly stated; but whether
on the authority of the natives, or accidentally discovered by the
pirates, does not appear. If {94} the former was the case, they must
have learned it while on some of their cruises on the Magdalena, for in
the Isthmus the very existence of the tree was unsuspected until about
1845, when Don Juan de Ansoatigui, ascertained, by comparison, that the
_Cedron_ of Panama and Darien was identical with that of Carthagena.
The virtues of its seeds, however, were known, years ago, from those
fruits imported from the Magdalena, where, according to Mr. William
Purdie, the plant grows in profusion about the village of San Pablo.
In the Isthmus it is generally found on the outskirts of forests in
almost every part of the country, but in greater abundance in Darien
and Veraguas than in Panama. The natives hold it in high esteem, and
always carry a piece of the seed about with them. When a person is
bitten, a little, mixed with water, is applied to the wound, and about
two grains scraped into brandy, or, in the absence of it, into water,
is administered internally. By following this treatment the bites of
the most venomous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and other noxious
animals, have been unattended with dangerous consequences. Doses of
it have also proved highly beneficial in cases of intermittent fever.
The _Cedron_ is a tree, from twelve to sixteen feet high; its simple
trunk is about six inches in diameter, and clothed on the top with long
pinnated leaves, which give it the appearance of a palm. Its flowers
are greenish, and the fruit resembles very much an unripe peach. Each
seed, or cotyledon I should rather say, is sold in the chemist’s shops
in Panama for two or three reals (about 1_s._ or 1_s._ 6_d._ English),
and sometimes a much larger price is given for them.—_Hooker’s Journal
of Botany._

[A large number of the Cedron seeds have lately been received in New
York, probably from a section of the country where they are cheaper
than upon the Isthmus. As a remedy for the bites of venomous reptiles,
like all others of the same class, it is of little value, but from its
intense bitterness, it may be expected to possess great tonic powers,
and if, in addition to these, further experience shall confirm the
report of its virtues as an antiperiodic, it will prove a remedy of



COLCHICUM AUTUMNALE.—In the December number of the Edinburgh Monthly
Journal of Medical Science, Dr. J. McGrigor Maclagan, has published
an article on Colchicum Autumnale, which contains little that is new,
but is of interest as confirming the statements of other observers.
The ordinary mode of propagation of the plant by the formation of a
single new bulb is thus described. In June, “the bulb is as large as an
apricot, firm, amylaceous, and extremely bitter, and having attached to
it the shrivelled remains of the old bulb, and the leaves now yellow
and decayed. At the end of June or commencement of July, a small bulb
will be observed to have become developed upon the side of the corm
at its lower part. At this time it is a little larger than a grain of
wheat, and lies in a little fissure on the side of the parent bulb,
a little above the origin of the radicles. It increases slowly and
gradually in size till the beginning of August, when it appears as a
dilatation of the flower stalk, which it then commences to put up.

In September the flower is in full perfection, the long tube of the
perianth of which has raised the six partite limb to the height of
from six to eight inches above the ground. The flower remains for two
or three weeks, and then dies down; and nothing of the plant is seen
above the surface till the beginning of February, when the leaf stalk
commences to rise. If at this time the plant be taken up, the old and
new bulb will still be found to be united, but the new one will be
observed to have increased little in size since autumn, being still
hardly larger in diameter than the leaf stalk. The bulb thus grows
little during the autumn, but in winter it increases rapidly in size;
in April it is like a large hazel nut, and from that time it increases
still more till the end of June or the beginning of July, when it is,
as Dr. Christison states, as large as an apricot.

In April the leaf stalk is found perfected by a fine group of dark
green leaves, generally three in number, and having within their sheath
the capsules which ought to ripen their fruit in the course of the

In May the old bulb will be found dry and withered, and containing very
little starch; and in July if the plant be taken up, three bulbs will
be found, the first now reduced to the form of a membrane, bearing no
resemblance to a bulb at all; the second, arrived at full growth; and a
third the progeny of the second.

In February and August, instead of one leaf stalk and flower stalk
making their appearance at their respective periods, I have often
remarked that two have occurred, one on either side of the parent bulb.
I believe this to be one of the effects of cultivation, as I have
no where seen it remarked in descriptions of the plant by botanical

Dr. Christison has mentioned that the full size of a Colchicum bulb is
that of a small apricot. Where the plant has been cultivated however,
Dr. Maclagan, frequently met with them as big as large apples, and on
one occasion procured one in October weighing nine and a half ounces.

He thinks that the cormus should be taken for medicinal use about the
middle of July, at which time it has attained its greatest size, and
is firm, amylaceous and exceedingly bitter. The bitterness is the best
criterion of its medicinal activity.

A number of years ago, Dr. A. T. Thomson, proposed the tincture of
Guaiacum as a test for the goodness of Colchicum. Ten grains of
the bulb were rubbed in a mortar, with sixteen minims of distilled
vinegar, and immediately afterwards sixteen minims of the tincture
of guaiacum were added. When the bulb was good, a beautiful cerulean
color, according to Dr. Thomson, was produced. Having ascertained
that several specimens which he knew to be good failed in giving this
characteristic color, Dr. M. proceeded to investigate the causes on
which it depended. He expressed several bulbs and filtered the juice
to separate the starch; a beautiful blue color was now immediately
produced by the test. The blue liquid was then heated till the albumen
was coagulated; the color remained with the coagulum, while the liquid
was colorless. On raising the heat to 212° the blue color disappeared.
The test produced no change in the starch collected on the filter.
When the fluid was boiled previously to the application of the test,
no blue color was produced by it either with the filtered fluid or the
coagulum. From these experiments Dr. M. concludes, “1st. That albumen
is the principle acted on. 2nd. That a heat above 180° destroys this
action. 3rd. That the value of the test is to prove that the bulbs have
been dried at a temperature not higher than 180°.”

Dr. Maclagan was unable to procure colchicia, the alkaloid announced by
Geiger & Hesse, in the crystalline form, though he followed the process
they give very exactly, and consequently he doubts its crystalline
nature. What he obtained was in the form of a brown resinous looking
mass without smell, and of a bitter taste, the bitterness being
followed by a slight sense of irritation in the throat but by nothing
like the intense acrimony of veratria.

In regard to the physiological action of Colchicum, Dr. M. confirms
the statement of previous observers, that it markedly increases the
amount of urea in the urine; and contrary to what has been maintained
by some, found it likewise to increase the quantity of uric add. In an
experiment related in detail, after the colchicum had been employed for
six days, the amount of urea in the urine was found to be increased by
nearly one half, and the uric acid was more than doubled.


 Page 33, 13th line from the bottom—for “slack” read “slacked.”
      36, 17th line from the bottom—for “grns.” read “grms.”
      36, 11th line from the bottom—for “grns.” read “grms.”
      36, 11th line from the bottom—for “0.845 grn.” read “0.845 grm.”
      37, 2nd line from the top—for “monohydrate” read “molybdate.”




APRIL, 1852.

STATES, 1851.


(Continued from page 44.)

In giving formulæ it is to be supposed that the purpose of a
Pharmacopœia is to be practical, responding to the every day wants of
the associated professions of medicine and pharmacy. It would seem to
be in no case of practical utility to retain a formula that is not
used, and of this character I think is the one for “MUCILAGE OF GUM
ARABIC.” It does not appear to be employed of the consistence directed
except as a paste. Nor is this consistence understood when mucilage
of gum arabic is prescribed by physicians, but by some apothecaries a
solution of only one eighth, and by others, one fourth the strength
is put up. If physicians are expected to prescribe, and apothecaries
to compound according to the letter of the Pharmacopœia, this is
certainly a daily and unfortunately, owing to the want of a standard,
a variable exception. The formula in our Pharmacopœia is substantially
the same as in those of London and Edinburgh, while that of Dublin is
one half stronger. In the latter three it enters into other officinal
preparations, but in every case it is combined with water, which
appears to be a needless multiplication of the process, as the proper
proportions of gum and water for the whole might as well be directed
at once. Nor, is it probably used in {98} extemporaneous prescription
without similar addition of water, unless it may be to form pills,
for which it is rarely, if ever, well adapted, or employed by the
apothecary when it is prescribed, as it makes, with most substances,
an intractable mass. I have been told by a highly intelligent and
well educated English apothecary, that “it was formerly the practice
of English physicians to prescribe one ounce of mucilage of gum
arabic with seven ounces of water, (or in that proportion,) making a
solution of the strength now commonly used here, and that it had become
gradually the practice to direct the whole quantity required, under
the term of ‘mucilage of gum arabic,’ with the general understanding
that the diluted strength was intended.” As this seems to be now
the universal practice in prescribing and putting up mixtures, the
officinal directions are practically useless, and lead to the adoption
of various proportions by different apothecaries, to produce the
mucilage to complete mixtures.

Another circumstance may be noticed. The Pharmacopœia directs the use
of powdered gum and of boiling water, whereas gum, in its ordinary
condition or coarsely broken, and cold water make a clearer solution.
Cold water is directed for the solution of the gum by the Edinburgh
process, and in our present formula for “Syrup of Gum Arabic;”—if
appropriate for the latter, it is quite as much so for the forming of
mucilage. When the gum has been ground in a mill it appears to have
been a little charred and forms a somewhat turbid solution; if powdered
by hand, and rather more coarsely, its solution is clearer.

Upon the whole it seems desirable that there should be a uniform
strength for the mucilage of gum arabic, prescribed by physicians
in mixtures, which the officinal preparation evidently is not. Our
mucilage does not enter into any other officinal preparations, and if
it did, the combination of gum and water had better be made in the
general process, as in our almond mixture.

“COMPOUND SPIRIT OF LAVENDER” appears to be but seldom {99} made
according to the officinal directions, owing to the difficulty
of procuring the simple spirit of lavender. On this account most
apothecaries use a proportion of the oil of lavender and of spirit,
variable no doubt in different private recipes. The oil makes a
decidedly inferior preparation, separating upon admixture with water,
and even the best English oil—which is probably never used—is less
congenial to the stomach than the distilled spirit. But the difficulty
may be overcome, and an excellent preparation, essentially the same and
perhaps quite equal in quality and flavor to that of the Pharmacopœia,
may be made by the employment of recently dried flowers. The following
is the formula I have used for several years, with an entirely
satisfactory result:―

 Take of Lavender flowers twelve ounces,
   Rosemary leaves,
   Cinnamon, bruised, each four ounces and a half,
   Nutmegs, bruised,
   Cloves, bruised, each six drachms,
   Coriander seed, bruised,
   Red Sanders each three ounces,
   Powdered Turmeric one drachm,
   Alcohol six pints,
   Water five pints and a quarter.
 _Mix, digest for fourteen days, express and filter._

THE “SYRUP OF GUM ARABIC,” unaccountably withdrawn from the
Pharmacopœia in 1840, when it had become a familiar favorite, comes to
us again in the new revision, not at all improved by seclusion. It is
changed in its proportions, but not for the better, as it now has too
little gum and too much sugar in its composition. Of numerous formulæ
by which I have made this syrup, I have always found that from our
Pharmacopœia of 1830, the best in proportions, consistence and flavor.
It is defective however, in one point of construction, and incorrect
in the use of boiling water to make the solution of gum. The syrup is
probably not better in any essential particular, but it is clearer, and
therefore more pleasing in {100} appearance, when it is constructed
by making the solutions of gum and sugar separately, that of the gum
in half the water cold, and that of the sugar in the remainder of the
water boiling, then immediately combining the two and bringing to the
boiling point. It may then be easily filtered through flannel.

In preparing “SYRUP OF CITRIC ACID,” it would be preferable to use, in
place of the oil of lemon, a tincture made from the outside yellow part
of the rind of the fresh fruit, made by covering it with pure alcohol.
Two drachms of this tincture are about equivalent to four minims of the
oil of lemon.

The formula for “SYRUP OF IPECACUANHA” is one of the most objectionable
we have to notice, and the least calculated to answer medical wants in
regard to its importance. There is a verbal error, either in the list
of components or in the directions, which leads to some confusion.
Amongst the former we find “_diluted alcohol_,” and in the latter, we
are told to “macerate the ipecacuanha in the _alcohol, &c._” The same
error occurs in the edition of 1840. This formula is unnecessarily
complex, and yields an inefficient preparation of about half the
strength of the wine of ipecac, which it was intended to equal at
its origin, about twelve years before its introduction into our
Pharmacopœia. Previously to this it had, for six or eight years, been
made here of about double the strength of the wine, in accordance with
the general plan of forming medicinal syrups, by combining as large a
proportion of the remedial agent in them as can readily be done, to
obviate at once the necessity of bulky doses, and the exhibition of
undue quantities of sugar. I cannot discover the advantage of making a
pint of tincture with an ounce of the root, evaporating the filtered
tincture to six fluid ounces, filtering again, and then adding water to
bring back the measure of a pint. If the object be to get rid of the
alcohol, it is an unnecessary exposure of the soluble principles of the
ipecac to heat, for half a pint of diluted alcohol, especially with
four ounces of water added by way of displacement, would exhaust the
root equally well; so that the evaporation need not {101} be carried
so far. There is no mention of a water bath, which should be used by
all means.

We should prefer, if we could, to make all preparations which the
Pharmacopœia contains, in accordance with it. But when a preparation
has been in such general and favorite use, for several years, as to be
considered indispensable before it becomes officinal; and in such form
is reduced to a third or a fourth of what is felt to be an eligible
strength, not only without any compensating advantage, but with the
positive disadvantages of greatly diluting its remedial influence, and
increasing the quantity required to be taken of a nauseous medicine,
there is naturally an unwillingness to yield well settled convictions
of utility, and replace an important remedy, that has proved quite
satisfactory, with a preparation believed to be of comparatively little
value. It is not probable that, in New York, the present officinal
syrup of ipecacuanha, can ever supersede the efficient and reliable
one we have so long been accustomed to, nor answer the wishes and
expectations of the medical profession. I append the formula proposed
in a paper read before the Board of Trustees in 1835, seven years
before one for this syrup appeared in our Pharmacopœia. I have not
found cause to change it in any respect. It affords about three pints
of syrup, which keeps well for years at the ordinary temperatures of
the shop, and of dwellings; the proportion of sugar proves to be just
what is wanted for a proper consistence without crystallization, and,
as a medicine, it gives entire satisfaction to the prescriber. It is as

 Take of Ipecacuanha, bruised, six ounces,
   Alcohol one pint and a half,
   Water one pint,

_Mix, to form a tincture. Digest for ten days, filter, and add one pint
of water, by way of displacement, evaporate in a water bath to two
pints, add immediately:_

 Refined sugar three pounds and a quarter.

_And bring to the boiling point._

The “COMPOUND SYRUP OF SQUILL” is presented in the {102} Pharmacopœia
with two processes for its preparation. The first is liable, though in
a less degree, to the same objection which has rendered the original
form, given by Dr. Coxe, obsolete, that it produces a turbid syrup,
and one that will not keep. The second process is better, but scarcely
adequate, I should think, to extract the full strength of the roots
so well as by the employment of a greater proportion of alcohol,
and longer digestion. The following produces three and a half pints
of syrup from the same materials, apparently stronger than if the
boiling, which is only for a few minutes, were continued down to three
pints, retaining a portion of honey, for the sake of the flavor, and
with as large an addition of sugar as the syrup will bear without
crystallization. The proportion of tartar emetic is, of course, the

 Take of Seneka, bruised,
   Squills, bruised, each four ounces.
   Water each two pints.

_Mix, to form a tincture. Digest ten days, filter, and add twelve
ounces of water, by way of displacement, evaporate by water bath to two
pints, add:_

 Sugar fifteen ounces,
 Honey eighteen ounces,

_Boil to three pints and a half, in which dissolve while hot:_

 Tartar emetic fifty-six grains.

“SYRUP OF TOLU,” made after the London formula, is a more elegant and
better flavored preparation than can be made by any combination of the
tincture. So decided is the superiority of the London process, that it
is rather surprising the other Pharmacopœias should not adopt it. An
apothecary who does, will hardly be satisfied with the tincture-made
syrup afterwards.

The “TINCTURE OF ACONITE ROOT” is desired by our physicians of full
saturation. The “strong tincture,” to which we have been accustomed for
several years, is that of Fleming’s process, viz: sixteen ounces of the
root to a pint and a half of alcohol. {103}

The “COMPOUND TINCTURE OF CARDAMOM” is now first introduced into our
Pharmacopœia, with a change from the pleasant tincture we have been
in the habit of making after the London or Edinburgh formula, by
increasing the proportion of cardamom, from two drachms and a half to
six drachms, and reducing the caraway one fifth, which makes a tincture
not near so pleasant to the taste, owing to the strong predominance of
the cardamom flavor, which is rather harsh when in too great excess. As
this tincture is of little medical importance by itself, and chiefly
used as an agreeable adjunct to mixtures, the proportions which have
been found to answer so well may still be considered preferable.

There are other cases, no doubt, in which apothecaries will find
it expedient to vary the processes of carrying out formulæ, not
with a view of altering the strength of preparations, but arriving
at substantially the same results or better ones, from the same
materials, by improved application of skill. Whoever can, by superior
method, more fully develope the qualities of a substance to be acted
upon, than has hitherto been done, or change the character of a
preparation from perishable to permanent, from uncertain to definite,
from slovenly to elegant, can accomplish something for the benefit
of his art, and render it so much the more useful to the community.
Most of the improvements in pharmacy have been effected by the
practical apothecary, and rendered available by him, in advance of the



The fact in the natural kingdom, that “nothing is destroyed,” suggests
an equally true axiom, as applied to the moral world, that “nothing
is useless;” and, with this impression, I am induced to send the
following trifles to the New York Journal of Pharmacy, which, if not
unacceptable, it will give me pleasure to repeat “_pro re natâ_.” {104}

PIL. FERRI COMP.—This very much neglected pill, which is the prototype
and should have precluded the necessity of Vallet’s preparation, I
would beg leave to introduce, for the purpose of recommending, or
rather verifying an improvement which I have sometimes adopted, in
the mode of compounding it, differing from the officinal directions
for so doing. We are told to “rub the myrrh with the carb. sodæ; then
add the sulph. ferri, and again rub them; lastly, beat them with the
syrup so as to form a mass.” I do not hesitate to say that no amount
of trituration or skill, with which I am acquainted, will enable the
manipulator by this means to make the mass properly, either in a
chemical or pharmaceutical point of view.—In a note the editor of the
United States Dispensatory informs us: “It is said the salt of iron
will be better preserved, if the operator should dissolve the sulphate
of iron in the syrup with a moderate heat and then add the carb. sodæ,
_stirring!_ till effervescence ceases;” this is correct in principle;
but the same object is attained, and the _only_ way by which the pill
ought or can be properly prepared, is by triturating separately, and
to solution the two salts in the necessary quantity of syrup, mixing,
and again triturating until perfect decomposition is induced, and by
incorporating the myrrh, form into a mass without delay. In this way
you insure the existence of the intended proto carb. ferri in the
pill, which is not, or only partially the case when prepared by any
other process. I would remark, en passant, that this pill presents us
with the very perishable proto carb. in the _most permanent_ form,
retaining, when properly prepared, its chemical integrity unimpaired,
indefinitely, and is therefore superior in this important respect to
the quickly changeable mist. ferri comp., the presence also of a larger
proportion of myrrh being often a decided advantage.

EXTRACTA LIQUIDA OPII.—It has been suggested, and I believe attempted,
to introduce certain preparations with the above titles, as substitutes
for the demi-nostrum, known as “McMunn’s Elixir of Opium,” which has
been very extensively used, and enjoyed high favor, but of which
the exact nature {105} and mode of preparation are not generally
understood, and which, either from having become too antiquated for
this novelty hunting age, or its success having tempted the cupidity
of avaricious persons, or from whatever cause, has been for some time
diminishing in popularity, and subjected to many complaints. In all
preparations of this potent drug, with which I am acquainted, ancient
or modern, the great object has been, to get rid of the narcotine,
which has been more or less accomplished by various processes. At
present an aqueous fluid extract is said to supply the desideratum.
This is merely a modification of the watery extract of all the
Pharmacopœias, and is no doubt as good, but no better preparation.
The denarcotised tincture is superior to all of them, and the _very
small_ quantity of spirit contained in an ordinary dose, is scarcely
an objection, and is only little more than is necessary to preserve
the extract; but if deemed otherwise, a fluid extract may be prepared
from denarcotised opium, _entirely free_ from the peccant alkaloid, and
possibly the evaporation necessary to the process, may dissipate some
noxious volatile property, which would exist in a tincture, and which
it is most probable the opium possesses, from the fact, among others,
that _old opium_ is much less prone than _new_ to cause disagreeable
after effects. It has been supposed that meconic acid has been the
evicted principle; but this is doubtful. However, the action of heat
is useful, and I think a “fluid extract of denarcotised opium,” would
perhaps be found to be as free as possible from objectionable effects.

ETHER HYDROCHLORIC; CHLORINAT: or ether hydrochlorique chlorè, as the
French have it, is another change, rung by M. Mialhe of Paris, with
the transcendental compounds of carbon and chlorine. It is a mongrel
preparation, intermediate between hydrochloric: ether and chloroform,
professing to have the advantage of not irritating the skin like
the latter. If this be so, experience will tell, and also whether
the irritation is not proportionable to the effect. With regard to
such a refinement of an already infinitesimally delicate class of
preparations, I should suppose it would be {106} desirable to effect
the object aimed at by them, by if possible some more palpable method,
as for instance diluting chloroform either with hydrochloric ether or
alcohol, to the necessary mildness, or by interposing between it and
the skin, a thin _moist_ layer of some substance, as bibulous paper,
which would not interfere with the rigefacient effect of evaporation,
and would prevent any injury arising from actual contact.



Hitherto the various inks prepared for marking linen, have but
imperfectly answered the end proposed. Some produced yellowish marks;
others though blacker at first, disappeared either partially or
entirely after several washings.

Again, others, in separate bottles, necessitated two distinct
operations, and were thus attended with inconvenience, from the
possibility of mistakes or forgetfulness, from the care required, and
also from the time taken up in the operation.

In view of these difficulties, and to meet a demand constantly
occurring in commerce, and in all kinds of manufactures, as well as
in hospitals, and civil and military administrations, we have applied
ourselves to the composition of an ink free from all these objections,
and perfectly easy and certain in its application.

We shall subjoin some formulæ for the manufacture of marking inks,
which represent particular improvements, as can be verified by trying

 Formula, No. 1, Nitrate of silver,         11 grammes,
                 Distilled water,           85 grammes,
                 Powdered gum arabic,       20 grammes,
                 Sub-carbonate of soda,     22 grammes,
                 Solution of Ammoniæ,       20 grammes.

Dissolve the 22 parts of sub-carbonate of soda in the 85 parts of
water; put into a marble mortar the gum, and pour on {107} it very
gradually the solution of the sub-carbonate, stirring it with the
pestle to cause it to dissolve.

In the mean time, you will have dissolved the 11 parts of nitrate in
the 20 parts of liquid ammonia. Mix the two solutions; put the whole
in a matrass and expose it to heat. The mass which was of a dirty grey
color, and half coagulated, becomes clear and brown, and when arrived
at the boiling point, it becomes very dark, and sufficiently limpid
to flow readily in the pen. This ink, made without heat like the two
following forms no sediment, the ebullition thickening it, and besides
giving the ink a very dark color, disengages the ammoniacal vapors,
which attenuate the odor of the ammonia in it.

 Formula No. 2, Nitrate of silver,          5 grammes,
                Water,                     12 grammes,
                Gum,                        5 grammes,
                Sub-carbonate of soda,      7 grammes,
                Solution of Ammoniæ,       10 grammes.

Mix as in No. 1; put the whole into a matrass and evaporate until the
liquor has acquired a very dark brown tint, which will take place when
it has lost about 5 per cent. of its bulk; a more complete evaporation
would form a precipitate, as the vapors would draw off too much of the

This ink will be found excellent for marking, the character will be
very black, and it will be found especially useful for applying with
the stamp.

 Formula No. 3, Nitrate of silver,          17 grammes,
                Water,                      85 grammes,
                Gum,                        20 grammes,
                Sub-carbonate of soda,      22 grammes,
                Solution of Ammoniæ,        42 grammes,
                Sulphate of copper,         33 grammes.

First dissolve the 22 parts of sub-carbonate in the 25 parts of water,
and the 15 of nitrate in the 42 of ammonia.

This done, put into the marble mortar the 20 parts of gum with the
sixty parts of water which remain, stir it {108} with the pestle, and
pour on it the solution of sub-carbonate, after which, pour the whole
into the solution of the nitrate; finish by adding the 33 parts of the
solution of sulphate of copper.

The greater quantity of ammonia is explained by the presence of the
sulphate to be dissolved.

This composition differs from the others in having a blue tinge, due to
the solution of copper.

It will be readily seen that these relative qualities, given as
formulæ for the production of suitable inks, may vary according as it
is desirable to produce a thicker or thiner ink, or according to the
material on which it is to be used, observing that if, on the one hand,
the ammonia acts as a solvent, and facilitates the composition of an
ink which can be used without a previous preparation; on the other
hand, the evaporation of a part of the ammonia by heat, gives to the
liquid a dark color which renders the writing immediately black; again,
the boiled liquid greases less, and thus penetrates and spreads better
on the linen without making a blot.

As to the mode of using, whether with a pen or a stamp proceed as
usual, namely: pass a hot iron over the writing, to cause it more
completely to penetrate the material.



Considerable attention having of late been directed to this class of
compounds, perhaps a few practical observations relating to their
manufacture, &c. might be of interest to the readers of _The Annals of

Although some of the combinations of valerianic acid with bases,
and the properties of those salts, have been described in the books
on chemistry, yet I believe I may lay claim to the priority of the
preparation of an extensive series of the combination of valerianic
acid with bases. {109}

Valerianic acid, it is well known, occurs preformed in certain plants;
and it is equally well known, that it can be produced in the laboratory
by artificial means. This very fact is of great interest to the
investigating chemist, as it encourages him in the belief that he will,
sooner or later, be able to produce artificially, not only acids, which
are known to exist in the animal and vegetable kingdoms; but that he
will so far imitate Nature in her wonderful processes, as to produce
the vegetable alkaloids, morphia, quina, &c., by the combination of
their elements.

The acid employed in the preparation of this series, _for which I have
had the honor of being awarded a Prize Medal by the Jurors of the Great
Exhibition_, was prepared, in principle, the same as that directed to
be used by the Dublin Pharmacopœia in the preparation of valerianate of
soda, namely, the oxidation of Fusel oil by means of chromic acid. The
formula I employed is as follows:―

 Take of
         Bichromate of potash,      2 parts.
         Oil of vitriol,            3 parts.
         Water,                     4 parts.
         Pure Fusel oil,            1 parts.

The bichromate of potash is to be finely powdered and dissolved in the
water; the solution being put into a glass retort, the oil of vitriol
is gradually added, and, when quite cold, the _fusel oil_ is carefully
added; the contents of the vessel must be constantly agitated, and at
the same time kept immersed in cold water. The deep green liquid is
now distilled from a sand bath; the distillate is mixed with caustic
soda, or potash, and separated from the oily fluid floating on the
surface; the _valerianate of soda_ is evaporated to a convenient degree
of concentration, introduced into a retort, decomposed with dilute
sulphuric acid, and distilled; the liberated valerianic acid is finally
dried over chloride of calcium.

It is also obtained by the oxidation of oil of valerian, by means of
an alkali. It is formed from fats, by treating them {110} with fuming
nitric acid; from animal nitrogenous matters, both by putrefaction
and on decomposing them with strong nitric acid; and also if leucine
be treated with caustic potash, or allowed to putrefy, it becomes
converted into valerianic acid (no other acid being formed), ammonia
and hydrogen being evolved.

It is most easily obtained in a state of absolute purity by the action
of spongy platinum and atmospheric air upon potatoe Fusel oil.

Valerianic acid is composed of C‗{10} H‗{9} O‗{3}, H O. It possesses a
well known characteristic odour, an acrid burning taste, and produces a
white spot on the tongue. It boils at 348° Fahr., and dissolves in 26
parts water; it also forms a second hydrate.[8]

[8] Lehmann’s Physiological Chemistry.

_Combinations with the Alkalies._

The potash salt was prepared by saturating the acid with liquor
potassæ, and evaporating carefully until aqueous vapour ceased to
be given off: it should be, while still warm, cut up and preserved
in well stoppered bottles. It does not crystallize, but forms a
semi-transparent colorless mass, very much resembling phosphorus in
appearance. It (probably from its compactness) produces when sharply
struck with any hard body a metallic sound, somewhat like that
occasioned when a bell of camphor is struck in a similar manner. It is
deliquescent, and very soluble.

The soda salt was prepared in the same manner as the potash salt, cut
up into pieces while warm, and preserved in stoppered bottles: it is in
snow-white masses composed of minute crystals; it is deliquescent, and
very soluble. The ammonia salt was prepared by saturating the acid with
strong liquor ammoniæ, and evaporating at a temperature not exceeding
100° Fahr., until crystals appeared on the surface of the liquid. When
it was set aside for further crystallization, the mother liquor was
allowed to drain off, the crystals were placed upon bibulous paper, and
finally dried _in vacuo_, over oil of vitriol. They are {111} of a
tabular form; when held between the fingers for a moment, they become
liquid. They are deliquescent and dissolve readily in water.

_Combinations with the Alkaline Earths._

The baryta salt was prepared by adding the acid to carbonate of baryta
in excess, which had been previously mixed with water; a gentle heat
was applied, and, when the disengagement of carbonic acid had ceased,
the excess of carbonate was filtered off; the filtrate was evaporated
very carefully, until aqueous vapour ceased to be given off, it
remained a transparent gummy mass, readily soluble in water.

The strontia, lime, and magnesia salts were prepared in the same
manner as the baryta salt. The two former are crystalline, and do not
deliquesce by exposure to the atmosphere; they are soluble. The lime
salt crystallizes in nacreous plates; it effloresces when exposed to
the atmosphere; it is beautifully white.

The magnesia salt would not crystallize, therefore it was evaporated
to dryness, at a temperature not exceeding 120° Fahr. It forms a
light white soluble powder, sweet to the taste, and strong in the
characteristic odour of valerianic acid.

_Combinations with Metallic Oxides._

The alumina, chromium, and nickel salts were prepared by the direct
combination of the hydrates of those bases with the acid.

The alumina and chromium salts are in powder, and are soluble.

The nickel salt is in crystalline masses, of an apple-green color,
soluble in water.

The cobalt salt was also prepared by the direct way; the flocculent
blue precipitate, obtained by precipitation from nitrate of cobalt,
by means of caustic potash, after being well washed, was dissolved in
valerianic acid, filtered and very carefully evaporated to dryness; it
occurs in masses of a rose color, and is soluble.

The manganese salt was also prepared in the direct way by {112} mixing
an excess of the hydrated oxide with water and the acid, allowing
them to remain in contact for some time, filtering and evaporating
at a temperature not exceeding 120° Fahr., until crystals appeared
on the surface of the fluids; it was set aside, and after a while,
the crystals were separated from the mother liquor. The latter being
again evaporated, another crop of crystals was obtained; it occurs in
glistening scales of a flesh color, and dissolves very readily in water.

The valerianate of _protoxide of iron_ was prepared by the double
decomposition of valerianate of baryta and proto-sulphate of iron; it
can only be kept in a state of solution, as least the heat and exposure
to the air converts it immediately into the peroxide salt.

The valerianate of _peroxide of iron_, was prepared by bringing
together neutral cold solutions of perchloride of iron and valerianate
of soda, the precipitated valerianate was thrown upon a filter, well
washed, to separate the chloride of sodium, and dried without heat on a
porous tile; it occurs as a bright red loose powder, perfectly soluble
in alcohol.

The valerianate of zinc was prepared according to the directions in the
Dublin Pharmacopœia; it occurs in small smooth crystals, somewhat like
boracic acid; it is soluble in water and alcohol.

The lead salt was prepared by decomposing freshly precipitated
carbonate of lead with the acid, filtering and evaporating at a low
temperature. In due time, crystals made their appearance in the fluid;
but (probably from the temperature being too high) they subsequently
disappeared; and, upon further evaporation, it remained in the form of
a syrup.

The silver salt was produced by the double decomposition of nitrate of
silver, and valerianate of soda. The valerianate of silver being very
insoluble, was precipitated as a white powder; after washing with cold
water, it was dried in the dark on a porous tile. By exposure to the
light, it becomes black.

The salt of the suboxide of mercury was also prepared by double
decomposition. It is a loose, yellowish white powder. {113}

The salt of oxide of mercury was prepared by agitating together, the
yellow hydrate of the oxide with water and valerianic acid. After
some time, I obtained a colorless liquid, which, upon evaporation
at a temperature not exceeding 100° Fahr., yielded crystals which,
however, speedily fell into a red powder. I therefore again repeated
the operation, omitting the application of heat; the solution was set
aside, when in the course of two or three weeks, I obtained this salt
in prismatic white crystals.

The bismuth salt was obtained by the addition of valerianate of soda,
to a solution of bismuth in nitric acid, which was nearly saturated
with carbonate of soda. It occurs as a loose white powder.

The copper salt was obtained by double decomposition, and occurs as a
beautiful green powder.

The cadmium salt was prepared in the same manner as the zinc salt. It
occurs in crystalline scales, resembling in form that of zinc, but

_Combinations with Organic Bases._

The valerianate of oxide of ethyle (valerianic ether) was obtained by
distilling, together, alcohol, oil of vitriol, and valerianic acid; it
was well washed, dried over chloride of calcium, and re-distilled. It
is an oily liquid, with a penetrating smell of fruit, and of valerian;
of specific gravity, 0,894. (Otto). It is miscible with alcohol and
ether: it has an agreeable, cool, and aromatic taste.

I prepared the valerianate of quina, both by double decomposition, and
by direct combination of the base with the acid.

That by double decomposition, was prepared by adding to a warm solution
of neutral sulphate of quinine, a warm solution of valerianate of
baryta; the mixture was allowed to stand for a while, and filtered to
separate the insoluble sulphate of baryta; the filtrate was evaporated
at a temperature of about 100°, until crystals made their appearance,
when it was set aside for {114} further crystallization. The crystals
obtained by this process are in silky tufts and perfectly white.

The valerianate of quina, made by the direct combination of the acid
with the base, was effected by triturating, in a mortar, freshly
precipitated quina, with water and valerianic acid, until the quina
had disappeared. It was then exposed in shallow dishes, to a current
of air; when sufficiently evaporated, octohedral crystals were formed.
Valerianate of quina in both forms dissolves readily in water.

When a solution of valerianate of quina is evaporated at a temperature
of 130°, it does not crystallize, but has the appearance of an oil.

From the different appearances of this salt, it is highly probable that
they each differ in composition. This phenomena is worthy of a thorough

The morphia salt was prepared in the direct way. It crystallizes in
silky tufts; it dissolves readily in water.

Although but three of the salts of valerianic acid are employed in
medicine, namely, those of _peroxide of iron_, oxide of zinc, and
_quinine_, there appears to me no reason why those of _potash_, _soda_,
_ammonia_, _teroxide of bismuth_, and _oxide of ethyle_, (_valerianic
ether_), should not be employed by the physician.

In conclusion, I must express my sincere thanks to Mr. Savory, for his
kindness in having placed at my disposal the materials necessary for
the preparation of this series.


The above essence is, as already known, butyric ether, more or less
diluted with alcohol; to obtain which pure, on the large scale and
economically, the following process is recommended:―

Dissolve 6 ℔s. of sugar and half an ounce of tartaric acid, in 26 ℔s.
of boiling water. Let the solution stand for several days; then add
8 ounces of putrid cheese broken up with 3 ℔s. {115} of skimmed and
curdled sour milk, and 3 ℔s. of levigated chalk. The mixture should be
kept and stirred daily in a warm place, at the temperature of about 92°
Fahr., as long as gas is evolved, which is generally the case for five
or six weeks.

The liquid thus obtained, is mixed with an equal volume of cold water,
and 8 ℔s. of crystallized carbonate of soda, previously dissolved in
water, added. It is then filtered from the precipitated carbonate of
lime; the filtrate is to be evaporated down to 10 ℔s., when 5 1/2
lbs. of sulphuric acid, previously diluted with an equal weight of
water, are to be carefully added. The butyric acid, which separates on
the surface of the liquid as a dark-colored oil, is to be removed, and
the rest of the liquid distilled; the distillate is now neutralized
with carbonate of soda, and the butyric acid separated as before, with
sulphuric acid.

The whole of the crude acid is to be rectified with the addition of
an ounce of sulphuric acid to every pound. The distillate is then
saturated with fused chloride of calcium, and re-distilled. The
product will be about 28 ounces of pure butyric acid. To prepare the
butyric acid, or essence of pine apple, from this acid, proceed as
follows:—Mix, by weight, three parts of butyric acid with six parts
of alcohol, and two parts of sulphuric acid in a retort, and submit
the whole, with a sufficient heat, to a gentle distillation, until the
fluid which passes over ceases to emit a fruity odor. By treating the
distillate with chloride of calcium, and by its re-distillation, the
pure ether may be obtained.

The boiling point of butyric ether is 238° Fahr. Its specific gravity,
0,904, and its formula C‗{12} H‗{12} O‗{4}, or C‗{4} H‗{5} O +
C‗{8} H‗{7} O‗{3}.

Bensch’s process, above described, for the production of butyric
acid, affords a remarkable exemplification of the extraordinary
transformations that organic bodies undergo in contact with ferment,
or by catalytic action. When cane sugar is treated with tartaric
acid, especially under the influence of heat, it is converted into
grape sugar. This grape sugar, in the {116} presence of decomposing
nitrogenous substances, such as cheese, is transformed in the first
instance into lactic acid, which combines with the lime of the chalk.
The acid of the lactate of lime, thus produced, is by the further
influence of the ferment changed into butyric acid. Hence, butyrate of
lime is the final result of the catalytic action in the process we here
have recommended.



Physician to the London Hospital.

In July of the present year I received from Mr. Grattan, apothecary of
Belfast, a specimen of chloroform, accompanied with a note, from which
the following is an extract:―

  “Some weeks prior to October 25, 1851, I received from my friend
 Dr. M’Killen a small bottle of chloroform which he had had of me two
 or three months previously, and which he stated was subject to very
 singular changes of color, despite the stopper never having been

 At the time he handed it to me the fluid exhibited a delicate pink
 tint, as though colored with cochineal, and was put aside in a glass
 case in my shop, of which I kept the key myself. The case was exposed
 to the diffused light of a large shop window but not to the direct
 rays of the sun.

 Conceiving that the chloroform had by some unobserved means or other
 become accidentally colored, I took very little interest in the
 matter, and was not surprised to find it fade gradually, and in a
 short time become perfectly colorless—and I made a note to that effect
 upon the 25th of October, {117} concluding that there must have been
 some error of observation on the part of Dr. M’Killen.

 On the 16th of November, however, it again began to change, and the
 enclosed notes were made, from time to time, as I happened to have
 opportunity of noticing it.

 I tried it under different conditions of light and temperature,
 without their exerting apparent influence upon it, and being unable
 to form the slightest conjecture as to the cause or nature of the
 molecular disturbance which produces these chromatic changes, have
 taken the liberty of forwarding it to you, should you consider it
 worthy of attention.

 It is at present colorless, and the stopper fast in; and I would only
 suggest that, before removing the stopper, it might be well to observe
 for yourself whether changes similar to those I have noticed may not
 occur again.

 Oct.  25. Perfectly colorless.
 Nov.  16. Faint Pink.
       18. Fading.
       25. Faint pink, as on the 16th.
       26. Dirty-looking, neutral tint, without any pink.
 Dec.  17. Pink again.
       21. Ditto, and deeper.
       27. Perfectly colorless, after having passed through various
             shades of pink.
 Jan.  10. Again pink.
       11. Faint neutral tint.
 Feb.  19. Perfectly colorless. On shaking the
             vial, observed a deposit on its sides,
             like small crystals, but cannot say
             that they were not there before.
       21. Pink and deeper than ever.
 March 10. Deep pink.
       12. Faint pink.
       13. Colorless.
       28. Colorless.
 May   16. Colorless. No change having occurred
             between the 13th March and 16th
             May, concluded too hastily that the
             property of changing its color, upon
             whatever cause dependent, had been
             lost, for on
       17. It again became faintly pinked.
       19. Deeper pink.
       22. Fading.
       24. Fading.
       31. Colorless.
 June  13. Again pink.
       16. Ditto.
       17. Colorless.
 July   2. Ditto, up to present date, when it again became pink.
        3. Deeper.
        5. Still very deep.
        7. Fading
       13. Perfectly colorless.

 The foregoing changes of color were not influenced by any change
 of temperature between 27° and 86° Fahr., nor by exposure to, nor
 seclusion from light. The stopper being fast, atmospheric pressure
 cannot have been connected therewith. Whether it may have been
 influenced by electrical changes, am not prepared to say.” {118}

The specimen of chloroform sent me by Mr. Grattan was, in July, quite
colorless, and on the sides of the bottle a few minute crystals were
observed. The stopper of the bottle was, however, so firmly fixed in
that I could not remove it, and I, therefore, placed the bottle on the
mantel-shelf in my library exposed to diffused light, for the purpose
of observing the changes which its contents would undergo.

In the course of a few weeks it began to acquire a pinkish or
amethystine tint, as described by Mr. Grattan. This slightly augmented
in intensity for a few days, and then became somewhat paler. But for
several weeks, during which it remained in the same situation, it never
became colorless, though the intensity of the color was frequently

The color of the liquid was precisely that of a weak solution of
permanganate of potash.

Some weeks ago I placed the bottle in a dark cupboard, and at the
expiration of about three weeks found that the liquid had become quite
colorless. As the stopper was still immovable, I was obliged to cut
off the neck of the bottle to get at the contents. I found that the
chloroform had undergone decomposition, and had acquired a powerful
and irritating odor, somewhat allied to, but distinct from, that of
hypochlorous acid. The vapor yielded white fumes when a rod moistened
with solution of ammonia was brought in contact with it, blue litmus
paper was reddened but not bleached by it. A few drops of the liquid
were placed on a watch glass and volatilized by a spirit lamp; they
left scarcely any appreciable residue.

The crystals which lined the bottle were then examined. They were few
in number, and not larger than pins’ points. They were white, and when
examined by the microscope, were found to be six-sided pyramids, like
the crystals of sulphate of potash. Some of them were heated to dull
redness in a test tube, without undergoing any appreciable change. When
heated on the point of a moistened thread in the outer cone of the
flame of a candle, they communicated a violet-white tinge to the flame,
characteristic of a potash-salt. They readily {119} dissolved in
water, and the solution did not yield any precipitate on the addition
of a solution of nitrate of baryta, showing that the salt was not a
sulphate. The solution was boiled with nitric acid, and then treated
with a solution of nitrate of baryta, but no precipitate was observed.
Nitrate of silver produced in the aqueous solution of the crystals a
white precipitate, soluble in ammonia, but insoluble in nitric acid.

Whether these crystals were in any way connected with the change
of color which this sample of chloroform underwent, I am unable to
determine; but I suspect not. I am anxious, however, to draw the
attention of others to the subject, in the hope that larger specimens
of the salt may be obtained for examination. For at present the
circumstances under which chloroform frequently undergoes decomposition
are very obscure. Except in this instance, I have never met with, nor
heard of, any sample of chloroform which underwent these remarkable
changes of color.

The chloroform was transferred into another bottle, on the sides of
which a few minute crystals are now formed. But since the removal of
the stopper the pink color has not re-appeared.

I have written to Mr. Grattan to obtain, if possible, further
information respecting this specimen of chloroform. But he tells me he
has not any more of the sample, and has no means of ascertaining by
whom it was made, as about the time it was purchased of him he had in
his shop parcels from London, Edinburgh and Dublin, as well as a small
quantity prepared in Belfast, and he is quite unprepared to say from
which of them it was taken.

I suspect that the pink color of the chloroform must have been due
to the presence of manganese. If so, was this metal derived from the
chloride of lime used in the manufacture of chloroform? Mr. Squire
informs me that he has occasionally found the solution of chlorinated
soda to become of a pinkish hue after being prepared a few days (not
immediately), and that he has attributed it to some manganese carried
over with the {120} chlorine gas, as he does not remember having
observed this change when the gas had been passed through water before
entering the solution of carbonate of soda.

If this suspicion should prove well founded, it is obvious that
the purity of the chloride of lime employed in the preparation of
chloroform deserves the attention of the manufacturer.

_Postscript._—Subsequently to the reading of this paper before the
Pharmaceutical Society, I have received from Mr. William Huskisson,
jun., a specimen of pink chloroform, which, he informs me, owes its
remarkable color to the presence of manganese, derived from peroxide of
manganese employed in the purification of chloroform, as recommended by
Dr. Gregory, (see _Pharmaceutical Journal_, vol. ix., p. 580.)

Mr. W. Huskisson, jun., tells me, that he has observed in his specimen
neither the alterations of color nor the crystals met with in the
specimen sent me by Mr. Grattan.

       *       *       *       *       *

The chairman stated, that he had never, in the various specimens of
chloroform, of which his firm had always a large quantity in stock,
observed the pink color described by Dr. Pereira, nor had he ever seen
any crystals deposited in the bottles, but he would have a more minute
examination made with the view of ascertaining whether such existed.
When the chloroform was first drawn over, and before it was purified,
it frequently possessed more or less of a brown color, but this was
quite distinct from the character described in the paper which had just
been read.

Mr. D. Hanbury observed, that the use of manganese had been suggested
in the process for purifying chloroform, and its presence might in this
way be accounted for.

Mr. Barnes thought it desirable that the decomposed chloroform
should be examined for formic acid. Although constantly subject to
decomposition, no satisfactory explanation of the nature of the change
had yet been afforded.




_By a Commission composed of Messrs. Gibert, Ricord, Soubeiren and

On the 20th of August, 1850, the Academy appointed a commission,
composed as above, to whom was submitted a memoir, by M. Personne,
entitled, “Researches on the Cod-liver and Skate Oils; and on the
preparation of an ioduretted oil, by which they may be replaced as
Medicinal Agents.” A note was also submitted to us on the same subject,
from M. Deschamps, and another from M. Marchall, the latter of which
claimed for the author priority in the employment of ioduretted oil of
almonds, as a substitute for cod-liver oil.

We proceed now to report the results of our examinations of these
communications, and of the investigations to which the enquiry has led.

Cod-liver oil has long been the object of a considerable commerce
arising principally from the decided superiority which it possesses
over other animal oils, for the preparation of chamois leather; but
it has only been within about twenty years that it has been used in
medicine. It was first employed as a remedy for rheumatic pains, then
for bronchial affections, and subsequently as a remedy for scrofula
and consumption. It now constitutes one of the medicinal agents most
extensively used, and one of those, on the action of which medical men
place the greatest reliance, as a remedy capable either of curing very
formidable diseases, or of retarding their fatal termination.

The most important memoir which has been published on cod-liver oil
is that of Dr. Jongh, in which three kinds of oil are described as
met with in commerce, which are called the _black_, the _brown_, and
the _white_ cod-liver oil. These oils are represented to consist,
principally, of oleic and margaric acids, and glycerine, and, as
accessory bodies, of butyric acid, acetic {122} acid; some principles
appertaining to the bile, a non-azotised yellow or brown coloring
matter, called gaduine, iodine, phosphorus, and some inorganic salts.
In France, Messrs. Girardin and Preisser have been engaged in comparing
the effects of the oil obtained from the cod with that obtained
from the ray; and they advocate the superiority of the latter for
medicinal use. But this superiority seems to depend, in part, on the
circumstance, that the oil obtained from the livers of the ray, being
carefully prepared by the pharmaciens, and being transparent, and of
a light yellow color, proves less offensive to the patients than the
cod-liver oil of commerce, which is generally thick, of a dark color,
and has a disagreeable flavor. This, however, is scarcely admitted at
the present time. Moreover, it appears from recent observations, that
the above characters cannot be much depended upon for distinguishing
the two kinds of oil, in consequence of their being so variable.

According to Messrs. Girardin and Preisser, these two oils contain
iodine in the state of iodide of potassium, and in quantity much less
than had been indicated by Dr. Jongh. The latter author gives, as
follows, the quantity of iodine in 1,000 parts of oil:―

 Black cod-liver oil     0,295 parts of iodine.
 Brown cod-liver oil     0,406 parts of iodine.
 White cod-liver oil     0,374 parts of iodine.

Messrs. Girardin and Preisser have found in a litre (thirty-five fluid

 Of ray-liver oil      0,180 gramme of iodine.
 Of cod-liver oil      0,150 gramme of iodine.

According to M. Gobley, a litre of ray-liver oil, prepared by direct
action of the fire, contains twenty-five centigrammes of iodide of
potassium. M. Goodley was unable to find phosphorus in this oil.

Such were the principal analytical results known when M. Personne
presented his memoir to the Academy. The uncertainty which appeared to
attach to the subject, and the {123} variations in the statements of
chemists, induced him to put to himself the following questions:―

1st. Do the oils of cod and ray-liver contain iodide of potassium or

2nd. Do the different sorts of these oils contain the same proportion
of iodine?

3rd. Do these oils contain phosphorus, to which their effects may be
partly attributed?

For detecting the presence of the iodine, M. Personne saponified the
oil with an excess of caustic potassa, incinerated the soap, and
treated the product of incineration with strong alcohol. The alcohol
was evaporated, the residue dissolved in water, and to this, solution
of starch and sulphuric acid were added. The quantity of iodine
was estimated by the intensity of the color; it is too small to be
estimated by the balance.

Mr. Personne examined in this way the dark brown and thick cod-liver
oil, such as is employed in the hospitals of Paris; the transparent
and nearly colorless oil of English commerce; and the ray-liver oil
prepared by the direct action of a moderate heat, and subsequent
filtration. The following are the results:―

1st. The brown cod-liver oil of the hospitals of Paris contains more
iodine than the fine white oil of English commerce.

2nd. It also contains more iodine than the ray-liver oil, and,
moreover, the quantity present is certainly less than a decigramme of
iodine in a kilogramme of oil (1 in 10,000.)

3rd. The residue of the liver, left after the preparation of the oil,
contains much more iodine than the oil itself.

With regard to the question as to whether the iodine exists in
cod-liver oil in the state of iodide of potassium, or directly
combined with the oil, M. Personne, while he admits the difficulty of
satisfactorily determining the point, inclines to favor the opinion
that the iodine is directly combined with the elements of the oil.

[The different methods which have been suggested for the preparation of
the ioduretted oil proposed as a substitute for {124} cod-liver oil
are described. A discussion follows of the claims of the authors, whose
communications were submitted to the commissioners, for having first
introduced the artificial ioduretted oil, which discussion is also
omitted here as being uninteresting to our readers. The commissioners
next proceed to state the result of the evidence obtained, by the
medical members of the commission, of the therapeutical action of the
artificial ioduretted oil.]

M. Gibert administered the ioduretted oil for periods varying from
several weeks to several months, to patients suffering with eruptive
complaints and scrofulous tumors; and, in some instances, found the
benefit to be greater than from the use of cod-liver oil, under similar
circumstances. He states, that he does not think he has tried it in a
sufficient number of cases, and for a sufficient length of time, to
enable him to state decidedly what its absolute value is as a specific
for eruptive and scrofulous complaints; but the results he has obtained
are sufficient to prove, that it is easy of administration and devoid
of any injurious quality, and that it possesses a resolutive action,
which renders it a valuable remedy for certain chronic eruptions and
glandular swellings.

M. Ricord has employed the ioduretted oil for twelve months, in a great
number of cases of scrofula, some of which were considered to be of
venereal origin. He thus obtained excellent results in the treatment of
strumous bubo, tubercular epididymis, and in some cases of scrofulous
enlargement of the joints, etc., and other things being equal, curable
cases were cured, or relief afforded, much more quickly by the use of
the artificial ioduretted oil than by the natural cod-liver oil.

The average dose in which the ioduretted oil was administered was sixty
grammes (℥ij.), which was sometimes raised to 100 grammes (℥iiiss.) The
patient generally took it without inconvenience. It was only in a few
instances, where the dose had been raised, that vomiting, colic, and
diarrhœa were produced. If the precautions which are necessary in the
administration of every remedy be observed, and the degrees of {125}
susceptibility of the patients, together with all special conditions,
properly studied, it may be affirmed that the ioduretted oil is a
medicine of great value and that it presents considerable advantage
over the cod-liver oil.—_Journal de Pharmacie, in Pharmaceutic Journal._




In the practice of English and American physicians, atropine (atropia)
has been hitherto used chiefly as an external application, to dilate
the pupil, but, as far as we know, has never been administered
internally. In France, the powdered belladonna root has been strongly
recommended as affording a reliable and efficient preparation; in this
country, the leaves and the extracts and tincture derived from them are
alone officinal. Dr. Lusanna, an Italian physician, has ventured upon
the internal use of atropia, and, according to our notions, in very
large doses. He commences its administration in doses of one-thirtieth
of a grain every three or four hours, gradually increasing the dose
according to the effect produced. In some instances he went so far as
to give one-third of a grain five times a day.

It may be given, according to Dr. L, in solution in alcohol, or in
acetic or some other mild acid. Pills and powders, from the difficulty
of apportioning the dose he deems unadvisable. The alcoholic solution
has a taste somewhat like that of quinine, but feebler, and not
particularly disagreeable. The patient soon becomes habituated to the
remedy, and the dose has to be increased. In cases of neuralgia he
recommends the application of one-fourteenth to one sixth of a grain
to a blistered surface, in the form of pomade. Dr. L. carries the
administration of atropia so far as to produce what we would call its
toxicological effects.

1st. _Dilatation and immobility of the pupil._ Between fourteen and
fifteen minutes after the exhibition of from one-twenty-fourth to
one-thirtieth of a grain of atropia, the pupil becomes enormously
dilated. If the remedy be persevered in the dilatation passes of, but
the iris becomes immoveable, and the pupil no longer contracts on
exposure to light. When the remedy is stopped, as the other phenomena
produced by its exhibition subside, the pupil again becomes extremely
dilated. Previous to this it commences to oscillate, contracting
slightly when exposed to strong light, and dilating again in the shade.
This indicates that the {126} effects of the remedy are disappearing.
The dilatation of the pupil is the last of the phenomena to subside,
being sometimes met with eight days, or more after the suspension of
the atropia.

2. _Disturbance of vision._ Objects at first seem hazy and ill-defined,
persons are not recognized, and it is impossible to read or write. If
the dose be increased, objects seem covered with a dark shade, and
vision may be wholly lost. Every fresh dose has a sudden and marked
effect in diminishing vision, and on its suspension the disturbance of
vision disappears with equal rapidity. In one or two days the sight is
perfectly restored.

3. _Disturbance of Intellect._ At first the patient appears dull and
stupid, then there is vertigo and confusion of ideas.

4. _Hallucinations of sight and hearing._ Objects are seen double or
greatly magnified; motes and insects flit before the eyes; well known
objects assume strange and monstrous forms, or horrible phantoms are
seen. The hearing is more rarely affected. Buzzing, tinkling, hissing
and whistling are sometimes heard.

5. _Anaesthesia._ Touch remains apparently perfect, but pain is
relieved or blunted. The patient does not seem to suffer from painful
tactile impressions.

6. _Dryness of the mouth and throat_ were invariably felt. At first
this seemed a purely nervous phenomenon, but if the medication was
continued, from the diminution of the salivary secretion it became real.

7. _The appetite_ is early lost, and there is no thirst; but on the
cessation of the remedy it returns sharper than ever. Speech is early
embarrassed, and the power of swallowing early diminished, becomes
finally lost.

8. _Delirium_ alternating with stupor or succeeded by it, is produced
by one-tenth of a grain of atropia at the commencement of the
treatment, or by one-fourth of a grain later, or by any sudden increase
of the dose. The delirium is commonly gay and ridiculous; in one
instance only was it mournful. When these phenomena are at all intense,
they subside slowly. For several days after the cessation of the
medicine, there is confusion and slowness of thought.

9. _Redness of the skin_ was observed in but a single case.

10. _Torpor and paralytic tremblings._ As the patient gets under the
influence of the atropia, the legs become weak and trembling, gradually
lose their strength, and he is confined to bed. They may be still
agitated by twitching, and convulsive movements.

11. _Paralysis of the sphincters of the rectum and bladder._ This is
the highest point to which, according to Dr. L., the medicative action
of atropia can attain. In one case, only, the fæces and urine were
passed involuntarily.

The functions of respiration, circulation, and calorification, were
never affected by atropia.

After this long catalogue of serious symptoms, Dr. Lusanna rather
naively observes, he has never seen any truly alarming results arise
from the use of atropia! Should they occur, he recommends wine as the
best antidote.


CULTIVATION OF OPIUM.—In a late number of the Archives Generales
de Medicine, will be found a short notice of a paper, read by M.
Aubergier, to the French Academy of Science upon the cultivation of
native opium. When the juice is obtained according to the methods
described by M. A., the seeds continue to ripen, and the oil they
yield pays the expense of cultivation. If the opium then more than
repays the expense of the labor necessary to procure it, its production
will be a source of profit. Now M. A., by successive improvements in
his processes, has been enabled to raise the amount obtained by each
laborer from a maximum of 75 to 90 grammes (1157 1/2 grs. to 1389
grs.) to five times that quantity. The commercial value of the opium
will always, therefore, more than repay the cost of manufacture. He
farther finds that the proportion of morphia contained in the opium
varies. 1st, with the maturity of the capsules from which it is
collected, opium collected from capsules nearly ripe yielding less
morphia than that obtained from those that are not so near their
maturity. 2d, different varieties of the poppy yield an opium varying
in the quantity of contained morphia from 15 to 17.833 per cent. Twenty
specimens of foreign opium examined by M. A. yielded quantities varying
from 2.64 to 13 per cent.

The superiority of some specimens of European opium has been noticed by
previous observers, and depends probably on the greater care bestowed
on its preparation and on the cultivation of the plant.

CHROMIC ACID AS AN ESCHAROTIC. Chromic acid has lately been employed
in Germany, both in concentrated solution and in substance, as an
escharotic. The advantages it possesses are, that it is efficient,
manageable, and less painful than the more ordinary applications. The
concentrated solution is applied by means of a glass rod, a pencil
made of asbestos, or if necessary, an ordinary hair pencil, which,
if washed immediately, can be used a second time. The solid chromic
acid on account of its penetrating action has to be employed with much
care. All organic compounds are first oxydised and then dissolved in
an excess of the acid, and this change is accelerated by an elevated
temperature. Smaller animals, birds, mice, &c., were so completely
dissolved by the acid within fifteen or twenty minutes, that no trace
of their bones, skin, hair, claws, or teeth could be discovered. It
would thus appear to be not only a gentle and gradual escharotic, but
also a complete and rapid solvent. _Dublin Quarterly Jour. of Med.
Science, from Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift_, 1851, No. viii.

PUBLIC HYGEINE. M. M. Bicourt & A. Chevalier have presented a memorial
on the diseases which attack workmen engaged in the manufacture of
chromsate of potash. The result of the facts presented in their
memorial, proves, 1st. That workmen engaged in the preparation of
bi-chromsate of potash, are subject to peculiar diseases. 2d. These
diseases attack workmen who do not take snuff, and the mucous membrane
of the nose is destroyed. 3d. Workmen who take snuff do not experience
the same diseases. 4th. Workmen whose skin is broken {128} in any
part, suffer severely when the bi-chromsate comes in contact with
the abraded surface, and should, therefore, carefully preserve the
abrasions from contact with the solution of bi-chromsate. 5th. Workmen
lightly clothed are exposed to some inconveniences, but these may be
easily avoided. 6th. Animals are, like men, exposed to maladies caused
by the bi-chromsate of potash.—_Archives Generales de Medicine._

CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY; or Chemistry applied to Arts and to Manufactures,
by Dr. T. Knapp, Professor at the University of Giesen; Dr. Edmund
Ronalds, Professor of Chemistry at Queen’s College, Galway; and Dr.
Thomas Richardson, of New Castle on Tyne. Illustrated with nine
engravings and one hundred and twenty-nine wood cuts. Vol. iii. London:
HYPPOLYTE BAILLIERE, 219 Regent street, and 209 Broadway, New York.

Knapp’s Technology belongs to a class of books characteristic of the
present day, and of the highest and most extended usefulness. Giving
the practical details of the arts in connection with the scientific
principles on which they are founded, it extends the views of the
manufacturer and the economist, and places him on the right path for
further improvement. To the American it presents the further advantage
of ample and precise details of what is being done in Great Britain
and on the Continent of Europe. All engaged in pursuits with which
chemistry has any connection (and with what is it not now connected?)
will find in the various volumes of the Technology, valuable
information in regard to their own peculiar avocations, while the
variety of its information and the copiousness of its illustrations,
gives it a high interest to the general reader.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a meeting of the College of Pharmacy of the city of New York, held
on Thursday, 25th of March, the following gentlemen were elected
officers for the ensuing year.

 GEO. D. COGGESHALL, _President_.
 JOHN H. CURRIE, _1st Vice President_.
 WILLIAM L. RUSHTON, _2d Vice President_.
 OLIVER HULL, _3d Vice President_.
 JAMES S. ASPINWALL, _Treasurer_.
 B. W. BULL, _Secretary_.






MAY, 1852.



TINCT. FERRI AETHEREA.—At the instance of one of our physicians, I made
some of the above preparation for a lady patient of his, who, after
having used the other preparations of Iron “ad nauseam,” had taken it
with benefit in Europe under the name of “Bestucheff’s tincture,” as
which, it at one time enjoyed great popularity, so that a very large
sum was given to the author in purchase of it by the Czarina Catharine.
After the composition became known it fell into disuse, almost
justifying us in reversing the quotation from Celsus,―

 “Morbos autem, non remediis, sed verbis curari.”

It presents the metal in a different chemical state from what it is
in the muriated tincture, viz: a very soluble deuto chloride; no
acid is present and there are besides the anodyne and anti-spasmodic
properties of the ethereal spirit, rendering it peculiarly appropriate
in hysterical affections; and being pleasant to the taste and miscible
with water, it is not at all repulsive.—Supposing it may prove useful
elsewhere and to others, I subjoin the formula I have used, and to
which I give the preference, as being the most complete. It is original
in the Austrian Pharmacopœia of 1820, whence it has been copied into
many French formularies, under the name of “teinture étherée de {130}
chlorure de fer,” and may be found with a number of other formulæ for
the same preparation in the _“Pharmocopée Unverselle” of Jourdan_.

 ℞ Acidi hydro chlorici ℥iv.
   Acidi hydro nitrici ℥i.
 Limatura. Ferriqs. saturare acida.

Add the iron filings _very gradually_, and in small quantity at a time
to the acids mixed together, in a porcelain mortar of ten or twelve
inch diameter, and allow each portion to be dissolved before another is
added, and so proceed until saturation is complete. Decant; evaporate
to dryness in a sand bath; dissolve the residue in a quantity of water
equal in weight to itself, and to each ounce of this solution add six
ounces of sulphuric ether, agitate them well together and separate the
supernatant ethereal solution, to which add four times its bulk of
alcohol; finally, expose it to the action of the sun’s rays until the
color is altogether discharged. The dose is twenty to thirty drops.

MUCILAGO (GUMMI) ACACLÆ.—Among the many useful hints which have
appeared in the New York Journal of Pharmacy, in relation to several
formulæ of the U. S. P., I perceive the preparation mucilage of gum
arabic has been deemed worthy of a supervisory notice, and having
experienced some annoyance with regard to it, arising simply from
the fact that the officinal preparation has been heretofore entirely
overlooked by apothecaries generally, each one instituting a formula
for himself, I have been very much gratified by the result of
adhering strictly to the formula of the Pharmacopœia, and would take
the liberty to say that as the formulæ of all the Pharmacopœias of
countries wherein our language is spoken are alike, it surely would
not be productive of any advantage to introduce an exception to this
conformity, to suit a local peculiarity, arising, to say the least,
from inadvertence. Besides the thickness of the officinal mucilage is
not much greater than that of syrup of gum, and is even absolutely
necessary for the _chief proposes_ for which it is intended or
prescribed, viz: the suspension of weighty metallic {131} oxydes,
&c., and the holding balsams, oils, &c., in mixtures,—much benefit
then would, so far as my experience goes, accrue from the apothecary
confining himself strictly to the officinal mucilage, and as individual
formulæ are based upon it, the re-compounding them from transcribed
versions would be rendered more accurate. This “whittling” away of
standards, to make them correspond to the shortcomings of negligence
or parsimony, has only the effect of rendering “confusion worse

MISTURA AMYGDALARUM.—Being a work of some hour or so’s duration to
prepare the almond emulsion ab initio, it has been usual to keep the
ingredients in the form of paste, from a proportionate quantity of
which the mixture is made when required. The paste does not keep,
becoming musty and sometimes exceedingly hard. I have therefore adopted
the plan of keeping the almonds already _bleached and well dried_, in
which state they do not undergo any change and thus is made all the
preparation that can be, to expedite the process.

LIQ. ARSENIT. POTASS.—On taking up, the other day, a shop bottle in
which Fowler’s solution had been kept for some half a score or dozen of
years, I perceived it to exhale a strong garlicky odor characteristic
of free metallic arsenic. On examining the bottle which is of the
ordinary flint glass, the inner surface presented the appearance of
being coated or rather corroded, and having a metallic lustre so far
up as the bottle was generally occupied by the solution, and in the
upper part several specks were visible, of the same character, as if
they had been produced by the sublimation of the corrosive agent. The
coating was not affected by any amount of friction nor by alkalies but
was slowly dissolved by acetic acid, from which iodide of potassium
threw down a precipitate of iodide of lead.—Deeming, therefore, the
decomposition to have arisen from the lead contained in the flint glass
I have since then kept the solution in green glass bottles.




The attention which has been given to this article by pharmaceutists,
both on account of its pleasantness and its great tendency to change,
has induced me to offer the following observations.

The advantage of the plan proposed is that a perfectly satisfactory
article can be furnished in five or eight minutes, thus rendering
unnecessary any attempt to make the preparation permanent at the
expense of its remedial value. That this is the manner in which the
public are supplied, save at stores where large quantities are sold,
there can be but little doubt, from the experiments of Professor
Proctor of Philadelphia, detailed in the 23rd volume of the American
Journal of Pharmacy, p.p. 214 and 216, which show conclusively that a
permanent solution of citrate of magnesia must be a decidedly acid one.

Another method for making a soluble citrate has been devised by
Dorvault, which is published in his treatise, entitled “L’officine;”
but from certain difficulties in manipulation his process cannot come
into very general use.

The formula offered is―

Take, of carbonate of magnesia, in powder, five drachms, boiling water
five fluid ounces, throw the magnesia upon the water in a shallow
vessel, when thoroughly mixed, pour five sixths of the pulp into a
strong quart bottle, fitted with cork and string for tying down; then
make a solution of seven and a half drachms of citric acid in two fluid
ounces of water, pour it into the magnesia mixture, cork and tie down
immediately; when the solution has been effected (which will require
but a minute and a half, or two minutes,) empty it into a bottle
capable of holding twelve fluid ounces, containing two fluid ounces of
syrup of citric acid, add the remaining pulp of carbonate of magnesia,
nearly fill the bottle with water, and cork instantly, {133} securing
it with twine or wire; if the carbonate be of good quality it will be
entirely dissolved in seven minutes.

Of course it is not intended that the carbonate of magnesia can be
rubbed to powder, the water boiled, the bottles washed and fitted with
strings and corks in the time above mentioned. My plan is to have the
bottles prepared with their corks, strings, and syrup in advance, and
to keep the carbonate of magnesia in a state of powder for this purpose.

[Continued from the March number.]



BALSAM PERU. For many years past a factitious balsam Peru has been
manufactured in a neighboring city in very considerable quantities,
and has entered largely into consumption; it is made by dissolving
balsam tolu in alcohol. It closely resembles the true balsam, and is
calculated to deceive unless subjected to a close examination. If
one’s attention is particularly called to it, a smell of alcohol is
perceptible. It is, however, easily tested by burning in a spoon or
small cup. The factitious balsam readily ignites on the application of
flame and burns, as may be supposed, with a blue flame. The true balsam
ignites with much more difficulty and emits a dense black smoke, and on
the application of considerable heat, the air becomes filled with small
feathery flakes of lamp black. This test, together with the sensible
properties of appearance, taste and smell, will enable one to determine
without doubt as to its genuineness.

of sulphur is made by boiling sulphur and lime in water, and after
filtering, precipitating the sulphur with muriatic acid. It differs
from the ordinary sulphur in being in a state of more minute division
and being softer and less brittle after having been melted. {134}

When sulphuric acid is used to precipitate the sulphur, sulphate of
lime is formed and cannot be separated from the precipitated sulphur by
the ordinary process of washing, that salt being insoluble in water;
for this reason muriatic acid should be used, as the salt thus formed,
the muriate of lime or chloride of calcium is perfectly soluble and can
be readily separated from the sulphur by washing.

The ordinary lac sulphuris of commerce, is prepared by the use of
sulphuric acid, and in consequence is found to contain a very large
proportion of sulphate of lime, or plaster of Paris.—Several specimens
examined were found to consist of nearly equal parts of sulphate of
lime and sulphur.

The test for the above impurity is by burning in a small cup or spoon.
The sulphur burns out entirely, leaving the impurity unaltered. The
exact amount of impurity may be determined by weighing the substance
before and after burning, and deducting the one weight from the other.

PRECIPITATED CHALK OR CARB. LIME. It is very important that physicians
should be able to obtain this preparation of a reliable quality. A
preparation purporting to be the above, but in fact nothing more nor
less than sulph. lime or plaster of Paris, has, in very considerable
quantities entered into consumption within a year or two past. It is
difficult to determine between the two from their appearance. The
test, however, is very simple and consists in treating the suspected
article with muriatic acid. It should dissolve perfectly with brisk
effervescence, if it be in reality pure carbonate of lime. If it
consists, wholly or in part, of sulphate of lime, the whole or such
part remains unaffected by the acid.

Pure muriatic acid should be used, as the commercial acid frequently
contains sulphuric acid, in which case a portion of sulphate of lime is
formed and remains undissolved.

Magnesia is sometimes found in this preparation, but by accident
generally and not by design, as the price of the magnesia offers no
inducement for the adulteration.



   “Una fides, pondus, mensura, moneta sit una,
    Et status illæsus totius orbis erit.”—BUDEUS.

 “One faith, one weight, one measure and one coin,
  Would soon the jarring world in friendship join.”

The confusion of Babel is felt most severely in the matter of weights
and measures. Whether we consider the _number of names_ of weights
and measures, the _similarity_ of names, the _discrepancy in amount_
between those of the same name, or the _irregular relations_ of those
of the same denomination, we find a maze, the intricacies of which
we cannot retain in our memory an hour after we have committed them
to it. Sometimes, too, we find a farther discrepancy of a surprising
nature; as if the authorised pint should not be the exact eighth of the
authorised gallon, and so there should be two different quarts, one of
two exact pints, and one of a fourth of a gallon, as well as a false
gallon of eight exact pints, and a false pint of an eighth of an exact

[9] Universal Dictionary of Weights and Measures. By J. H. ALEXANDER.
Baltimore. W. Menefie & Co. 158 pp. 8vo.

We cannot here trace the genealogy of this multitude; Chaos and old
night are the ancestors of them all, except those now prevailing in
France. A large number of them are of vegetable origin, from grains
of wheat, carob beans, carat seeds, &c. The Accino, the Akey, and
innumerable others seem to have had a similar origin. Most measures of
length have been derived from the human form, as foot, span, fathom,
nail, &c. To originate a new measure or weight has proved much easier
than to preserve their uniformity when established. Here legislation
has been resorted to. The arm of Henry I. was measured, and a _yard_
of the same length was deposited in the exchequer as a standard.
“Thirty-two (afterwards twenty-four) grains of well dried wheat from
the middle of a good ear” were to weigh a penny, twenty pence one
ounce, and twelve ounces a pound. Science finally carried the matter
one step further, and a yard is now 36/39.13929 part of the length
of “a pendulum that {136} in a vacuum and at the level of mid-tide,
under the latitude of London, shall vibrate seconds of mean time.” The
metre, a measure established by science, is 1/10,000,000 part of
the distance from the equator to the north pole. Measures of capacity
have been still more difficult to verify, and weights, when depending
upon these last, have been involved in further difficulties.—William
the Conquerer, enacted that 8 pounds good wheat, 61,440 grains, make
a gallon. In England now, 10 pounds of water, 70,000 grains, at 60°
Fahr., make a gallon. In France a cubic decimetre of water, at maximum
density, 39.2° Fahr., weighs a kilogramme.

But the impotency of law is nowhere shown more strikingly than in
its attempts to destroy spurious and useless weights and measures.
Thirty of these are said to be prevalent in Scotland at this day; and
although Magna Charta required that there should be but one weight in
all England, the assize of bread is still regulated by a pound, 16
of which = 17℔ 6 oz. avoirdupois. Still further, it may not always
occur to us that English measures, dry and liquid, need translating
when their works are reprinted in the United States, as much as the
French measures; for the imperial gallon, used for both dry and liquid
measures, differs from both our gallons. It contains 1.2006 of our
liquid gallons; our dry gallon contains 1.1631 of our liquid gallons.

But it is in the _weights of the United States_ that we are more
particularly interested. We will, therefore, take our leave of the rest
of 5,400 and more weights and measures which Mr. Alexander has ranged
in alphabetical order, from

        Name.          Locality.      Character.           Value.
 “Aam; _for wine_,   _Amsterdam_,   Liquid capacity,   41.00041 gall.” to
 “Zuoja _piccola_,   _Udino_,       Superficial,       0.8553 acres.”

Let us enquire what are the weights of the United States.—We find but
one unambiguous term to measure the rest by, the grain. We have then:

 1.  The long ton,      15,680,000       grains.
 2.  The ton,           14,000,000       grains. {137}
 3.  The quintal,          784,000       grains,
 4.  The hundred weight,   700,000       grains,
 5.  Quarter,              196,000       grains,
 6.  Pound avoirdupois,      7,000       grains,
 7.  Pound Troy,             5,760       grains,
 8.  Pound Apothecaries’,    5,760       grains,
 9.  Ounce Troy,               480       grains,
 10. Ounce Apothecaries’,      480       grains,
 11. Ounce Avoirdupois,        437.5     grains,
 12. Drachm Apothecaries’,      60       grains,
 13. Drachm Avoirdupois,        54.6875  grains,
 14. Dram of the arithmetic,    27.34375 grains,
 15. Pennyweight,               24       grains,
 16. Scruple,                   20       grains,
 17. Grain,                     1        grains.

A formidable array truly! From this we see that while an ounce of cork
is lighter than an ounce of gold, a pound of cork is heavier than a
pound of gold! Nay, further, let the apothecary go to the druggist
for a drachm of opium, and he will receive and pay for a _drachm_
avoirdupois, a weight unknown even to Mr. Alexander, although in
constant use in this city. But the moment he puts it into his mortar
there is not a drachm of it! If he wishes to use a drachm in pills
or tincture, he must add more than five grains to it. Could anything
be more inconvenient or more prolific in mistakes? To prevent butter
from becoming rancid, we are told to mix with it the bark of slippery
elm, in the “proportion of a drachm (or dram) to the pound.” Who can
tell what it means? Six different proportions might accord with this
Delphic response; the most probable is 60∶7000. But the grievance to
which the apothecary is subject does not all consist in his buying
by lighter ounces, and selling by heavier. The subdivisions by which
he compounds have no reference to his convenience. Long habit alone
can save him from either laborious calculation or risk of error. But
still another chance of error comes into the account. Two characters,
ʒ and ℥, are joined to numerals, to indicate {138} quantities; a
mistake of these, by either prescriber or apothecary, may prove fatal.
A case in point occurred a few years since, well known to many of our
readers. A physician, prescribed cyanide of potassium, by a formula in
which ℥ had been printed, by mistake, for ʒ. The apothecary, instead
of sending him the prescription for correction, _as he ought to have
done_, put it up and sent it with the fearful monition that the dose
would prove fatal—and so it did—to the prescriber himself, who took the
dose his patient dared not touch. He died in five minutes, a victim to
a printer’s error, to his own self confidence, to want of etiquette
in the apothecary, and last, not least, to an ill-contrived system of

This brings us to the practical question, What is to be done? All agree
that there ought to be a reform. On this point we can do no better
than quote the close of Mr. Alexander’s preface.—“Finally,” says he
(page vii.) “if I may be allowed, in connection with this work and its
appropriate applications, to allude to certain dreams of my own, (as
they may be; although I consider them capable, without undue effort,
of a more prompt and thorough realisation than seems to be ordinarily
anticipated,) as to the prevalence, some day, of an universal
conformity of weights and measures, I must acknowledge that such a
result was one of the ends I had in view in the original collection of
materials. Not that such a work was going to show more emphatically
than business men feel, and reflecting men know, the importance of such
an universal conformity; or that a book whose pages deal in discords,
could, of itself, produce unison; but the first step to any harmonious
settlement is, to see clearly, and at a glance, where the differences
lie, and what they are.—If a millennial period for this world is
ever to come, as many wise have deemed, and pious prayed, it must be
preceded by one common language, and one common system of weights and
measures, as the basis of intercourse. And the way to that is to be
built, not by the violent absorption of other and diverse systems into
one, but rather by a compromise into which all may blend. When the
Earth, in her historical orbit, shall {139} have reached that point,
(as it stood ere mankind were scattered from the plain of Shinar)
and not till then, may we begin to hope that her revolutions will be
stilled, and that before long the weights and measures of fleeting
Time will be merged and lost in the infinite scales and illimitable
quantities of Eternity.” We are not sure that we precisely understand
the last sentence, and we are sure we dissent entirely from the one
that precedes it. No compromise can be of service in bringing about
a uniformity in weights and measures. We must either make a better
system than the best extant, and ask all men to adopt it, or if the
best that human ingenuity and science can devise is already in use,
so much the better; let us adopt it with all our heart. Is the French
system this best one? We believe it is, nor have we ever heard it
called in question.—Why then speak of a new one as desirable? We fear
the suggestion is the offspring of a national vanity, which ought to be
beneath us. We would not oppose such a motive even to the introduction
of the centigrade thermometer, which is much more inconvenient than
Fahrenheit’s, and has _no one_ advantage over it in any respect; still
less should it bar the progress of a system against which no fault can
be alleged, but that it is _foreign_.

We agree with our author that the introduction of a new system is much
easier than is generally supposed. It will not be like the change of
a monetary system, where the old coins remain, mingled with the new,
to perpetuate the old names.—The change could be, by law, effected
next New Year’s day, and all inconvenience from it would be over
in a month, save some awkwardness from habit, and two more serious
difficulties. One is from the human propensity to _bisection_. Thus the
old hundredweight of 112 pounds is bisected down to 7 pounds, and the
grocer will sell half this quantity, 3 1/2 pounds, at a cheaper rate
than he will sell 3 pounds or 4. Unfortunately in bisecting 100 we run
down too soon to the fractions 12 1/2 and 6 1/4. The French have
been obliged to give way to this propensity, and divide the kilogramme
in a binary manner, {140} with an unavoidable irregularity, reckoning
31 1/4 grains as 32. Would that 32 × 32 = 1000! Our only remedy is to
change the radix of numeration from 10 to 16, a thing impossible but to
a universal dictator. The other difficulty is in our measure for land.
This must remain in all surveyed tracts in such a shape that 40 acres,
and also 5 acres, shall be some multiple of unity.

But shall the apothecary wait the action of government?—This is neither
necessary nor desirable. Some relief he ought to have speedily. If
he dare not make so great an advance as to adopt the French system,
(his truest and most honorable policy,) let all subdivisions of the
avoirdupois pound be discarded, except the grain. Introduce the
chemists’ weights of 1000, 500, 300, 100, 50, &c. grains, and let all
prescriptions be written in grains alone. This, perhaps, is the only
feasible course.

We must return once more to our author before taking leave of our
readers. The motive for making the collection was one that strikes
us as new. It was for ethnological and historical purposes. As the
carat points to India as the origin of the diamond trade, so we find
in the names, mode of subdivision, and amount of weights and measures
evidences of the migrations of races, and of the ancient and obsolete
channels in which trade once flowed. The care with which Mr. Alexander
seems to have corrected these tables, and adjusted the discordant
elements of which they are composed, and corrected the discrepancies
between them, makes them more worthy of reliance than anything that has
preceded them, and leaves little to be desired that is within the reach
of human attainment. After the alphabetical arrangement, are given the
weight and measure systems of the “principal countries of the world,”
beginning with Abyssinia and ending with Würtemberg. And we have only
to add that the mechanical execution of the volume is worthy of the
care and labor the author has spent upon it, unsurpassed, in fact, by
any book made for use we have ever seen.




This alkaloid, which gained a prize in the Great Exhibition, has
scarcely yet attracted much attention. Some of the cheaper barks now
largely imported from New Grenada contains so much of it that it
is, perhaps, as well that it should be more studied. The _Cinchona
cordifolia_, from this part of the continent, is particularly rich
in it. It is, however, contained in larger or smaller quantities in
the Bolivian and Peruvian barks—the _Cinchona Calisaya_, _Boliviana_,
_rufinervis_, and especially _ovata_.

Referring your readers to a very able paper in your Journal,[10] I beg
to add a few facts from my own observations.

The sulphate of quinidine, or β quinine as it is called by some, (Van
Heijninger and others,) is so like the sulphate of quinine, that the
eye or the taste can with difficulty distinguish them. It forms the
same light fibrous crystallization, and occupies as large a bulk. It
corresponds in appearance with the description given by Winckler, of
“chinidine.” (See _Pharm. Journ._ for April, 1845, vol. iv., p. 468.)
He notices that it has “a remarkably white color and a peculiarly faint
lustre.” Its most striking characteristic is its extreme solubility.
Pure sulphate of quinine requires nearly thirty times its weight of
boiling water for solution, whilst the sulphate of quinidine dissolves
in four parts. On the other hand the pure alkaloid crystallizes
readily out of proof spirit and out of ether, whilst quinine does
not crystallize out of either. A very good test for the presence of
cinchonine in sulphate of quinine is also capable of being applied
to detect the presence of β quinine. On this point I would refer for
very interesting details to a paper by M. Guibourt, in the _Journal de
Pharmacie_ for January in this year.

[10] _Pharmaceutical Journal_, vol. ix., p. 322, January, 1850.

In your Journal of April, 1843, I gave a test for sulphate of quinine,
to which I would again advert, because subsequent {142} experience has
proved it to be a tolerable easy, and at the same time exact means of
ascertaining its purity. Put 100 grains in a Florence flask with five
ounces of distilled water, heat this to brisk ebullition; the sulphate
of quinine ought not to be entirely dissolved; add two ounces more
water, and again heat it to ebullition; ought to make a perfectly clear
solution. If this be allowed to cool for six hours, and the crystals
carefully dried in the open air on blotting paper, they will be found
to weigh about ninety grains, the mother-liquor may be evaporated and
tested with ether, when any cinchonine or β quinine will be easily
detected. On examining sulphate of quinine of commerce from several
leading manufacturers, I have found all of them give, within a grain or
two, the same result, and, in each, indications of a β quinine, though
to an unimportant extent.

The above quantity of water (seven ounces) readily dissolves 800 grains
of sulphate of β quinine; and if 100 grains of this salt are dissolved
in seven ounces of water, the crystals as above weigh only fifty-four
grains, thus leaving forty-six grains in solution instead of about ten

The medical effects of β quinine deserve investigation, the chemical
constitution and the taste appear to indicate a great similarity if not


Mr. Zimmer, manufacturer of sulphate of quinine in
Frankfort-on-the-Maine, has published the following circular and paper
to his correspondents abroad:

 _Frankfort-on-the-Maine, Feb._ 6th, 1852.

You are doubtless, aware that various and partly spurious kinds of
sulphate of quinine have for some time past found their way into
the market. The substance now frequently {143} mixed with quinine
is quinidine. But little positive is as yet known of the medicinal
properties of this alkaloid, and whatever may be the result of future
experiments, its arbitrary substitution is, under any circumstances,
unwarrantable, and renders all fair and honest competition almost

The importance of the subject has induced me to address a few words to
you, that I may submit a simple experiment by means of which the most
usual adulterations of quinine may readily be detected.

 I have the honor to be, with much respect, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The high price of genuine Bolivian _Cinchona Calisaya_, through the
monopoly of its export, has given occasion to imports, from other
districts, of _Cinchonas_, the quality of which widely differs from
that of the Calisaya, inasmuch as they contain principally quinidine.
The lower prices of these barks, regardless of their different
constituents, have brought them quickly into use in many factories of
quinine, whereby a large quantity of quinine, containing quinidine,
has got into the market, causing an undue depreciation in the price of

The existence of this third cinchona-alkaloid is now established beyond
a doubt by ultimate analysis, by the peculiarity of its salts, and by
important distinctive tests; and there can be no further question, that
quinidine must, equally with cinchonine, be distinguished from quinine.
The external characters of sulphate of quinidine differ from those
of sulphate of quinine; it has a greater specific gravity and less
flocculent crystallization. In dry warm air it parts with its water
of crystallization, without deliquescing or losing its crystallized
aspect; lastly, it is far more soluble than sulphate of quinine in cold
water and in alcohol.

One of the distinctive properties of the three alkaloids in question,
_viz._, their behavior with ether—places in our hands a ready means
of detecting the mixture of cinchonine and {144} quinidine, with
quinine. Schweitzer (_Lond. Med. Gazette_, vol. xxi., p. 175) has
already employed ether for the detection of cinchonine with complete
success, and his process has, with justice, been subsequently quoted
in most manuals, as it answers its purpose completely; cinchonine is
known to be entirely insoluble in ether, whatever may be the quantity
of ether employed. The solubility of quinidine in ether, as compared
with that of quinine, is but slight; ten grains of pure sulphate of
quinine dissolve in sixty drops of ether, and twenty drops of spirit of
ammonia, while only one grain of sulphate of quinidine is soluble in
the same quantity of the fluid; and in proportion quinine containing
quinidine will always be less soluble than pure sulphate of quinine.

Guided by this fact I can recommend the following simple and very
convenient process for the detection of quinidine and quinine:―

Ten grains of the salt to be examined is to put into a strong test
tube, furnished with a tight-fitting cork, to this are to be added
ten drops of diluted sulphuric acid, (one acid and five water) with
fifteen drops of water, and a gentle heat applied to accelerate the
solution. This having been affected, and the solution entirely cooled,
sixty drops of officinal sulphuric ether with twenty drops of spirits
of ammonia, must be added, and the whole well shaken while the top is
closed by the thumb. The tube is then to be closely stopped and shaken
gently from time to time, so that the bubbles of air may more readily
enter the layer of ether.

If the salt examined be free from cinchonine and quinidine, or contain
the latter in no greater proportion than ten per cent., it will be
completely dissolved; while on the surface, where contact of the two
layers of clear fluid takes place, the mechanical impurities only will
be separated (in which respect the various sorts of commercial quinine
differ.) After sometime longer the layer of ether becomes hard and
gelatinous, after which no further observation is possible.

From the above statement respecting the solubility of {145} quinidine
in ether, it appears that the ten grains of the salt to be examined,
may contain one grain of quinidine, and still a complete solution with
ether and ammonia may follow; but in this case the quinidine will
shortly begin to crystallize in the layer of ether. The last trace of
quinidine may be yet more definitely detected by employing, instead of
the ordinary ether, some other, previously saturated with quinidine, by
which means all of the quinidine contained in the quinine must remain
undissolved. It is particularly requisite in performing this last
experiment to observe, after the shaking, whether all has dissolved,
for owing to the great tendency of quinidine to crystallization, it may
become again separated in a crystalline form, and be a source of error.

If more than a tenth of quinidine or cinchonine be present, there will
be found an insoluble precipitate at the limits of the two layers of
fluids. If this be quinidine, it will be dissolved on the addition of
proportionately more ether, while cinchonine will be unaffected.

It is expressly to be remarked, that the necessity for testing sulphate
of quinine, in search of other fraudulent adulterations is not
superseded by the above described process.

We have particularly to determine upon the absence of inorganic
substances, which may be effected by subjecting to red heat on a
platinum dish, or simply by solution in alcohol. Gypsum, chalk,
magnesia, &c., will be left undissolved. Boracic acid will be dissolved
by alcohol, but its green flame will indicate its presence in the
alcoholic solution when ignited.

The absence of organic substances, such as salicine, sugar, stearic
acid, &c., may be inferred from the formation of a colorless solution
with pure concentrated cold sulphuric acid; it is as well to leave the
sulphuric acid to act for some hours.

The presence of sal-ammoniac may be detected by the addition of caustic
potash to the suspected salt, when, if present, it will be known by
the diffusion of the ammoniacal odour.—_Pharmaceutical Journal, March,




The envelopement of pills is a minute question, an accessory in this
form of administering medicines, but as it is a frequent cause of
trouble to practitioners, and as their successful operation is often
due to their peculiar mode of exhibition, we shall perhaps be pardoned
for devoting a short space to the subject.

In order that pills may not adhere to one another, they are rolled
in an inert powder, such as marsh-mallow, liquorice, and above all,
lycopodium. Carbonate of magnesia is now particularly used for pills
of turpentine and copaiba. To disguise the peculiar odour of the pill
mass, German practitioners use iris powder, or cinnamon.

To render pills more pleasing to the eye, as well as to disguise their
taste, instead of rolling them in the before named powders, they are
frequently covered with gold or silver leaf. The mode of doing this is
too well known to need repetition. We will only remark that those pills
which contain iodine, bromine, sulphur, iodides, bromides, sulphides,
salts of mercury, gold, platina, &c., cannot be silvered.

These methods conceal but imperfectly the unpleasant taste and smell of
certain pillular compounds. M. Garot, to obviate this inconvenience,
has proposed to cover pills with a layer of gelatine, by means of a
process which he has made public, and into the details of which we
think it needless to enter. The gelatinous layer conceals the bad taste
and smell perfectly, but it is attended with one inconvenience; in time
it shrinks, cracks, and the pill mass exudes. Besides, much skill is
required in its manipulation. After gelatinization comes sugaring. This
is frequently preferable to the former modes, and can be equally well
applied to pills of a repulsive taste and smell, (copaiba, turpentine,
musk, assafœtida, &c.,) or to those which are changed by air or light,
(proto salts of iron,) or deliquescent, (iod-hydrargyrate of iodide
of potassium,) or caustic, (croton oil.) It can extemporaneously be
performed in the following manner:—Put the pills into a vase with a
round bottom, {147} or into a box lined with silver, moisten them with
a little syrup of sugar, clear mucilage, or white of eggs, agitate
them so as to moisten them uniformly; add a mixture of equal parts of
gum, sugar and starch; again rotate them, so as equally to enclose
all the pills. If a first layer be not sufficient, add a second and
third in the same manner. Dry them in the air or in a stove. In damp
weather, these pills should be enclosed in corked bottles. Gelatine
of carragheen or caseine dried and powdered may be substituted for
the above powdered mixture. This method is more expeditious than
gelatinisation, and it has besides the advantage of the material being
always perfectly soluble. Collodion has been proposed for enveloping
pills, but seems never to have been used.

The last method we shall call _toluisation_. It appears to possess
many decided advantages over the others. M. Blancard, its originator,
employs it particularly for pills of proto iodide of iron. It is to
induce its more general use that we make these remarks. The following
is the mode of proceeding, which can be modified to suit the daily
wants of practice:

Dissolve one part of balsam of tolu, in three parts of ether, (the
balsam which has been used in the preparation of syrup of tolu will
answer perfectly;) pour some of this tincture into a capsule containing
the pills, to favor the evaporation of the ether. When the pills
begin to stick together, throw them on a mould of tin passed through
mercury, or simply on a plate, taking care to separate those which
stick together. Set them in the air to dry. The drying may be completed
in a stove of moderate heat, especially if several layers have been
found necessary. This mode of enveloping may take the place, or nearly
so, of all the others. An important point in it, is, that it resists
the effects both of damp and dryness on the pill mass. Its balsamic
odour is generally agreeable; but should it not be so, the tolu might
be replaced by some inert resin soluble in ether, as mastic tears for
example. The layer of resinous matter is so thin, that we apprehend no
obstacle in its influence on the medicine. {148}

We will, however, make one general remark, namely: that as each method
possesses some peculiar advantages, we thought it right to give them
all.—_Bulletin Gen. Ther. Med. et Chir. January, 1852._



Professor to the Royal College of Chemistry, London.

Cahours’ excellent researches concerning the essential oil of
gaultheria procumbens (a North American plant of the natural order
of the Ericinæ of Jussieu,) which admits of so many applications in
perfumery, have opened a new field in this branch of industry. The
introduction of this oil among compound ethers must necessarily direct
the attention of perfumers towards this important branch of compounds,
the number of which is daily increasing by the labors of those who
apply themselves to organic chemistry. The striking similarity of the
smell of these ethers to that of fruit has not escaped the observation
of chemists; however, it was reserved to practical men to discover
by which choice and combinations it might be possible to imitate the
scent of peculiar fruits to such a nicety, as to make it probable that
the scent of the fruit is owing to a natural combination identical to
that produced by art; so much so, as to enable the chemist to produce
from fruits the said combinations, provided he could have at his
disposal a sufficient quantity to operate upon. The manufacture of
artificial aromatic oils for the purpose of perfumery is, of course,
a recent branch of industry; nevertheless, it has already fallen into
the hands of several distillers, who produce sufficient quantity to
supply the trade; a fact, which has not escaped the observation of the
Jury at the London Exhibition. In visiting the stalls of English and
French perfumers at the Crystal Palace, we found a great variety of
these chemical perfumes, {149} the applications of which were at the
same time practically illustrated by confectionery flavored by them.
However, as most of the samples of the oils sent to the Exhibition were
but small, I was prevented, in many cases, from making an accurate
analysis of them. The largest samples were those of a compound labelled
“Pear oil,” which, by analysis, I discovered to be an alcoholic
solution of pure acetate of amyloxide. Not having sufficient quantity
to purify it for combustion, I dissolved it with potash, by which free
fusel oil was separated, and determined the acetic acid in the form of
a silver salt.

 0,3080 gram. of silver salt = 0,1997 gram. of silver.

The per centage of silver in acetate of silver is, according to

 Theory.      Experiment.
  64,68          64,55.

The acetate of amyloxide which, according to the usual way of preparing
it, represents one part sulphuric acid, one part fusel oil, and two
parts of acetate of potash, had a striking smell of fruit, but it
acquired the pleasant flavor of the jargonelle pear only after having
been diluted with six times its volume of spirits of wine.

Upon further inquiry I learned that considerable quantities of this
oil are manufactured by some distillers, from fifteen to twenty pounds
weekly, and sold to confectioners, who employ it chiefly it flavoring
pear-drops, which are nothing else but barley-sugar, flavored with this

I found, besides the pear-oil, also an _apple-oil_, which, according to
my analysis, is nothing but valerianate of amyloxide. Every one must
recollect the insupportable smell of rotten apples which fills the
laboratory whilst making valerianic acid. By operating upon this new
distillate produced with diluted potash, valerianic acid is removed,
and an ether remains behind which, diluted in five or six times its
volume of spirits of wine, is possessed of the most pleasant flavor of

The essential oil most abundant in the Exhibition was the pine-apple
oil, which, as you well know, is nothing else but the butyrate of
ethyloxide. Even in this combination, as in {150} the former, the
pleasant flavor or scent is only attained by diluting the ether with
alcohol. The butyric ether which is employed in Germany to flavor
bad rum, is employed in England to flavor an acidulated drink called
pine-apple ale. For this purpose they generally do not employ pure
butyric acid, but a product obtained by saponification of butter, and
subsequent distillation of the soap with concentrated sulphuric acid
and alcohol; which product contains, besides the butyric ether, other
ethers, but nevertheless can be used for flavoring spirits. The sample
I analyzed was purer, and appeared to have been made with pure butyric

Decomposed with potash and changed into silver salt, it gave

 0,4404 gram. of silver salt = 0,2437 gram. of silver.

The per centage of silver in the butyrate of silver is according to

 Theory.      Experiment.
  55,38         55,33.

Both English and French exhibitors have also sent samples of cognac-oil
and grape-oil, which are employed to flavor the common sorts of
brandy. As these samples were very small, I was prevented from making
an accurate analysis. However, I am certain that the grape-oil is a
combination of amyl, diluted with much alcohol; since, when acted upon
with concentrated sulphuric acid, and the oil freed from alcohol by
washing it with water, it gave amylsulphuric acid, which was identified
by the analysis of the salt of barytes.

1,2690 gram. of amylsulphate of barytes gave 0,5825 gram. of sulphate
of barytes. This corresponds to 45,82 per cent. of sulphate of barytes.

Amylsulphate of barytes, crystallized with two equivalents of water,
contains, according to the analysis of Cahours and Kekule, 45,95 per
cent. of sulphate of barytes. It is curious to find here a body,
which, on account of its noxious smell, is removed with great care
from spirituous liquors, to be applied under a different form for the
purpose of imparting to them a pleasant flavor. {151}

I must needs here also mention the artificial oil of bitter almonds.
When Mitscherlich, in the year 1834, discovered the nitrobenzol, he
would not have dreamed that this product would be manufactured for the
purpose of perfumery, and, after twenty years, appear in fine labelled
samples at the London Exhibition. It is true that, even at the time of
the discovery of nitrobenzol, he pointed out the striking similarity of
its smell to that of the oil of bitter almonds. However, at that time,
the only known sources for obtaining this body were the compressed
gases and the distillation of benzoic acid, consequently the enormity
of its price banished any idea of employing benzol as a substitute
for oil of bitter almonds. However, in the year 1845, I succeeded by
means of the anilin-reaction in ascertaining the existence of benzol
in common coal-tar-oil. In his essay, which contains many interesting
details about the practical use of benzol, he speaks likewise of the
possibility of soon obtaining sweet scented nitrobenzol in great
quantity. The Exhibition has proved that this observation has not been
left unnoticed by the perfumers. Among French perfumeries we have
found, under the name of artificial oil of bitter almonds, and under
the still more poetical name of “essence de mirbane,” several samples
of essential oils, which are no more nor less than nitrobenzol. I was
not able to obtain accurate details about the extent of this branch
of manufacture, which seems to be of some importance. In London, this
article is manufactured with success. The apparatus employed is that
of Mansfield, which is very simple; it consists of a large glass worm,
the upper extremity of which divides in two branches or tubes, which
are provided with funnels. Through one of these funnels passes a stream
of concentrated nitric acid; the other is destined as a receiver of
benzol, which, for this purpose, requires not to be quite pure; at
the angle from where the two tubes branch out, the two bodies meet
together, and instantly the chemical combination takes place, which
cools sufficiently by passing through the glass worm. The product is
afterwards washed with water, and some diluted solution of carbonate
of {152} soda; it is then ready for use. Notwithstanding the great
physical similarity between nitrobenzol and oil of bitter almonds,
there is yet a slight difference in smell which can be detected by an
experienced nose. However, nitrobenzol is very useful in scenting soap,
and might be employed with great advantage by confectioners and cooks,
particularly on account of its safety, being entirely free from prussic

There were, besides the above, several other artificial oils; they all,
however, were more or less complicated, and in such small quantities,
that it was impossible to ascertain their exact nature, and it was
doubtful whether they had the same origin as the former.

The application of organic chemistry to perfumery is quite new; it is
probable that the study of all the ethers or ethereal combinations
already known, and of those which the ingenuity of the chemist is daily
discovering, will enlarge the sphere of their practical applications.
The caprylethers lately discovered by Bouris are remarkable for their
aromatic smells (the acetate of capryloxide is possessed of the most
intense and pleasant smell,) and they promise a large harvest to the
manufacturers of perfumes.—_Annalen der Chemie.—In An. of Pharmacy._


Pure acetic acid is colorless, possesses strong acid properties and
taste, and no empyreumatic flavor. It should have, according to the
new London Pharmacopœia, a specific gravity of 1.048, and one hundred
grains should saturate eighty-seven grains of crystallized carbonate
of soda; consequently the pharmacopœial acid consists of thirty-one
per cent. of the anhydrous acid, and sixty-nine per cent. of water.
It should leave no residuum by evaporation. Sulphuretted hydrogen,
nitrate of barytes, ferrocyanuret of potash, and nitrate of silver,
should produce no precipitate in it. When it contains empyreumatic
{153} matter, which besides being evident to the smell, concentrated
sulphuric acid causes its color to darken. Sugar, in a more or less
changed condition, is frequently one of the impurities of the German
diluted commercial acid, and may be recognized by the taste of the
residuum left upon its evaporation.

When sulphuretted hydrogen produces in acetic acid a milky turbidity,
it shows that sulphurous acid is present, the presence of which is due
to the decomposition of coloring and other organic matters, contained
as impurities in the acetates, from which the acetic was prepared, when
treated with sulphuric acid. The turbidity is caused by the separation
of sulphur from the sulphuretted hydrogen, and from the sulphurous acid
by reason of the hydrogen of the former combining with the oxygen of
the latter, and forming water (Wittstein.) If the sulphuretted hydrogen
produces a black precipitate, either lead or copper may be present.
The lead may be recognized by sulphuric acid giving a precipitate of
sulphate of lead; and the copper, by the blue reaction which ensues,
with an excess of ammonia. Sulphuric acid can be readily known when
present by nitrate of barytes producing a white precipitate, insoluble
in mineral acids. Nitrate of silver detects muriatic acid by throwing
down a white precipitate, which changes, under the influence of light,
to a violet color, and is insoluble in nitric acid, but soluble in
ammonia. Ferrocyanuret of potassium will indicate the presence of salt
of iron when by its addition, a blue precipitate results.

The above tests are not applicable to the same extent to detect the
impurities of the brown vinegar of commerce, because manufacturers are
allowed by law to add to it a small per centage of sulphuric acid, and
there are always sulphates and chlorides and other salts present in it,
derived from the water used in its manufacture; therefore, in testing
for its impurities, an allowance must be made for those which arise
from the necessary process of the manufacture, and those considered
only as adulterations which are over and above such fair allowance.
To detect such impurities as cayenne pepper, {154} &c., it is merely
necessary to neutralize the vinegar with carbonate of soda, when their
presence will be palpably evident to the taste.

Acetic acid may be purified by distillation from those substances
which are not volatile. By adding acetate of lead previously to its
distillation, sulphuric and muriatic acids can be separated from it;
and sulphurous acid can be removed by peroxide of manganese, which
converts it into sulphuric acid. It can be freed from empyreumatic
impurities by agitation with charcoal, subsequent filtration and

The strength of acetic acid and vinegar cannot be determined by the
specific gravity. The power of saturating an alkaline carbonate is the
best criterion of the quantity of anhydrous acid present in any given
sample. This method will only give correct results when the acid is
pure, or when the quantities of free mineral acids have been estimated
previously by precipitation, so as to make the necessary deductions for
their saturating power when the acid is neutralized with an alkaline
carbonate. It would be well if pharmaceutists were more frequently
to try the strength of their acetic acid, which is constantly sold
with very plausible labels, about one part of the acid to seven parts
of water, making the distilled vinegar of the Pharmacopœia, which
statement we have oftentimes proved to be a very pretty fiction.—_An.
of Pharmacy, March, 1852._


J. J. Bernoulli recommends for this purpose acetate of potash. When to
an etherial oil, contaminated with alcohol, dry acetate of potash is
added, this salt dissolves in the alcohol, and forms a solution from
which the volatile oil separates. If the oil be free from alcohol, this
salt remains dry therein.

Wittstein, who speaks highly of this test, has suggested the following
method of applying it as the best:—In a dry test {155} tube, about
half an inch in diameter, and five or six inches long, put not more
than eight grains of powdered dry acetate of potash; then fill the tube
two-thirds full with the essential oil to be examined. The contents
of the tube must be well stirred with a glass rod, taking care not to
allow the salt to rise above the oil; afterwards set aside for a short
time. If the salt be found at the bottom of the tube dry, it is evident
that the oil contains no spirit. Oftentimes, instead of the dry salt,
beneath the oil is found a clear syrupy fluid, which is a solution of
the salt in the spirit, with which the oil was mixed. When the oil
contains only a little spirit, a small portion of the solid salt will
be found under the syrupy solution. Many essential oils frequently
contain a trace of water, which does not materially interfere with this
test, because, although the acetate of potash becomes moist thereby, it
still retains its pulverent form.

A still more certain result may be obtained by distillation in a
water bath. All the essential oils which have a higher boiling point
than spirit, remain in the retort, whilst the spirit passes into
the receiver with only a trace of the oil, where the alcohol may be
recognized by the smell and taste. Should, however, a doubt exist, add
to the distillate a little acetate of potash and strong sulphuric acid,
and heat the mixture in a test tube to the boiling point, when the
characteristic odor of acetic ether will be manifest, if any alcohol be



It is a well known fact that when resin of jalap is treated with ether,
we obtain two kinds of resin, one soluble, and the other insoluble
in ether. Dr. Kayser chose first for his analysis that part of the
resin which is insoluble in ether. This resin, purified by means of
charcoal, was friable, almost colorless, without smell or taste,
insoluble in ether and water, but easily {156} dissolved by spirit of
wine; the alcoholic solution reddens litmus slightly. The resin, again
precipitated by water, was perfectly soluble in solution of caustic
ammonia and acetic acid. This resin was dissolved with difficultly in
cold solutions of caustic potash and soda, but was perfectly soluble
when hot, and could again be readily precipitated from the alkaline
solutions by acids. The solution of this resin, in ammonia was of a
bright brown color, and became neutral by volatizing the superfluous
ammonia. It is consequently a resinous acid, which is distinguished
from other resinous acids, by the facts that it does not precipitate
the bases from metalic salts, such as nitrate of silver, sulphate of
copper; it afforded only a precipitate when acted upon by basic-acetate
of lead. A question arose, whether the resin of jalap, dissolved in
alkaline fluids, undergoes any changes in its constitution. To answer
this question, Kayser undertook several analyses, the results of which
were as follows: The uncombined resin of jalap gave C 42, H 35, O
20.—The resin, precipitated by oxide of lead, gave C 42, H 36, O 21.
It is evident that resin of jalap, combined with the bases of salts,
acquires the elements of one equivalent of water. Dr. Kayser, has named
the unchanged resin of jalap, rhodeoretin, and that modified by bases
of salts, hydro-rhodeoretin.

By dissolving rhodeoretin in absolute alcohol and submitting the
solution to the action of chlorine, and subsequently adding water to
it, Kayser obtained an oily fluid, dark yellow, possessing a pleasant
smell, easy to be volatilized by heat, soluble in water, which he
called rhodeoretin oil.

The part of the resin soluble in ether, possesses eminently the
disagreeable smell of jalap, a prickly taste; its solution reddens
litmus, and in drying leaves a greasy spot on paper; it is soluble in
alkaline fluids. If the alcoholic solution is allowed to stand, mixed
with water, for a lengthened period, prismatic crystalline needles
are precipitated. According to these properties, Kayser includes the
soluble jalap resin among the fatty acids. Sandrock in general agrees
with Kayser; but, according to his analysis, the jalap can be resolved
in three {157} different resins, one soluble in ether, the second
obtained by precipitating the alcoholic solution by oxides of lead; the
third remains unprecipitated in this solution.

That part of the resin which is insoluble in ether, but is precipitated
from the alcoholic solution by oxide of lead, Sandrock calls alpha
resin; that which is not precipitated, beta resin; that part which is
soluble in ether he calls gamma resin.

The alpha resin agrees in its properties with Buchner’s and Herberger’s
jalapine. Sandrock calls ipomic acid, the produce of this resin when
treated by boiling carbonated alkaline solution; and the one obtained
in the same way from beta resin, jalapic acid. The gamma resin forms
in ether a yellow solution, and a purple one in concentrated sulphuric
acid.—_Archiven der Pharmacie._



Professor of Chemistry at the Lyceum of Vendome.

M. Chautard, after having completed his experiments for the production
of chloroform by means of oil of turpentine instead of alcohol, led
by analogy, proceeded to try by a similar method to prepare it by
means of the essences of lemon, bergamotte, copaiba and peppermint,
and succeeded. However, the quantity of essences upon which he acted
was too small to carry on a minute analysis. In the meanwhile, his
researches led him to discover formic acid in the calcareous residuum
of the operation. It was already known, M. Chautard observes, that oil
of turpentine, when old and exposed a long time to the action of the
air, was transformed into formic acid, which observations is due to M.
Wappen. On the other hand, M. Schneider, by collecting the volatile
products of the oxidation {158} of turpentine, by means of nitric
acid, detected therein the presence of acetic, metacetic, and butyric
acids. Finally, a few years ago, Mr. William Bastick[11] showed that
hypo-chlorite of lime, by reacting upon neutral unazotised bodies,
such as sugar, starch, &c., gave rise to the formation of a certain
quantity of formate of lime; hence, turning to advantage the details
given by this chemist, M. Chautard continues—I thus have carried on my

[11] “Journal de Pharmacie,” 3^e serie, 1. 14.

After having ascertained, by means of the solution of indigo, that the
residuum contained in the alembic did not contain any hypochlorite of
lime, the presence of which would have prevented the extraction of
formic acid, I threw the whole upon a cloth, and added sulphuric acid
to the filtered liquor to precipitate the lime retained in a state of
chloride or formate.—This liquor, after having been filtered anew, was
distilled, and the product was a mixture of formic and hydrochloric
acids, which I saturated by means of carbonate of soda. By subsequent
evaporation to dryness, I succeeded, by adding afterwards a little
water, in separating the formate of soda from the chloride. By means
of the formate of soda, I proved the principal properties of formic
acid, and besides, produced from it the formate of silver, which is
decomposed by a boiling heat, leaving a precipitate of metalic silver.

In finishing this communication, I must observe that fixed oils,
treated in the same way by hypochlorite of lime, do not produce
chloroform; however, the reaction which occurs is so strong, and
indicative of interesting results, that it induces me to continue my
experiments.—_Journal de Pharmacie._



Every one is aware of the utility of possessing dry extracts,
particularly of narcotic plants, so as to be able to administer them
as powders. This able pharmaceutist gives the following {159} formula
for their preparation; and as it seems to answer all purposes, and is
adopted in Berlin, and other continental towns, it deserves to be made

Take of any extract, and of powder of licorice equal parts, mix them
well in a mortar; when well mixed, put the paste in an earthenware
evaporating dish, and then put this vessel over an iron pan, which has
been filled with chloride of calcium, previously dried in the vessel
by a strong fire without melting; the iron vessel must have a cover
to enclose both vessels, so that the chloride of calcium can absorb
the vapor from the extract without communication with the air, and
must be put on as soon as the extract has been placed on the chloride
of calcium. Let it stand for some days. Remove the extract, and add
an equal weight of licorice powder to it in a mortar, mix well, and
preserve it in bottles.


PHARMACEUTICAL CONVENTION. The apothecaries of the United States are
in an anomalous and exceptional position. Exercising functions which
concern the life and health of those who require their services, the
public expects them to possess the experience, the varied requirement,
the high moral qualities which the proper exercise of their profession
demands; yet this same public, itself incapable of discriminating
between knowledge and ignorance, furnishes them no aid in the pursuits
of their studies, and yields them no protection against quackery and
imposture. Everything is left to the spirit of trade, and to the laws
of supply and demand. The advances that have been made in pharmacy
have come from within itself, unaided by any assistance from the state
governments, and looked upon often with coldness or distrust by the
public. In this way, in some of the large cities, with the influence of
the sister profession of medicine, something has been done; but, even
there, how much remains to be accomplished before pharmacy can assume
the rank it holds in France and Germany!

As heretofore, so now, the best and the only prospect of progress
in the profession lies in itself. It best knows its necessities and
requirments, and it can best devise the remedies that will meet
them. It is in the union of its members, in mutual association and
intercourse, in the formation of a public opinion of its own, which,
{160} operating first upon the members of the profession, will
necessarily have its weight upon the public opinion of the community,
that lie our best hopes. Pharmacy is at once a liberal art, and a
trade. In individuals, particularly in a community like ours, the
spirit of trade is apt to be in the ascendant. Science is estimated at
its money value, for what it brings in, rather than for what it is.
But when the best men of a profession meet together, science resumes
its proper position; they are encouraged in their noblest aims, and
that encouragement is spread widely among their fellows. Individuals
struggling, isolated throughout the country, feel that there is a
tribunal to which they can appeal, and by which they will be judged,
and its influence will be felt too by another class, as a restraint,
if not an encouragement. Success, obtained by worthy means, loses much
of its value, when it costs the esteem of those with whom we are most
intimately connected.

It is from such considerations that we look upon the approaching
convention at Philadelphia, as a step in a very important movement. A
great deal depends upon its success, and every one who has the interest
of pharmaceutical science at heart, should do all he can to promote it.

To prove all that is hoped for by its friends, the convention should
be a national one, not only in name, but in reality. Every institution
and society entitled under the requisitions of the call, should appoint
delegates, and above all, they should appoint delegates who will
attend. But there are many apothecaries scattered through the country,
in places not entitled to appoint delegates, who may be enabled to be
present at the meeting of the convention, and we are glad to see that
our Philadelphia brethren are prepared to welcome them in a liberal
and cordial spirit. They will both receive and communicate benefit.
Their presence will add weight and authority to the convention; while,
independent of its official proceedings, they cannot but derive
advantages from acquaintance and intercourse with the numerous able
members of the profession who will, as delegates, attend the meeting.

Great care should be exercised in the selection of delegates; they
should not only, above all, be men who will attend, but men who have at
heart the position and advancement of pharmaceutists.

We hope that their election will take place as early as possible, that
they may have time fully to consider the objects of the convention,
and the wants and wishes of the institutions they represent. It would
be well, too, if early notice of their election should be communicated
to Mr. Proctor, or some other of the members residing at Philadelphia,
and their names should be published. The convention will have much to
discuss and determine upon, while its duration will necessarily be
limited. Were the names of its members early announced, an interchange
of opinion might take place between, not to forstall the active of the
convention, but to promote and expedite it. For this purpose, if deemed
desirable our own columns are freely tendered.




JUNE, 1852.



The preparation of the compounds of barium in a state of absolute
purity is a subject which has not generally received much attention
from Pharmaceutical chemists, in consequence of the hitherto limited
application of these compounds, except in chemical analysis. The time,
however, is undoubtedly close at hand, when new developments in the
arts, will create a demand for pure barium compounds, as well as for
very many other products now considered as pertaining exclusively to
the laboratory. Indeed, efforts have already been made to introduce
the _chlorate of barytes_ to the notice of pyrotechnists as a means of
producing a green fire unequalled in beauty, and the pure carbonate has
been for some time in use in England, in the manufacture of superior
varieties of plate and flint glass. The precipitated or purified native
sulphate is also preferred as a water color pigment to white lead,
being far more durable than the latter. I may here be permitted to
mention a practical application of the carbonate which has occurred
to myself. I have found that sulphate of lime is totally precipitated
from its solution by mixing therewith an equivalent quantity of the
precipitated or finely pulverized natural carbonate of barytes, {162}
of course with the formation of sulphate of barytes and carbonate
of lime. It is by no means improbable that this property may be made
available in removing sulphate of lime from spring or sea water which
is to be used in steam boilers, thus preventing the formation of the
troublesome incrustation which so often occurs, especially when it is
considered that the sulphate of barytes which would be formed, might
easily be reconverted into carbonate and used over again. Again,
sulphate of lime might be removed in the same way from the brine in
salt works, thus contributing to the purity of the salt produced.

Recent improvements in chemical analysis have greatly increased the
usefulness of barium compounds in the laboratory, especially of the
carbonate, to which the late investigations of Professor H. Rose, and
of Ebelmen have given a place in the very first rank among the reagents
valuable to the chemist. Any suggestion, therefore, concerning the
preparation of barium compounds in a pure state, cannot be considered
as useless.

The sulphate of baryta is the only compound which occurs in sufficient
abundance to be an economical source of the other barium compounds,
and the enormous though illegitimate use of this substance in the
adulteration of white lead, is so far fortunate as to render it an easy
matter to obtain it in any required quantity, already in a state of
fine powder which is so desirable in chemical operations.

The sulphate of baryta is always reduced to the state of sulphide of
barium, by exposing it to a red heat in intimate admixture with some
carbonaceous substance, such as powdered charcoal, rosin, oil or flour.
It is exceedingly difficult, however, if not impossible, to effect
in this manner a complete decomposition of the sulphate. Indeed, it
is probable that in most cases the quantity of sulphide obtained, is
not more than half that which is equivalent to the sulphate employed.
A modification which promises to be far more economical was proposed
by Dr. Wolcott Gibbs. His proposal was to submit the sulphate to the
action of a current of common coal gas at a red heat. It is evident
that in this way a perfect decomposition {163} may readily be
accomplished, especially if the powdered sulphate is stirred during the
operation, so as to expose fresh surfaces to the action of the gas.

The mass obtained after the reduction of the sulphate is submitted
to the action of boiling water, and a solution obtained, which,
according to Professor H. Rose,[12] contains principally hydrate of
baryta and sulphohydrate of sulphide of barium BaS. HS. formed by the
reaction of equal equivalents of water and proto-sulphide of barium.
It almost invariably contains also a quantity of lime, probably in
the form of sulpho-hydrate of sulphide of calcium, or of hydrate of
lime, proceeding from the almost constant concurrence of sulphate of
lime with native sulphate of baryta. From the presence of this lime
originates the principal difficulty in preparing pure barium compounds
from this substance. Thus when the carbonate is prepared from the
solution by precipitation, with carbonate of soda, or a current of
carbonic acid gas, it is found contaminated with carbonate of lime,
which is fatal to its use as a reagent in analysis. Also in examining
many specimens of commercial _chloride of barium_, which is prepared
from this solution by the addition of chloro-hydric acid, boiling
to separate sulpho-hydric acid gas which is evolved, filtration to
separate the sulphur which is precipitated and crystallization, I have
always found it to contain a small quantity of chloride of calcium,
which I have found it impossible to separate entirely by repeated
recrystallizations. It has been proposed[13] to separate the chloride
of calcium from chloride of barium by the use of very strong alcohol,
in which the latter when anhydrous, is insoluble. This method is
rather expensive and troublesome as it involves the evaporation to
dryness of the chloride of barium solution, the reduction of the
previously ignited residue to a very fine powder and digestion in
strong alcohol. Attempts were made after some previous experimentation,
in which it was found that an {164} aqueous solution of _oxalate of
baryta_ precipitated chloride of calcium, but not chloride of barium,
to separate the lime from a chloride of barium solution by addition
of oxalate of baryta, or simply of a little oxalic acid, but it was
soon found that oxalate of lime was somewhat soluble in a solution
of chloride of barium, so that a solution of oxalate of baryta, gave
no precipitate in a mixture of solutions of chloride of barium and
chloride of calcium. It was found also that the precipitate formed
by a little oxalic acid in a lime solution, could be re-dissolved
by addition of chloride of barium. It may also be mentioned, though
irrelevant to the subject, that it was found that oxalate of lime
was soluble in solutions of chloride of calcium, of ammonia, and of
chloro-hydrate of ammonia.

[12] Poggendorff’s Annalen, 55,416.

[13] Gmelin’s Handbuch, 2,158.

The well known property of carbonate of baryta which the recent
investigations of Professor H. Rose have rendered so important in
the analysis of phosphates, of completely precipitating lime from
its solution by a sufficiently long contact therewith, furnishes us,
however, with a perfectly easy and cheap method of purifying the
chloride of barium solution. In fact a solution of chloride of barium
to which chloride of calcium has been added, having been treated with
a little carbonate of baryta, and allowed to stand in contact with it
for two days, with occasional agitation, was found on filtration to be
free from lime. The only objection to this method, is the considerable
length of time required; but I must here describe an elegant
modification which was communicated to me by Dr. Wolcott Gibbs, and
tested by him in his laboratory; that is to add first to the solution
of chloride of barium containing lime, a little solution of hydrate of
baryta and then to pass through it a current of carbonic acid gas. The
precipitate immediately formed contains of course all the lime.

The only impurity which is prevalent in commercial chloride of barium
besides lime, is strangely enough, a trace of _lead_ which is almost
always present and sometimes in such quantity that the solution is
immediately blackened by sulphuric {165} acid.[14] This is, however,
very easily removed, either before or after the separation of the lime
by the process of Dr. Gibbs, by passing a little sulpho-hydric acid gas
into the solution, gently heating for a short time and filtering.

Commercial chloride of barium thus purified is probably the most
convenient source of the other compounds of barium when required pure.
Thus pure carbonate of baryta may be prepared from it by precipitation
with carbonate of ammonia, or with carbonate of soda, which is free
from silica, sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid.[15]

[14] It may be that leaden pans are used for the evaporation or
crystallization of the commercial chloride of barium, which would
sufficiently account for the presence of lead in the product.

[15] New York Journal of Pharmacy, 136.



Since the publication of an article upon Virgin Scammony in a previous
number of this Journal, I have had an opportunity of examining four
different varieties of scammony received from Constantinople, under
the names, Aleppo Scammony, first; Aleppo Scammony, second; Tschangari
Scammony and Skilip Scammony.

No. 1. _Aleppo Scammony, first_. This occurs in large amorphous pieces
weighing one or more pounds; is not covered with any calcareous powder.
The fractured surface presents a dark greenish resinous appearance.
The specific gravity will be found below. The caseous odor is not so
decided in this {166} specimen as in some of the other varieties,
confirming, as will be seen from its composition, as adduced farther
on, the remark made in the article above alluded to, in regard to
the insecurity of relying upon the odor as a means of judging of the
quality of scammony.

No. 2. _Aleppo Scammony, second._ Of this a sample of about one pound
was received. This is in amorphous pieces; it differs from the previous
specimen in its fracture which is non-resinous and horny, it is of a
much lighter color, and has a grayish tinge. The scammony odor is more
decided. This variety receives the prefix _Aleppo_ improperly, as it
does not come from that locality, and is said to be made by pressing
the root, though the quantity of insoluble organic matter which it
contains, seems to indicate some other impurity, intentionally added.

No. 3. _Tschangari Scammony_, derives its name from the place of
production. It appears to be a variety not found in market here.
It resembles in fracture the last mentioned, and is like that, in
amorphous pieces. Its odor is more decided than that of any of the

No. 4. _Skilip Scammony._ This specimen appears to have undergone some
deterioration, and evinces a disposition to mould. Some of the pieces
are marked exteriorly, as if placed in a bag when soft, and dried in
this way. It is destitute of the caseous odor, and has a mouldy smell.
Fracture, non-resinous, and grayish, like the last mentioned varieties.

These three latter varieties are always to be obtained in
Constantinople, we are informed, while the first quality Aleppo, is
only produced in small quantity, and is soon out of market.

The difference in composition of the different varieties will be found
annexed, the numbers referring to those given above. All of them
indicate the presence of starch by the test with iodine. {167}

                         No. 1.     No. 2.     No. 3.     No. 4.
 Specific gravity,        1.150      1.325      1.339      1.311
                           ────       ────       ────       ────
 Resinous matter, water,
   and loss.           Per cent.  per cent.  per cent.  per cent.
                         86.88      55.42      64.10      34.00

 Vegetable substance,
   insoluble in ether,    8.10      38.00      23.17      59.43
 Inorganic matter,        5.02       6.58      12.73       6.57
                          ────       ────       ────       ────
                       100.000    100.000    100.000    100.000
        New York, May, 1852.



Dorvault in the _Officine_ gives it “as the product of a foreign
bark never found in commerce, but described by Mr. Bernard Derosne,
(who, according to the same authority is the only possessor of it,)
as being found in voluminous thick pieces, filled with extractive.
The color is dark brown, excepting the epidermis which is grayish. It
contains tannin and a red coloring matter, analoguous to cinchonic
red, also an acrid one and salts.” Virey attributed it to a _Chrysophi
lum._; Martens says it is the _Mohica_ of the Brazilians; according
to Mr. Constant Berrier, it bears in that country sundry other names:
_furanhem_, _guaranhem_, _buranché_, etc. Duchesne in his _Répertoire
des Plantes utiles et Vénéncuses du Globe_, and Descourtils in his
_Flore médicale des Antilles_ mentions the _Cainito Chrysophillum_ the
bark of which is tonic, astringent and febrifuge. In {168} examining
some extract of Monesia I was struck with the striking resemblance
in its properties with the extract of logwood, (_Hematoxylon
Campechianum_) both possessing the same astringent sweetish taste,
precipitating salts of iron, etc. Descourtils, who practiced medicine
for a long time in the West India islands, says “it is recommendable
in dysentery and diarrhea after the inflammatory period.” and to
that effect prescribes the decoction of one ounce of the wood or a
drachm of the extract added to an infusion of orange tree leaves, or
Cascarilla bark, per diem. Besides, Dr. Wood in the U. S. Dispensatory,
mentions its frequent use in some parts of the United States, “in that
relaxed condition of the bowels, which is apt to succeed to cholera
infantum,” and also in the same complaints as mentioned by Descourtils.
Though both the decoction of the wood and the solution of the extract
are officinal in our national Pharmacopeia, so far as my means of
observation go, they are seldom, if ever, prescribed in New York, and
yet I have repeatedly prepared solutions of the Monesia, prescribed by
our city practitioners. The extract of log-wood being so similar in its
medicinal action, I am strongly inclined to think that it is the same
substance, though perhaps obtained from other sources; and as the price
of it is so much higher than that of the other, it would be desirable
to obtain the results of comparative experiments made to test their
relative value, and whether the extract of _Hematoxylon Campechianum_
should not be prescribed as answering for all therapeutical purposes,
the mysterious Monesia of Derosne?




As matico is daily attracting more and more the attention of
practitioners, its pharmacology demands consideration. It is well
known that this new Peruvian plant has been lauded as an efficacious
remedy in leucorrhea and gonorrhea, as a vulnerary, and above all as an
excellent hemostatic, both external and internal.

We shall, in the present paper, content ourselves with making known
the principal pharmaceutical forms which this substance is capable of
assuming, reserving all other considerations for a later period. A long
and careful experience will be needed to establish the relative value
of each of the subjoined forms.


Matico can be easily reduced to an impalpable powder. This powder is of
a yellowish green, and its odor, when fresh is more fragrant than that
of the plant itself. To preserve it well, it should be kept in well
stopped bottles.

Matico powder can be advantageously used externally in sprinkling
over bleeding parts, in plugging the nasal fossœ and in epithems for
contusions. Internally it may be used moistened with a little sweetened
water under the form of electuary or in pills.


 Bruised matico,    10 to 20 grammes.
 Boiling water,        1,000 grammes.

Let it infuse until cold and strain it. This infusion is amber-colored,
and possesses the aromatic odor of the plant. It is not unpleasant to
take, but may be rendered more agreeable by the addition of sugar, or
an appropriate syrup.

For external use, lotions, embrocations, lavements and injections, 30,
40 or even 50 grammes of matico may be used to the {170} same quantity
of water, and it may be submitted to a slight decoction. If, in this
mode of operation, it parts with some volatile oil, it gains a small
portion of resin.


 Bruised matico,     100 parts.
 Water,            1,000 parts.

Draw off by distillation, 500 parts of hydrolate.

The product is colorless throughout the distillation, except the first
few drops, which are milky.

Hydrolate of matico has an odor of turpentine stronger than the plant
itself. It is covered with globules, or a light layer of a volatile
oil, almost colorless, and of the consistence of castor oil.

If the volatile oil be, as authors have advanced, one of the active
principles of matico, then the hydrolate must be to a certain extent
efficacious. The hemostatic waters of Binelli, Broechieri, Tisseraud,
&c., over their property to the volatile oil of turpentine.

The hydrolate may be employed both externally and internally.


The one which appears to us the preferable is the hydro-alcoholic.
Introduce some rather coarse matico powder into the apparatus for
lixiviation, pour on it the alcohol at 56° so as to imbibe all the
powder, leave it 24 hours, open the lower cock, pour the same alcohol
over the same matico, until the latter is exhausted, and then evaporate
the liquid in the vapour bath, till it is brought to the consistence of
an extract. The product is black, with a marked odor of matico, and a
bitter taste. It is only partially soluble, either in alcohol or water.

The extract of matico may be used internally in the form of pills,
lozenges, syrup and electuary, and externally, dissolved or softened in
the form of plasters, embrocations, plugs, lavements and injections.

Matico furnishes about 1/4 of its weight of the hydro-alcoholic



 Bruised matico,       100 parts.
 Water,              1,000 parts.

Distil till you obtain 100 parts. Draw off the residue from the
retort, press the matico, add to the product 700 parts of sugar; mix
it so as to have by the addition of the hydrolate a syrup of ordinary
consistence; filter it by Demarest’s method.

Thus prepared, matico syrup is brownish, limpid and of an aromatic
taste, which is not disagreeable; it contains all the principles,
active, volatile or fixed, of the substance.

It may be administered pure, or diluted with water. It is one of the
easiest and most efficacious modes of administering matico in cases of
internal hemorrhage or of flour albus.

It represents 1-10 of its weight of matico. The spoonful being 30
grammes, would represent 2 grammes; the tea-spoonful being 5 grammes,
would represent 1/2 gramme.


 Powdered matico,          20 grammes.
 Powdered marsh mallow      2 grammes.
 Syrup of gum,              Q. S.

Make secundum artem 100 pills rolled in lycopodium. They are of a
dark green. The weight of each pill from 40 to 50 centigrammes, each
containing 20 centigrammes of matico, give from 2 to 25 daily.


Hydro-alcoholic extract of matico, 10 grammes.

Divide secundum artem into 100 pills, which will each contain 10
centigrammes. They are blackish. Being smaller they possess the
advantage of being more easily swallowed.


 Extract of matico,      5 grammes.
 Weak alcohol,           5 grammes.
 Lard,                  20 grammes.

Make an ointment, secundum artem.



 Bruised matico,     100 parts.
 Alcohol at 85°,     400 parts.

Macerate for 10 days, express and filter. The tincture may also be
obtained by lixiviation from the powder.

It is used both internally and externally as a vulnerary; it must in
the first instance be diluted with water.

Matico not being poisonous, practitioners can trace its application
through the widest range.

We will again repeat that we only give these formulæ that they may be
experimented on; we shall hereafter give further comments on the choice
to be made amongst them.—_Bulletin Thèr: 30th January, 1852._



Director of the Laboratory of the Central Pharmacy of the Parisian

Some interesting researches have been instituted to ascertain,

 _a._ Whether the croton oil contains within itself an acid volatile at
 a low temperature?

 _b._ Is this acid the principle of its action, and can it be preserved
 if it be separated from the oil, and diminished if it be allowed to

In order to answer both questions, the following operations have been
instituted by this chemist.

The seeds of croton, deprived of their husks, ground at the mill, and
subject to pressure, yield a certain quantity of oil.—If the residuum
be mixed with double its quantity of alcohol and pressed again, it
yields a liquid which is a mixture of oil {173} and alcohol. This
liquid, when distilled, will yield more oil. Both oils are filtered,
after having been allowed to settle.

The produce of this first operation is the natural croton oil, such as
it exists in the seeds, which is of a brown amber color, viscid, having
a peculiar smell, and possessed of great acidity, by which if applied
to the skin, it produces an irritation varying in intensity according
to its quantity, and the duration of time during which it has been
applied. One drop, for instance, causes a blister in twelve hours.

If a piece of litmus paper be dipped in this oil, it turns red, and re
acts acid; and the red color, though not deep, resists the action of
the air and of a hot furnace.

The oil obtained by distillation from a solution in alcohol is rather
more dark, viscid, and acid, than that obtained by simple expression.

The blue paper dipped in the oil obtained by distillation, reddens, and
retains the color under the same circumstances as the former.

The second operation, however, offers already a fact which is of great
value in deciding the question about the acidity of the croton oil. If
you dip the litmus paper in the fluid which is gained by distillation,
no traces of a change of color is visible; when, on the other hand,
if you dip it in the oil which remains in the distilling apparatus,
it changes the color as quickly as if dipped in the oil previous to
distillation. The same is the case if the residuum is again acted upon
with water or alcohol, the distilled fluid has no traces of acidity.

However, since the contrary opinion is entertained by good authorities,
we must add other facts in corroboration of our own.

Croton oil was extracted by the action of ether upon the seeds. The
ethereal solution containing croton oil in suspension was acid: it
was placed in a glass vessel with two openings. One of them admitted
a straight tube, and reached to the bottom of the vessel, admitting
the introduction of external air: the other communicated with Woulfe’s
apparatus, composed, {174}

1. Of the globular tube after Liebig, containing blue solution of

2. Another globular tube filled with alcohol.

3. An angular tube in connection with a large vessel full of water,
giving an inferior running to the liquid, and causing the air to pass
across the thick layer of ethereal oil, to lead the volatile principles
in contact with the liquor destined to retain them. The apparatus
being arranged, it was put in action by causing the water to run
which was contained in the large vessel. The vacuum having begun, air
was introduced to the bottom of the ethereal liquid, keeping up this
action till the ether was totally evaporated. Consequently, the air has
agitated the liquid long enough to remove in a state of vapour all the
ether which was contained in the mixture. Nevertheless, the tincture of
Turnesol, which opposed the passage of the vapours of ether and water,
did not change into red, which would have happened if the volatile
principles should have contained any acid. Neither did the alcohol
which was acted upon by the same current exhibit any sign of acid. The
air saturated with ether arrived in the vessel to replace the water
had no acid property; its action upon the eye-lids and nostrils was
pungent and irritating, but not that of an acid. Another experiment was
made with the same apparatus, having always in view to cause a great
quantity of air to pass through croton oil. But this time, instead of
causing the current to pass through a mass of ethereal solution, it was
caused to pass through pure croton oil. The large vessel was this time
not quite filled with water, allowing space to introduce on its upper
part two sponges, one filled with oil, the other with ether. Things
being thus arranged, the liquid was set running, and the air rushed
through the oil, coming in at the bottom of the liquid and spreading
through the surface, causing a lengthened ebullition. The mass of air
employed in this operation was not below two centimetres. The tincture
of litmus contained in the globular tubes was not altered; the oil
contained in the sponge was neither acid, pungent, or corrosive. The
ether acted upon by too much air had disappeared, the {175} sponge was
dry. These two proofs appear to be conclusive, and to show that the
croton oil does not contain an active volatile acid, otherwise it would
have been made manifest by being carried away by the ether in the first
case, or by its proper volatility in the second.

Is it, however, possible to separate the active volatile principle
from the mere neutral oil? It has been said by several authors that
the croton oil was composed of two different oils, but this was a mere
statement which required to be proved by facts. To solve this problem,
the oil employed in the experiments was obtained by means of ether. The
seeds of croton yield by expression 35 per cent.; treated by ether,
they yield from 52 to 55 per cent. If treated by ether, the ether
obtained by distillation is free from acid, all the acid remaining in
the oil. When a certain fixed quantity of this oil is put in contact
with ten times its weight of strong alcohol, the alcohol dissolves 6
per cent. of its own weight, and the oil 50 per cent.

The portion of the insoluble oil has lost its color, its smell, a part
of its pungency, and all its acidity.

The portion of oil which has been dissolved in alcohol, when separated
from this menstruum by evaporation, is more viscid, more colored, more
pungent, and acid. The oil which is not dissolved, can be acted upon
again by alcohol; by this second operation, it yields some parts to the
alcohol, and the remainder loses all its specific qualities. The action
of alcohol upon oil in successive operation, can be followed up to its
last limits.

Twenty volumes of oil mixed with 100 volumes of alcohol, will be
followed by the reduction of five volumes of oil. In the next
operation, when the alcohol is renewed, the volume of the columns of
oil lowers only three volumes instead of five. By a fourth operation,
the oil loses not a single volume. When reduced to this state, the
croton oil is slightly amber-colored, without smell, taste, or acidity;
it can be taken in the mouth without causing any sensation. It is
soluble in all proportions in ether. Its specific gravity is, 92
compared with that of water. {176}

Thus we find by experiments an evident proof of the co-existence of a
sweet oil with the pungent croton oil.

All the specific properties of the croton oil are carried over in that
dissolved by alcohol.

Is it possible by further processes to separate these active principles
from the oily matter that contains them?

To solve this question we resorted to the following experiment:―

We took two kilogrammes of croton oil, and for several days we left it
in contact with half a kilogramme of alcohol. A distinct separation
took place. The upper part, composed of oil and alcohol, did not
represent the exact quantity employed; which is explained by the power
which the oil has to dissolve 10 per cent. of alcohol. The upper part
being decanted, it was necessary to remove the alcohol, to avoid the
inconvenience which might have arisen by employing heat for this
purpose. Water was added to this liquid, which having become turbid,
ether was added. Thus the oil came with the ether to the surface. The
ether was removed by free evaporation. During this lengthened process,
the effluvia was so pungent as to affect the eyes and nostrils of the
operator, and cause blisters to rise on his face. The oil thus obtained
is dark-brown, opaque, thick, possessed of a strong smell and acidity.
Applied to the skin, it causes almost instantaneous pain, followed
by a blister. It is soluble in all proportions in alcohol and ether.
Mixed with nine parts of its volume of olive oil, it forms a liquid
possessing specific qualities stronger than those of common croton oil.

These facts prove the mobility of the active principles of croton oil,
and the possibility of succeeding in obtaining them free from all
fatty matter by chemical ingenuity, a task which will be the object of
further experiments.

The results from the above experiments are the following:―

1. That the croton oil does not contain a volatile acid.

2. That the sensible acid in croton oil is fixed or retained in the
oil, and cannot be separated from it by a heat at 212° Fahr., or even
by distillation. {177}

3. That the acrid volatile principle, which exists in this oil,
possesses not the qualities of an acid, and has hitherto withstood the
chemical operations which were instituted to extract it.

4. That the active principles of croton oil are capable of being
separated from one part of the oil, and concentrated in the other.

5. That croton oil is not homogeneous in its composition, but is formed
of two parts, one inert, of which alcohol is unable to dissolve more
than one-tenth, and a more soluble part, which carries with it all the
active principles.

6. That the greatest degree of concentration of the active principles,
is by acting upon a large quantity of oil with a small quantity of

7. That either may be usefully employed in manufacturing croton
oil.—_Repertoire de Pharmacie._—_From the Annals Pharmacy_, 1852.



About two months ago I received from my friend, Mr. Thomas Smith,
apothecary, Edinburgh, a quantity of a brownish yellow crystalline
substance which he had obtained from Barbadoes aloes. Mr. Smith’s
process consisted in pounding the previously dried aloes with a
quantity of sand, so as to prevent its agglutinating, macerating the
mass repeatedly with cold water, and then concentrating the liquors
_in vacuo_ to the consistence of a syrup. On remaining at rest in a
cool place for two or three days, the concentrated extract became
filled with a mass of small granular crystals of a brownish yellow
{178} color. This is the crude substance to which Mr. Smith has given
the name of Aloine, and which appears to constitute the cathartic
principle of aloes. The brownish yellow crystals obtained in this way
are contaminated with a greenish brown substance, which changes to
brownish black on exposure to the air, and still more rapidly when it
is boiled. In order to purify the crystals of aloine, therefore, they
must first be dried by pressure between folds of blotting-paper, and
then repeatedly crystallized out of hot water till they have only a
pale sulphur yellow color. The aqueous solutions of aloine must on no
account be boiled, but simply heated to about 150° F., as at 212° F.
aloine is rapidly oxidized and decomposed. By dissolving the purified
crystals of aloine in hot spirits of wine, they are deposited, on the
cooling of the solution, in small prismatic needles arranged in stars.
When these crystals have a pale yellow color, which does not change
when they are dried in the air they may be regarded as pure aloine.

Aloine is quite neutral to test-paper. Its taste is at first sweetish,
but soon becomes intensely bitter. Aloine is not very soluble either
in cold water or in cold spirits of wine; but if the water or the
spirits of wine are even slightly warmed, the solubility of the aloine
is exceedingly increased: the color of these solutions is pale yellow.
Aloine is also very readily dissolved by the carbonated and caustic
fixed alkalies in the cold, forming a deep orange yellow solution,
which rapidly grows darker, owing to the oxidation which ensues. The
effects of ammonia and its carbonate are precisely similar. When aloine
is boiled either with alkalies or strong acids, it is rapidly changed
into dark brown resins. A solution of bleaching powder likewise gives
aloine a deep orange color, which soon changes to dark brown. Aloine
produces no precipitate in solutions either of corrosive sublimate,
nitrate of silver, or neutral acetate of lead. It also yields no
precipitate with a dilute solution of subacetate of lead; but in a
concentrated solution it throws down a deep yellow precipitate, which
is pretty soluble in cold water, and is therefore difficult to wash.
This precipitate is by no means {179} very stable; and when it is
exposed even for a short time to the air, it becomes brown.

When powdered aloine is thrown, in small quantities at a time, into
cold fuming nitric acid, it dissolves without evolving any nitrous
fumes, and forms a brownish-red solution. On adding a large quantity
of sulphuric acid, a yellow precipitate falls, which, when it is
washed with water to remove all adhering acid and then dried, explodes
when it is heated. It plainly, therefore, contains combined nitric
acid. I could not, however, succeed in obtaining this compound in a
crystalline state, as when it was dissolved in spirits, it appeared to
be decomposed. When aloine is digested for some time with strong nitric
acid, much nitrous gas is evolved, and it is converted into chrysammic
acid, but without the formation of any nitro-picric acid, as is always
the case when crude aloes is subjected to a similar treatment. A
quantity of aloine was boiled with a mixture of chlorate of potash
and muriatic acid. The acid solution was evaporated to dryness, and
digested with strong spirits of wine. The greater portion of the
spirits was removed by distillation; and the remainder, when left to
spontaneous evaporation; yielded a syrup which could not be made to
crystallize. Not a trace of chloranil was produced.

When aloine is destructively distilled, it yields a volatile oil of a
somewhat aromatic odor, and also a good deal of resinous matter. When
aloine is heated on platinum foil it melts, and then catches fire,
burning with a bright yellow flame, and emitting much smoke. It leaves
a somewhat difficultly combustible charcoal, which, when strongly
heated, entirely disappears, not a trace of ashes being left.

A quantity of aloine dried _in vacuo_ was analyzed with chromate of
lead in the usual way.

I. 0.2615 grm. aloine gave 0.5695 carbonic acid and 0.14 water.

II. 0.2415 grm. aloine gave 0.5250 carbonic acid and 0.126 water. {180}

        Hydrated aloine.      Found numbers.
       Calculated numbers.      I.      II.
 34 C    2550.0    59.47      59.39    59.24
 19 H     237.5     5.54       5.97     5.79
 15 O    1500.0    35.09      34.64    34.97
           ────     ────       ────     ────
         4287.5   100.00     100.00   100.00

The formula derivable from these analyses is C‗{34} H‗{19} O‗{15},
which, as we shall presently see, is = C‗{34} H‗{18} O‗{14} +HO, or
aloine with one equivalent of water.

The aloine which had been dried _in vacuo_ was next heated in the
water-bath for five or six hours, and was also subjected to analysis.

I. 0.251 grm. aloine dried at 212° F. gave 0.550 carbonic acid and
0.128 water.

II. 0.2535 grm. aloine dried at 212° F. gave 0.564 carbonic acid and
0.129 water.

III. 0.234 grm. aloine dried at 212° F. gave 0.521 carbonic acid and
0.114 water.

       Calculated numbers.   I.     II.     III.
 34 C     2550    61.07    60.51   60.67   60.72
 18 H      225     5.39     5.66    5.65    5.42
 14 O     1400    33.54    33.83   33.68   33.86
          ────     ────     ────    ────    ────
          4175   100.00   100.00  100.00  100.00

The aloine employed in these analyses was prepared at three different
times. These results give C‗{34} H‗{18} O‗{14} as the formula of
anhydrous aloine, that dried _in vacuo_ being a hydrate with one
equivalent of water.

When the aloine was allowed to remain in the water-bath for more than
six hours, it continued slowly to lose weight, apparently owing to
its undergoing partial decomposition by the formation of a brownish
resin. The loss of weight gradually continued for a week or more,
but became very rapid when the aloine was heated to 302° F., when it
melted, forming a dark brownish mass, which when cooled became as hard
and brittle {181} as colophonium. It still, however, contained a good
deal of unaltered aloine, as I ascertained by crystallizing it out with
hot spirits and analyzing it. Much of the aloine, however, had been
changed, most probably by oxidation, into a dark brown uncrystallizable

BROM-ALOINE.—When an excess of bromine is poured into a cold aqueous
solution of aloine, a bright yellow precipitate is immediately
produced, the amount of which increases on standing, while at the same
time the supernatant liquid becomes very acid from containing free
hydrobromic acid. The precipitate, after it has been washed with cold
water to remove adhering acid, is dissolved in hot spirits of wine; and
on the cooling of the solution it is deposited in bright yellow needles
radiating from centres, which attach themselves to the bottom and sides
of the containing vessel.

The crystals of brom-aloine are considerably broader than those of
aloine, and have a richer yellow color and a higher lustre. Brom-aloine
is quite neutral to test-paper, is not so soluble in either cold water
or cold spirits of wine as aloine, but dissolves very readily in hot
spirits of wine.

I. 0.421 grm. substance dried in vacuo gave 0.547 carbonic acid and
0.103 water.

 0.856 grm. gave 0.848 bromide of silver = 42.16 Br.

II. 0.300 grm. substance gave 0.391 carbonic acid and 0.078 water.

 0.661 grm. substance gave 0.649 bromide of silver = 0.2762
 Br. = 41.78 per cent.

       Calculated numbers.    I.     II.
 34 C    2550.00   35.73    35.43   35.53
 15 H     187.50    2.62     2.71    2.86
 14 O    1400.00   19.63    19.70   19.83
  3 Br   2998.89   42.02    42.16   41.78
            ────    ────     ────    ────
         7136.39  100.00   100.00  100.00

The brom-aloine employed in these analyses was prepared at two
different times. It is plain therefore from these results, {182} that
this bromine compound is aloine, C‗{34} H‗{18} O‗{14} in which 3
equivs. of hydrogen are replaced by 3 equivs. of bromine.—The formula
of brom-aloine therefore is C‗{34} H‗{15} O‗{14} Br‗{3}.

When a stream of chlorine gas was sent for a considerable time through
a cold aqueous solution of aloine, a deep yellow precipitate was
produced. It contained a great deal of combined chlorine; but as it
could not be made to crystallize, it was not subjected to analysis.
In the present instance, and in those of several other feeble organic
principles, such as orcine, chlorine appears to act some what too
strongly, so that the constitution of the substance is destroyed,
and merely uncrystallizable resins are produced. Bromine, on the
other hand, is much more gentle in its operations, and usually simply
replaces a moderate amount of the hydrogen in the substance, so that,
as in the case of orcine and aloine, crystalline compounds are produced.

It has long been known to medical practitioners, that the aqueous
extract of aloes is by far the most active preparation of that drug.
The reason of this is now very plain, as the concentrated extract of
aloes obtained by exhausting aloes with cold water consists chiefly of
aloine, by much the larger portion of the resin being left undissolved.
Mr. Smith informs me, that from a series of pretty extensive trials,
from 2 to 4 grs. of aloine have been found more effective than from 10
to 15 grs. of ordinary aloes. Aloine is, I should think, therefore,
likely ere long, to supersede, at least to a considerable extent, the
administration of crude aloes.

I endeavored to obtain aloine by operating on considerable quantities
of Barbadoes, Cape and Socotrine aloes. These were macerated in cold
water, and the aqueous solutions obtained were concentrated to the
state of thin extracts on the water-bath. I was quite unsuccessful
in every instance. The impurities contained in the extracts in these
different kinds of aloes appear, when in contact with the oxygen of
the air, to act upon the aloine so as effectually to prevent it from
crystallizing. Aloine can only, therefore, be obtained in a crystalline
state by {183} concentrating the cold aqueous solution of aloes _in
vacuo_; though, after the aloine has once been crystallized, and it
is freed from the presence of those impurities which appear to act so
injuriously upon it, the aloine may be quite readily crystallized out
of its aqueous solutions in the open air.

Though aloine has as yet only been obtained from Barbadoes aloes, I
have scarcely any doubt that it also exists both in Cape and Socotrine
aloes. The amount of aloine in Cape aloes, is, however, in all
probability, much smaller than in either of the other two species; for
Cape aloes is well known to be a much feebler cathartic, and to contain
a mass of impurities. In corroboration of this opinion, I would refer
to the fact already mentioned in a previous part of this paper, viz.
that when aloine is digested with nitric acid, it is converted into Dr.
Schunck’s chrysammic acid. Now it has been satisfactorily ascertained
that all the three species of aloes yield chrysammic acid, of which in
fact they are the only known sources. Cape aloes, as might have been
expected, yields by far the smallest amount of chrysammic acid together
with much oxalic and some nitro-picric acids. There appears, therefore,
great reason to believe that all the three kinds of aloes contain

Since the above was written, I have learned from Mr. Smith that he has
not succeeded in obtaining crystallized aloine from either Cape or
Socotrine aloes. Mr. Smith does not doubt that both of these species
of aloes also contain aloine, though, most probably contaminated
with so much resin, or some other substances, as prevents it from
crystallizing. What tends to confirm Mr. Smith in this opinion is the
observation he has made, that when the crude crystals of aloine are
allowed to remain in contact with the mother liquor of the Barbadoes
aloes, they disappear and become uncrystallizable. I have also observed
a similar occurrence in the mother-liquors of tolerably pure aloine.
These become always darker and darker; so that if we continue to
dissolve new quantities of aloine in them, at length scarcely any of
it crystallizes out, and the whole becomes changed into a dark-colored
magma. {184}

In the year 1846, M. E. Robiquet published an account of an examination
he had made of Socotrine aloes. By treating the concentrated aqueous
solution of this species of aloes with basic acetate of lead, he
obtained a brownish yellow precipitate, which was collected on a
filter and washed with hot water. On decomposing this lead compound
with sulphuretted hydrogen and evaporating the solution to dryness,
he obtained an almost colorless varnish, consisting of a scaly mass,
which was not in the least degree crystalline. M. E. Robiquet subjected
his substance, which he called aloetine, to analysis, and obtained the
following result:―

  8 C = 27.7 per cent.
 14 H = 10.8 per cent.
 10 O = 61.5 per cent.

It is plain, therefore, that M. E. Robiquet’s aloetine, if it really is
a definite organic principle, which I very much question, is certainly
a very different substance from the aloine which has formed the subject
of the present notice.—_London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine._



In England, under this name is sold a calcined magnesia, at a very
high price, which is not to be obtained in any other way. Many English
travelers, as well as most of their countrymen, believe that they
possess a very large knowledge of medicines, because such things
as blue pills, calomel, sweet spirits of nitre, and laudanum they
administer without medical advice, and {185} bring this magnesia
with them to our shops when they wish a recipe to be dispensed,
which contains calcined magnesia as one of the ingredients. By such
opportunities, I became acquainted with the purity and beauty of this
preparation, and its peculiar silky gloss and whiteness. With a view to
discover its method of preparation, I made the following research:―

By heating to redness the ordinary carbonate of magnesia, it is not
to be obtained. The ordinary magnesia of commerce, which produces by
a red heat a fine calcined magnesia, I exposed in a crucible, to a
strong white heat. It solidified, and was of a yellow color, and had
become so hard that it was only with the greatest labor that it could
be powdered and sifted. Prepared in this way, it cannot be used. I
now prepared some carbonate of magnesia, observing that Henry’s was
very dense, without reference to that result, which was very fine, by
precipitation in the heat. The process by which the flocculent magnesia
of commerce is obtained, is not explained in any chemical works. Pure
sulphate of magnesia, free from iron, was dissolved in distilled water,
and a solution of carbonate of soda added to it as long as anything was
precipitated by a boiling heat. The ebullition was continued until the
mixture ceased to evolve carbonic acid, and set aside for decantation.
When decanted, fresh distilled water was added to the precipitate, and
the whole again boiled, and afterwards placed on a filter and washed
with hot distilled water, until the liquid passing from the filter gave
no trace of sulphuric acid. The precipitate, when pressed and dried,
was very white and dense. It was exposed to an intense white heat in a
closely-covered Hessian crucible for one hour. When the crucible was
opened, I found a beautifully white magnesia, finely granulated. Where
it had come in contact with the crucible, it had acquired a yellow
color, from the peroxide of iron contained in the crucible. The yellow
portion alone adhered firmly to the crucible and the rest was perfectly
white, and readily removed. In acids, this magnesia was with difficulty
dissolved, although ultimately completely soluble therein. By a
repetition of this {186} process, an identical result was obtained.
The magnesia thus produced in small lumps exhibited by transmitted
light a slight rosy tint, and by reflected light, a very white color.
In these respects, it agrees perfectly with Henry’s. To determine its
comparative density, a cubic inch measure was filled with its powder,
and weighed. As the results of three trials, it contained respectively
10,74, 11,19, and 11,18 grammes of the powder. Two experiments with
Henry’s magnesia gave 7, and 7,2 grammes. Three of the carbonate of
magnesia, prepared by heat, gave 12,68, 12,9, and 12,5 grm. One of the
ordinary calcined magnesia gave 1,985 grm.; and one of the ordinary
carbonate of magnesia, 1,4 grm.

The calcined magnesia, as above prepared, contains some hard particles,
which are very difficult to pulverize. In attempting to powder them, I
remarked that this magnesia, which was washed before being burnt until
no traces of sulphuric acid could be detected, now afforded an evidence
of a small portion still being present. This same observation I have
previously made in the preparation of oxide of zinc. To remove this
contamination, I recommend that carbonate of magnesia should first be
lightly burnt, and then well washed with hot water, and again burnt
with a very strong heat.

The above determinations of the density of the magnesias must not be
confounded with their specific gravity. To ascertain the latter is a
task of great difficulty, for Rose, in attempting it, obtained such
discrepant results, that he has withheld them. The specific gravity of
Henry’s magnesia, as near as it could be ascertained, is from 2,50 to
2,67. The magnesia prepared according to my process, gave 3,148 as its
specific weight.—_Buchner’s Repertorium, in Annals of Pharmacy._


In the entire Brazilian empire, there are two national faculties of
medicine, termed _Escola Imperial de Medecina_, one established at
Rio de Janeiro, the other at Bahia—the present {187} and former
capitals of Brazil. Both are constituted exactly alike in laws, forms,
number of professors, modelled, with very trifling difference, after
the constitution of the _Ecole de Médecine_ of Paris. Each college
consists of fourteen professors, and six substitute professors, with a
director and a vice-director, answering to our own dean and vice-dean
of the faculty. The latter are named by Government, from a triple
list sent up by the professors every third year, and discharge the
ordinary duties of their chairs, being only exempt from attending
the examinations. They possess a limited controling power over
their college, and constitute the official channel of communication
with Government and public bodies, on all matters relating to
public health, prisons, &c. The duties of professor-substitute are
explained in the name. When illness, or public employment—the latter
not unusual in Brazil—interferes with the duties of the professor,
his chair is supplied by the substitute: both are appointed, as in
France, by _concours_. Most of the older members have graduated in
Portugal, Scotland, France, or Italy. Both classes receive a fixed
income from the State, and derive no emolument whatever from pupils
and examination fees, &c. which are applied to public purposes
connected with the college. The income of the professor was fixed
at twelve hundred _mil-reis_ per annum—(about three hundred pounds)
when first established; and that of the professor-substitute at eight
hundred _mil-reis_. Both enjoy the right of retirement on their full
salary, after twenty years’ service, or when incapacitated by age or
infirmities. A travelling professor is elected by _concours_ by the
faculty, every four years, for the purpose of investigating, in the
different countries of Europe, the latest improvements and discoveries
in medicine and the collateral sciences, an account of which he
regularly transmits, in formal reports, to his college. His expenses
are defrayed by the State.

The medical faculty consists of the following chairs:—1, physics; 2,
botany; 3, chemistry; 4, anatomy; 5, physiology; 6, external pathology;
7, internal pathology; 8, materia {188} medica; 9, hygiene; 10,
operations; 12, midwifery; 13, clinical medicine; 14, clinical surgery.

In addition to the professors, there is a secretary (medical),
treasurer, librarian, and chemical assistant—all elected by the faculty.

The order of study is as follows:—first year, medical physics and
medical botany; second year, chemistry and general and descriptive
anatomy; third year, anatomy and physiology; fourth year, external
pathology, internal pathology, pharmacy and materia medica; fifth year,
operative medicine and midwifery; sixth year, hygiene, history of
medicine, and legal medicine.

All examinations are public, and the subjects are drawn by lot.

The titles conferred by the faculty, are only three, viz., Doctor in
Medicine, Apothecary, and Midwife. The latter is specially educated and

In each chief city there are commonly three or four large hospitals—the
Misericordia, or Civil Hospital, possessed of ample funds from
endowments, legacies, and certain taxes; the Military and Naval
Hopitals; and in Rio, Bahia, and Pernambuco, Leper Hospitals. There
are also infirmaries attached to convents. Private subscriptions to
institutions are utterly unknown.

The academical session lasts for eight months—from 1st March to
30th October—lectures being delivered daily (with some exceptions)
by the professors or their substitutes. The professors of clinical
medicine and surgery have the right of selecting their cases from the
Misericordia Hospital.

The student, previous to matriculation, must take his degree in arts;
and the curiculum is the same for all, viz., six years to obtain the
degree of Doctor in Medicine. The examinations are conducted as in
Paris. For the degree of Doctor in Surgery—which, however, is not
essential—a subsequent and special examination must be undergone, as in

All students are classified, on entering college, into _medical_ {189}
and _pharmaceutical_; and both are obliged to obtain the degree in
arts before they can be matriculated, and to have completed their
sixteenth year. The pharmaceutical student obtains his diploma of
pharmacy after three years study; while that of medicine can only be
obtained after six years. The student of pharmacy is obliged to repeat
the courses of medical physics, botany, chemistry, pharmacy and materia
medica; while one course only of each is required from the medical
pupil. The pharmaceutical student is obliged to attend for three years
in a pharmacy, after the conclusion of his academical studies. He then
undergoes an examination by the faculty, and publicly defends a thesis
to obtain his diploma. His duty afterwards, as apothecary, is strictly
limited to the sale of drugs, and the compounding of prescriptions.
He is never consulted professionally; and, did he attempt to apply a
remedy for the cure of any disease, he would be immediately fined fifty
_mil-reis_ by the municipality, for the first, and an increasing fine
for every subsequent offence; and, did he still persist, his licence
would be withdrawn. On the other hand, the medical practioner is
strictly prohibited from the compounding or sale of medicines, in any
shape or form.—_Dundas’s Sketches of Brazil._




The broom plants examined by Dr. Stenhouse, had an uncommonly bitter
taste. The watery decoction, evaporated down to a tenth part, leaves
a gelatinous residue, which consists chiefly of scoparin. This is
a yellow colored substance, which, when purified, can be got in
stellate crystals, and is easily soluble in boiling water and spirit
of wine. Dr. Stenhouse, from five ultimate analyses, assigns it to the
constitution C‗{21} H‗{11} O‗{10}.

Scoparin is, according to an extensive series of experiments by Dr.
Stenhouse, the diuretic principle of broom, which has been recognised
by Mead, Cullen, Pearson, Pereira, and others, {190} as one of the
most efficacious remedies in dropsy. The dose for an adult is 5 or 6
grains. Its diuretic action begins in 12 hours, and the urine under its
use is more than doubled in quantity.

From the mother liquor of the crude scoparin, Dr. S. obtained, by
distillation, a colorless oily liquid, which, when purified, was found
to be a new volatile organic base spartein. This has a peculiarly
bitter taste, and possesses powerful narcotic properties. A single drop
dissolved by means of acetic acid, affected a rabbit so much, that it
lay stupified for 5 or 6 hours. Another rabbit, which took four grains,
first went into a state of violent excitement, then fell into sopor and
died in three hours. The author observes that shepherds have long been
acquainted with the excitant and narcotic action of broom.

The proportion of Scoparin and spartein, varies very much in plants
grown in different localities, which probably explains the very
different accounts given by practitioners of its activity as a drug.
The author suggests that it would be better to employ pure scoparin
free from admixture of spartein.—_Edin. Monthly Jour. of Medical


POISONING BY TINCTURE OF ACONITE.—The frequent use of the strong
tincture of aconite root, as an external application, has, as might
have been expected, given rise to repeated accidents, from the
accidental or careless internal administration of that powerful
substance in an overdose. An instance has occurred within a day or two,
where an attendant administered a tea-spoonful of the tincture, which
had been directed to be used as a liniment for a rheumatic affection.
An emetic of sulphate of zinc was administered by the physician, and
within five minutes after the poison had been swallowed, free vomiting
was produced. This continued for several hours, though the external
application of mustard poultices to {191} the pit of the stomach, and
the administration of strong coffee, with small doses of laudanum, were
employed to check it. The man was naturally very stupid, and could
give no clear account of his sensations. He made no complaint of his
throat, until his attention was directed to it, when he said it was
sore and that he had difficulty in swallowing. He had a strange, as
he termed it, bursting sensation in his limbs, with constant sickness
and retching, and great debility. He looked alarmed and anxious, and
was restless. The pupils were at first dilated, then nearly natural,
and afterwards again dilated. The extremities were cold and moist,
the pulse early intermitting and weak, became extinct at the wrist,
and the action of the heart was feeble and irregular. Stimulants were
administered internally, but could not be retained, brandy and water
with carbonate of ammonia was afterwards given in injections, per anum.
and the temperature of the extremities maintained by mustard poultices,
and the application of heat. After an interval of seven or eight hours
the pulse again became perceptible, and the man gradually recovered.

The characteristic symptoms produced by poisoning with aconite,
are a peculiar numb tingling sensation produced in the tongue and
lips, a sensation in the throat, as if the palate were enlarged and
elongated, and resting upon the root of the tongue, irritability of
the stomach, a numb creeping or tingling sensation felt in the limbs,
or over the whole surface, and depressed action of the heart, and
consequent prostration and coldness of the extremities. Death when it
occurs, seems to depend on the depressing effect produced upon the
heart. From this it would seem that the proper treatment would be,
1st, to promote the evacuation of the poison by mild means. 2nd, to
maintain the circulation, by keeping the patient as quiet as possible
in a horizontal posture, by the application of sinapisms and external
warmth to the extremities, and by the administration of stimulants by
the mouth or when they cannot be retained, by the rectum, and 3d, to
control, if possible, the vomiting.

Pereira states that aconite, when dropped in the eye, or when taken
internally in poisonous doses, produces contraction of the pupils, and
that with the exception of opium, it is the only article which does so.
In the above case, and in one other, which was likewise seen by the
writer, the pupils were dilated, and the same condition was observed in
several cases which have been communicated to him.

The above case is note-worthy from the great severity of the symptoms
endangering the patients life, which followed the administration of a
single tea-spoonful of the poison. It must have been absorbed too, with
great promptness, since the vomiting, which took place in five minutes
afforded no relief. This probably depended on the stomach being empty
at the time. Much of the difference observed in the effects produced by
the same dose, too, doubtless depends on the variation of the strength
of the tincture, caused either by the employment of different formulæ
in its preparation, or by the occasional use of decayed and inferior
roots in making it.


SPURIOUS SULPHATE OF QUININE.—We understand that the article referred
to in the subjoined note, has likewise been offered for sale in this
city. It bears the label of Pelletier, Delondres & Levaillant. We hope
our Western friends will be on their guard against this atrocious


 Dear Sir,—I would direct the attention of druggists and apothecaries
 to an article sold in New York, purporting to be quinine, put up so as
 to resemble the French.

 It has somewhat the appearance of that article, but upon examination
 will be found to be totally devoid of bitterness, &c. I should suppose
 it to be mannite.

 I am led to believe that 500 ounces have already been shipped to the
 West, and some has been sold in this vicinity.

 I hope that your numerous subscribers may profit by this hint, and
 that the parties selling the same as quinine, may be frustrated in
 their nefarious traffic.

 Your obedient servant, R. J. D.

 BROOKLYN, May 28, 1852.

MAGANESE.—Some attention has lately been given, in France, to a variety
of preparations of maganese. Maganese is commonly found associated with
iron in minute quantities. It appears to be an invariable constituent
of the blood, and in certain diseases, in which the iron, normally
contained in that fluid, is deficient, the maganese would seem to be
deficient in similar proportion. It is said that the preparations of
maganese, given in connection with those of iron, in such diseases,
produce effects which cannot be obtained from iron alone. Various
formulæ have been offered for its administration. Commonly similar
salts of the two articles, as the sulphate, lactate, carbonate, &c.,
are given together, the manganese being to the iron in the proportion
of from 1/2 to 1/3. The subject would seem to deserve further

☛OUR EXCHANGES.—Owing to a variety of circumstances, the Journal
has not been forwarded with proper regularity to the Editors of the
Journals in our own Country, with whom we would desire to exchange.
Exchanges and books intended for us should be directed “TO THE EDITOR
Broadway, or of T. B. MERRICK, No. 10 Gold Street. _Foreign Exchanges_
may be sent through the house of H. BAILLIERE, London, or J. B.




JULY, 1852.


EXTR. LIQ. CUBEBÆ.—The formula for this preparation, made officinal in
the lately revised U. S. Pharmacopœia, appearing to me to afford rather
an ethereal oil, than what may be properly called a fluid extract,
I am induced to make known the process which I have been accustomed
to adopt, during some years, to obtain what I conceive to be a true
extract, containing, in an agreeably administrable form, all and the
whole of the properties belonging to the berry, and which has given
much satisfaction in practice, particularly to patients, some of
whom who have had extensive experience in the use of anti-gonnorrhæl
compounds, I have heard state that it is the only thing of the kind
they had ever taken which was not disagreeable to the stomach. I take of

 Pulv. Cubeb. crud. ℔i
 Ether. Sulph.
 Sp. Vin Rect.
 Aquæ Puræ āā q. s.

The coarsely powdered cubebs, being lightly packed in a displacement
funnel, I pour upon it as much of a mixture of equal parts of ether and
spirit of wine, as it will imbibe, and, having covered closely the top
of the apparatus with moistened bladder, and corked the lower aperture,
allow it to stand for twenty-four hours. I then uncork it, and after it
has ceased {194} dropping, displace the remainder with Sp. Vin. Rect.
until the original quantity (generally a pint,) be obtained; this I
set aside in an open and shallow vessel to _evaporate spontaneously_,
until all the ether, and most of the spirit has passed off, reducing
the quantity to about one half. I then obtain, by displacement with
diluted alcohol, another pint of the liquid, exposing it in the same
manner, until three-fourths of the quantity is evaporated spontaneously
as before; again another pint is obtained by displacement with water,
(this will be a proof spirit tincture,) which is added to the former,
and allowed to lose by the same means, about one-fourth, or sufficient
to leave a resulting quantity of one and a half pints, which will
contain about eight ounces of alcohol. The displacement with water is
continued to exhaustion, when enough fluid will be obtained to raise
the quantity, when added to that already prepared, to two and a half
pints, which is transferred to a proper bottle, and there is dissolved
in it sixteen ounces of white sugar, yielding, in toto, three pints
of fluid extract, equal to one pound of the berries, one fʒi of which
represents ℈j of the dry powder. The dregs, when dried, are destitute
of sensible properties, appearing to be merely ligneous remains, and
the loss in weight, when time is had, may be easily calculated and
compared with the recorded analyses. The extract has the appearance
of a somewhat thick, brownish colored liquid, possessing the peculiar
taste and smell of the cubebs in a remarkable degree, remaining
homogeneous for some time after agitation, and showing after settling
a large proportion of the oleaginous constituents of the berry. Having
aimed more at efficiency than beauty in this preparation, I claim for
it the former rather than the latter, and if it should not invite the
eye, it will be found very agreeable to the palate. Fluid extract of
valerian may be prepared by the same process, and, indeed, all those of
a volatile nature, whose active principles are soluble in any of the
above menstrua.

UNG. AQUÆ ROSÆ.—The great trouble with this preparation is, that the
water will separate from it after a time, giving it a {195} lachrymose
and unhandsome appearance. This defect is completely remedied by using
_only one half the quantity_ of Aq. Rosæ, by which a better consistence
and much nicer preparation is obtained, and one more, in accordance
with the soubriquet “Cold Cream,” which is given to it by the fair
sex, for whose use, as a cosmetic, it is far superior to the _highly
scented_, and irritating fancy article of the same name. It is also
an admirable unirritating, cooling, dressing for surgical use; but I
would remark, _en passant_, that it is a very unfit medium for the
composition of ointments, for which purpose it is sometimes prescribed
to the annoyance of the apothecary. In such cases the physician should
be apprised that the addition of a drop of oil of rose to simple cerate
would answer his purpose much better, as the odor only is the quality
desired. I think the above note might not be undeserving the attention
of the next revisers of the Pharmacopœias.

UNG. PERUVIAN. It is sometimes difficult to make this ointment smooth,
as, though readily miscible at first, continued trituration causes the
balsam to separate, and like the colored person who “the more he was
called, the more he would not come,” the more it is rubbed, the more it
separates. This hostility to union is readily overcome by the addition
of ten drops or so of alcohol for each drachm of the balsam. It is
perhaps unnecessary to state that this difficulty will not be had when
the balsam is adulterated with alcohol—a good practical test of the
purity of the article.

PHARMACEUTICAL ETHICS.—Morality being at present in the ascendant, as
it should always be, it may not be inappropriate, though more important
than practical, to “make a note” of some fashionable practices
prevalent amongst the more ostentatious pharmaceutists of the day,
savoring much more strongly of “Quackery,” to use a vulgar phrase,
than Art Unions, &c. are pronounced by legal wisdom to do of the
“Lottery.” I allude, for example, to the system of _getting up_, under
some mystified appellation, certain preparations, as “Brown’s Elixir,”
“White’s Essence,” or “Black’s Compound,”—something or {196} other,
which are merely the ordinary preparations of the shop, or could
easily be prepared if they were worth the trouble, but under _assumed
names_, are heralded forth at the _ne plus ultra_ of pharmaceutical
perfectibility. I do not envy a reputation so acquired, nor do I wish
to speak of it in that spirit, but to point out its inconsistency with
correct principles, and designate it as unworthy of honorable ambition.
Such preparations generally “hail” from some obscure place or person,
but are occasionally dabbled with by others who should give themselves
to better things. It is self evident, from the nature of his calling,
that the exclusive duty of the apothecary _per se_, is to make, as
faithfully or skilfully as he may, the various preparations of the
Pharmacopœia, as therein set down, when he is called upon to do so,
and to compound accurately the prescriptions of the physician. If, by
long experience or increased skill, he may have been led to any real
discovery or improvement, the minutiæ of which he does not choose to
divulge, (the reverse of which would be the more generous,) its nature
should be stated, when relating to a preparation, in terms distinct
enough at least, to convey an idea of its real composition and medical
properties: thus tinctures should not be misnamed Essences or Extracts;
Fluid Extracts, or Concentrated Infusions, Elixirs; Syrups, Panaceas,
&c. thus avoiding the inconsistency of condemning, if not morally, at
least _constitutionally_, the more open mountebank who plunders your
pockets, while the beam is in your own eye. It is also perhaps worthy
of remark that the necessity does not appear any longer to exist of
retaining those prescriptively excellent preparations made by some, no
doubt, very respectable apothecary in London, claiming, with a dozen
others, to be the sole possessor of the original receipt. They are
imported at a very high price, and as the composition of most, perhaps
all, is, or can be known, might be made by any apothecary here as
well as in London. Some of them might be deserving of adoption into
the Pharmacopœia, as have been Dover’s Powder, Daffy’s Elixir, &c.
already. It is said by connoisseurs in wines, that madeira is very
much improved by {197} crossing the line; but I am not aware that
pharmaceutical preparations are at all benefitted by crossing the
ocean. Their _genuineness_, too, has become a by-word. By the way, I
was gravely informed by a certain importer, the other day, of whom
I enquired concerning one of these _genuine_ articles, that it was
obtained directly from the inventor. I was at a loss to imagine the
“modus transitûs,” nor had I the hardihood to enquire, the good man
having been gathered to his fathers scores of years ago.

Various are the unworthy practices, one or two of which are thus curtly
alluded to, deserving of a more studied notice and severe censure, than
I am able or willing to give them. Such matters, though not exactly
“putting money in the purse,” should be attended to. The purging of our
profession—for it is one—of them, would be a highly meritorious service.



In the early part of this century, some chemists in Holland found a
peculiar oily fluid of very fragrant smell, resulted from the action of
chlorine on Olefiant gas. It is generally known as the Dutch liquid; it
has been called also chloric ether and bichloric ether. Its composition
is C‗{4} H‗{2} O‗{2}.

In 1831, Mr. Samuel Guthrie of Sackets Harbor, in this State, distilled
alcohol from the so called chloride of lime, and obtained a product so
closely resembling the Dutch liquid that he though it identical. From
some relations to formic acid, it was afterwards called Chloroform, and
chloroformid. Its composition is C‗{4} HO‗{3}. In 1847, anaésthetic
properties brought {198} chloroform prominently before the public. We
find an article by Prof. B. Silliman, Jr., in the American Journal of
Science, new series, vol., 5, p. 240, in which it is stated that “the
terms chloric ether, bichloric ether, perchloride of formyle, Dutch oil
and oil of Dutch chemists, are all synonyms of chloroform.”

In a recent visit of the writer at New Haven he saw a prescription of
“chloric ether.” Being reminded of the singular error in the Journal
printed there, he inquired into the nature of the article dispensed.
It proved to be a solution of chloroform in alcohol, and on his return
to this city he found the same practice here to a small extent. The
proportions in the article bearing this name vary greatly; often
it seems that the mere contents of the wash-bottle are in this way
disposed of, containing of course a large proportion of water. Mr.
Currie, one of our most careful and consciencious chemists, usually
prepares it so as to contain 10 per cent. in bulk of chloroform. A more
convenient formula would be, chloroform 1 part, alcohol 10 parts. Some
such article under the name of Tinctura Chloroformi ought to have place
in our pharmacopœia.

But to our confusion the term chloric ether is applied to yet another,
and entirely a different body, formed by the distillation of alcohol
and hydrochloric acid, the composition of which is C‗{4} H‗{5} O. This
is also called hydrochloric ether and muriatic ether.

But to neither of these four substances does the name chloric ether
properly belong. Were there such a thing, it would be obtained from the
action of chloric acid on alcohol, a reaction which is prevented by the
decomposition of the chloric acid by the alcohol, to which it gives
part of its oxygen, forming acetic acid.

This subject is not of so much importance intrinsically as it is by way
of illustrating the extreme importance of rigid adhesion to systematic
nomenclature as the only means of saving us from dangerous errors and
inextricable confusion.




The preparation of few substances presents such difficulties as that of
_Pure Magnesia_.

It seems, however, at first glance, that the cheapness and general
purity of the sulphate which occurs in commerce, would render this
an easy task. Unfortunately, however, no simple process has yet been
proposed for obtaining pure magnesia from the sulphate. The usual
course is to precipitate from the boiling solution with carbonate
of soda, and to expel the carbonic acid from the magnesia alba thus
obtained, by ignition. On trying this process, however, it was found
that the carbonate of magnesia thus precipitated could not be freed
from soda by washing. After an enormous quantity of hot distilled
water had passed through it on the filter, the slight residue left by
evaporation of the washings, still gave the soda tinge to flame.

It is true that the trace of the soda compound thus retained might
probably be washed out of the magnesia after its ignition, but the
difficulty and tedium of the operation of washing the very voluminous
precipitate, together with the expense attendant upon the necessity
of using _pure_ carbonate of soda, to avoid the presence of silica,
phosphoric acid, and other impurities, which, if present, would
inevitably contaminate the magnesia, induced me to reject this method.
In fact this method, which was formerly almost used universally by
analysts for the _determination_ of magnesia is now rejected by them,
except in some unavoidable cases.[16]

[16] _H. Ross’s Handbuch_, last edition, 2, 33.

The substitution of carbonate of ammonia for carbonate of soda is
inadmissible with any regard to economy, on account of the existence
of the soluble double sulphates of ammonia and magnesia. A trial was
made to decompose sulphate of magnesia by mixing its anhydrous powder
with a large quantity of carbonate of ammonia, and igniting, but the
only trace of {200} decomposition which appeared was a slight alkaline
re-action of the aqueous solution of the mass.

I must here mention an impurity which I have met with in commercial
sulphate of magnesia, and this is a double sulphate of magnesia and
potash, which occurs in small crystals, apparently rhombohedrons, among
the rectangular prisms of the Epsom salt. It may probably be separable
by recrystallization, though this, with sulphate of magnesia, is rather
a difficult affair.

The method which I adopted for preparing pure magnesia was the
ignition of the nitrate prepared from the commercial _magnesia alba_.
The impurities in the commercial carbonate which I made use of were
sulphate and chloride, a surprisingly large quantity of silica, a trace
of phosphoric acid easily detectable by molybdate of ammonia, oxide of
iron, alumina, lime, alkalies and some organic matter. A small excess
of this impure article was added to commercial nitric acid and the
whole boiled; the silica, oxide of iron, alumina and phosphoric acid
were thus separated by the excess of magnesia and the filtered solution
contained no trace of either of them; the solution was slightly colored
by organic matter.

Either of two methods may now be adopted for separating the _lime_.

One is to add a late excess of ammonia, then a little oxalic acid, and
filter. To this method, besides the expense of so large a quantity
of _pure_ ammonia the necessity of the subsequent decomposition and
expulsion by heat of the very large quantity of nitrate of ammonia
formed is a serious objection.

Unsuccessful attempts were made to separate the lime by adding oxalic
acid immediately to the neutral solution of nitrate of magnesia. It was
found upon experiment that oxalate of lime is somewhat soluble in a
solution of nitrate of magnesia.

The other method, which is preferable, consists in adding to the
solution a little sulphate of magnesia, and then a quantity of alcohol,
but not enough of the latter to produce any immediate precipitation.
If a precipitate is formed immediately, {201} water is added, for,
singularly enough, it was found that the liquid filtered from this
first precipitate still contained lime. In the course of time the
sulphate of lime separates in the form of small crystals.

The filtered liquid is now evaporated in porcelain dishes, and the
residue transferred to porcelain crucibles, or still better, to
platinum dishes, and the nitric acid expelled by a gentle heat. By
a slight modification I have succeeded in shortening this operation
very much, that is by adding, from time to time, powdered carbonate
of ammonia to the mass, and stirring with a glass rod, or a platinum
spatula. When no more red gases are evolved the heat is raised to
redness for a few minutes. The mass thus obtained requires washing with
pure water to separate alkaline salts and some sulphate of magnesia
which it still contains.

Magnesia thus prepared was found, by a most rigid qualitative analysis,
to be perfectly pure. I am aware, however, that the process is a
troublesome one, and it is very much to be desired that some one would
present us with a simple and direct process of obtaining pure magnesia
from the sulphate.



Officinal preparations during reposition or preservation, when
placed in situations proper to preserve them from all changes, yet
undergo such important modifications, that the pharmaceutist is
frequently obliged to reject them as worthless. We are accustomed to
consider alcoholic tinctures, by reason of the vehicle used in their
preparation, as amongst the most stable of officinal preparations; and
therefore very few {202} pharmacologists have observed the changes
they undergo. Amongst those whose attention has been drawn to the
subject, I may particularly cite: 1st, Baumé, who has remarked that
tincture of saffron deposits a substance analagous to amber.—(_Elements
of Pharmacy_, 2d _ed._ 1789.)

2nd. Guibourt, who presented to the Academy of Medicine at Paris, some
observations on the changes in its composition which tincture of iodine
undergoes according to the time when it was prepared, (year 1846.)

3rd. Bastick, with the desire of ascertaining the nature of the changes
to which alcoholic preparations are subject, placed various tinctures,
during several months, in situations similar to those of a pharmacy,
that is to say, exposed to a temperature varying from 60° to 80°
Fahrenheit, in bottles half filled, and to which air was, from time to
time, admitted.

On examining them, some time afterwards, he found that most of them
had undergone active fermentation in a greater or less degree, and
that the alcohol had gradually become converted into acetic acid. The
tinctures had generally lost their color and taste, and contained _a
precipitate which was partially re-soluble_ in a proportion of alcohol
corresponding to that which had been decomposed.—(_Pharmaceutical
Journal and Transactions_, 1848.)

The tinctures prepared with weak alcohol are the most subject to this
species of change.

4th. Tincture of kino changes so with time, that it passes from the
liquid to the gelatinized state. This change even affords an excellent
test when it is suspected that catechu may have been substituted for
kino in this preparation.—(_Dorvault, Officine_, 1850, 3d. ed.)

In general, pharmacologists consider that tinctures only deteriorate
by the evaporation of the alcohol used in their preparation, and that
this evaporation has the effect of concentrating them too much, and of
giving rise to the precipitation of a part of the principles which were
held in solution.

I do not entirely concur in this opinion; on the contrary, I {203}
believe that, in many cases, the precipitates which are formed in the
tinctures, do not arise from the evaporation of a part of the vehicle,
but from a modification which takes place in a part of the principles
held in solution, and which, becoming less soluble, or even insoluble,
are precipitated.

Amongst these precipitates I shall place that which is almost uniformly
found in tincture of ipecacuanha.

Druggists generally are aware that this tincture, shortly after its
preparation, throws down a deposite of a yellowish white color, very
light, and increasing daily; that when separated by filtration a new
deposit immediately commences, and recourse must again be had to

It is only after three or four filterings, at intervals of five
or six weeks, that the formation of this deposit can be arrested.
In the course of July of this year, I prepared from the _Belgian
Pharmacopœia_, some tincture of ipecacuanha, to be used in the
preparation of some syrup of the same.

Desiring to follow the different phases which it presents, and to
study, as far as possible, the nature of the precipitate formed in
it, (for as yet I believe that no research has been directed to this
subject.) I took advantage of the opportunity which this preparation
afforded me.

About six weeks after its preparation, this tincture contained a
deposit which was yellowish white, tolerably abundant, very light, and
rising on being shaken.

I again suffered the precipitate to form, and after some days, I
decanted the clear liquor, and threw the deposit on a filter. I
afterwards mixed the decanted liquors and that which was filtered, in a

The precipitate remaining on the filter, I repeatedly washed. I put it
to dry spontaneously, but perceiving, after twenty-four hours, that
it was becoming the prey of a number of little cryptogami, formed in
the same manner as in animal gelatine which dries slowly in the air, I
hastened the desication by carrying the filter into a medium of from
30° to 35° centigrade. {204}

This deposit, during the process of drying, loses its hydrogen, changes
color, becoming reddish brown, and is slightly translucid, when very
dry it is friable.

The quantity obtained in this first filtering, weighed 5 grains of
the Netherland weights, or 0,3250 milligrammes; from an ounce or 32
grammes of roots, employed towards the end of October, I again saved
the deposit which was formed: it weighed 1 grain, Netherland, or 0,065

At present, at the end of November, a third deposition is taking place,
and will be collected to be added to the others.

During the whole time the tincture had no effect either upon blue or
red litmus paper.

_Physical properties._ The precipitate is solid, friable, of a reddish
color, slightly translucent, without taste.

_Chemical properties._ Ether, alcohol, water, cold or boiling, have no
action upon it; dilute hydrochloric, sulphuric and nitric acids, have
no action when cold. Concentrated nitric acid, when cold, produces no
effect upon it, but if heated to ebullition it attacks it actively,
becoming of a brownish red color. Put in a glass tube closed by one
only of its extremities, the other being furnished with two pieces
of litmus paper, the one becomes blue, the other red. If the tube is
placed in the flame of a spirit lamp, in a few instants the matter
swells and the reddened paper becomes again blue.

Placed on a slip of platina, and exposed to the flame of a spirit lamp,
it swells, giving out a strong odor of burnt animal matter; it burns
without flame and leaves a white ash. This ash treated by reagents, has
the characteristics of lime.

As may be seen by this short exposition, the deposit is by no means a
product resulting from the evaporation of a part of the alcohol, which
holds in solution the principles that are deposited, but a particular
organic matter united to lime, which is formed at the expense of the
azotized principle contained in the roots of the ipecac. What is the
azotised principle which concurs in the formation of this substance?
Certainly it is not one {205} of those which are commonly met with in
vegetables, otherwise the phenomenon which is observed in the tincture
of ipecac would be observed in the tinctures made with the other
roots. Is it the emetine which is decomposed? If that be the case, the
tincture of ipecac would be considered rightly an uncertain preparation.

From the character assigned by M. Willigh to his ipecacuan acid,
as well as to the tribasic salt of lead, (Journal de Chimie et de
Pharmacie, Octobre, 1851,) it will be readily understood, how I at
first thought, without, however, having made any serious researches,
that it might be this acid united with the lime, to which the
precipitate was owing. But the analysis made by that chemist, which
denotes the absence of nitrogen in its composition, does not permit us
to entertain this idea.

As will readily be perceived, my researches are far from complete, as I
had not a sufficient quantity of the precipitate at my disposition. But
while waiting to complete them, I did not wish to delay acquainting the
learned world with a fact which appears to me extraordinary and until
now unique, and at the same time to call to it the attention of those
better situated than myself to pursue such researches.—_Presse Medicale


Mr. Redwood laid before the meeting some samples of _oil of bitter
almonds_, prepared by different makers, together with the results of
experiments he had made with the view of ascertaining whether or not
they had been subjected to adulteration.

He stated, that his attention had been directed to the subject by more
than one of the dealers in this article, in consequence of its having
been represented that some of the samples had {206} been adulterated
with alcohol, an inference which had been drawn from the fact that the
suspected samples had a much lower specific gravity than others met
with in commerce.

He had been furnished with five samples from different makers, the
specific gravities of which were as follows:―

 1.   1052.4
 2.   1055.2
 3.   1067.
 4.   1081.
 5.   1082.2

The merchants having no better mode of testing the quality of this
oil than by its flavor, its specific gravity, and other physical
characters, it was important to ascertain what reliance could be placed
on this class of observations. It was well known that spirit was
sometimes mixed with it, the effect of which would be to reduce its
specific gravity, and this addition, to the extent to which it would be
likely to be made, would not impair the flavor of the oil, or alter its
sensible characters in any other way than is above stated. The light
oils were, therefore, very naturally suspected to have been reduced
with alcohol.

The experiments he had made in reference to this subject had fully
satisfied him that the specific gravity of essential oil of bitter
almonds, within certain limits, could not be relied on as affording
evidence of purity or adulteration. The specimens on the table, to
which he had already referred, although differing in specific gravity
to the extent of nearly thirty grains in the thousand grain-measures,
he believed to be all free from adulteration.

Before describing the tests which he had found to afford the most
satisfactory indications, he described the proximate constituents of
the crude oil, which vary considerably in proportion in different
samples, and hence the differences in density and in some of the
properties of the oil.

According to Liebig and Gregory, crude oil of bitter almonds consists
of _hyduret of benzoyle_, _hydrocyanic acid_, _benzoic acid_, and
_benzoine_, and these probably are not its only constituents. Of these
the two first may be said to be essential constituents, and the others
accidental, being the result of changes which {207} the hyduret of
benzoyle, or true oil of bitter almonds, undergoes.

The _hyduret of benzoyle_ has the ordinary characters of an essential
oil. When pure it is a colorless, transparent liquid, the specific
gravity of which is 1043. It possesses the peculiar almond flavor, and
is not poisonous. This, which is the true oil of bitter almonds, ought
to constitute about eighty-five or ninety per cent. of the crude oil.
When oil of vitriol is added to pure hyduret of benzoyle the mixture
acquires a dark reddish brown color, but no other visible change takes

If the hyduret of benzoyle be exposed to the air it speedily becomes
oxidized, and by the substitution of an atom of oxygen for one of
hydrogen it is converted into benzoic acid. The _benzoic acid_ present
in oil of bitter almonds is the result of this transformation, and
sometimes it occurs to such an extent that it is deposited from the
oil in crystals. Benzoic acid is not colored by the action of oil of

_Benzoine_ is also a product of a remarkable change which hyduret of
benzoyle, when mixed with hydrocyanic acid, is liable to undergo. Like
benzoic acid, it is a solid crystalline body, but unlike benzoic acid,
when mixed with oil of vitriol, it forms a violet colored compound.

The characters and properties of _hydrocyanic acid_ are too well known
to require notice. It is this constituent, which is sometimes present
to the extent of eight or ten per cent., that gives to oil of bitter
almonds its poisonous properties.

In examining oil of bitter almonds, with the view of determining
whether it be pure or not, it is necessary to consider the influence on
the action of the reagents employed, of variations in the number and
proportions of the several constituents present. This is especially the
case with reference to the use of oil of vitriol as a test.

On adding _oil of vitriol_ to the samples of oil under notice, it was
found that it formed with all of them a clear but very dark colored
mature, from which no separation took place. The color of the mixture
thus produced, however, differed to a {208} greater or less extent in
each case. The lightest of the oils produced a reddish-brown color,
similar to that afforded by pure hyduret of benzoyle, while the
heaviest oil formed a bright red mixture, having a shade of violet, and
those of intermediate density gave intermediate shades of color.

These results, viewed in connection with the differences of density
in the different specimens, were at first thought to indicate that
the light specimens had some admixture foreign to the oil, but on
examining the action of the test on pure hyduret of benzoyle and the
other legitimate constituents of the crude oil, it was evident that
such an inference could not be justly drawn, and, indeed, suspicion
now seemed rather to attach to the heavy oil. Subsequent experiments,
however, showed that the light oil distils at a lower temperature than
the heavy, and that if the heaviest specimens were distilled with
water, the first portions that passed over produced precisely the same
reaction as the light specimens above referred to, while the last
portions that passed over, and especially the oil obtained from the
water by distilling it, after saturating it with common salt, produced
with oil of vitriol a splendid crimson color, the purity and intensity
of which could hardly be surpassed.

It thus became pretty evident that the differences in the reaction
of oil of vitriol with the different specimens of oil under notice,
arose from variations in the circumstances under which the oils were
distilled, and it seemed probable that the heavy oil had been obtained
by distilling the almond cake with water, to which a large quantity of
salt had been added, so as to raise the point of ebullition, while the
light oil either was the product of a process in which less salt had
been added to the water, or consisted of the first portions distilled.

In order to obtain more satisfactory evidence of the absence of spirit,
or other foreign substance, from these samples of oil, _nitric acid_
was used as a test. If oil of bitter almonds be mixed with about twice
its volume of nitric acid, of specific gravity 1.420, no immediate
action occurs. The greater part of the oil floats over the surface
of the acid, and, if the former be free {209} from adulteration, no
change of color takes place within several hours in either; but after
the lapse of three or four days crystals of benzoic acid will begin to
be formed from the oxidation of the hyduret of benzoyle by the nitric
acid, and these will increase in quantity until the whole becomes a
solid mass of crystals, which will gradually assume a bright emerald
green color. This reaction is very characteristic. If spirit be present
in the oil to the extent of eight or ten per cent., the acid, after a
few minutes, will begin to react upon this, and a violent effervescence
will shortly ensue, accompanied by the disengagement of nitrous vapors.

By using strong nitric acid, of specific gravity not less than 1.5, the
presence of a very minute quantity of spirit may be detected. The pure
oil, when mixed with an equal volume of this strong acid, forms a clear
and uniform mixture, from which nothing separates, and which undergoes
but a very slight change of color and no other visible alteration. The
presence of two or three per cent. of spirit, however, is sufficient to
cause a violent reaction and the disengagement of nitrous vapors.

After trying several other reagents, the foregoing were those which
were found to afford the most satisfactory results, and appeared
to be conclusive with regard to those adulterations, likely to be
practised.—_Pharmaceutical Journal, London._



Perhaps in no preparation in general use does the practice of
manufacturers, and the requirements of pharmacopœial authorities, more
widely differ than in the compound spirit of {210} ether, universally
known as Hoffman’s Anodyne Liquor. According to the United States and
London Pharmacopœias it consists of three fluid drachms of heavy oil of
wine (Oleum Ethereum, U. S. P.) dissolved in a mixture of eight fluid
ounces of ether and sixteen fluid ounces of alcohol. The Edinburgh
Pharmacopœia has only the simple spirit of ether, without the oil of
wine, whilst the Dublin Pharmacopœia of 1850 under the name of Spiritus
Æthereus Oleosus, gives the following formula, which includes the
preparation of the oil of wine and its subsequent solution, to make the
anodyne:—Mix a pint of alcohol and a pint and a half of oil of vitriol
in a glass matrass, adapt a Liebig’s condenser, and by heat distil
until a black froth rises. Separate the lighter etherial liquid in the
receiver, expose it for 24 hours in a capsule, wash the residual oil
with water, and dissolve it in a mixture of five fluid ounces of ether,
and ten fluid ounces of alcohol. In France, Hoffman’s anodyne consists
of equal parts of ether and alcohol, without oil of wine.

Owing to the careless or intentionally mystified manner of expressing
himself, it is impossible now to ascertain whether the original
preparation of Hoffman (published in 1732) was constant in its
strength, as now recommended by the Pharmacopœia. Beaumé, (as quoted
in Macquer’s Chem. Dict., London, 1771,) says, in speaking of the
rectification of sulphuric ether, “By distilling the liquor in the
first receiver, together with a very small quantity of oil of tartar,
by a very gentle heat of a lamp furnace, about two pounds and four
ounces of pure ether may be obtained; and afterwards, when a new
receiver is adapted, and a stronger heat applied, from eight to ten
ounces of aromatic liquor, which makes a good _anodyne mineral liquor
of Hoffman_, will be distilled.”

The third edition of Lewis’ Dispensatory, published at Dublin, 1768,
has the following formula for this preparation, which appears to be
what the apothecaries of that day employed:―

“_Hoffman’s Mineral Anodyne Liquor._”

 Into half a pound of concentrated oil of vitriol, placed in a {211}
 large glass retort, pour by little and little, through a long stemmed
 funnel, one pint and a half of highly rectified spirit of wine. Stop
 the mouth of the retort, digest for some days, and then distil with
 a very gentle heat. At first a fragrant spirit of wine will arise;
 and after it a more fragrant volatile spirit, to be caught in a fresh
 receiver. The receiver being again changed, a sulphurous, volatile,
 acid phlegm comes over, and at length a _sweet oil of vitriol_, which
 should be immediately separated, lest it be absorbed by the phlegm.
 Mix the first and second spirits together, and in [every] two ounces
 of this mixture dissolve twelve drops of the sweet oil. If the liquor
 has any sulphurous smell, re-distil it from a little salt of tartar.

 “Whether this is the exact preparation, so much recommended and so
 often prescribed by Hoffman as an anodyne and anti-spasmodic, we
 cannot determine. We learn from his own writings that his anodyne
 liquor was composed of the dulcified spirit of vitriol, [crude ether]
 and the aromatic oil which rises after it; but not in what proportions
 he mixed them together. The College of Wirtemburg seems to think that
 all the oil was mixed with all the spirit obtained in one operation
 without regard to the precise quantities.”

The product of this recipe must have been analogous to the present
officinal spirit, the formula for which is evidently modeled after it.
The great excess of alcohol distills over first, until the boiling
point rises to the ether producing temperature, when ether is obtained,
and finally the sulphurous oily product. The recipe gives no direction
to isolate the oil of wine before measuring it, which is perhaps less
necessary, as the ethereal part of the distillate is removed previously
to the production of the oil which is found in the receiver in
globules, and not in solution.

The process now adopted by the manufacturers in this city, avoids the
isolation of the oil of wine, and from the nature of the conditions
the product is liable to vary in the proportions of its ingredients,
not only in different laboratories, but at different operations in
the same laboratory. In the preparation of ether it is usual in this
city to push the process as far as {212} possible, as long as the
residue is not so concentrated as to eliminate much permanent gas.
In the rectification of this first crude product, the distillate is
reserved as rectified ether as long as its specific gravity marks 54°
Beaumé, or there about. By continuing the process the product is found
to consist of ether, alcohol and water, impregnated with oil of wine.
Every one who has made ether, knows how very liable the product is to
vary with an ill regulated heat; on the one hand unaltered alcohol will
pass over, if the temperature is too low, whilst too great a heat,
especially towards the last of the process, will favor the formation
of oil of wine and sulphurous acid. This last distillate, therefore,
will vary in composition, and it is from this that Hoffman’s anodyne
is made in some of the best of our laboratories. _There is no known
practicable method of ascertaining the per centage of heavy oil of wine
in this liquid._ The means used by the manufacturer are founded on the
sensible properties of an arbitrary standard specimen of Hoffman’s
anodyne previously made, and on the degree of opalesence or milkiness
it produces when added to a certain measure of water.—This milkiness is
occasioned by the oil of wine present; but experience has shown that
the degree of milkiness is not strictly in proportion to the quantity
of oil present, the relative proportion of ether and alcohol, and
perhaps water present in the anodyne liquid has a marked influence on
the phenomenon; if too much alcohol, the milkiness is not produced, or
but partially; if too much ether, oily globules separate and float with
but moderate opalescence. In converting this second etherial distillate
into commercial Hoffman’s anodyne, the operator has to make several
essays, sometimes adding water, sometimes alcohol or ether, until
the taste, the smell, and the opalescence agree, as nearly as can be
approached, with his standard specimen. In the process of rectification
it is probable that at least a part of the heavy oil of wine is
decomposed, with the production of the light oil or etherole, and that
the commercial Hoffman’s anodyne differs in this respect, as well as in
containing a much smaller proportion of oil of wine, from that of the
Pharmacopœia. {213}

To get a better idea of the preparation in use here, authentic
specimens were obtained from four of our largest manufacturing
chemists, and compared with compound spirit of ether made for the
occasion strictly according to the United States Pharmacopœia. Their
density was carefully taken with the 1000 grs. bottle.

                              at 60° F.
 A, Wetherill & Brothers,     .8925
 B, Smith, Pemberton & Co.    .8723
 C, Rosengarten & Dennis,     .8495
 D, Powers & Weightman,       .8394
 E, U. S. Pharmacopœia        .8151

Equal measures of each specimen and distilled water were mixed
together; they all produced opaque milky liquids; globules of oil
of wine soon separated from the mixture with E, and floated on the
surface, while the liquid gradually lost its opacity as more of the
oil arose. The mixture with D became less opaque by standing, a small
portion of oil rising to the surface. The mixture with A, B and C
retained their opacity without apparent separation of oil of wine, A
being the most so.

A was the mildest and least repulsive to the taste, because least
ethereal. C was the next least ethereal, but had pungency not arising
from ether. B was more ethereal than the preceding, notwithstanding
its greater specific gravity. D was yet more charged with ether. E
presented sensible properties differing from all the others, being more
etherial and aromatic, but without a peculiar taste noticeable in the
other specimens, more especially in C.

When 2 1/2 fluid drachms of each specimen was shaken in graduated
tubes with 60 grains of carbonate of potassa, they were de-hydrated
somewhat in the ratio of their specific gravities. A and B dissolved
the salt readily by a few minutes’ agitation, and the separated aqueous
alkaline solution equalled a third of the bulk of the mixture. In C and
D only about half of the salt was dissolved, whilst in E the salt was
merely rendered pasty.

To get an idea of the proportion of ether present in these {214}
specimens, a solution of dry chloride of calcium in an equal weight
of water, was made. Five parts of this solution was mixed with three
parts of each of specimens of Hoffman’s anodyne, in tall tubular vials,
corked, well agitated and allowed to stand for twelve hours. In A,
B and C, no separation of ether occurred, but in each of them a few
globules arose to the surface, consisting chiefly of light oil of wine.
In D a stratum of ether holding oil of wine in solution, equal to one
seventh of the bulk of the spirit used, or nearly half a part. Whilst
in E the super-stratum of ether equalled one-third of the spirit used,
and had a light yellow color, due to the oil of wine.

These data will give an approximative idea of their compositions; it
would appear that A was chiefly alcohol and water, with but little
ether; that B contained almost as much water as A, but less alcohol
and more ether; that C contained much less water than A or B, but less
ether and more alcohol than B, and more ether and less alcohol than
A; that D contained rather more water than C, but more ether and less
alcohol than either of the preceding; and lastly that E contains more
ether, and less alcohol and water than either of the others.

In regard to the proportion of ethereal oil, the experiments give no
positive clue. It would appear that B and D contained the most among
the commercial specimens, and that D approaches nearest the composition
of the officinal spirit, yet all of them when compared with the
officinal are deficient in this ingredient.

It must be apparent from these results, that the opacity of a mixture
of Hoffman’s anodyne and water, is no index of the proportion of oil
of wine the former contains, that property being dependent apparently
on the state of combination in which the oil exists, nor would we
pronounce on the medicinal value of the specimens, a task belonging
to the physician. Whatever curative reputation the compound spirit of
ether may have earned, certainly belongs to the commercial spirit, and
not to that of the Pharmacopœia, which is not to be had in the shops.

The exact nature of the liquid left after the rectification of {215}
ether is an inquiry well worthy of further investigation. The alcohol
of commerce is not a homogenous substance. Besides water, it contains
odoriferous oily matter, produced in the original fermentation, and
which is not wholly removed in the rectification of whiskey. This
matter, modified by the action of sulphuric acid and heat, with the
volatile substances generated during the ether process, are contained
in it. It may also be that the ether in this residue is more intimately
combined with water than in a mere mixture of water, alcohol, and ether
of the same strength, as suggested to me by Mr. Pemberton.

The question very naturally arises, why do not the manufacturers
prepare the officinal Hoffman’s anodyne, or why do they not furnish
the ethereal oil of the Pharmacopœia, that the apothecary may make
it himself by simple mixing? There are several reasons. 1st, the
apothecary, the physician, and to a large extent the consumer, have
become accustomed to the present commercial preparation, and the
majority, both of apothecaries and physicians, would reject the true
officinal spirit, if presented to them, as not correctly made; 2d,
druggists, as a general rule, would refuse to pay the greatly increased
price, absolutely required to remunerate the manufacturer, for the
greater consumption of time and materials, and increased skill and risk
in manipulation. Having, on several occasions, prepared the officinal
oil of wine and Hoffman’s anodyne, I can corroborate the statements
of Mr. Kent, at p. 255, relative to the small yield, and consequent
costliness of officinal heavy oil of wine. The so-called oil of wine,
which is imported into this city from England, and which is sometimes
employed for making the officinal spirit, is an ethereal solution of
etherole, one specimen yielding only seven per cent. of it. And 3d,
in the preparation of ether, the residue left in the still after the
rectification of the ether above 54° Beaumé, must either be thrown
away, or converted to the only use to which it can be applied with
advantage, viz., Hoffman’s anodyne. It is for this reason that the
price of the commercial “anodyne” is so low, being about fifteen cents
per pound. {216}

It may become a question in the next revision of the Pharmacopœia,
whether it would not be better to reconstruct the formula for compound
spirit of ether, somewhat on the plan of the manufacturers, or that
quoted at page 213, from Lewis’s Dispensatory, so as to render it more
practicable and likely to be followed. Of course it should be done with
due consideration of the difficulties involved in the production of a
spirit of uniform strength.—_American Journal of Pharmacy._



The Taban (_Isonandra Gutta_, Hook.), which was formerly so plentiful
[in Singapore], has long since been extinct. A few isolated trees may
here and there occur, but they are very scarce, and I have not been
able to obtain even the sight of one. Several of the white residents
keep in their gardens as a curiosity, a plant or two, but they grow
very slowly. It must ever be an object of regret, that on the first
introduction of the Taban gum, its proper name was not promulgated.
Now everybody in Europe and America speaks of Gutta Percha, when, in
fact, all the time they mean the Gutta Taban. The substance termed by
the Malays “Gutta Percha” is not the produce of the _Isonandra Gutta_,
Hook., but that of a botanically unknown tree, a species of _Ficus_, I
am told. The confusion of these two names has become a popular error—an
error which science will have to rectify.

The exportation of the indigenous Gutta Taban from Singapore commenced
in 1844, but as early as the end of 1847, all, {217} or at least
most, of the trees had been exterminated. That at present shipped from
the place, is brought in coasting vessels from the different ports of
Borneo, Sumatra, the Malayan peninsula, and Jahore Archipelago.[17]
The difference existing in its appearance and property is owing to
the intermixture of Gutta Percha, Jelotong, Gegrek, Litchu, and
other inferior Guttas, made by the natives in order to increase the
weight.—Though far from being extinct in the Indian Archipelago,
Gutta Taban will every year be more difficult to obtain, as the coast
region is said to be pretty well cleared, and a long transport from
the interior must, by augmenting the labor, increase the value of the


“The total export of Gutta Taban from Singapore has been:―

 In 1844                           1 picul
 In 1845                         169 picul
 In 1846                       5,364 picul
 In 1847                       9,296 picul
 In 1848 to the 1st of July    6,768 picul
         Total                21,598 piculs.

valued at 274,190 Spanish dollars. About 270,000 trees have probably
been felled during the three and a half years that the trade has
existed, and the value of each tree has thus on an average, been about
a dollar.”—J. R. Logan, “_On the Range of the Gutta Taban Collectors,
and present Amount of Import into Singapore_.” Mr. Logan has promised
an article on the various substances intermixed with the Taban, a
subject of the highest interest; but he has hitherto disappointed his

A few months after the publication of your first account of the
plant, in January, 1847, an article on the same subject appeared in
the _Journal of the Indian Archipelago_, by one of its most able
contributors, Dr. T. Oxley. As that article contains many statements
not contained in yours, and as it may possibly have escaped your
notice, I shall make a few extracts from it.

 “The Gutta Taban tree belongs to the natural order _Sapotaceæ_,
 but differs so much from all described genera, that I am inclined
 to consider it a new one. I shall, therefore, endeavor to give its
 general character, leaving the honor of naming it to a more competent
 botanist, especially as, from want of {218} complete specimens, I have
 not quite satisfied myself regarding the stamens and fruit.

 “The tree is from sixty to seventy feet high, from two to three feet
 in diameter. In its general aspect it resembles the Durian (_Durio
 Zibethinus_, Linn.), so much so as to strike the most superficial
 observer. The leaves are alternate, obovate-lanceolate, entire,
 coriaceous, their upper surface is of a pale green, and their under
 surface covered with a close, short, reddish-brown hair. The flowers
 are axillary, from one to three in the axils, supported on short
 curved pedicels, and numerous along the extremities of the branches.
 The calyx is inferior, persistent coriaceous, divided into six sepals,
 which are arranged in double series. The corolla is monopetalous,
 hypogenous, and divided, like the calyx, into six acuminate segments.
 The stamens, inserted into the throat of the corolla, are in a single
 series, and variable in number, but to the best of my observation,
 their normal number is twelve; they are most generally all fertile.
 The anthers are supported on slender bent filaments, and open by two
 lateral pores. The ovary is superior, terminated by a long single
 style, and six-celled; the cells are monospermous. The fruit is
 unknown to me.

 “Only a short time ago the Taban tree was tolerably abundant on the
 Island of Singapore, but already, (middle of 1847) all the large
 timber has been felled. Its geographical range, however, appears to
 be considerable, it being found all up the Malayan peninsula, as far
 as Penang, where I have ascertained it to be plentiful. Its favorite
 localities are the alluvial tracts on the foot of hills, where it
 forms the principal portion of the jungle.

 “The quantity of solid gutta obtained from each tree varies from
 five to twenty catties, so that, taking the average of ten catties,
 which is a tolerably liberal one, it will require the destruction
 of ten trees to produce one picul. Now, the quantity exported from
 Singapore to Europe, from the 1st of January, 1845, to the middle of
 1847, amounted to 6,918 piculs, to obtain {219} which, 69,180 trees
 must have been sacrificed! How much better would it be to adopt the
 method of tapping the tree practised by the Burmese, in obtaining the
 caoutchouc, than to continue the present process of extermination.”[18]

[18] T. Oxley, in the _Journal of the Indian Archipelago_, vol. i, p.

A mercantile house in Singapore lately received from Manilla a gum
which was supposed by those who sent it to be Gutta Taban, but
proved a different substance. It was accompanied by specimens of
the tree producing it, and a note stating that the gum abounded in
the Philippine Islands. As it will probably make its appearance in
England, and perhaps become of some importance, I may add that those
specimens presented to me by the merchant, belong to the genus _Ficus_;
but whether to a new or an already described species, want of books
prevented me from determining.—_Hooker’s Jour. of Botany._



Black pepper (_Piper Nigrum_, Linn.) and Gambir (_Uncaria Gambir_,
Roxb.) are grown in great quantities [in Singapore], and exclusively
by the Chinese, for both these articles are so exceedingly cheap,
that Europeans have not deemed it worth their while to engage in the
speculation. Pepper and Gambir plantations are always combined, because
the refuse of the gambir leaves serve as an excellent manure for the
pepper; and moreover, what is of equal, if not greater importance,
kills the Lalang, (_Andropogon caricosus_, Linn.), a plant which, like
the couch-grass (_Triticum repens_, Linn.), spreads with astonishing
rapidity over the fields, growing so close together and so high, that
within a short spate of time valuable plantations {220} are rendered
useless, and many have to be given up from the utter impossibility of
freeing the ground from this weed.

The process by which gambir is extracted and prepared is simple. The
leaves are boiled in water, until all their astringent property is
extracted. The decoction is then poured into another vessel, in which
it becomes inspissated, and, when nearly dry, is cut in small square
pieces, and thus brought into the market. M’Culloch states that sago
is used in thickening it. This, however, at least in Singapore, is not
the case; but, instead of sago, a piece of wood is dipped into the
vessel, by which the desired effect is produced. It must, indeed, be
an extraordinary substance, the mere dipping of which into the fluid
can cause it to become a thickened mass. I was very eager to obtain a
piece of this wood; unluckily, the Chinaman whose laboratory I visited,
could not be persuaded to part with his, and a friend of mine, who was
exerting himself to procure a sample, had not succeeded at the time of
the Herald’s departure: he promised, however, to send it to England,
accompanied by the Malayan name, and specimens of the tree.—_Hooker’s
Journal of Botany._



The author states, that in his travels in Persia he discovered the
plant which yields galbanum. In June, 1848, he found it on the
declivities of the Demawend. It is a ferula, from the stalks of
which a liquid issues abundantly, by the odor and nature of which he
immediately recognised galbanum, and his guides assured him, moreover,
that galbanum is gathered from this plant. The author has not yet
distinctly determined {221} the plant. It appears to differ from
_Ferula erubescens_ (_Annales des Sciences_, iii., Sér. 1844, p. 316,)
only by the absence of commissural vitæ; but as neither Aucher-Eloy,
nor Kotschy, who have both collected the Ferula erubescens, make any
mention of its yielding galbanum, the author is in doubt whether his
plant be the same, or a variety of it. Don’s genus galbanum (Trib.
Sibrinæ) and Lindley’s Opaïdia (Trib. Smyrneæ) do not agree with the
plant seen by Bushe, unless that both of these authors have made their
descriptions from imperfect fruits, or that there exist other plants
which yield galbanum.—The plant which Bushe describes is called in
some parts of Persia, _Khassuch_, (not _Kasneh_, which means Cichor
intybus, nor Gäshnis, which is Coriand. sativum), and appears to be
confined to certain districts of Persia. In the whole large district
of the Elburs-chain, from the south-east angle to the south-west
angle of the Caspian Sea, it is only found in the neighborhood of the
Demawend; but here at an elevation of from 4000 to 8000 feet, and even
on the declivity of the top of the Demawend. It exists neither on the
mountains of Talysch, nor in the districts of Karadagh and Tabris. It
is said to re-appear on the Mount Alwend, near Hamadan, and in the
neighborhood of the great salt desert. Near Hamadan Aucher-Eloy has
gathered his Ferula erubescene, and this supports the supposition that
the author’s plant is the same. In the salt desert itself Bushe did not
meet with it again. The inhabitants of the Demawend collect the gum
resin, which issues spontaneously from the lower part of the stalk;
they do not make incisions in the plant; but it is not at this place
that the galbanum is collected for commercial purposes. When fresh,
the gum resin is white like milk, liquid, and somewhat glutinous. In
the air it soon becomes yellow, elastic, and finally solid. The odor
is rather strong, unpleasant, and similar to that of our commercial
galbanum.—_Central Blatt_, für 1852, No. xiii.



exposition of the principles and practice of these movements, for the
correction of the tendencies to disease in infancy, childhood and
youth, and for the cure of many morbid affections of adults. BY M.
ROTH, M. D., London, 1851.

Open quackery was at one time contented with the market-place and the
stage; its merits and achievements were announced only by the lungs of
its professors and their assistants. We have changed all that. Quackery
has improved with the age. It has got possession of the newspapers,
and forces its way in the pulpit; it has its colleges and graduates,
it edits journals and writes books; but it has changed its form, not
its spirit; at bottom it is as shameless, and lying and rediculous as
ever. While its essence is eternal its form is constantly changing. A
variety springs up, flourishes, attains its maturity, then dies away,
to be replaced by another, or to be revived in a distant country or a
future generation. The facilities of intercommunication afforded by
railroad and steam vessels yield the same advantage to imposture and
credulity, that they give to science and truth. We import nonsense and
humbug as well as silks and dry goods. But as was observed on another
occasion, home manufacture has sprung up, and we have become exporters
as well as importers. Spiritual knocking are set off against Mesmerism;
Thompsonianism is sent in exchange for Hygeia; native Sarsaparillas
have driven the foreign from the market; Mormonism goes a long way
to balance Homeopathy, while the “Great Harmonican,” in size, in
pretension and in absurdity, is scarcely to be rivalled any where in
the present age.

The newest delusion that pretends to be a system, Kinesipathy, is,
in the country of its origin, already several years old. It comes to
us from Sweden, and recommends the treatment of diseases by means
of various exercises, and above all, blows on different parts of
the body. All these are set forth with the greatest gravity, and
defined and commented on with as much precision as if the author was
bringing forward a National Pharmacopœia. In the treatment of disease
the motives, positions, and blows, are varied in the strangest, and
often most ludicrous manner. Witness the following _prescription_
for gonorrhea, which is complete except as the author states “some
movements depending on particular circumstances.”

1. “Percussion on the sacrum in the stride standing position.

2. “Transversal chopping on the neck in the sitting position.

3. “Pressure above the os pubis in the lying position, with elevated
back, while the separated and bent legs are drawn towards the abdomen.
Vibration of the perineum, in the same position.”

“The treatment begins with percussing the sacrum, in the stride
standing position, which in the first day or two not only allays and
relieves the more violent inflammation and copious secretion, but also
changes the whole state of the disease in such a manner, that the
following treatment by movements, (different {223} according to the
state of the patient,) produces an increased flow of arterial blood
in the upper extremities, and the cure is very much accelerated. In
the first stage, during which only moderate stitching pains, tension,
and little secretion appears; the percussion on the sacrum alone is
sufficient, if repeated three or four times daily. If the symptoms
become more violent, and accompanied by chordee and pain during
urinating, &c., then other movements are necessary, then make use of
the transversal chopping of the neck, which acts strongly against the
chordee, and of the pressure above the os pubis in the above mentioned
lying position, which increases the venous absorption of the bladder
and sexual organs, by its effect on the excited nerves of these parts.
In the second period if the urinating is very difficult, the perineum
swollen and painful, the discharge mixed with blood, and fever is
present, then a more general treatment is necessary. To increase the
more local absorption in the urethra, vibrations along the whole tract
of the perineum from before backward are employed.”

That percussion on the sacrum has long been known as a remedial measure
in moral complaints we are perfectly aware, but that it was to become
an article of materia medica is something new under the sun!

Kinesipathy has not yet, we believe, been formally introduced into
the United States, but we hear that a new set of quacks, who call
themselves Psychologists, have adopted something from its rules, and
are employing “percussions and flagellations” as one of their means for
the cure of the various ills that flesh is heir too.

After all some partial truth, long well known and acted on by the
profession, as is the case in most successful quackeries, underlies
Kinesipathy. Exercise and stimulation of the external surface, are
in themselves exceedingly beneficial, and under the influence of a
charlatan, patients will submit to a discipline, which if directed by a
physician would never receive more than momentary attention.

PHARMACY IN RICHMOND.—We are glad to see the following call to the
Apothecaries of Richmond, in the July number of the American Journal
of Pharmacy, and we hope that the example will be imitated in all our
towns, in which the number of pharmaceutists is sufficient to form a
society. Mutual association is the best means of promoting the true
interests and standing of the profession.

“The undersigned, believing that by friendly co-operation among
themselves, their respectability will be increased; their standing in
the community will become more elevated, faults in their profession
be remedied, evils to which they are now subjected be removed;
that their art may be more systematized, and better regulated; a
more friendly feeling towards each other be excited amongst them,
their mutual interests advanced, and the public good promoted; do
most earnestly call upon their brethren, engaged in Pharmaceutical
pursuits, to meet at the Gentlemen’s Parlor, Exchange Hotel, on Friday
evening, 11th inst., at 8 o’clock, for the purpose of considering the
advantages that would result to all of them, from the formation of
some organized Association, that would have for its {224} object the
above named desirable ends; as well as to encourage among themselves
mutual improvement in the knowledge so necessary to a proper discharge
of those duties, (both to themselves and the public,) which their
situations as men occupying positions among the most responsible in
life, impose upon them.

As the organization which it is now proposed to form, would contemplate
the good of all its Members, it is most earnestly hoped that all the
Druggists and Apothecaries who feel any interest in this important
subject, will cordially unite their intelligence and talents in
an effort to accomplish the above named ends, and that the proper
preliminary steps will be taken for the formation of a society of the
Apothecaries in this city, which will prove beneficial to its members,
an honor to their profession, and a credit to the city of Richmond.”


_Richmond, June 8th, 1852._

SUPPOSITORIES OF BUTTER OF CACAO.—Butter of cacao has of late been
largely employed in the formation of suppositories, for which it is
admirably adapted, by its consistence, and by the facility with which
it becomes liquid at the temperature of the body. Some times a good
deal of difficulty is encountered in incorporating it with laudanum,
chloroform, extracts and solutions. In such cases M. Stanislas Martin
recommends that the butter be first moulded in the desired form, and
that then a cavity be formed in it, by means of an iron wire slightly
warmed, sufficiently large to contain the prescribed medicine. The
orifice can then be closed with a thin layer of the butter of cacao,
formed by rubbing a morsel of it upon an iron spatula, or the blade of
a knife slightly warmed in a spirit lamp.

A number of the suppositories thus prepared beforehand, can be
preserved in envelopes which serve them for a mould, these being
removed only when they are about to be used.


At a meeting of the College of Pharmacy of the City of New York, held
June 28th, Messrs. George D. Coggesshall, William Hegeman and L. S.
Haskell, were elected Delegates from this College to the National
Pharmaceutical Convention, to meet at Philadelphia, on the first Monday
in October next. It was resolved that in case of any disability of
either of their number to attend, the remaining delegates should be
authorised to fill the vacancy.

The re-issue of President Guthrie’s official call for the meeting of
the Convention was expected in time for this number of the Journal,
but has not been received. It will doubtless appear in our next with a
further notice of this important subject.




AUGUST, 1852.


The following results are from the mill returns of a drug house in this
city. They show the actual loss incurred in powdering these different
articles, and are, so far, of service by indicating the practical loss
arising from the process.

As the per centage of loss varies very much with the quantity subjected
to the process, _ceteris paribus_, the quantities of each parcel are
also given.

 SALTS, CRYSTALINE  |        |Percentage||        |Percentage||        |Percentage||        |Percentage
  SUBSTANCES, &c.   |Quantity| of Loss  ||Quantity| of Loss  ||Quantity| of Loss  ||Quantity| of Loss
                    |   lbs. |          ||   lbs. |          ||   lbs. |          ||   lbs. |
 Acid. Tartaric.    |   556  |   1.08   ||  1426  |   1.61   ||   723  |   1.38   ||   256  |   4.95
                    |   554  |   1.44   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 Cobalt (Arsenic),  |   122  |   1.63   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 Aluminæ & Potassæ  |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Sulph.           |    74  |   5.40   ||    49  |   6.12   ||        |          ||        |
 Ammoniæ Muriat.    |   202  |   8.41   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 Potassæ Nitrat.    |   500  |   3.98   ||   190  |   2.36   ||   500  |   1.80   ||    90  |   3.06
                    |   300  |   8.17   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 ——— Sulphat.       |    63  |   1.59   ||    98  |   3.06   ||        |          ||        |
 ——— Bitartrat.     |  1166  |    .43   ||  2121  |    .47   ||  1007  |    .49   ||  1115  |    .44
                    |  1115  |    .41   ||  1160  |    .52   ||  1116  |    .44   ||  2650  |    .37
                    |  1068  |    .47   ||  1163  |    .43   ||  1155  |    .43   ||        |
 Sodæ Biborat.      |   110  |  20.91   ||    50  |  10.00   ||        |          ||        |
 Soap, Olive Oil,   |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   white,           |    62  |  33.33   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 VEGETABLE SUB-     |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   STANCES, BARKS.  |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 Canella Alba,      |    67  |   4.48   ||    50  |   4.04   ||        |          ||        |
 Cassia,            |    30  |   5.00   ||    74  |   5.40   ||        |          ||        |
 Cinchona           |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Maracaibo,       |   165  |   3.94   ||   174  |   4.25   ||   921  |   4.56   ||        |
 {226}              |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Cinchona Flava,  |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
     (Calisaya)     |   30   |   5.00   ||    47  |    4.25  ||    40  |    5.00  ||        |
   ——— Rubra,       |   44   |   4.54   ||   160  |    4.05  ||    59  |    5.08  ||    96  |   4.66
   Mezerion,        |   32   |   7.81   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Myrica Cerifera, |   85   |   3.53   ||    92  |    4.34  ||        |          ||        |
   Prinos verticill.|   24   |   4.16   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Prunus Virginian.|   50   |   4.00   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 BERRIES.           |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Capsicum,        |  166   |   3.67   ||    95  |    3.15  ||    64  |    4.69  ||    80  |   3.75
   Cubeba,          |   68   |   4.32   ||    50  |    4.00  ||    79  |    3.77  ||    54  |   3.70
                    |   92   |   3.26   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 GUMS AND RESINS.   |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Aloes Soct,      |  220   |   7.27   ||   320  |    5.23  ||        |          ||        |
   Acacia,          |  225   |   4.00   ||   217  |    3.64  ||   121  |    4.13  ||    75  |   4.69
                    |   64   |   3.12   ||    93  |    3.76  ||    64  |    3.12  ||        |
   Catechu,         |   70   |   4.28   ||    71  |    4.89  ||        |          ||        |
   Euphorbium,      |   52   |   3.84   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Gambogia,        |   31   |   4.84   ||    38  |    3.89  ||        |          ||        |
   Kino,            |   50   |   4.00   ||    44  |    3.41  ||    44  |    3.40  ||        |
   Mastiche,        |   15   |   8.47   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Myrrha,          |  117   |   4.27   ||    35  |    5.71  ||        |    5.69  ||        |
   Opium,           |   70   |   7.14   ||    75  |    6.66  ||   100  |    5.00  ||        |
                    |   50   |   6.00   ||    61  |    8.94  ||    25  |    6.00  ||    95  |   8.42
                    |   81   |   4.93   ||    63  |    6.72  ||   100  |    7.25  ||    75  |   6.00
                    |  131   |   6.46   ||    62  |    6.78  ||    27  |    8.25  ||   155  |   5.63
   Sanguis Draconis,|   10   |   5.00   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Scammonium       |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
     Lachrym,       |   29   |   6.89   ||     9  |    8.33  ||    14  |    3.57  ||        |
                    |   45   |   4.44   ||        |          ||        |          ||    35  |   2.86
   Tragacantha,     |   30   |   5.00   ||    35  |    4.28  ||        |          ||        |
 HERBS.             |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Aconite,         |   38   |   5.26   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Cicuta,          |   35   |   5.71   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Digitalis,       |   47   |   4.25   ||    32  |    4.34  ||    28  |    3.57  ||        |
   Lobelia,         |   28   |   4.38   ||    34  |    4.61  ||        |          ||        |
   Hyoscyamus,      |   40   |   8.75   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 FLOWERS.           |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Arnica,          |   17   |   5.88   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Caryophyllus,    |   28   |   5.36   ||    55  |    2.72  ||    50  |    4.00  ||        |
   Humulus,         |  268   |   4.10   ||   195  |    5.12  ||   222  |    3.80  ||   252  |   3.57
                    |  218   |   4.11   ||   193  |    4.14  ||        |          ||        |
 FRUIT.             |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Colocynth.[19]   |   26   |  65.38   ||    55  |   69.09  ||        |          ||        |
 LEAVES.            |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Buchu,           |  104   |    .96   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Senna Alex.      |   41   |   3.61   ||    26  |    5.66  ||        |          ||        |
   Senna Indic.     |   50   |   3.96   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Uva Ursi,        |   42   |   4.70   ||    50  |    4.00  ||        |          ||        |
 ROOTS.             |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Calamus,         |   27   |   7.41   ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
 {227}              |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Cimicifuga       |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
     Racemosa,      |    69  |    4.34  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Colomba,         |   194  |    4.13  ||    95  |    2.52  ||    79  |    3.79  ||    94  |   4.25
   Cucuma, ground,  |   650  |    3.08  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Gentiana, ground,|   227  |    2.20  ||   280  |    2.50  ||   149  |    2.68  ||        |
   ——— powdered,    |    72  |    4.17  ||    71  |    4.22  ||        |          ||        |
   Glyyrrh.         |   156  |    3.84  ||   145  |    4.13  ||    70  |    4.11  ||   313  |   4.15
   Helleborus,      |    58  |    4.31  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Hydrastis canad. |    37  |    5.40  ||    50  |    5.00  ||        |          ||        |
   Ictodes Fœtidus, |    25  |    4.00  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Inula,           |    50  |    4.00  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Ipecac.          |    99  |    4.44  ||    80  |    3.75  ||   109  |    4.13  ||    73  |   4.76
                    |    96  |    4.17  ||   321  |    3.42  ||        |          ||        |
   Iris Flor.       |   232  |    3.02  ||   138  |    3.62  ||        |          ||        |
   Jalap,           |   141  |    4.52  ||   331  |    3.76  ||   193  |    4.39  ||   201  |   4.23
                    |   271  |    3.13  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Rheum Indic.     |    96  |    4.16  ||    78  |    3.84  ||    75  |    4.00  ||    40  |   3.75
                    |    96  |    4.14  ||    87  |    3.44  ||    98  |    3.57  ||   314  |   4.46
   ——— Russicum,    |    28  |    3.57  ||    63  |    4.76  ||    30  |    4.17  ||        |
   Sanguinaria,     |    50  |    3.96  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Salep,           |    67  |    6.66  ||    25  |    4.00  ||        |          ||        |
   Scilla,          |    27  |   11.11  ||    81  |    6.17  ||    55  |    8.18  ||    40  |  13.12
                    |    30  |   16.66  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Senega,          |    59  |    5.08  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Serpentara,      |    45  |    4.44  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Spigelia Marilan.|    52  |    4.76  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Valeriana,       |    47  |    4.24  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Zingib. Jam.     |   114  |    4.37  ||    58  |    5.17  ||   115  |    4.00  ||        |
 SEEDS.             |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Anisum,          |    58  |    4.27  ||   102  |    2.94  ||        |          ||        |
   Cardamomum,[20]  |    50  |   26.00  ||    61  |    4.92  ||        |          ||        |
   Colchicum,       |    61  |    4.09  ||    37  |    4.00  ||        |          ||        |
   Coriandrum,      |    99  |    2.02  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Linum, ground,   |   533  |     .93  ||        |     .81  ||        |          ||        |
   Lobelia,         |    67  |    7.46  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Nux Vomica,      |   100  |    3.00  ||    52  |    3.84  ||    66  |    4.54  ||        |
 SUNDRIES.          |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Cantharis,       |    68  |    4.41  ||    68  |    4.41  ||    65  |    3.82  ||   112  |   3.57
                    |    39  |    3.79  ||    41  |    4.88  ||    53  |    6.00  ||    42  |   3.57
   Ext. Colocynth.  |        |          ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
          Comp.     |    33  |    4.57  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Ext. Glyyrrh.    |    50  |    4.08  ||   200  |    3.50  ||        |          ||        |
   Ext. Jalap,      |    20  |    4.86  ||        |          ||        |          ||        |
   Galla,           |    70  |    4.21  ||    73  |    4.11  ||    28  |    5.26  ||    56  |   3.54
   Secale Cornut.   |    31  |    4.79  ||    29  |    5.08  ||    30  |    3.33  ||        |

[19] This includes loss of Seeds.

[20] Of this 21.00 is loss in Hulls.

From the above results the following table, showing the average loss on
each article, has been calculated:―

 {228}                      |   Average
                            | per centage
                            |   of Loss.
  SUBSTANCES, &c.           |
   Acid, Tartaric           |     1.50
   Cobalt (Arsenic)         |     1.63
   Aluminæ et Potassæ,      |     5.76
     sulphat. (calcined)    |
   Ammoniæ Muriat.          |     8.41
   Potassæ Nitrat.          |     2.80
   ——— Sulphat.             |     2.37
   ——— Bi-tartrat.          |      .45
   Sodæ Bi-Borat.           |    15.45
   Soap, Olive Oil, white   |    33.33
         BARKS.             |
   Cannella Alba            |     4.26
   Cassia                   |     5.20
   Cinchona Maracaibo       |     4.25
   ——— Flava (Calisaya)     |     4.75
   ——— Rubra                |     4.58
   Mezerion                 |     7.81
   Myrica Cerifera          |     3.98
   Prinos Verticill.        |     4.16
   Prunus Virginian.        |     4.00
 BERRIES.                   |
   Capsicum                 |     3.81
   Cubeba                   |     3.81
 GUMS AND RESINS.           |
   Aloes Soct.              |     6.25
   Acacia                   |     3.78
   Catechu                  |     4.58
   Euphorbium               |     3.84
   Gambogia                 |     4.36
   Kino                     |     3.60
   Mastiche                 |     8.47
   Myrrha                   |     3.15
   Opium                    |     6.61
   Sanguis Draconis         |     5.00
   Scammonium Lachrym       |     5.22
   Tragacantha              |     4.64
   Spegelia Mariland.       |     4.76
 HERBS.                     |
   Aconite                  |     5.26
   Cicuta                   |     5.71
   Digitalis                |     4.04
   Lobelia                  |     4.49
   Hyosciamus               |     8.75
 FLOWERS.                   |
   Arnica                   |     5.88
   Caryoph.                 |     4.03
   Humulus                  |     4.14
 FRUIT.                     |
   Colocynth.               |    67.23
 LEAVES.                    |
   Buchu                    |      .96
   Senna Alex.              |     4.63
   ——— Ind.                 |     3.96
   Uva Ursi                 |     4.35
 ROOTS.                     |
   Calamus                  |     7.41
   Cimicituga Racemosa      |     4.34
   Colomba                  |     3.47
   Curcuma ground,          |     3.08
   Gentian. ground,         |     2.46
   ——— powdered             |     2.20
   Glyyrrh.                 |     4.06
   Helleborus               |     4.31
   Hydrastis Canad.         |     5.20
   Iclodes Fœtidus          |     4.00
   Inula                    |     4.00
   Ipecacuanha              |     4.10
   Iris Flor.               |     3.34
   Jalap                    |     4.00
   Rheum Indicum            |     3.91
   ——— Russic.              |     4.17
   Sanguinaria              |     3.96
   Salep                    |     3.84
   Scilla                   |     9.43
   Senega                   |     5.08
   Serpentaria              |     4.44
   Lobelia                  |     7.46
 {229}                      |
   Valerian.                |     4.24
   Zingib. Jam.             |     4.51
 SEEDS.                     |
   Anisum                   |     3.60
   Cardamom.                |     4.92
   Colchicum                |     4.05
   Coriandrum               |     2.02
   Linum (ground,)          |      .87
   Nux Vomica               |     3.79
 SUNDRIES.                  |
   Cantharis.               |     4.31
   Ext. Coloc. comp.        |     4.54
   Ext. Glyyrrh.            |     6.25
   Ext. Jalap               |     4.87
   Galla                    |     4.34
   Secale Cornutum          |     4.39



The preparations of iron being among the most important articles of
the Pharmacopœia, it is surprising that so little attention is paid by
many druggists and pharmaceutists to the preparation and preservation
of these articles in a pure state. The greater part of the preparations
of iron to be found in the shops are far from having the chemical
composition indicated by their labels, and in fact, few of the formulas
given in any of the Pharmacopœias for preparations of iron, are capable
of giving even tolerably pure products.

If there is any difference in a therapeutical point of view, between
compounds of the protoxide and compounds of the peroxide of iron,
and if any value is to be attached to definite composition in
medicines, enabling physicians to administer _known quantities_ to
their patients, this state of affairs should not exist. Persons who
handle the compounds of protoxide of iron, should be aware of the fact
that few substances are more speedily and completely destroyed than
these by the action of {230} moist air; thus, one hundred parts of
the _carbonate of iron_, require less than seven parts of oxygen for
complete conversion into _sesquioxide of iron_, and one hundred parts
of pure _copperas_ require less than _three_ parts of the same element
to effect a like change in all the protoxide of iron which it contains.

As these protoxide of iron compounds, however, oxydate themselves
only in the presence of water, the mode of preservation which I would
propose, is very simple: It is only necessary to dry them perfectly
and to introduce into the vessels in which they are to be preserved,
a few small lumps of _quicklime_, which will keep the air in the
interior of the vessel continually dry. To prevent any contamination
of the preparation by direct contact with the lime, the latter must be
securely folded in one or two thicknesses of filtering paper.

The iodide of iron and the carbonate, phosphate, arseniate, lactate
and citrate of protoxide of iron may be preserved in this way, also
the anhydrous sulphate (Ferri Sulphas Siccatum), but it is evident
that _crystallized_ copperas would not retain a definite composition
under these circumstances, because it would soon lose its crystal
water. To preserve crystallized copperas, it is best to pulverize
the crystals rather finely and dry the powder by repeatedly pressing
strongly between folds of filtering paper, before putting up. Some have
attempted to preserve the crystals under the surface of strong alcohol,
but having tried this plan I must report unfavorably, for although
the copperas remained for a while intact, yet, on examination after a
considerable lapse of time, a large proportion of sesquioxide of iron
was found. In fact, this result was to be anticipated in consideration
of the well-known fact that strong alcohol has itself an attraction for
oxygen, and always absorbs a certain amount of it when exposed to the
air, serving thus merely as a medium for transmitting oxygen to any
copperas which may be immersed in it.

I think it may be confidently stated that none of the protoxide
compounds of iron should be kept in solution, either in water or
alcohol, for medical purposes, unless in vessels {231} hermetically
closed. Some say, notwithstanding, that _iodide of iron_ in solution
may be preserved by keeping in it a piece of metallic iron, a deposite
being formed, however, in the liquid which is supposed to be nothing
more than sesquioxide of iron, but in which I strongly suspect the
presence of a _subiodide of iron_, and consequent abstraction of iodine
from the solution. Of course, however, this question can only be
settled by a chemical examination of the deposit alluded to.

The sulphate of iron is the starting point in preparing all the
compounds of iron which are used in medicine, and it is important
therefore, to know how to separate easily the impurities which are
contingent to this extremely cheap article of commerce. The impurities
which commercial copperas most frequently contains are more or less
sulphate of sesquioxide, together with a little sesquichloride of iron,
and more rarely, traces of the sulphate of copperas, manganese, alumina
and lime. A small addition of _oxide of silver_ to the solution will
precipitate all chlorine present, and subsequent digestion for a few
minutes with _carbonate of baryta_ will remove every trace of sulphate
of sesquioxide of iron, and of alumina. Copper may, of course, be
removed by immersion of metallic iron. Traces of lime may be separated
by recrystallization, but if traces of _manganese_ are present, as is
sometimes the case, I, know no way by which it can be separated. I am
not aware, however, that the presence of such a trace of manganese in
a preparation of iron would impair its therapeutical value. Another
method of getting rid of the sulphate of sesquioxide is to acidulate
the solution with sulphuric acid and, agitate with some pulverized
_protosulphide of iron_, which will reduce the sesquioxide to protoxide.

When a solution of pure sulphate of protoxide of iron, free from
sesquioxide, merely is required for preparing the carbonate or other
insoluble protocompound, the method with carbonate of baryta is to be
preferred, and in some rare cases when the presence of sulphate of lime
in the solution of copperas obtained is of no importance, carbonate
of lime may be {232} substituted for carbonate of baryta, and will
accomplish the same object.

When a solution of pure protosulphate of iron thus obtained is used
for the preparation of carbonate of iron, care must be taken to use
for precipitating, a solution of carbonate of soda which is free from
silica, phosphoric acid, etc., which if present would surely go down
with the precipitate. The precipitated carbonate should be washed with
water which has been freed from _air_ by previous boiling and better
with water which is still boiling hot, dried as quickly as possible,
first by pressure between folds of paper and then in a water bath,
and preserved in well closed vessels containing lumps of quicklime as
recommended above.

The formulas given in the Pharmacopœias for the preparation of the
sesquioxide of iron, which besides being employed as a remedy itself,
is used in preparing all the other sesquicompounds of iron used in
Pharmacy, appear to be open to great objection on the ground of
affording, instead of a pure sesquioxide of iron, an _indefinite
mixture_ of sesquioxide with carbonate of the protoxide. No necessity
whatever exists for this; the following _modus operandi_, besides
being much less troublesome in its execution than those given by the
Pharmacopœias, will furnish a product of constant composition, being
an anhydrous sesquioxide of iron free from protoxide, and either
chemically pure or very nearly so. The materials required are, five
parts of commercial copperas which has been recrystallized once or
twice, six parts of crystallized pure carbonate of soda, (Na O, C O^2
+ 10 HO) or two parts of dry carbonate of soda, and one part of
nitrate of soda. (Chili saltpetre). The carbonate and nitrate of soda
are dissolved together in one portion of hot water and the copperas
in another portion, and the two solutions, after filtrating mixed
together, evaporated to dryness and the dry mass exposed to the lowest
possible red heat for a few minutes. On pouring water upon the mass
thus obtained, sulphate of soda and nitrate of soda dissolve and
sesquioxide of iron separates as a heavy powder very easily washed
{233} by decantation. When thoroughly washed and dried it appears as
a dark reddish brown _perfectly impalpable_ powder, which is perfectly
and easily soluble in dilute acids, and even in acetic acid and the
composition of which is Fe^2 O^3.

One great advantage of this process, is an avoidance of the immense
tedium of _washing the precipitates_ obtained in the ordinary processes.

I have but one more suggestion to make with regard to preparations of
iron, and that is in the preparation of _Ferri Pulvis_ or powder of
iron by reduction of the sesquioxide—to propose the substitution of
common coal gas as a reducing agent for the hydrogen gas directed by
all the formulas, the former being obviously so vastly more convenient
and far less expensive.



Pure sesqui-chloride and poto-chloride of iron are unknown to the
Pharmacopœia of the United States, a fact which seems strange to
a German pharmaceutist, since they are met with in every German
dispensatory, and require great care for their proper preparation.

The American Pharmacopœia indeed recognizes a tincture of chloride
of iron, prepared by dissolving the sub-carbonate (sesqui oxide) of
iron in hydrochloric acid, and adding alcohol. This tincture would
be rejected throughout Germany, since they endeavor there to obtain
the preparations of perchloride of iron free from any traces of
sesqui-chloride, while those of the sesqui-chloride should contain no
admixture of the proto salt. This shows the practical character of the
American {234} Pharmacopœia, which does not demand of the apothecary a
purity of preparation which it is next to impossible to meet.

While making this acknowledgment, a good formula for the preparation
of sesqui-chloride of iron still remains desirable.—This drug too, is
sometimes used in American practice, as may be seen from the “Notes on
Pharmacy,” by Mr. Benjamin Canavan, in the May number of the _New York
Journal of Pharmacy_. Mr. Canavan has given one of the oldest formulæ
from the Austrian Pharmacopœia of 1820, as found in the _Pharmacopie
Universelle_ by Jourdan. This formula directs us to dissolve the iron
in a kind of aqua regia, and then to evaporate the superfluous acid by
means of a sand bath. The sesqui-chloride thus obtained is employed in
the preparation of “Bestucheff’s tincture,” by dissolving one ounce of
it in an ounce of water, adding twelve ounces of ether and agitating,
then decanting the ethereal solution, and finally mixing it with four
times its bulk of alcohol.

Having had frequent occasion to prepare this tincture as well in
Germany as in this city, it may not be unsuitable if I give here the
formula for its preparation, which seems to me the most convenient, as
well as my reasons for thinking so.

The sesqui-chloride of iron may be obtained in a pure and neutral
state, by passing a current of chlorine gas through a solution of
proto-chloride of iron, until a solution of the red ferrocyanide of
potassium of Gmelin no longer produces a blue precipitate, and then
evaporating the solution by means of a water bath. In this manner the
salt can readily be obtained in a crystalline form. One ounce of the
crystals thus obtained is to be dissolved in twelve ounces of ether, if
we retain the alleged proportions, mixed with four times its bulk of
alcohol, and finally bleached by exposing it to the direct light of the

The Prussian Pharmacopœia of 1846 gives the following proportions:—One
drachm of the sesqui-chloride of iron, or two drachms of the aqueous
solution, one fluid ounce of ether, and three fluid ounces of alcohol.

Here we have to notice,—1st, That it is preferable to take ether and
alcohol by weight rather than by measure, since their volume is very
much influenced by the temperature, which may range from 32° to 60° or

2nd, That the sesqui-chloride, prepared with nitro-nuriatic acid, is
not so easy to obtain in crystals, in consequence of the adhering
nitro-nuriatic acid, which is always retained in small quantities. On
the other hand, by drying the salt you will, in almost every case,
spoil a quantity of it by driving off too much of the acid.

3rd, That the sesqui-chloride of iron, if in crystals, is easily and
wholly soluble in ether, while the aqueous solution of it is but
partially so, a portion being decomposed, as is evidenced by the
solution becoming muddy. The ethereal solution, if prepared in the last
mentioned manner, must be of uncertain strength, which is avoided by
the first.

In Europe Bestucheff’s tincture is much used by physicians. It
sometimes agrees better in the bleached state, sometimes when colored.
When first prepared the tincture has a yellow hue, which it loses by
exposure to the light of the sun. If, after it has thus been bleached,
it is placed in a dark closet, it again becomes yellowish, though the
color is not so deep as at first.



(Physician to the London Hospital.)

It has long been known that the Socotrine aloes imported into England
varies considerably in its consistency, and is sometimes met with in
a soft or semi-fluid state. Frequently, on opening a package of this
sort of aloes, the interior is found to {236} be quite soft, while the
exterior is firm and hard. In general this arises from insufficient
evaporation of the aloe juice.

In the third edition of my _Elements of Materia Medica_, (vol. ii.,
part 1, p. 1077, published in 1850,) I have briefly referred to a
soft or semi-liquid Socotrine aloes, which had a bright or palm-oil
yellow color and odor. At that time I had but little opportunity of
investigating this very interesting drug; but a large importation of
it having recently taken place, I have more fully examined it, and, as
it appears to me to be the raw or unboiled juice of the plant yielding
what is known in commerce as Socotrine aloes, I propose to distinguish
it from the ordinary soft Socotrine aloes by the name of “_Socotrine
Aloe Juice_.”

Messrs. Horner, the holders of the whole of the present importation
of this juice, inform me that it was purchased of the Arabs up the
Red Sea, by a merchant, who was assured by the venders that it was
very fine aloe juice, and had not been boiled or otherwise altered. It
was imported into London by way of Madras, in casks each containing
six cwt. I am informed that the contents of some of the packages have
undergone decomposition during the voyage.

Its consistence is that of treacle or very thin honey; its color deep
orange or palm oil yellow; its odor powerful, fragrant, and resembling
that of fine Socotrine aloes. By standing it separates into two
parts,—an inferior, paler colored, opaque, finely granular portion,
and a superior, darker colored, transparent liquid. The latter forms,
however, a very small portion of the whole mass.

When the granular portion is submitted to microscopic examination, it
is found that the opacity and granular appearance arise from myriads of
beautiful prismatic crystals. If a temperature of 132° Fah. be applied
to the juice these crystals melt or dissolve, and the juice becomes
deep red and transparent; and when the liquid becomes cold it retains
its transparency, and does not deposit any crystals. By evaporation
the juice yields a solid, transparent extract, having all the {237}
characters of fine Socotrine aloes, in which no traces of crystalline
texture can be discovered. Mr. Jacob Bell has ascertained that 14 lbs.
of the juice yield 8lbs. 12ozs. of solid extract, or 62 1/2 per
cent. when the juice is mixed with cold distilled water, it becomes
opaque yellow, and renders the water turbid, but is not miscible with
it. If, however, heat be applied, the juice dissolves in the water,
forming an almost clear, rich red liquid. As the solution cools, it
at first becomes turbid, owing to the separation of an opaque yellow
precipitate, which, apparently, is the crystalline principle in an
amorphous form. This gradually separates from the liquid and collects
as a clear resiniform mass (commonly called the _resin_ of aloes) at
the bottom of the vessel, leaving the supernatant liquid tolerably
clear. If the juice be shaken up with rectified spirit of wine, an
uniform clear mixture is obtained, from which numerous yellow crystals
rapidly fall to the bottom of the liquid. Similar results are obtained
when we mix the juice with equal parts of rectified spirit of wine and

This crystalline constituent of Socotrine aloes is doubtless, either
the _aloin_[21] described by Messrs. T. & H. Smith, of Edinburgh, and
by Dr. Stenhouse, or a principle closely allied to it.

Dr. Stenhouse, to whom I have given a sample of it, is now engaged in
its investigation; and in a letter which I have received from him,
he says, that though he has not been able to get the aloin ready for
analysis, yet from the experiments he has already made with it, he has
scarcely a doubt that it will be found identical with that formerly
obtained from Barbados aloes. It forms, he adds, a precisely similar
combination with bromine, and, in short, agrees with it in every
particular; I shall, therefore, provisionally term this crystalline
principle the _aloin of Socotrine aloes_. On comparing it with a fine
specimen of aloin, kindly presented to me by Messrs. Smith, I find its
crystals smaller and more tapering—the summits of the crystals being
more acute.

[21] See New York Journal of Pharmacy, No. vi. page 177.

In drying, the crystals of the Socotrine aloin have a strong {238}
tendency to break up; so that crystals which in the moist state
are moderately large and regular, become small and pulverulent when
dry. Like the aloin crystals of Messrs. Smith, the aloin crystals of
Socotrine aloes, strongly doubly refract and depolarize light, and are,
therefore, beautiful objects when viewed by the polarizing microscope.

The crystals of aloin contained in Socotrine aloe juice cannot be
confounded with the crystals of oxalate and phosphate of lime found
in the juices of various plants, and which are called by botanists
_raphides_. The appearance under the microscope of the former is very
different from that of the latter. Moreover, the ready fusibility,
solubility, and complete combustibility of aloin crystals easily
distinguish them from the calcareous salts just referred to. On
platinum foil the aloin burns without leaving any residue, except such
as may arise from the presence of traces of some foreign matter.

Aloin may be readily obtained from the juice by mixing the latter with
spirit (either rectified or proof,) and collecting and drying the
precipitate. When procured in this way it appears to the naked eye like
a yellow powder; but when examined by the microscope it is found to
consist of minute fragments of crystals.

The tincture from which the aloin has been separated, yields by
distillation a spirit having the fragrant odor of the juice; showing
that the latter contains some volatile odorous principle. By
evaporation the tincture yields a resiniform extract.

In the first edition of my _Elements of Materia Medica_, published
1840, I have stated, that by digesting hepatic aloes in rectified
spirit of wine, a yellowish granular powder is obtained which is
insoluble in [cold] water, alcohol, ether, and dilute sulphuric acid,
but is readily soluble in a solution of caustic potash, forming a red
colored liquid. The powder like residue here referred to, is identical
with the aloin of Socotrine aloes. When examined by the microscope,
it is perceived to consist of very minute prismatic crystals, which
depolarize polarized light like the larger crystals of aloin above
referred to. I {239} think, therefore, that it may be safely inferred
that hepatic aloes has been prepared without the employment of
artificial heat, and that its opacity is due to the presence of minute
crystals of aloin.

When Socotrine aloes is digested in rectified spirit, an insoluble
portion is also obtained; but its color, instead of being yellow,
as in hepatic aloes, is dark brown. On submitting this dark brown
insoluble portion to microscopic examination, I find that it contains
depolarizing crystals.

Artificial Socotrine aloes (prepared by evaporating this aloe juice)
also yields, when digested in rectified spirit, a dark brown insoluble

I think, therefore, that Socotrine aloes differs from hepatic aloes in
the circumstance of its having been prepared by the aid of artificial
heat; by which its aloin constituent has become altered. This inference
is further substantiated by the fact, that after it has been melted,
hepatic aloes is found to have acquired the clearness and transparency
of the Socotrine sort.

The clear supernatant portion of aloe juice, from which the above
crystals have subsided, would probably also yield, by spontaneous
evaporation, an extract resembling, or identical with, Socotrine aloes.

That Socotrine and hepatic aloes were obtained from the same plant,
and were not different species of aloes, I have long suspected; and
in the first edition of my work on Materia Medica, published in 1840,
I have observed that “the similarity of the odor of Socotrine and
hepatic aloes leads to the suspicion that they are obtained from the
same plant; and which is further confirmed by the two being sometimes
brought over intermixed, the Socotrine occasionally forming a vein in a
cask of the hepatic aloes.”

The intermixture of the two sorts of aloes in the same cask might be
explained by supposing that the consolidation of the clear portion of
the juice has produced the so-called Socotrine aloes; while the opaque
aloin containing portion of juice has yielded what is termed hepatic
aloes. {240}

In the third edition of my work above alluded to, I have stated that
the name of _opaque liver-colored Socotrine aloes_ might with propriety
be applied to hepatic aloes. But until the present time I have been
unable to offer a plausible explanation of the cause of the difference
in these two commercial kinds of aloes.

From the preceding remarks I think we may infer:

1. That _aloin_ pre-exists in a crystalline form in the juice of
Socotrine aloes.

2. That the substance which deposits as a decoction of Socotrine aloes
cools, and which is usually termed the _resin_ or the _resinoid_ of
Socotrine aloes, is the aloin in a modified state.

3. That hepatic aloes[22] is the juice of the Socotrine aloes plant
which has been solified without the aid of artificial heat.

4. That hepatic aloes owes its opacity to the presence of minute
crystals of aloin.

5. That the juice of Socotrine aloes yields, when evaporated by
artificial heat, an extract possessing all the properties of commercial
Socotrine aloes.—_Pharm. Journ. April, 1852._

[22] By the term “_hepatic aloes_” I mean the opaque liver-colored
aloes imported into England from the East Indies (usually from Bombay).
This sort of aloes is very different from the _hepatic Barbadoes
aloes_, which formerly appears to have been exclusively called “hepatic



Of all the drugs which have been introduced into medical practice
within the last ten years, none has excited so much attention, and
has met with so favorable a reception, as cod-liver oil. To what
principles its peculiar properties are to be referred, has not yet been
ascertained. By some they have been attributed {241} to the presence
of a small quantity of iodine; but this has not proved a satisfactory
explanation. Many chemists have endeavoured to solve this problem,
but without success.—Amongst others, Dr. de Jongh, who attributed its
virtue to gaduin—a new principle which he had discovered in the oil,
with the usual fatty acids, and some of the constituents of bile, and
traces of iodine and bromine.

The results of my researches are different, in an important degree.
According to my experience, cod-liver oil is _an organic whole_ of a
peculiar character, differing in its chemical composition from any of
the fat oils which have been heretofore applied to medical purposes.

The evidences for this conclusion are the following:―

1. When the clear, pale cod-liver oil is saponified with potash, and
the resulting soap treated with tartaric acid, oleic and margaric acids
are obtained.

2. When a mixture of six parts of caustic potash, twenty-four parts
of distilled water, and twenty-four parts of cod-liver oil, after
being allowed to remain at an ordinary temperature, and often shaken,
and finally diluted with twenty-four parts of distilled water, is
distilled, a distillate is obtained, which possesses an intense odor
of cod-liver oil, and contains an appreciable quantity of a peculiar
organic compound, namely, oxide of propyl.

3. When nine parts of cod-liver oil are saponified with five parts of
oxide of lead, with the necessary quantity of distilled water, in a
porcelain vessel, by the heat of a water bath, the oil is decomposed
into oleic and margaric acids, and a new acid propylic acid. The chief
part of this acid combines, like the oleic and margaric acids, with the
oxide of lead, as it appears, to form a basic compound; and another
lead salt, probably an acid one, can be washed out of the plaister with
distilled water. It is worthy of remark, that no glycerine is formed
in this process. The plaister smells of train oil and herrings; and
when it is exposed in a thin layer to the action of the atmosphere in a
water bath, it becomes colored dark brown, after the {242} evaporation
of the water; and by the same means it loses its penetrating odor.
The cause of the coloring is due to the strong disposition which the
salts of propylic acid possess to oxidize, and consequently, to become
brown. When the solution of the acid propylate of lead is treated
with sulphuretted hydrogen, after the separation of the sulphuret of
lead, is obtained an entirely colorless and strongly acid reacting
solution, which by evaporation in a water bath, becomes by degrees
colored. At the commencement of the last part of the operation it
loses its penetrating odor, and at last leaves a dark brown residue.
Exactly in the same manner, the watery solutions of neutral propylates
of barytes and ammonia behave themselves. The neutral, colorless, and
undecomposed ammoniacal salt smells of herrings; and the baryta salt,
as concentrated decoction of meat.

4. When the before-described (No. 2) solution of cod-liver oil soap
is thrown into a capacious distillery apparatus, with the addition
of caustic lime and chloride of ammonium, (in the proportion of
six drachms of caustic potash, three ounces of cod-liver oil, six
ounces of water, six ounces of fresh burnt lime, and one drachm of
chloride of ammonium,) with the precaution, that the mixture of lime
and chloride of ammonium be not added until the soap is formed in
the retort, so that it may penetrate thoroughly the mass, and the
distillation proceeded with by means of a gentle heat, as the formation
of hydrate of lime evolves considerable heat, there distils rather
quickly a clear, watery fluid, over which is a concentrated solution of
propylamin free from ammonia. By saturating this solution with diluted
sulphuric acid, and adding alcohol, sulphate of propylamin readily
crystallizes out of it.

This simple experiment serves to prove, with certainty, that cod-liver
oil contains oxide of propyl. The propylamin thus obtained possesses
all the properties of that obtained from the pickle of herrings, or
ergot of rye.

Cod-liver oil by saponification with potash, is separated into
oleic and margaric acids, and _oxide of propyl_; and with oxide
{243} of lead, into oleic and margaric acids, and propylic acid—a
higher result of the oxidation of propyl—and gives by either process
of saponification no _hydrate of the oxide of glycyl_. The glycyl
(C‗{6} H‗{3}) is in this oil replaced by propyl (C‗{6} H‗{7}). Only
in cod-liver oil are the conditions offered for the formation of
propylamin (N H‗{2} C‗{6} H‗{7}), by the presence of ammonia, as
all the fat oils employed in medicine are free from this substance;
therefore none of these oils can be substituted for cod-liver oil.

[Should this research of Winckler, as to the existence of the hydrate
of the oxide of propyl in combination with the fatty acids in cod-liver
oil, be confirmed, it will establish an important fact in chemistry,
and may explain the therapeutic action of that remedy which has
heretofore puzzled both chemists and physicians. The combinations
of the radical propyl have been previously only known as artificial
productions; therefore Wincklers’s experiments, if true, show that
they exist in nature, or, in other words, that they are educts, and
not products, from cod-liver oil. Moreover, the presence of oxide of
propyl, and the absence of oxide of glycyl in cod-liver oil, will
enable chemists to distinguish by tests, with certainty, this oil from
other fatty oils.]—_Annals of Pharmacy, June, 1852._



A medicinal substance named guaraná was presented to me about two years
ago by a Brazilian. The virtues which he asserted that it possessed
induced me to employ it as a remedy in several troublesome and
obstinate cases of disease. The consequent benefit was so decided, that
I was convinced of the {244} great value it possessed as a remedial
agent. This conviction, with the belief that it was still unknown,
impelled me to bring the subject under the notice of the _profession_
in this country. A short account of it was therefore transmitted to
the editor of the “Edinburgh Monthly Medical Journal,” who forthwith
submitted it to Professor Christison. To the kindness and extensive
acquirements of this gentleman I am indebted for the information, that
the subject had already engaged the attention, of the brothers Martius
in Germany, and several French writers. It was a matter of satisfaction
to me to find that the opinions I had expressed regarding the great
prospective importance of this substance were fully borne out by all
those who have diligently examined it.

As a knowledge of the properties and uses of guaraná appears to be
still little diffused in this country, I shall consider that I am
performing an acceptable service to the medical profession in placing
before it an abstract of the more important facts that are known
regarding this substance. Public attention was first directed to it
by M. Gassicourt in 1817, (Journal de Pharmac., tom. iii., p. 259);
but the merit of discovering the source whence it is derived, and of
furnishing a more complete description of it, belongs to Von Martius,
in the year 1826, (Reise, vol. ii., p. 1061, _et seq._)

The term guaraná is derived from the name of a tribe of Indians, who
are dispersed between the rivers Parama and Uruguay, by whom it is
very commonly used as a condiment or medicine. It is, however, more
extensively prepared for commercial purposes by the Mauhés, an Indian
tribe in the province of Tapajoz. It is, according to Martius, prepared
from the seeds of the Paullinia sorbilis, a species belonging to the
natural family Sapindaceæ. The characters of the species are:—Glabra,
caule erecto angulato, foliis pinnatis bijugis, foliolis oblongis,
remote sinuato-obtuse-dentatis, lateralibus basi rotundatis, extimo
basi cuneato, petiolo nudo angnlato, racemis pubescentibus·erectis,
capsulis pyriformibus apteris rostratis, valvulis intus villosis. The
seeds, which ripen in the month of {245} October and November, are
collected, taken out of their capsules, and exposed to the sun, so as
to dry the arillus in which they are enveloped, that it may be more
readily rubbed off by the fingers. They are now thrown upon a stone,
or into a stone mortar, and reduced to powder, to which a little water
is added, or which is exposed to the night dew, and then formed by
kneading into a dough. In this condition it is mixed with a few of the
seeds entire or contused, and divided into masses, weighing each about
a pound, which are rolled into cylindrical or spherical forms. These
are dried by the sun or by the fire, and become so hard as to be broken
with difficulty. Their surface is uneven, brown, or sometimes black,
from the smoke to which they have been subjected; their fractured
surface is conchoidal, unequal, and resinoid; color reddish brown,
resembling chocolate. This is the guaraná, and in this condition, or
reduced to powder, it is kept for use or carried to market. The Museum
of the Edinburgh College of Physicians contains a specimen of it in
each of these forms. As it is liable to be adulterated with cocoa or
mandioca flour, it is of great importance to be aware that the genuine
article is distinguished by its greater hardness and density, and that,
when powdered, it does not assume a white color, but a grayish-red tint.

A chemical analysis of this substance was first made by Theodore
Martius, in 1826, (Buchner’s Repert. de Pharm. xxxi., 1829, p.
370). He found it to consist of a matter (tannin?) which iron
precipitated green, resin, a fat green oil, gum, starch, vegetable
fibre, and a white, bitter, crystalline product, to which the
efficacy of the medicine was principally owing, and which he
called guaranine. This he believed to be distinct from, but allied
to, theine and caffeine, and to possess the following elementary
constituents:—C‗{8}, H‗{10}, O‗{2}, N‗{4}.

Another very careful analysis of guaraná was made in the year 1840, by
MM. Berthemot and Dechastélus, (Journal de Pharmacie, tom. xxvi., p.
518, _et seq._), which varies in some degree from the preceding. They
found the matter, which {246} was considered to be resin by Martius,
a combination of tannin with guaranine, existing in a form insoluble
in water or ether. They also determined the perfect identity of the
crystalline matter with caffeine. It is found to exist in a much larger
proportion in the fruits of the Paullinia than in any of the plants
from which it has hitherto been extracted. Alcohol is the only agent
which completely removes it from the guaraná. To this solution the
addition of lime or hydrated oxide of lead gives, on the one hand, the
insoluble tannates, and on the other, the crystalline matter.

The medicinal virtues of this substance have been attentively examined
by Theodore Martius, (Op. cit.), and more particularly by Dr. Gavrelle
(sur une nouvelle substance médicinale, etc.: Paris, 1840), who
employed it very often while in Brazil, as physician to Don Pedro,
and afterwards in France. By both it is considered a valuable remedy,
and an important addition to the Materia Medica. By the vulgar it
is held to be stomachic, antifebrile, and aphrodisiac; is used in
dysentery, diarrhœa, retention of urine, and various other affections.
It stimulates, and at the same time soothes, the gastric system of
nerves. It reduces the excited sensibility of the cœliac plexus,
thereby diminishing febrile action, and strengthening the stomach and
intestines, particularly restraining excessive mucous discharges,
increasing the action of the heart and the arteries, and promoting
diaphoresis. It is therefore indicated as a valuable remedy in fevers,
or reduced vital power resulting from cold or prolonged wetness, grief,
to great muscular exertion, depression of spirits, long watching, and
also in colic, flatulence, anorexia, nervous hemicrania, or in a dry
condition of the skin. It is contra-indicated in a plethoric or loaded
condition of the abdominal viscera, and when there exists determination
of blood to the head. It is said to increase the venereal appetite, but
to diminish the fecundating power.

In cases where irritation of the urethra or urinary bladder succeed
venereal or attend organic disease, it exerts a most salutary effect in
soothing the irritability of the mucous {247} membrane, relieving the
nervous prostration which accompanies these affections, and exalting
vital power. Unlike the disagreeable remedies which are generally, and
often without success, employed in these affections, it is taken with
pleasure, and with an amount of success which, as far as my experience
extends, is universal.

If we examine guaraná according to its chemical characters, it must be
guarded as a most valuable substance, from its possessing in so great
a proportion that important nitrogenous principle guaranine. This,
if not identical with caffeine, is at least analagous to it, and to
theine, and theobromine,—all important elements of food and grateful
stimulents. From its chemical constitution, then, we may predict with
great certainty its physiological action being powerfully tonic; but
in the combination in which it is found, experience indicates that it
possesses conjoined more valuable properties than belong to the simple
tonics. Its power of correcting generally the discharges, and restoring
the normal vitality of the mucous membranes, must be viewed as one of

Guarana, in the state of powder, is exhibited in doses of ʒj, three
or four times daily, mixed with water and sugar, or with syrup and
mucilage, conjoined with an aromatic, as cinnamon, vanilla, or
chocolate. A convenient form is that of extract, obtained by treating
the guaraná with alcohol, and evaporating to the consistence of pills.
This may be exhibited in the form of solution or pills. The Brazilians,
however, use the powder with sugar and water alone, and consider this
draught grateful and refreshing.—_Monthly Jour. of Medical Science,
May, 1852._



Erdmann, in the last number of his journal, gives the following formulæ
for preparing colored fires, which he has proved and found to answer
the purpose intended admirably. He particularly enjoins the caution
that the ingredients, after being powdered in a mortar _separately_,
should be mixed with the hand, as dangerous explosions would inevitably
follow from the ingredients being rubbed together with any hard


 Chlorate of potash,             61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Carbonate of strontia,          23     parts.

 Rose Red.

 Chlorate of potash,             61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Chloride of calcium,            23     parts.

 Yellow, No. 1.

 Chlorate of potash,             61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Dried soda,                     23     parts.

 Yellow, No. 3.

 Saltpetre,                      61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        17 1/2 parts.
 Dried soda,                     20     parts.
 Charcoal,                        1 1/2 parts.

 Dark Blue.

 Chlorate of potash,             60     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Carbonate of copper,            12     parts.
 Burnt alum,                     12     parts.

 Sulphate of potash and ammonio-sul-
   phate of copper may be added to
   render the color more intense.

 Purple Red.

 Chlorate of potash,             61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Chalk,                          23     parts.

 Orange Red.

 Chlorate of potash,             52     parts.
 Sulphur,                        14     parts.
 Chalk,                          34     parts.

 Yellow, No. 2.

 Saltpetre,                      50     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Dried soda,                     20     parts.
 Gunpowder,                      14     parts.

 Light Blue.

 Chlorate of potash,             61     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Burnt alum,                     23     parts.

 Dark Violet.

 Chlorate of potash,             60     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Carbonate of potash,            12     parts.
 Burnt alum,                     12     parts.

 Light Violet.

 Chlorate of potash,             54     parts.
 Sulphur,                        14     parts.
 Carbonate of potash,            16     parts.
 Burnt alum,                     16     parts.



 Chlorate of potash,             73     parts.
 Sulphur,                        17     parts.
 Boracic acid,                   19     parts.

 Light Green.

 Chlorate of potash,             60     parts.
 Sulphur,                        16     parts.
 Carbonate of barytes,           24     parts.

 _For Theatrical Purposes._

 White, No. 1.

 Saltpetre,                      64     parts.
 Sulphur,                        21     parts.
 Gunpowder,                      15     parts.

 White, No. 2.

 Saltpetre,                      64     parts.
 Sulphur,                        22     parts.
 Charcoal,                        2     parts.


 Nitrate of strontia,            56     parts.
 Sulphur,                        24     parts.
 Chlorate of potash,             20     parts.


 Nitrate of barytes,             60     parts.
 Sulphur,                        22     parts.
 Chlorate of potash,             18     parts.


 Sulphur,                        20     parts.
 Saltpetre,                      32     parts.
 Chlorate of potash,             27     parts.
 Chalk,                          20     parts.
 Charcoal,                        1     parts.


 Saltpetre,                      27     parts.
 Chlorate of potash,             28     parts.
 Sulphur,                        15     parts.
 Sulphate of potash,             15     parts.
 Ammonio-sulphate of copper,     15     parts.



Having had occasion to prepare a fluid extract of lobelia at the
solicitation of a druggist, the following process was employed, which
is based on the fact, that in the presence of an excess of acid, the
lobelina of the natural salt which gives activity to the drug, is not
decomposed and destroyed by the heat used, as explained on a former
occasion, (vol. xix. page 108 of this Journal.)

Take of Lobelia (the plant,) finely bruised, eight ounces, (troy)

 Acetic acid          one fluid ounce.
 Diluted Alcohol      three pints.
 Alcohol              six fluid ounces. {250}

Macerate the lobelia in a pint and a half of the diluted alcohol,
previously mixed with the acetic acid, for twenty-four hours; introduce
the mixture into an earthen displacer, pour on slowly the remainder of
the diluted alcohol, and afterwards water until three pints of tincture
are obtained; evaporate this in a water bath to ten fluid ounces,
strain, add the alcohol and, when mixed, filter through paper.

Each teaspoonful of this preparation is equal to half a fluid ounce
of the tincture. It may be employed advantageously to make a syrup of
lobelia, by adding two fluid ounces of the fluid extract, to ten fluid
ounces of simple syrup, and mixing. Syrup of lobelia is an eligible
preparation for prescription use, in cases where lobelia is indicated
as an expectorant.—_American Journal of Pharmacy._



Several methods have been proposed for the preparation and exhibition
of protiodide of iron, all of which are, as far as I am acquainted with
them, subject to many inconveniences and objections. It is on this
account that I offer to my fellow-laborers a new method, which both on
account of its uniformity of action and facility of administration,
deserves to be adopted universally.

Every practical man knows that all preparations of protiodide of iron
are bad, for instance, syrupus ferri iodidi is a medicine which is
generally disliked, and in some individuals causes nausea and even
vomiting. The pilulæ ferri iodidi {251} likewise disagree with some
constitutions, and when they seem to agree, they never produce the
same regular effects even if prepared at the same labratory. According
to trials made by an experienced physician, who has administered the
protiodide, prepared according to my method, I am assured that this
remedy prepared by a double decomposition in the stomachs of the
patients, has always agreed with them, and produced more constant and
salutary effects. It is already a well-known fact, that the iodide of
iron in its incipient state is better assimilated by the organs.

No. 1. Dissolve one gramme of iodide potassium in 300 grammes of water.
No. 2. Take sulphate of iron 1 1/2 grammes; make a powder and divide
into eighteen equal parts. Dissolve one of the powders in a large
table-spoonful of sugared water before swallowing it; take immediately
afterwars, one table-spoonful of the solution.

It is evident that by this operation, each time their is produced in
the stomach one grain, or about five centigrammes of iodide of iron in
its incipient state.

Although these proportions do not correspond absolutely, but only
approximately with their chemical equivalents, nevertheless,
their effects answer fully the purposes both of the chemist, and
Physician.—_Annals of Pharmacy and Practical Chemistry._

TANNATE OF ZINC.—The preparation announced of late, under the name of
the Salt of Barnit, as infallible against gonorrhœra when used as an
injection, is, according to the analysis of M. Chevalier, a tannate
of zinc. This salt which is soluble, may be prepared by saturating a
solution of tannic acid with freshly precipitated and moist oxide of
zinc, filtering and evaporating in a water bath.



THE CONVENTION.—We cheerfully give place to the following _notice_ from
Dr. Guthrie, in regard to the approaching meeting of the Pharmaceutical
Convention. We regret to learn that the time appointed, is not the
most convenient one for many of the delegates whom we may expect from
the south. It is too late, however, to change the time of meeting,
were there any authority by which such change could be made. In view
of the importance of the object, we hope that there may be a full
attendance on the part of the delegates, even at the cost of some
personal sacrifice. If the whole country be represented, a time can
then be chosen for a future meeting which will suit a majority of those

 “NOTICE.—The Annual Meeting of the U. S. Pharmaceutical Convention,
 will take place in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, the 6th of October next.

 It being a matter of much importance that this meeting should number
 as many of our Druggists and Chemists as possible, I deem it proper to
 suggest that not only all regularly incorporated and unincorporated
 associations of this kind should see that they are fully represented,
 but that where no associations exist as yet, the apothecaries should
 send one or more of their number as delegates to the convention,—such
 will, no doubt, be cheerfully admitted to seats in the convention.

 This meeting it is to be hoped, will either take the necessary steps
 to the formation of a regular and permanent national organization, or
 possibly effect such organization during its sittings.

 We trust all who feel an interest in this important subject, will
 remember the time and place, and give us their assistance in person or
 by delegate.

 C. B. GUTHRIE, _President of Convention_.”

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY.—The editor of the American Journal of
Pharmacy, has done much to raise the standard of American Pharmacy. He
has a solid reputation founded on large knowledge and great industry.
It is with pleasure then that we observe the attention he bestows
upon our Journal. He has taken, however, rather an unusual course, in
animadverting separately upon most of the directly practical articles
that have appeared in our pages, and his criticisms have given rise to
some reclamations on the part of our contributors, which we subjoin:―

 COMMENTS ON “COMMENTS.”—The American Journal of Pharmacy
 (Philadelphia), for July, contains “Pharmaceutical notices, being
 extracts from various articles in the New York Journal of Pharmacy,
 with comments by the editor,” in which {253} our friend Procter,
 criticises, rather severely, some of the pharmaceutical formulæ
 and suggestions that have been offered in this Journal. With full
 respect for the great acquirements and high character as a practical
 pharmaceutist, to which my friend Procter is justly entitled, I
 should have been glad if the articles, upon which he comments, had
 met his approval; and I know of no one that I would rather should set
 me right, if anything that I have offered does not find acceptance
 with him. With the greater part of his comments, I do not think there
 is occasion for controversy,—matters of fact readers can judge for
 themselves, and it certainly is of little consequence, who may be
 found in error, compared with the elucidation of truth.

       *       *       *       *       *

 In respect to the _consistence_ of Syrup of Gum Arabic, he is probably
 nearer right, (during this hot weather, at any rate) than I was,
 and still, I think he is not right. My experience with the present
 officinal formula, had been in the cold season, when I found the syrup
 decidedly too thick for convenient use, especially by itself; a large
 proportion of it crystallized in the temperature of the shop, and the
 mouth and neck of the bottle choked up with candied syrup every two or
 three times it was used. I had found the former syrup to answer very
 well in regard to consistence and flavor, though, it certainly could
 not be considered permanent; it had to be made in small quantities
 and frequently; indeed, I do not suppose that any liquid combination
 of gum, sugar and water only, can be made of a permanent character.
 Since reading Mr. Procter’s comments, I have made this syrup again by
 the present formula, and it does keep decidedly better at this season,
 than that made in the other proportions, yet not perfectly; and there
 is considerable crystallization, even in the very hot weather we have
 had lately. I infer that syrup which crystallizes at this season,
 has an excess of sugar in it, the crystals formed tending further to
 reduce the remaining syrup, and thus sooner promote acidity than if
 a proportion of sugar had been used which could remain in solution.
 Perhaps, a medium between the two formulæ could be hit upon, in which
 the proper balance might be better attained.

       *       *       *       *       *

 In the formula offered for Compound Syrup of Squill, in our Journal
 for April, there is an error of four ounces in the quantity of honey,
 which should have been _twenty-two_ ounces. Whether it was made by
 the printer or not cannot be ascertained, as “the _copy_ has been
 destroyed.” I had not noticed it until my attention was called to it
 by Mr. Procter’s comments. The quantity of sugar used by me in making
 this syrup was, for convenience, one pound avoirdupois weight; that of
 honey, one pound and a half, same weight. In transcribing the formula
 for a medical Journal, I thought I must, per custom, render it in troy
 weights; so as 15 oz. troy are 200 grs. more than one pound av., I set
 down 15 oz., and intended to set down 22 oz. of honey, as being only
 60 grs. more than one pound and a half av. I think this addition of
 4 oz. of honey will make the whole come up to Mr. Procter’s measure
 of “56 fluid ounces before the ebullition,” &c., and a little over.
 The boiling can be continued only for a few minutes. I was formerly
 in the practice of boiling to three pints, and adding 48 grs. tartar
 emetic, but finding that I had to evaporate more than half a pint,
 and judging that {254} the strength of the resulting preparation
 was rather lessened than increased thereby, I concluded to stop at
 three and a half pints. As to the proportion of sugar and honey,
 they amount together to 2 1/2 pounds av., which with two pints of
 an evaporated menstruum, containing the extractive matter soluble
 in diluted alcohol of 8 oz. of the roots, furnishes a syrup of good
 consistence. It may be observed, that solution of sugar in a menstruum
 so charged, is quite different from that in water. Perhaps, however,
 an equal amount of sugar with that of the honey, would be preferable.
 I can only say, that I employed the same quantity a number of times,
 but reduced it several years since, because it appeared to be too
 much for some reason, the particulars of which I do not recollect.
 And as this formula has always given me a satisfactory preparation,
 I have thought no more about it, until now. Or perhaps, it would be
 better to continue the evaporation to three pints, with the advantage
 of producing a more symmetrical result, corresponding, at the same
 time, with the quantity of the Pharmacopœia. But, is not the officinal
 formula “almost as far out of the way” the _other_ way? Forty-two
 oz. of sugar in forty-eight fluid oz. of syrup! Can such an amount
 remain in solution twenty-four hours at any ordinary temperature? If
 mine is an “_anomaly_,” is not this an _impossibility_, “in point
 of consistence”? In reference to the alcoholic objection, it may
 be remarked, that the evaporation in the case commented upon, is
 not “from 4 pints of tincture to 2 pints,” but from 4 3/4 pints
 to 2 pints. The small portion of alcohol, that may remain after
 this evaporation and the continued heat to the end of the process,
 can scarcely be of serious consequence in the doses in which it is
 prescribed; it may have some influence in preserving the syrup, and
 also in promoting its medical action. Be all this as it may, so far
 as taste is a criterion, this preparation appears to be of at least
 double strength in the qualities of both roots, of the officinal syrup
 carefully made by the second process given,—the first being, as I
 suppose, with all apothecaries of the present day, “an obsolete idea.”

 G. D. C.

IN THE NEW YORK JOURNAL OF PHARMACY:—After giving the formula for
preparing Stramonium Ointment, as modified by E. Dupuy, the editor
of our contemporary adds, “the objection to the officinal formula
on the score of color, is hardly valid, and if it was so, it would
be better to color it with extract of grass, than to substitute a
preparation which will constantly vary in strength and appearance or
with the age of the leaves. The officinal extract of stramonium, is
easily incorporated with lard, and produces a brown colored ointment of
comparatively uniform strength.” We do not pretend to have furnished a
formula vastly superior to that received in our officinal guide. But
as we were writing for our locality chiefly, and knowing the general
expectation {255} and usage of furnishing stramonium ointment of a
green color, we have given a formula which does furnish an ointment
having a proper strength, requisite color, without the loss of time
and material necessarily incurred in manufacturing a color ad hoc as
suggested by W. Procter, Jr., which from the contamination of the
decomposed chlorophylle of the extract, would never compare favorably
(notwithstanding all that useless waste of trouble,) so far as its
appearance is concerned, with the far readier mode proposed for
transforming at once by a few short manipulations the dry stramonium
into an alcoholic extract and ointment without liability to alteration
during the process. Respecting the keeping of both ointments, we can
affirm that the one prepared by the modified formula, will keep as well
if not better and longer, than the other, and as the color is a point
of some importance for our public and practitioners, we are satisfied
that it will be preferred on the score of economy of time as well as
for its color, which is desirable at least within our circle of custom.

objects to the addition of acetic acid to the officinal blistering
cerate, and seems to smile at the idea of fixing by it the volatile
principle of the cantharis, which, by the way, he gratuitously makes
the author to say is a neutral substance, when he says not a word about
it. He quotes the authority of Mr. Redwood, who in the Pharmaceutical
Journal, October, 1841, speaks of acetic acid as not being a good
solvent for cantharidine. The reason is, in all probability, from the
fact of his using the London standard strength, which is but 1.48. For
Messrs. Lavini and Sobrero, (Memoire lu a l’academie des sciences de
Turin, 9 Mars, 1845,) state that “concentrated acetic acid,, dissolves
cantharidine, but more readily under the influence of heat.” Respecting
the volatility of cantharidine, these same chemists have stated in the
same paper “that while manipulating with but 52 grammes of flies, for
the researches they were making on cantharidine, one of them suffered
from blisters produced on the face and lips, by the emanations from
these insects.” Besides their authority, Soubeiran, in his Traite de
Pharmacie, and Dorvault in the Officine, both state that cantharidine
is a very volatile substance, even at ordinary temperature, and if that
is, as it appears to be, the ease, what reliable information have we
that only 1-30th of a grain was volatilized in the experiment mentioned
by W. Procter, Jr., made with 100 grs. of powdered cantharides? Is it
not very probable, that in removing the hygrometric water, much more
was lost?

Whatever may be the changes which take place by the addition of acetic
acid in a concentrated state, it is a fact, proved by experience, that
the blistering plaster thus prepared, keeps better—that is, retains
its power longer than the officinal one even exposed to the air in
thin layers. As an example of the stability of this combination, we
have _Brown’s Cantharidine_ which, to all appearance, is made from an
etherial extract of cantharides additioned with concentrated acetic
acid and incorporated in melted wax. We find such a mixture, although
spread on paper and but imperfectly protected from the air, retaining
for a long period its vesicating properties. Is this advantage produced
by a simple acid {256} saponification of the cerate, without reaction
on the active principle, but that of protecting it from atmospheric
influences? We think it probable that there is a modification taking
place, both on the cantharis and other components of the cerate.

 E. D.

THE RICHMOND PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY.—A large number of the Druggists
and Apothecaries of the city of Richmond, held a meeting on the 11th
of June for the purpose of forming a Pharmaceutical Society, and,
having appointed a committee to draft a constitution and bye-laws,
and to report to an adjourned meeting, on the 28th of the same month,
assembled on that day, and adopted the constitution and bye-laws
reported by the committee. The election of officers was postponed until
the 6th of July.

At a full meeting of those who had signed the constitution, the
following gentlemen were elected officers of the society, for the next
twelve months, viz:―

 _President_,                    ALEXANDER DUVAL.
 _1st Vice President_,           JAMES P. PURCELL.
 _2nd Vice President_,           J. B. WOOD.
 _Recording Secretary_,          CHAS. MILLSPAUGH.
 _Corresponding Secretary_,      S. M. ZACHRISSON.
 _Treasurer_,                    W. S. BEERS.
 _Librarian_,                    JOHN T. GRAY.

After which, several nominations for members and associate members
having been made, the society adjourned to Monday, 13th instant,
that the President might, during the recess, appoint the standing
committees, as required by the constitution.

The Society having assembled on the 13th instant, the following
committees were reported:―

_Committee on Admission_—J. Bum, John T. Gray, E. J. Pecot.

_Committee on Pharmaceutical Ethics_—O. A. Strecker, S. W. Zachrisson,
A. Bodeker.

_Committee of Finance_—Peyton Johnston, Benjamin F. Ladd, Edward

_Committee on Library_—Andrew Leslie, James P. Purcell, William M. Dade.

_Executive Committee_—John Purcell, W. S. Bum, R. R. Duval:―

After which, several nominations were made. Appropriations were placed
at the disposal of the library committee for subscriptions to various
periodicals, and for the purchase of books, after which, the meeting







The oil of grain spirit, has recently attracted considerable attention
from the fact of its being the basis of a number of artificial perfumes
or essences, one of which has been extensively used under the name of
banana or pear essence.

The crude oil, as is well known, consists principally of hydrated oxide
of amyl, mixed with more or less alcohol, and small quantities of other
substances, the nature of which is not generally known, though it has
been asserted that œnanthic ether and œnanthic acid may be found among
them. To obtain the latter articles was a desired object, and that
which led to the subject of this paper.

Crude fusel oil, (or oil of grain spirit) when distilled in a glass
retort, commences to pass over at about 190° Fahrenheit, and a
considerable portion is obtained below 212; which consists mostly of
alcohol and water, with a small quantity of the hydrated oxide of amyl.
By changing the receiver and continuing the operation to about 280°, a
large product is obtained, consisting principally of hydrated oxide of
amyl, but contaminated with a little alcohol and water, and a trace of
less volatile oil, which may be found in larger quantity in the residue
remaining in the retort. This residue is small, of an agreeable odor,
and consists of several substances among {258} which may be found, an
oil having the intoxicating smell, but not the chemical properties of
œnanthic ether, other than a similarity in its boiling point.

To obtain a more perfect separation of the substances contained in the
crude oil, a small copper still was constructed, on the principal which
is now so successfully used in the manufacture of high proof alcohol,
and which proved highly useful for the above purpose. This still is so
arranged, that the vapor which is evolved by the boiling liquid, passes
through a series of bent tubes, each of which is connected with a
return pipe for returning vapors less volatile than boiling water, back
to the still. These tubes are enclosed in a copper funnel filled with
cold water, which becomes heated as the operation proceeds, and finally
boils; the less volatile vapors are thus prevented from passing over,
and the alcohol and water are almost perfectly separated from the oil
remaining in the still.—If the water is then drawn off from the vessel
containing the serpentine tube, the distillation may be continued till
it ceases spontaneously.

The product thus obtained, when rectified from a little dry caustic
potash to remove coloring matter and acetic and valerianic acid,
and again rectified from dry quick lime to remove water, gives pure
hydrated oxide of amyl.

The residue left in the copper still is most easily obtained by
distillation with water, containing a little carbonate of soda to
neutralise the free acids contained in it. A small quantity of a
yellow oil is thus obtained, having an agreeable vinous odor similar
to œnanthic ether, but unlike that ether it yields fusel oil, instead
of alcohol, when distilled repeatedly from caustic potash. It is
consequently an _amyl_ compound, while œnanthic ether is known to be
the œnanthate of oxide of _ethyle_.

The residue remaining in the still after the above distillation with
water, consists of acetic and valerianic acids in combination with the
soda, and the solution holds in suspension a considerable quantity of
byrated oxide of iron, which formerly existed in combination with the
acids. {259}

From the above statement it appears that crude fusel oil contains the
following substances, viz:―

 Hydrated oxide of amyl,
 Acetic acid,
 Valerianic acid,
 Oxide of iron.

And an amyl compound, analagous to œnanthic ether.



Happening to inquire the price of hyposulphite of soda of a wholesale
druggist, it appeared to me that the cost of its production is
_greatly_ under the wholesale price, I therefore suggest to
apothecaries who may wish to make it _pure_, for their own consumption,
the following: Through a saturated solution of sal soda (ascertained to
be free from sulphate) pass sulphurous acid gas until a small quantity,
taken out of the solution after agitation, on the end of a glass rod,
gives a white precipitate with nitrate of silver; then put the solution
into a beaker glass, and boil it with sulphur (about one-twentieth
of the weight of the soda in solution) until a little of the liquid,
put into a test glass, gives, with a few drops of hydrochloric acid,
a precipitate of sulphur, and another portion with nitrate of silver
a white precipitate, immediately turning yellow and then black, when
the liquid is to be filtered and evaporated quickly, until the salt
be crystallized quite dry. The crystals are to be put into a closely
stopped bottle, and kept well secured from the atmosphere. The
advantage of this process over the common one is that it can be made in
the store without any annoyance from the stench of melted sulphur; it
costs but little and does not require the _continued_ attention of the

709 Greenwich Street, New York, August 12, 1852.




TINCTURA BESTUSCHEFFI.—In the last number (8) of this Journal, Mr.
Mayer, speaking of this preparation, says that the formula given by me
in the May number, is the “oldest” from “the Austrian Pharmacopœia of
1820,” and suggests, as an improvement, preparing the salt by passing
through a solution of protochlor. ferri, a current of chlorine, to
the proper point of saturation. The formula I gave _is_ the “oldest”
and the _original_, for which reason I selected it, affording as it
does _the_ “Bestuscheff’s tincture,” at one time so highly valued,
and though I did not consider it very creditable to the scientific
accuracy of its “fatherland,” it is the one which “did the good.” The
advantages, seemingly, claimed by Mr. Mayer for his process, is its
affording a more certain preparation. This does not appear evident,
as the resulting tincture will be the same, respectively, by whatever
process, supposing equal care to be used in conducting it. It may
be possible that a stronger solution is obtained, but that is not
asserted, nor is it important, as that would concern the _dose_, not
the effect of the medicine. The difference, aside from the identity
of the preparation, appears to me to be that, in one case experiment
will be necessary to ascertain the strength of the tincture, whilst
in the other it can be determined more quickly by calculation, but
the extra labor required in the process in the later case, more than
counterbalances any superiority there may be in this respect. I have,
however, no objection to make to Mr. Mayer’s process, which is a very
_neat_ way of making “Ethereal Tincture of Sesquichloride of Iron”;
but, I think, those who desire to make “Bestuscheff’s Tincture,” will
consider it more strictly accurate to adhere to the “oldest formula.”

DECOMPOSED CHLOROFORM.—A specimen of this article lately came into
my possession, to which, I think it right to direct the attention of
apothecaries, although, its villainous odor was so {261} disagreeable
and suffocating, as to render it almost impossible that it could be
administered, still it may serve to teach the necessity of all those
having to do with the article, exercising such increased care that so
bad an article could not pass through their hands unnoticed; for what
might be the consequences in such a case if the sensible properties of
the article did not happen to be so repugnant? And as it is desirable,
in a scientific point of view, to know everything about so important an
agent, it is proper and necessary that anything unusual in its regard
should be recorded. The article in question, was contained in a badly
stopped bottle, and had leaked one-eighth of its quantity. On removing
the cupping, an efflorescent crust was observed coating the upper
surface of the lip of the bottle and contiguous stopper, of a whitish,
partly yellowish-green appearance, having a caustic taste, and washing
off readily with water but not with chloroform, and precipitating
nitrate of silver; the precipitate being soluble in ammonia and not in
nitric acid, leading me to infer from this and other circumstances,
that this substance was, probably a hydrochlorate of ammonia. The neck
of the bottle before the stopper was removed, presented a yellowish
appearance from some colored substance being interposed between it
and the stopper, a pretty constant accompaniment of this kind of
decomposition, which should always be noted. On removing the stopper,
fumes escaped having a most suffocating odor, causing the bottle to
be withdrawn quickly from the nostril and giving with ammonia, the
white fumes characteristic of hydrochloric acid gas. By exposure the
peculiar odor disappeared, and the whole of the liquid passed off
without leaving any residue, except a slight greasy appearance on the
sides of the glass from which it was evaporated, which _was not_ owing
to sulphuric acid. The specific gravity was that of good chloroform,
and sulphuric acid acquired no color when agitated with a portion, and
the reaction with litmus was strongly acid. The bottle having been
emptied, the small portion which adhered to the glass, collecting
in the bottom, assumed a yellowish appearance resembling common
muriatic acid. Not having leisure or {262} means to make an elaborate
examination, I handed some to one of our professors of chemistry, who
will make an accurate analysis. In the meantime, I deemed it prudent
to note these particulars. A large quantity of the article, made at
the same time and by the same process, I have since learned, has been
found to have undergone a similar change. The manufacturer, supposes
the decomposition to have arisen in some way from the sulphuric acid
used in the process after the manner of Professor Gregory, although
every means was used to separate it and none could be detected in it
when recently made; some, however, which was thus supposed to be free
from acid, I found to slightly redden litmus, although the smell was
remarkably fine; but it has been found I learn, that of two specimens
of the article taken from the same bottle and _exposed to the light_,
one underwent decomposition and the other not. It has occurred to
me, that the surest way of separating the acid would be to distil
the chloroform from it; but it should be remembered that the process
of Gregory, was intended to be adopted for smaller quantities for
immediate use, and not for its manufacture on a large scale, to be kept.

SUPPOSITORIA.—In the number of the _New York Medical Times_ for
December, 1851, I took occasion to mention the superiority of cacao
butter, to the other excipients for the formation of suppositories, a
means of medication which had _become almost obsolete_; not unlikely
from the circumstance of their having been prepared with iritating
substances which counteracted their intended effect. In the last (July)
number of the _American Journal of Pharmacy_, (Philadelphia,) Mr. A. B.
Taylor, (who has not, apparently, seen my little note,) gives several
formulas for these, which require the cacao butter to be melted, in
which state the medicament is incorporated with it, &c. I recur to the
subject for the purpose of stating that I have not found it necessary
to adopt this very troublesome and tedious, not to say inaccurate
method. The article, at all seasons, becomes sufficiently plastic when
“worked” in the mortar, or in very cold weather, with the addition of
a drop or so of almond or {263} other proper oil, to admit of being
_rolled_ with the spatula into form, the most convenient one for which
I have found to be that of a cylinder about an inch long, weighing
twenty grains, and fitting exactly the calibre of the instrument used
for introducing them, which I generally use as a mould. The active
ingredients used are mostly sulph. morph. and extr. opii aquos. the
latter of which is superior to opium, of course, being _nearly_ free
from narcotine. _Vaginal suppositories_ would be equally applicable and
useful as anal ones.

EDITOR AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY.—Professor Proctor has done me
the honor to notice, favorably, some trifles which I have found time
to contribute to our Journal, among others an observation concerning
the supposed decomposition of Fowler’s solution, with respect to which
he says he “does not understand where the garlicky odor came from,
as it is only the _vapor_ of metallic arsenic that possesses this
peculiarity.” I beg to assure the Professor that the odor _came from
the bottle_. The immediate cause of it is certainly _mist_-erious,
though it is not impossible that among the intricacies of chemical
action sufficient heat may have been evolved to act on how small soever
a portion of the metal in a _nascent state_ as to cause the peculiar
odor. _Spontaneous combustion_ taking place in a mass of the common
mineral known as “cobalt,” produces, unmistakeably, both vapor and
the odor of arsenic, and I have heard of a ships’ crew having been
salivated by the vapor arising from a cargo of quicksilver in a high
latitude. A very much lower degree of heat is required to produce vapor
than might be supposed from the point of volatility of the substance
whence it emanates, an instance in point being the familiar process of
boiling water; but this is rather a _cloudy point_ which would require
the acumen of a certain celebrated jury to elucidate, and to their
tender mercies it is perhaps the better part to consign it.




The act of Congress, approved 26th of June, 1848, entitled “an Act
to prevent the importation of spurious and adulterated drugs and
medicines,” having now been in existence and enforcement almost three
years, the working of the law and its effects, immediate and remote,
have become necessarily matters of fact, and are no longer left to
conjecture and speculation.

At the time of the passage of this law by congress, no inconsiderable
fears were entertained by its friends, and great hopes by its enemies,
that it would be found impracticable to carry out its requisite
provisions without great injury to that portion of our citizens engaged
in the importation of this class of merchandize, in which event its
repeal would, of course, have been urgently solicited.[23]

[23] Strong _prima facie_ evidence of the popularity of this law may be
found in this significant fact that not a petition for its repeal has
ever been presented to Congress.

In entering upon the duties of the commission, which I had the honor to
recieve from the department, I was fully impressed with the importance
of the information sought for, and the necessity of a candid, impartial
and unbiassed examination of facts bearing upon the subject, and in
making, to the department, this report, I have divided my results and
facts into immediate and remote; the reasons for which, will appear in
the detail. Under the general terms drugs and medicines, are embraced
all articles intended for the treatment of the diseases of the human
system, and though they admit of many subdivisions, these terms,
included under the two heads of chemicals and compounds, and crude
drugs, are all that is necessary for my {265} purpose in speaking of
the effects and applications of the law.

First, with regard to the effect upon chemicals and compound
medicines.: Previous to the passage of this law, no restriction was
laid upon any class of medicines coming in under this head. If the
importer paid the requisite duty, no questions were asked, no limit
was fixed as to quality or condition. It needs no argument, but
merely a mention of the fact, to show that any compound medicine or
chemical preparation may be so made as to deceive the unsuspecting and
uneducated, and even very often the druggist, apothecary, physician,
and all, because they were not in the habit of analysing their
articles, and were deceived by their external, often times very fine
appearance. Under the combined influence of competition and avarice—two
strong temptations, the manufacture of articles of this class had
become systematised, and on purpose to supply the United States market.

The immediate and positive beneficial results of the law may be seen in
the fact that now very few, if indeed any, spurious or sophisticated
chemical preparations, for pharmaceutical purposes, are even offered
at our ports, or by any possibility find their way into our markets.
Manufacturing chemists and importers of this description of medicines,
finding it impossible to get such goods through our custom houses,
will, of course, not risk the loss of bringing them here, but in
their stead will import such as are known to come up to our required
standards. Under this general head of chemicals, may be included a
large majority of the manufactured and compound medicines used in
practice by the medical faculty, and all the most important usually
purchased by others for domestic uses, more especially in the great
west and south, where every man, almost, is obliged to learn the uses
and doses of calomel, blue mass and quinine, &c. The certainty of
purity in these articles alone, is a matter of no small moment to the
community at large; of the probabilities of their home adulteration I
shall also refer to elsewhere.

A few articles of this class may now and then, either through {266}
culpable negligence on the part of the inspector, or by being entered
under a false name, be imported, but they must be few, and are daily
growing less. An instance of this kind has occurred in New York, where
a large lot of sulphate of lime was offered in market, under the name
of precipitated chalk. The New York College of Pharmacy, standing
very properly as the guardians of the public health, and protectors
of this act, for which they had petitioned and which they had agreed
to support, by committee, reported the fact, and warned the holders
of the consequences of continuing to sell the article as a medicinal
preparation, upon which they very readily withdrew it. How it came into
the city that committee have never been able to ascertain, whether
imported under the head of plaster of Paris, and thus escaping the eye
of the inspector, or whether passed by him, or at some other port,
without due test and examination, I am not able to say. That it was
imported under a false name, is, to my mind, the most likely of all.

If our Colleges of Pharmacy in the different cities, as I have no doubt
they will, continue to thus watch the articles offered them and the
public, and act with the independence that has characterised them thus
far, no deception of this kind will go long unexposed, and it will soon
cease altogether.

No manufactured article, susceptible of adulteration, ought ever to be
suffered to pass by the Examiner of drugs without being _sampled_ and
tested by analysis, and no matter what its appearances, or what its
label; neither the one or the other are guarantees of its purity, for
both may alike be counterfeits. The more popular the maker, the higher
his name and reputation, the more likely his name, label, bottle and
article to be counterfeited, as has Pelletier’s name to the article
quinine, others to iodide of potassium, &c. &c.

Secondly. The effects of the law upon crude drugs and medicines, such
as leaves, barks, roots, gums, gum resins, &c. Upon these articles,
the effect has been the same as upon chemicals and compound goods.
Greater variations must of, course occur in their qualities, as many
of them cannot be {267} tested with accuracy; and of the rest, very
imperfect standards are to be found in any of the works on pharmacy or
materia medica now extant. This was heretofore left entirely in the
hands of the examiner at each port, who has been obliged to fix his own
standards when there were none laid down in the works referred to in
the instructions of the department. Such has been the case with many
of our most valuable and important articles of crude drugs, gums, and
gum resins,—such as opium, scammony, &c. Such also has been the case
with many of the roots and barks, as rhubarb and the cinchona and all
its varieties. One may have fixed upon five per cent. of morphine, and
another upon eight, another ten, as the standard for opium. Again, the
same might occur in admitting or rejecting scammony. One requiring
sixty or seventy per cent. of resin, another admitting or rejecting,
merely from the physical appearance of the article.

So again with regard to barks, especially the cinchonas—one refusing
to admit any except the true medicinal article; another admitting
Maricaibo and other false barks usually sold in market as pale bark,
or used to adulterate that article.—But, upon the whole class of crude
drugs, the effect has been highly beneficial. Greater care is taken in
their selection and preparation for market, and a vast quantity of many
kinds of barks and roots heretofore finding daily their way into market
either in their simple worthlessness or mixed with purer and different
articles, are now scarcely, if ever found; and if seen, they are about
the last of their kind.—Now and then, an article may get through our
ports, by some adroit means of deception, or be slipped in at a port
where there is no examiner, but this must be but seldom.—But recently,
in New York, I saw several casks of gum guaic, the heads of which, for
about six inches, were filled with a fair article, while the remaining
portion of the cask was made up of the vilest trash imaginable. This
is but a shallow trick that could not be often repeated, for though it
might decieve the examiner (as it did not), it would meet detection in
{268} the hands of the jobber, who would not fail to claim damages
from the importer at once. Another mode of evading the law, is by
sending sample packages to the examining office, or such cases as
are known to be all right, and getting the whole invoice passed by
them. This can only be guarded against by the examiner being always
upon the alert, and where there is the least doubt, refusing to pass
anything except what he sees and knows to be correct as to quality. The
facility with which this fraud may be practised, led the convention
of the Colleges of Pharmacy to recommend that every package should be
examined; an opinion, I then and now fully concur in. Many similar
instances, both in regard to chemicals, chemical preparations and all
sorts of crude drugs, might be given, but they have no bearing upon the
object of this report, only as they point to a necessity for the law’s

Another immediate result of the law is the exclusion of damaged drugs.
Heretofore no state of damage or decay, whether little or much,
prevented an article, either manufactured or crude, being thrown into
market and sold for whatever it purported to be, whether calomel half
oxydyzed, iodide of potassium one-third deliquesced, rhubarb one-half
rotten, senna in a similar or worse condition from being soaked with
salt water—they each sold under their original names, and found their
way into the bands of the buyers of _cheap goods_, either in that state
or powdered or re-bottled, re-labelled, and done up good as new. The
importer got his drawback of twenty-five, fifty, and seventy per cent.
of duty. The insurance company sold the goods and paid the difference;
bargain getters purchased; the physician prescribed; the apothecary
dealt out, and the patient, suffering under the pains and ills of
lingering disease, swallowed; all but the last got their pay, while the
poor man who bore the unrighteous accumulation of the whole, cursed his
physician for not understanding his complaint, and perchance turned his
face to the wall and died. This is no fancy sketch, but true, every
word of it, and more than once acted out in the dream of every-day
life. {269}

Under the proper construction and administration of the law, all
this will and is now mostly prevented. It must be evident that any
article of medicine essentially damaged, is not fit to be given to the
sick as a remedy. This is a very important point, and all examiners
should be careful to enforce it strictly, regardless of the specious
plea of interested insurance companies or individuals, for any other
construction for their general or especial benefit or relief.

In few words then, may be summed up the immediate effects of this law:
A purer and better class of chemicals and compound preparations, a
material improvement in the quality of crude drugs imported, such as
gums, barks, roots, leaves, and an almost entire exclusion of damaged
and decayed drugs from our markets.

These results are, in themselves, sufficient to mark the law as one
of great value, and to entitle it to a sure claim for perpetuity, and
its provisions to a steady enforcement. But they are by no means all
that it has accomplished. Its remote or secondary effects, which I
propose to point out, are equally important, and they are found in the
influence upon our home manufactures and trade.

It has often been claimed that the law was a tariff for protection to
home adulteration, and while we shut out the evil in one way, we were
equally exposed to it in the shape of home preparations; were this
even true, it is no argument against the law for keeping out foreign
adulteration, as it is very evident that if both are equally bad, no
pure medicine can be had by those who require them, while if we are
certain the foreign are pure, we have a choice between the pure and the
sophisticated. But I am satisfied that the amount of home adulterations
have been over estimated, and that under the effect of this law
they are decreasing daily, and perhaps mainly because the demand is

I have never believed, though it has been again and again asserted,
that our medical gentleman to any great extent, who buy and use
most largely of this class of goods, have desired {270} to buy and
use inferior medicines, because they were cheap, and my own direct
intercourse and observation, as a druggist for five years, aside from
a six years’ experience in the profession, has satisfied me of the
correctness of my views. I speak of the country at large. Wherever
it has been the case, it has been the result of ignorance, as to the
appearance and physical properties of drugs that has led them into this
error, an error in which, from a like ignorance, they have been kept
by their druggist, who has been imposed upon by the bland assurance
of the importer or jobber, which led him to take all things of a like
name as of the same quality. There are those who buy because cheap, and
prescribe, and perchance hope for success in the use of such remedies,
but they are not found among our medical gentlemen of education and
character and entitled to the respect and confidence of the community
at large. The flood of light thrown upon this subject of adulterations
of medicines by the reports to Congress; by the report of Dr. Bailey,
special examiner for the port of New York; reports to the American
Medical Association, and by various other writers in our pharmaceutical
and medical journals, through the newspapers of the day, and various
other means to the people, has worked, and is working a revolution
in the drug trade at large. By a desire and growing necessity for a
proper education of pharmaceutists and druggists, a man is no longer
considered competent to sell, dispose and deal out medicinal articles
affecting the health, life and happiness of his fellow-beings, simply
because he can calculate a per centage, or make a profit.

The reform in this department is, I know, but just beginning, though
long needed, but it will progress, for public opinion demands, and will
continue to demand it.

Physicians, professors of materia medica, and teachers of practical
pharmacy and chemistry are feeling it, and the whole course of teaching
upon this and kindred branches, has received more attention from both
professor and pupil within the two past years, than ever before in
the same length of time in the United States. From these combined
sources will continue to {271} flow a light that must shine upon and
enlighten that ignorance which was permitting men to tamper with the
life and health of the community. This has also had the effect to
create a demand for pure medicines. Rhubarb is no longer rhubarb unless
the quality is such as to commend it to the unfortunate consumer, and
calling a thing by a good name is no longer sufficient to redeem it
from its lack of curative properties and consequent worthlessness.

Again, the endeavor to come up to the law’s standard for chemicals, the
competition with the imported article, the increasing demand for good
medicines, together with a commendable emulation among our chemists,
has produced an improvement in this class of goods, sufficiently
visible to refute all charges of home adulteration because protected
from foreign competition; besides this, they are our fellow citizens,
within reach of our complaints, with no intermediate dealer to shift
the blame of impurity to the other side of the ocean, and thus wash
his innocent hands at our cost. With this and the spirit of inquiry as
to what we are selling, what we are buying, what we are administering,
what we are swallowing with hopes of relief, that is abroad, no man can
long escape detection, exposure and consequent loss of business, if
engaged in the manufacture or sale of spurious goods.

These opinions are the result of the concurrent testimony of the
different examiners, of various dealers in drugs throughout the
country, from whom I had before and since my appointment to this
commission been in receipt of information, and are fully borne out by
my own extensive observation in almost every state in the union.

Without inquiring or pointing out the cause, the testimony to this
effect, that the quality Of drugs in general has improved much within
the two past years, is almost universal; and a style of drugs and
chemicals, and of medicinal preparations, may now be found on sale in
our great commercial emporiums, of a quality and purity never before
found, certainly not in the United States, and I question if any
wherelse. {272}

These are the results of my observations, both as to the remote and
immediate, or special and general effects of the law. And I feel that
the friends of the law have great reason to congratulate themselves and
the community at large, upon the fullest realizations of their hopes as
to the good accruing from this sanitary measure.

Those who were reaping an iniquitous harvest either through a desire to
do evil for the purposes of gain (if any such there could have been),
or through ignorance of the extent of such evil, must themselves feel
that the law has worked no wrong to them even though it may have forced
them into a different channel of trade. The only ones from whom we
shall hear any complaints while the law is carefully and judiciously
executed, or from whom we shall hear the plea for “unrestricted
commerce,” and the potency of the great laws of trade as in themselves
sufficient for the protection of life and health, are those whose
prototypes aforetime cried out “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”

The value of their opinions may be measured by the sincerity of their
professions, and the weight of their testimony calculated by the per
centage of their gains.

I have pursued my enquiries among drug importers and jobbers, meeting
both friends and enemies of the law, among retail apothecaries,
professional men and their patients, and my conclusions are that no
more popular act, stands upon our congressional record.

I have only to add my sincere wish, that it may long stand as a mark of
the enlighted wisdom of the age and nation.

 The above report is but the general report upon the working of the
 law.—It was, we understand, accompanied by a second private and
 detailed one, regarding the manner in which, at different localities,
 the law has been carried out.—EDITOR.



Previous to the middle of the seventeenth century, the chief part of
the saltpetre consumed in this country was obtained from refuse animal
matters, as is evident from the following edict, issued by James I.,
for the regulation of the “mynes of salt peter.”—“The King, taking into
his consideration the most necessary and important use of gunpowder,
as well for supply of his own royall navie, and the shippinge of his
lovinge subjects, as otherwise for the strength, safety, and defence of
his people and kingdoms, and how greate a blessinge it is of Almighty
God to this realm, that it naturally yieldeth sufficient mynes of
salt peter for making of gunpowder for defence of ittself, without
anie necessitie to depend uppon the dangerous chargeable and casuall
supply thereof from forraigne parts, hath sett downe certen orders and
constitutions to be from henceforth inviolably kept and observed, for
the better maynteyning of the breed and increase of salt peter, and the
true making of gunpowder.

“Noe person doe from henceforth pave with stone or bricke, or floare
with boarde, anie dove-house or dove-cote, or laie the same with lyme,
sand, gravel, or other thing, whereby the growthe and increase of the
myne of salt peter maie be hindered or ympaired, but shall suffer the
floure or grounde thereof to lye open with goode and mellowe earth, apt
to breede increase of the myne and salt peter, and so contynue and keep
the same.

“That no innkeepers, or others that keep stables for travellers and
passengers, doe use anie deceiptful meanes or devices whereby to
destroy or hinder the growthe of salt peter in those stables. And that
no stables at all be pitched, paved, or gravelled where the horse feete
used to stand, but planked only, nor be paved, pitched, or gravelled
before the plankes next the mangers, but that both places be kept and
maynteyned with goode and mellowe earth, fitt and apt to breede and
increase the myne of salt peter, and laide with nothinge which may
hurte the same. {274}

“That all and every such person and persons as having had heretofore
had anie dove-house, dove-cote, or stable (which were then good
nurseries for the myne of salt peter) have sithence carried out the
goode moulde from thence, and filled the place agayne with lyme, sand,
gravel, rubbish, or other like stuff, or paved or floored the same,
whereby the growthe of salt peter myne there hath been decayed and
destroyed, shall and doe within three months next contryve to take up
the pavements and boards agayne, and carrie out the said gravel, lyme,
and offensive stuff from thence, and fill the place agayne with goode
and mellowe earth fitt for the increase of salt peter, three foote
deepe at the least, and so contynue and keepe the same for the breede
of salt peter myne. No person, of anie degree whatsoever, was to denie
or hinder the salt peter man workinge any earth; nor was anie constable
to neglect or to forbeare to furnish him with convenient carriages
necessarie for his worke; and every justice to whom the salt peter
man should address himself for assistance was at his peril to fail to
render it, that his majesties service might not suffer by his default.
And no one was to give any gratuity or bribe to the salt peter man for
forbearinge or sparinge of anie ground or place which may be digged or
wrought for salt peter.”

To lessen the annoyance to the owners of these dove-cotes and stable
beds of saltpetre, and to promote the comfort of the pigeons, the
saltpetre man was “to dig and carrie away the earth in such convenient
time of the daie, and work it in suche manner as maie give least
disturbance and hurte to the pigeons, and encrease of their breede, and
in the chief tyme of breeding, that it be not done above two howers in
anie one daie, and that about the middest of the daie, when the pigeons
use to be abroade. And shall in like seasonable tyme carrie in the
saide earth after it shall be wrought, and spreade itt there, and make
flatt the floure of the dove-house, and leave itt well and orderlie.”

In another proclamation, issued two years after this, it was ordered
that whensoever anie ould building or house in London {275} within
three miles, is to be pulled down and removed, notice is to be given
at the king’s storehouse in Southwark, that the deputy may first take
as much of the earth and rubbish as in his judgement and experience is
fitted for salt peter for the King’s service.”

Soon after, we find that this enactment which caused much complaint,
was repealed. “The manufacture of salt peter,” says the king,
“had hitherto produced much trouble and grievance to the lieges,
by occasioning the digging up the floors of their dove-cotes,
dwelling-houses, and out-houses, and had also occasioned great charge
to the salt peter men for removing their liquors, tubbes, and other
instruments, and carrying them from place to place, but now, divers
compounds of salt peter can be extracted by other methods, for which
Sir John Brooke and Thomas Russell, Esq., have received letters patent.

“To encourage so laudable a project, all our loving subjects,”
continues his majesty, “inhabiting within every city, town, or village,
after notice given to them respectively, shall carefully and constantly
keep and preserve in some convenient vessels or receptacles fit for
that purpose, all the urine of man during the whole year, and all the
stale of beasts which they can save and gather together whilst their
beasts are in their stables and stalls, and that they be careful to
use the best means of gathering together and preserving the urine and
stale, without any mixture of water or other thing put therein. Which
our commandment and royal pleasure being so easy to be observed, and
so necessary for the public service of us and our people, that if any
person be remiss thereof, we shall esteem all such persons contemptuous
and ill affected both to our person and state, and are resolved to
proceed to the punishment of that offender with that severity we may.”

Sir John agreed to remove the liquid accumulations from the houses once
in every twenty-four hours in summer time, and every forty-eight hours
in winter time.

About the year 1670, the importation of saltpetre from the East Indies
(where it is obtained as a natural product, being {276} disengaged by
a kind of efflorescence from the surface of the soil) had so increased
as to affect the home manufacture, which has since gradually declined
and become extinct. The manufacture of saltpetre from sources of the
kind above mentioned, is not followed in this country at the present
day, and it will be unnecessary to indicate here the process employed
in France, Sweden, Germany, and other countries for obtaining it by the
decomposition of animal refuse, the more especially as full accounts
are given in Knapp’s _Technology_, Ure’s _Dictionary of Arts and
Manufactures_, and other standard chemical works; we shall therefore
confine our attention to an account of the processes which have been
proposed for obtaining nitrate of potash by the decomposition of
nitrate of soda and other sources.

The first of these processes is that of adding nitrate of lime to a
solution of sulphate of potash; sulphate of lime is precipitated, and
nitrate of potash obtained in solution, which, on evaporation yields
crystals of that salt.

Mr. Hill’s method of manufacturing nitrate of potash is by decomposing
nitrate of soda by means of muriate of potash. For this purpose the
nitrate of soda is put into a suitable vessel, made of wrought or
cast iron, and dissolved in as much water as is required, and then
the equivalent quantity of muriate of potash is added; decomposition
ensues, with the formation of nitrate of potash and muriate of soda;
the greater portion of the latter is separated during evaporation, as
it is equally soluble at all temperatures. The nitrate crystallizes on
the cooling of the solution. Specimens of this nitre were shown at the
Great Industrial Exhibition.

Mr. Rotch’s processes for converting nitrate of soda into nitrate of
potash are as follows:―

_First process with American potashes, (caustic)._—In a suitable
round-bottomed iron boiler, he dissolves 2000 lbs. of the ashes in 1000
quarts of water, and then applies heat for three hours, at the end of
which time the solution ought to be of a density of 45° Baumè, (sp. gr.
1.453). In a similar boiler he dissolves 1300 lbs. of nitrate of soda
in 1200 quarts of water, {277} applying the heat as before, until the
solution becomes of the density of 45° Baumé. Both solutions are then
allowed to stand for twelve hours to cool and settle. They should be
heated to from 175° to 200° Fah., and then both poured into a third
vessel or crystallizing pan, when the double decomposition will take
place, and the crystals of nitrate of potash be deposited, this first
deposition giving from 700 to 900 lbs. of good merchantable saltpetre.

Care must be taken not to let the heat fall below 85°, at which the
crystals form; and the better and more regularly the heat is kept up,
the speedier will be the deposition of the crystals. The mother-liquor
should then be poured off, and the crystals collected and thrown into
the centrifugal drying machines, where they may be washed with weak
mother-liquors. The portion of nitrate of potash that is left in the
mother-liquor may be obtained by crystallization as before.

_Second process with carbonate of potash (Pearlash)._—The pearlash
is dissolved in water, and the solution brought to a density of 40°
Baumé (sp. gr. 1.384). This will cause whatever sulphate of potash
may be contained in it to be deposited. The solution should then be
left to stand for five or six days, after which it should be poured
off, and diluted with water, until its density becomes 15° Baumé
(sp. gr. 1,116). Caustic lime should then be added in the proportion
of one-fourth of the weight of the original quantity of carbonate
employed. It should then be poured off from the carbonate of lime
formed, heated and mixed with the solution of nitrate of soda, as above
described. The precise proportions that the caustic alkali should
bear to the nitrate of soda, are forty-eight parts of the former to
eighty-six parts of the latter. The materials to be used should be
tested, so as to enable the just proportions to be arranged according
to the formula just given. The patentee states that by this means a
nitre is produced which is equal to the Bengal saltpetre, after the
latter has gone through the expensive process of refining.

A Stockholm manufacturer says:—“On dissolving nitrate of {278} soda
in excess of caustic potash solution, and evaporating to 28° or 32°
Baumé (sp. gr. 1.241 or 1.285), the chief part of the saltpetre
crystallizes, contaminated by the magnesia which is precipitated, and
a small quantity of carbonate of lime. In order to obtain the whole
of the saltpetre, the solution must be concentrated to 45° or 50°
Baumé (sp. gr. 1.453 or 1.530). Here however, a difficulty arises; the
cast iron crystallizing vessels are not impermeable to the liquor,
which, whatever the thickness of the vessels, oozes through them, thus
occasioning great loss. The saltpetre which still remains in solution
after crystallization in the caustic solution at 30° Baumé (sp. gr.
1.263), cannot be collected, and if it be employed in the manufacture
of soap, this will be found to contain so large a proportion of
saltpetre, that it deliquesces and falls to pieces in a few days.”

“A method employed in the Russian manufactories is first to dissolve
the fine pearlash, and the nitrate of soda in the relative proportions
of water required for their mutual decomposition, or rather with an
excess of potash in such a quantity of water that the resulting product
remains dissolved at 50° Reaumur. The solution is then allowed to
settle, whereby the carbonates of lime and magnesia are deposited,
after which the liquor is run off into wooden crystallizing vessels.
As soon as the temperature is lower than 50° Reaumur, the principal
part of the nitrate of potash crystallizes. The crystallization must
now be very attentively watched, for as soon as the soda begins also to
crystallize, the mother-liquors should be run off into other vessels,
where a small quantity of nitrate of potash will crystallize, though
the principal part will be soda. The nitrate of potash and the soda
must then be purified by new crystallizations. The salts formed from
the mother-liquors must be redissolved with the nitrate of potash or
the soda, according to which of the two most predominates.”

Messrs. Crane and Jullion patented in 1848 the following method of
manufacturing the nitrates of potash and soda:—The oxides of nitrogen
evolved in the process of manufacturing oxalic acid, are mixed with
oxygen gas or atmospheric air, and {279} made to pass slowly through
a chamber or other apparatus containing an alkali placed on trays
(similar to the lime in a dry lime purifier), the mixed gases combine
with the alkali, forming a nitrate of potash or soda, whichever alkali
may have been employed.

De Sussex’s process for the manufacture of nitrate of potash is as
follows:—A solution is made of 166 pounds of nitrate of lead, and
another of 76 pounds of chloride of potassium. The two solutions are
then mixed, when double decomposition takes place, chloride of lead
being precipitated, and nitrate of potash obtained in solution. In
order to avoid the presence of lead in the nitrate of potash, a small
portion of caustic or carbonated lime or magnesia is added, by which
means any portion of the chloride of lead remaining in solution is
precipitated. The solution of nitrate of potash is then evaporated and

Nitrate of soda is obtained in the same way, by substituting sixty-six
pounds of chloride of sodium for the chloride of potassium above
mentioned.—_Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, July 1, 1852._


The Pharmaceutical Society of Antwerp has employed a commission
composed of its members to determine the best menstruum for the
preparation of tincture of opium. It has arrived at the following

1. Good opium gives, when treated with water, less extract than bad or

2. By warm digestion, a stronger solution is obtained than by cold

3. Alcohol must be preferred to wine in the preparation of tincture of

4. Narcotine, although alone insoluble in water, becomes partially
extracted with the other ingredients of opium. When it is advisable
to avoid the removal of narcotine, proceed {280} as follows:—Treat
carefully prepared aqueous extract of opium with, boiling alcohol; this
dissolves out the narcotine and morphine, from which solution, when
cold, the narcotine separates.

After the precipitation, whatever ingredients are necessary to form the
tincture are to be added to the alcoholic solution.

By this opportunity, the commission recommend another process by which
morphine may be more readily separated from narcotine. One part of the
opium is to be treated with four parts of alcohol. After the alcohol
has been separated by filtration, the residue is again to be macerated
with three parts of alcohol. The resulting tinctures, after being
mixed, are to be set aside for twenty-four hours to allow the narcotine
to separate; afterwards the morphine is to be precipitated with
ammonia. To remove the last traces of morphine, the fluid, from which
the precipitated morphine has been filtered, is to be kept in a warm
place for two days, a little water having been previously added, when
a fresh quantity of morphine will fall down. By this method, 1/12 of
the weight of the opium employed, can be obtained as morphine.—_Annals
of Pharmacy and Practical Chemistry._



The readers of the _New Repertory for Pharmacy_, part i., p. 22 already
know that I have been for some time occupied with the investigation
of ergot, and that I obtained, by the distillation of ergotine with
potash, besides ammonia, a substance having a very unpleasant odor,
which conducted itself as a volatile alkali, and possessed a narcotic
and highly diuretic property. This confirmation of a result which I
had obtained some years before, induced me to continue my experiments,
and I have now arrived at the conviction that the volatile alkali
{281} which is extracted from ergotine by distillation with potash is
propylamine (N H‗{2} C‗{6} H‗{7}, or N H‗{3} C‗{6} H‗{6}) consequently
the same which, according to the most recent experiments, is proved
to be the product of decomposition of narcotine by potash, and the
ingredient of herring-pickle. The smell itself made me imagine,
long before I was acquainted with Wertheim’s experiments, that
herring-pickle must likewise contain propylamine, and my experiments
have fully confirmed this supposition, for in distilling herring-pickle
with potash I obtained the same propylamine as that extracted from a
concentrated aqueous solution of ergotine. The properties in which they
agree are the following:―

1. Propylamine saturates acids completely, and thus forms salts
soluble in water, and for the most part in spirit of wine, with the
exception of sulphate of propylamine, which does not dissolve in the
latter. Beautiful white crystals may, however, be produced from the
concentrated aqueous solution by the admixture of alcohol of eighty
per cent. of strength. The salts of propylamine dissolved in water and
treated with tannic acid produce a white (flocculent) precipitate; with
chloride of mercury likewise, a white but pulverulent precipitate;
with nitrate of silver a white (flocculent) precipitate; and with
chloride of platinum a yellow precipitate (a crystalline powder). The
salts of propylamine have a strong odor of fresh ergot, much less of
herring-pickle, and are easily decomposed by potash.

2. The concentrated aqueous solution being mixed with a fourth of its
volume of tincture of iodine, a considerable dark yellowish-brown
sediment is precipitated, and the supernatant fluid appears dark
brownish-red. But in a very short time this sediment diminishes
considerably, the fluid gradually changes color, so that in about
twelve hours’ time there will be left but very little orange-colored
sediment, whilst the fluid itself will appear almost colorless.
Immediately after the addition of iodine the very disagreeable odor of
propylamine disappears, and the mixture acquires the odor of iodine.

3. When the neutral aqueous solution of sulphate of {282} propylamine
is evaporated in a water-bath it exhales a very disagreeable odor of
herring, the solution becomes very acid, has only a weak odor of ergot,
and all the re-actions cease. If this concentrated solution be digested
with caustic lime in a still, there comes over, without the aid of
artificial heat, almost pure propylamine, which has the odor of an
ammoniacal liquid, and produces all the re-actions of pure propylamine.

Now the propylamine of ergot presents the very same results, and it
is on this account that until lately, it has always been mistaken for
ammonia. I am convinced that it constitutes the odorous principle
of urine, perspiration, and in the blood, and is often the cause
of the odor which we observe in the action of alkaline leys upon
nitrogenous compounds. Propylamine belongs to the organic bases, and
may be considered as the adjunct [_Paarling_] of ammonia. I think I
am justified in concluding, from the results of my experiments, that
propylamine, _combined with an acid_, pre-exists in ergot as well as in
herring-pickle, and is not produced by the potash, as is the case with
narcotine. I have previously demonstrated the presence of formic acid
in ergot, and it is with that acid that the propylamine seems to be
united. I have not yet made any experiments with herring-pickle.

It will now be difficult to determine whether the medicinal activity
of ergot depends on propylamine or not, for the neutral salts of
propylamine dissolved in water are easily absorbed, and I hope to be
able to induce physicians to make pharmacological and therapeutical

I have reasons to suppose that propylamine is likewise an ingredient
of cod-liver oil, and being easily combined with iodine, it may soon
be ascertained by practical application whether it ought not to be
considered as the bearer (_träger_) of iodine. I propose to begin
the necessary experiments in this respect as soon as my apparatus is
entirely free from the odor of propylamine, in order to avoid all error.

Finally, I had the idea of trying an experiment with regard to
propylamine upon my own urine, which I made after a {283} supper
consisting of roast veal, potato-salad, and a glass of water, and which
was neither acid nor alkaline. I poured three ounces of the urine,
fresh made and still quite warm, upon four ounces of burned lime,
and submitted it to distillation. The distilled product had indeed
the odor of pure propylamine, and re-acted strongly alkaline; but
acted in a remarkable manner on tincture of iodine in the same way as
liquid ammonia. After having neutralized it with sulphuric acid, the
liquid showed when tested with tannic acid and nitrate of silver, an
unmistakable proportion of propylamine. Might this be formed out of the
urea? My experiment confirms, at all events, the opinion stated above;
the beginning is made, and I may now pass from experiment to scientific

_Remarks by Dr. Buchner_:—My friend, Dr. Winckler, in communicating
the above paper, very agreeably surprised me by transmitting at the
same time specimens of his preparation of propylamine, and that too in
quantities varying from one to two drachms, for which I hereby beg to
express to him publicly my best thanks. I received from him, namely:―

1. The rough product of distillation of herring-pickle.

2. The aqueous solution of the sulphate produced from it.

3. The pure crystallized, and by spirit of wine, precipitated sulphate
of propylamine.

4. The concentrated solution of pure propylamine.

5. The aqueous solution of the sulphate prepared with No. 4.

Hitherto I have only experimented with the preparations No. 2, 4 and 5,
in order to verify and complete the statements of the above paper. All
these solutions are quite colorless and clear, like water; they diffuse
already at some distance a strong odor of herring; but the pure aqueous
propylamine, when smelt at closely, has a pungent odor, very similar
to that of liquid ammonia, which, however, at a distance, assumes, as
it has been said, the smell of herring. This odor is so peculiarly
characteristic, that I do not doubt, that even in water-closets, in
consequence of fermentation, propylamine is developed, particularly
as woollen clothes easily acquire there the odor of {284} herring.
All the conditions at least necessary for the formation of propylamine
ammonia, and carbo-hydrogen, are to be found in water-closets. In a
small close room its odor becomes insupportable, and affects strongly
the head. Dr. Winckler, had therefore, good reasons to warn me against
it. A young chemist, upon whose hand I dropped a very minute quantity
of aqueous propylamine, for the purpose of ascertaining its taste,
notwithstanding that he had been walking after that a considerable
distance, and had been exposed to the air, smelt still, after some
hours, so strongly of herring, that happening to to enter a company, he
was spoken to about it by several persons. I mention this merely as a
caution. The taste of pure aqueous propylamine is pungently alkaline,
and hardly distinguishable from that of caustic ammonia.

The chemical re-actions of propylamine are well explained by Winckler.
Turmeric paper turns brown with it, but being exposed to the air, in
which propylamine quickly evaporates, it resumes again its primitive
yellow color.

Sulphate of propylamine (No. 3,) appears in small splendid white
prisms, exposed to the air it evolves a distinct smell of herring, and
has a pungent saline taste, like sulphate of ammonia; it is entirely
neutral, and when moistened with water, it does not alter the color
either of blue or red litmus-paper, or of turmeric-paper.

We have in solutions of silver and iodine, which are not precipitated
by ammonia, very appropriate re-agents for distinguishing propylamine
from ammonia. Propylamine, however, treated with sulphate of silver,
gave me not a white, but a yellowish-brown precipitate; and this
result suggested to me the idea, that formiate of propylamine might be
present. This precipitate was easily and perfectly dissolved in caustic
liquid ammonia. With an aqueous solution of iodine I acquired at one
time, according to the quantitative proportion a brown, and at another
time a beautiful yellow precipitate, which dissolved in an excess of
iodide of potassium. I usually employ an aqueous solution of iodine in
iodide of potassium {285} instead of the tincture of iodine made with
spirit of wine. The precipitate produced by iodide of potassium is, as
I have just stated, either brown or yellow, provided that no excess of
iodide of potassium be employed.—_Buchner’s Neues Repertorium_, Bd. 1.


We had intended once more to call the attention of our readers to
the approaching meeting of the National Convention, but have been
anticipated by one of our colleagues in the communication which is
subjoined, giving an account of both its origin and its objects. It is
to be hoped that, as the convention will probably assume a permanent
organization, its proceedings will take on a scientific character.
Independent of the subjects which pharmacy, every where, presents, such
a body would be a fit one to assist in ascertaining and developing
the resources of our indigenous materia medica. Our country is rich
in medicinal articles, but the properties of many of them are but
imperfectly known, and comparatively little attention has been paid
to their pharmaceutical preparation. Inquiries of this kind, carried
on with the aid of physicians, particularly of those attached to
hospitals, could not fail to produce important results, and they seem
peculiarly adapted to the wants of the community and to the position of
the convention.


The second meeting of Pharmaceutists, the first as a National
Convention, to which the Convention of Delegates from the several
Colleges of Pharmacy, held in New York last October, may be considered
the preliminary movement, will take place in Philadelphia, on Wednesday
the 6th of October ensuing. The convention of last fall was held
chiefly for the purpose of considering the important subject of
standards of quality and purity which imported drugs ought to possess
in order to regulate and render uniform the character required of
them by the government Inspectors, at the various ports of entry
in the United States. Unofficially and officially the duty of
affixing standards for imported drugs was, with propriety, assigned
to the Colleges of Pharmacy. For this object they were called in
convention for that time only, and permanent organization was not
then anticipated. But on the meeting of the Colleges, and their
united action upon the one subject of such general importance, it was
a natural consequence that a spontaneous and general feeling should
arise in favor of the establishment of a National Pharmaceutical
Organization, with an Annual Convention for the {286} advancement
of science and for the promotion of intercourse and good will among
pharmaceutists generally. Accordingly the preamble and resolutions
brought forward by the committee, subsequent to their report on the
special business of that convention and its action upon it, were
received with hearty favor. We think it would be well to recapitulate

  “WHEREAS, The advancement of the true interests of the great body
 of Pharmacutical practitioners in all sections of our country is a
 subject worthy of earnest consideration; and whereas Pharmaceutists,
 in their intercourse among themselves, with physicians and the public,
 should be governed by a code of ethics calculated to elevate the
 standard and improve the practice of their art; and whereas, the means
 of a regular pharmaceutical education should be offered to the rising
 Pharmaceutists by the establishment of Schools of Pharmacy in suitable
 locations; and whereas, it is greatly to be desired that the united
 action of the profession should be directed to the accomplishment of
 these objects; therefore,

 _Resolved_, That in the opinion of this Convention, much good will
 result from a more extended intercourse between the Pharmaceutists
 of the several sections of the Union, by which their customs and
 practice may be assimilated; that Pharmaceutists would promote their
 individual interests and advance their professional standing by
 forming associations for mutual protection, and the education of their
 assistants, when such associations have become sufficiently matured;
 and that, in view of these important ends, it is further

 _Resolved_, That a Convention be called, consisting of three delegates
 each from incorporated and unincorporated Pharmaceutical Societies,
 to meet at Philadelphia, on the first Wednesday in October, 1852,
 when all the importent questions bearing on the profession may be
 considered, and measures adopted for the organization of a National
 Association, to meet every year.

 In accordance with these resolutions, it was resolved that the
 President of the Convention be requested to transmit an invitation to
 the authorized bodies, at least three months previous to the time of
 meeting, desiring such bodies to acquaint him with the names of the
 delegates they may appoint.

 On motion, it was resolved that the New York Delegation be appointed
 a Committee to lay the proceedings of this Convention before the
 Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and afterwards have
 them published in pamphlet form.

 Dr. Philbrick of Boston, offered the following preamble and
 resolution, which were adopted:

 WHEREAS, To secure the full benefits of the prohibition of
 sophisticated drugs and chemicals from abroad, it is necessary to
 prevent home adulteration; therefore,

 _Resolved_, That this Convention recommend to the several Colleges
 to adopt such measures as in their respective states may be best
 calculated to secure that object.

 On motion of Mr. Colcord of Boston, it was

 _Resolved_, That a committee of three be appointed by this Convention
 to act as a Standing Committee to collect and receive such information
 as may be valuable, {287} and memorials and suggestions from any
 Medical and Pharmaceutical Associations, to be presented at the next

 The President appointed G. D. Coggeshall of New York, S. M. Colcord of
 Boston, and W. Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia, as the Committee.

 A vote of thanks to the officers was passed, and then the Convention
 adjourned, to meet in Philadelphia, on the first Wednesday in October,

We hope that the considerations embraced in the preamble and
resolutions of the committee will engage the thoughtful and
earnest attention of every apothecary every where throughout the
United States, who has a just sense of the proper dignity of his
profession and an honest desire for its advancement, and that all
will feel the importance of a general gathering at the approaching
convention,—one that shall comprise a full representation of remote
as well as adjacent districts of our extended country. In the words
of the resolution, “three delegates, each, from incorporated and
unincorporated pharmaceutical societies,” are invited, but a feeling
has been increasingly manifested since the last convention, to solicit
representation from all districts, small as well as large, that in
places where but few apothecaries are located—too few as they may think
for efficient organization,—they should yet feel their individual
responsibility, and be encouraged to depute one or more of their number
to represent them. All, who come in the right spirit of regard for
the cause, may be sure of being welcome.—A National Pharmaceutical
Association will undoubtedly be organized on a similar plan to that
of the medical profession, and in it individuals may be admitted to
membership that are acceptable as worthy practioners of their art.

The convention will have many subjects of general interest to discuss
and to arrange for future consideration. Prominent amongst these
will be, a Code of Ethics which should govern pharmaceutists in the
performance of their duties, and in their intercourse with each other
and with physicians; the importance of general conformity in practice
with the United States Pharmacopœia; the suppression of _home_ as well
as the exclusion of _foreign_ adulteration; and the driving out of
quackery into its own mean company. That all these ends can at once be
attained is scarcely to be hoped for; but we trust the convention will
be composed of men who appreciate the distinctness of the honorable
practice of our profession from all malpractice and quackery, and who
are fully disposed to mark the division clearly and broadly; so that
persons governed by such opposite principles may take their separate
places, and be esteemed accordingly.

We are authorized by Dr. Guthrie, who, since the Convention of 1851,
has removed to Memphis, Tennessee, to request that the names of
delegates may be reported to Prof. William Procter, Philadelphia,—a
convenient arrangement, as Mr. Procter is one of the delegates to the
next Convention, residing in the city where it is to be held.

We would also invite the attention of Pharmaceutists to the resolution
introduced by Mr. Colcord, of Boston, and hope that any suggestions
they may wish to offer, will be presented at an early day to one of the
committee appointed, to rceive them.



A number of cases of lead poisoning, two of which terminated fatally,
have lately occurred at Paris, which have been traced to the use of
cider, clarified by a mixture of acetate of lead and carbonate of
potassa. The history of this matter shows the efficacy of the French
law regarding the use of poisonous substances, and the rigor with which
it is enforced:―

Several manufacturers, were accused of having sold cider adulterated
and containing substances injurious to health; others in addition
to this, of having caused various internal injuries to different
individuals, and one M. Henon, further of having thus caused the death
of two individuals.

One of the witnesses testified, that he had purchased cider at the
establishment of the defendant, that some days after drinking it he had
been attacked with colic, and constant tremblings; by the advice of his
physician, he sent a quantity of the suspected cider to the prefect of
police for analysis. A number of other witnesses who had been poisoned,
made statements to the same effect.

M. Chevallier deposed, that he had received a letter from the prefect
of the police, enclosing one from the physician of the plaintiff, who
stated that a number of his patients had been rendered ill by the use
of this cider; that he had, in consequence of this, inspected the
various establishments in which the manufacture of cider was carried
on, and that he has ascertained the presence of lead in the cider
obtained at establishments of the accused.

Several physicians testified, that the symptoms under which their
patients (the witnesses) had labored, were due to lead poisoning.

M. Dubail, a _Pharmacien_, testified that he had furnished M. Henon,
(one of the accused), with a mixture of acetate of lead and carbonate
of potassa, which M. H. stated, that by the advice of one of his
clerks, he intended to use in the clarification of cider. That he had
cautioned M. H. regarding its employment, and had furnished him with
a re-agent for the purpose of detecting any lead which might not be
precipitated in the cider thus clarified.

The trial was commenced on the 9th of May, continued upon the 11th, and
judgment rendered on the 18th.

Henon, the use of whose cider had caused two deaths, was condemned to
18 months imprisonment and to pay a fine of 800 francs; a second, to
8 months imprisonment and a fine of 500 francs; a third, to 6 months
imprisonment and 500 francs; while a fourth party, accused only of
selling adulterated cider, but to the employment of which no injury had
been traced, was imprisoned 3 months and fined 100 francs. M. Henon was
condemned to pay 24,050 francs in addition as damages; another of the
accused, the sum of 1500 francs.

Truly, if the Prince President has been rather free in the employment
of lead in the streets of Paris, the government takes good care that
its citizens shall not be poisoned by it with impunity.

ERRATUM.—In the July No. page 224, article announcing delegates to the
Convention for 1852, fourth line, for Monday read _Wednesday_.




OCTOBER, 1852.


NEW YORK, September 25, 1852.


_Dear Sir_,—Your kind and courteous favor of the 16th instant, on
behalf of the Publishing Committee of the New York Journal of Pharmacy,
asking “information respecting the character of imported drugs and
medicines coming under my supervision; and also, information in
reference to the general working and effect of the drug law of 1848,”
has been before me for several days, waiting such response, in the
shape of a full and lengthy communication in detail, as it was my wish
to furnish; but pressing and increasing official duties compel me,
from want of time (not material), to forego that pleasure and confine
myself to a brief statement of facts and data, which, together with
some general observations, I am in hopes may, nevertheless, be found
interesting to your readers.

As an evidence of the beneficial effects of the wise sanitary measure,
in the success of which, we have all taken so much interest, I am
pleased to say that the character and quality of the more important
articles of drugs, medicines and chemical preparations, connected
with medicine at present presented for entry from abroad, is greatly
improved, and of a far higher standard of strength and purity than
formerly; notwithstanding, as will be seen, I still have occasion to
apply the “veto power”—a labor of love, which must, of necessity,
be {290} performed in order to arrest the unhallowed strides of
deception and fraud which will ever be practised, to a greater or less
extent, as long as we have those among us, engaged in any department
of the drug trade, who, to put money in their purse, would endanger,
if not sacrifice the lives of their fellow men. The law in question
has now been in operation at this port something more than four
years; and, with the exception of some eleven months, the duties and
responsibilities of its administration have devolved upon me. On the
21st day of April, 1849, I made a report to the New York Academy
of Medicine, on the practical operation of this law, and stated
therein the more important articles of drugs and medicines, with the
quantities annexed, rejected by me up to that date; but as that report
is doubtless familiar to most of your readers, I have not deemed it
necessary to repeat them here. The following are the more important
articles, with the quantities annexed, that I have since rejected and
condemned as not of the requisite strength and purity to be safely and
properly used for medicinal purposes, viz:―

 Senna,                        31,838 lbs.
 Jalap root,                   37,121 lbs.
 Rhubarb root,                  5,782 lbs.
 Sarsaparilla,                 65,374 lbs.
 Mezereon bark,                 1,353 lbs.
 Opium,                         3,164 lbs.
 Kino,                            230 lbs.
 Scammony,                      1,483 lbs.
 Aloes,                        12,375 lbs.
 Squills,                       1,626 lbs.
 Spurious Peruvian bark,      304,135 lbs.
 Spanish Saffron,                 360 lbs.
 Ergot,                           475 lbs.
 Chamomile flowers,             1,896 lbs.
 Assafœtida,                    3,700 lbs.
 Worm seed,                       230 lbs.
 Colchicum seed,                2,246 lbs. {291}
 Valerian root,                   650 lbs.
 Guaiacum,                      9,300 lbs.
 Cream of Tartar,               7,673 lbs.
 Magnesia (carb.),              2,867 lbs.
 Magnesia (calc’d.),            1,560 lbs.
 Althea root,                   1,117 lbs.
 Liquorice root,                9,430 lbs.
 Bistort root,                    140 lbs.
 Gentian root,                  7,572 lbs.
 Gentian root, in powder,         430 lbs.
 Lavender flowers,              3,042 lbs.
 Poppy flowers,                   190 lbs.
 Hellebore root (white),          460 lbs.
 Pareira Brava root,              730 lbs.
 Cantharides,                   1,276 lbs.
 Creosote,                        140 ozs.
 Bromine,                         430 ozs.
 Sulphate of Quinine,           3,200 ozs.
 Iodine,                        6,864 ozs.
 Hydriodate of Potass,          3,720 ozs.

Making altogether some five hundred and twenty thousand pounds, to
say nothing of various articles in small quantities rejected from
time to time, which I have not considered of sufficient importance to
note down. This, together with the ninety thousand pounds previously
rejected, as stated in an early report above alluded to, makes some
six hundred and ten thousand pounds of various articles of drugs and
medicines condemned by me as unfit for medicinal purposes since the law
took effect at this port. What articles and in what quantities, were
rejected during the eleven months that I was absent from the office,
I am not advised, neither am I at this time able to say what has been
done under the requirements of this act at the other ports of entry. I
hope, however, that the special examiners can give a good account of
their stewardship, and that they will not hesitate to do so, whenever
the information is desirable as a means of pushing on the column of
medical and pharmaceutical reform. {292}

It will be seen by the above statement, that by far the largest
quantity of any one article rejected, is that of spurious Peruvian
bark, or as it is generally known in commerce, Carthagena and
Maracaibo bark; and that too, as a general thing of the poorest and
most worthless quality. The best of this bark affords on analysis
only an exceedingly small percentage of quinine, not unfrequently,
but a mere trace; while, at the same time, it yields as high as
two, and occasionally with choice samples, two and a half per cent
of a _peculiar_ alkaloid which has been named _quinidine_, in
contra-distinction to quinine, cinchonine, and aricine, (the three
alkaloids heretofore obtained from the different varieties of the
cinchona tribe of plants,) from which it differs essentially in several

What _is quinidine, medicinally understood_? How does _sulphate_
of quinidine _compare with sulphate of quinine_ (from which it is
very difficult to distinguish it by the naked eye,) medicinally,
as a remedial agent in cases where the use of the latter salt is
particularly indicated? These are important questions, and the subject
is one very properly at the present time calling for prompt, patient,
and persevering investigation by all those whose mission it is to
prepare, dispense or prescribe the most efficient means wherewith to
combat disease; the more so for the reason, that I have detected in
most of the sulphate of quinine lately imported from abroad, more
or less of this non-officinal, and (in my opinion) as compared with
quinine, non-efficient substance yclept quinidine; a fact readily
accounted for, when it is known that for the last year or two immense
quantities of the bark in question, good, bad, and indifferent, have
been exported from New Grenada, (as well as much from this port that
had been rejected) and purchased by foreign manufacturing chemists,
for the purpose, as I have reason to believe, of mixing it with the
_true_ bark in the manufacture of sulphate of quinine; hence the hybrid
salt now too frequently presented to entry; a practice that, if not
speedily abandoned, will ruin as far as this country is concerned,
the formerly well deserved reputation of more than one of the {293}
foreign manufacturers of sulphate of quinine I could name. The
argument maintained by some of them that the article is used in their
hospitals and found equal to pure quinine, will not answer on this side
of the water; it smacks too much of the almighty dollar, even as I must
believe (until further advised) at the expense of truth.

This comparatively inert substance, quinidine, is readily detected by
using the method adopted by Zimmer, and published in the March number
of the Pharmaceutical Journal (London), and, as I was happy to see,
transfered to the columns of the May number of your valuable Journal.
It is a test so perfect, so scientifically practical, and so simple
withal, that any one possessing only a moderate share of chemical and
analytical acumen can successfully apply it, even though perchance
he may not be able to boast of wearing the mantle of the departed
Berzelins, or of having been a favorite pupil of Liebig.

The law went into operation at this port on the 12th day of July, 1848,
and it is worthy of remark, as a cause of gratulation, on the part of
the early friends of the measure, that the importation of inferior and
worthless qualities of many important drugs and medicines, has since
gradually and greatly decreased in quantity. For instance, I rejected
during the first seven months of the working of the law 19,989 pounds
of Rhubarb root; but I have since rejected only 5,782 pounds, being
but a fraction over one third of the quantity. For the past eighteen
months, I have not had occasion to reject a single pound. I rejected
during the first nine months 3,347 pounds of opium; but have since,
during a period of more than two years and a half of my administration
of the law, as will be seen by the above statement, rejected only 3,164
pounds. For the past thirteen months I have rejected only nine hundred
and fifty two pounds, while I have passed during that period not less
than 70,000 pounds. During the first two months of the operation of
the law, I rejected 1,414 pounds of gamboge, but have since met with
that only which I was ready {294} to pass without any hesitation.
During the first nine months I rejected 2,977 pounds of gum myrrh,
but all that has since been presented to entry at this port, I have
found satisfactory. Thus might I continue, but time and space will
not permit. Enough I opine, has been said and shown to satisfy even
the most prejudiced and sceptical opponent of this wise measure,
that if faithfully and judiciously administered, _and seconded with
becoming zeal and honesty of purpose by the medical profession, the
pharmaceutist and dispensing apothecary_, it is calculated and destined
to effect most beneficial and lasting sanitary reforms throughout the
length and breadth of our vast and glorious land. In a word, the law
has operated thus far remarkably well considering the hasty manner
in which it was framed and passed through Congress. It is, in some
respects imperfect, as must ever be the case with all new measures
of legislation until their utility is tested by practical operation;
but these imperfections were, some time since, brought to the
attention of the Secretary of the Treasury, who, with his accustomed
promptitude soon after instructed me to report to the Department such
manifestations and suggestions as my experience in the administration
of the law should dictate as most desirable, practicable, and
judicious; and, notwithstanding this important and responsible
trust has necessarily been made the subject of the few occasional
leisure moments I could from time to time command, apart from other
official duties, it is nearly completed, and, in a manner too, as I
have reason to believe, that will render the law, when amended as
proposed, satisfactory to all honorable dealers, importers, owners, and
consignees, and, at the same time do away with the not unreasonable
objections entertained by our marine insurance companies; while its
efficiency instead of being in any manner impaired by the amendments,
will be more perfectly guarded and essentially strengthened. The
particulars and details connected with this duty I must defer until
another time; but I must be permitted before closing this communication
to say, that to the present able and distinguished {295} head of the
Treasury Department, Hon. Thomas Corwin, is due a debt of gratitude,
from all true friends of this important measure, not easily cancelled.
Soon after he was called to take upon himself the responsibilities
of one of the most important, and by far the most arduous offices
under the general government, the downward and fatal tendency of a
maladministration of the law was brought to his notice; when, rising
_above all minor considerations_, he rescued it from impending danger,
and placed it upon what he deemed a safe basis; and has since, on
all occasions, lent a willing ear to every suggestion calculated to
render it more perfect, to add to its efficiency, or perpetuate its
usefulness. A noble example truly, and one well worthy of the man.

To conclude, I beg to say, that although I have not the honor of
belonging to any Pharmaceutical Association, I nevertheless take great
interest in everything calculated to advance the good cause and noble
calling in which you have so long been engaged; and, I hope the day
is not far distant, when every city and town of importance throughout
this wide extended country, will be favored with an organization of
the kind, radiating from a _National_ Pharmaceutical Association as
a common center. It would be of vast benefit to the community at
large, as well as eminently useful to the medical profession; for as
all must admit, it is of the most vital importance to the success of
the physician, that his remedial agents are properly prepared by a
well-bred and perfectly educated chemist and pharmaceutist; and, I may
add my conviction, that medical and pharmaceutical chemistry, a part of
medical education that has thus far been most unpardonably neglected,
should be universally and efficiently taught in our Schools of Medicine.

 I am, dear Sir,
 Very respectfully, your obd’t. serv’t.,
 M. J. BAILEY, M. D.,

Special Examiner of Drugs, Medicines, Chemical Medicinal Preparations,




Having recently fitted up a new laboratory in which I have introduced
coal gas as a source of heat, I have thought a description of the
apparatus and manner of using it, would be interesting to chemists
and pharmaceutists, as it has not been very generally applied to this
purpose as yet in this country, although in England, where alcohol is
dear, it has long been used as a substitute.

In the use of coal gas as a source of heat, the principal difficulty
to be avoided, is its tendency to smoke; this I have accomplished in a
variety of ways. The ordinary argand gas burner, fixed permanently upon
a branch pipe passing up through the table, is one of the cheapest,
and a convenient arrangement for many purposes, and to prevent smoke,
a tall glass chimney, or a short sheet iron chimney, with every other
hole in the burner plugged, so as to make separate and distinct jets
for the air to pass through, is all that is necessary. A tripod or
sheet iron cylinder, for supporting vessels over the flame, is an
indispensable addition to this burner. There is one objection to this
form of apparatus, which is, that it is _fixed_, and cannot be moved
about like a lamp. To avoid this inconvenience, I have had a number
of burners constructed in different ways, and connected with flexible
tubes, so as to admit of a change of position, to any place within the
length of the tube.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

Figure 1, is a gas burner designed as a substitute for the Rose Lamp,
and when connected to the gas pipe by means of a flexible tube,
answers every purpose of that excellent lamp without being liable
to the danger of catching fire, or to the necessity of replenishing
during an operation, as is the case with most alcohol lamps. The above
arrangement consists of an ordinary argand gas burner, with every other
hole plugged, fixed to an arm with a socket and {297} thumb screw, by
means of which it can be raised to any height on the rod attached to
a moveable wooden foot. The lower part of the burner is provided with
a screw to which the flexible tube is attached, by means of a Hare’s
gallows screw connector. The other end of the flexible tube should be
provided with a stopcock, at its union with the fixed gas pipes for
regulating the supply of the gas. Above the burner is a moveable ring,
with socket and thumb screw, for supporting retorts, flasks, etc., at
any desired height. A glass chimney is represented in the figure, but
this may be replaced with a short sheet iron chimney, when part of the
holes in the burner have been plugged as before mentioned. The above
burner is well adapted for use with the wire gauze chimney, as the
moveable ring with the addition of a wire tripod, answers as a support
for a platina crucible. To insure a perfect combustion of the mixture
of gas and air, I find that the sheet iron cylinder should be about
ten inches high and two inches diameter. Over such a cylinder, with
the upper end covered with wire gauze, it is an easy matter to fuse
carbonate of soda, or other substance requiring a bright red heat.
When the combustion is perfect with the above cylinder, the flame is
of a pale blueish white color, like that of a solid flame from alcohol
but much hotter. With the addition of a small conical chimney of sheet
iron, placed over the mixed gas-burner, so as to bring the blue flame
to a smaller compass, I find it a very convenient and powerful flame
for bending glass tubes, by which tubes of any diameter, or the neck of
a retort, may be easily softened and bent.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

Figure 2, is an argand burner, with every other hole plugged, attached
to a heavy brass foot, and with an arm and stopcock, to which a long
flexible tube is attached, the other end of which is connected to a
pendant above the table. This burner is well adapted for use on any
part of the table, and may be used with an ordinary retort {298}
stand, or with a sheet iron cylinder, for supporting vessels over
the flame. It has all the conveniences without the disadvantages of a
Berzelius’ Lamp, as it requires no wicks or replenishing, and cannot
take fire; and the stopcock is not liable to get out of order, as is
the case with the rack and pinion of the alcoholic lamp.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

Figure 3, is a large burner, six inches in diameter, with the holes
placed far enough apart to form distinct jets of the burning gas, by
which means smoke is entirely prevented without the use of any chimney.
This burner, like the preceding, is attached to a heavy brass foot, and
with an arm and stopcock, to which a long flexible tube is attached, by
means of which it can be moved to any part of the table.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.]

This burner is provided with a large sheet iron cylinder, (figure 4)
with air holes at the top and bottom, a slit at the side, to go over
the arm of the burner, and a door in front for convenience in lighting
the gas, and thus forms a powerful and convenient gas furnace, by means
of which a gallon of water can be easily boiled. With this arrangement
the confined heat is so great, that it is necessary to protect the
table from burning, by means of sheet iron, or other suitable material.

In point of economy, coal gas is cheaper than alcohol for fuel,
even in America where the latter is so cheap, and the price of gas
is comparatively high; and, it is to be hoped, that the price of
the latter will be reduced, so that coal gas may yet be used with
economy, as a source of heat for domestic as well as for chemical and
pharmaceutical purposes. The present price should be no detriment
to its free use, as it is, {299} undoubtedly, the most cleanly and
convenient fuel which can be used in the laboratory; and, as such, I
would strongly recommend it to those, for whom the above description
has been prepared.


Since Stoerck, who first extolled the virtues of Hemlock, this plant
has undergone numerous alterations of credit and neglect which may be
explained by the want of certainty, or rather by the irregularity, of
its action.

An important work has just appeared on this subject, executed
conjointly by a physician and pharmacien of Lyons, MM. Devay and
Guillermond. This work, which developes and completes what has been
said upon the medicinal virtues of hemlock, furnishes a new element
which will fix, we believe, the therapeutic value of that substance. It
is the substitution of the seed like fruits for the other parts of the
plant. We will briefly explain the motive of that preference.

The principle to which cicuta owes both its toxicological and
therapeutic powers has received the names of cicuta, coneine and
conicine, the last of which is now generally adopted. It is a volatile
alkaloid, of a sharp penetrating, disagreeable smell, somewhat like
that of mice. It is of an oily consistence, and easily decomposed by
heat. In these respects it resembles nicotine. But, a characteristic
readily recognized and which distinguishes it from the latter, when
shaken with water it again floats upon the surface, while nicotine is
immediately dissolved by that liquid.

The volatility of conicine, the readiness with which it is {300}
decomposed by heat or time alone, are such that the Lyonese
experimenters do not hesitate to propose the abandonment both of
the herb itself, and of all the pharmaceutic forms prepared by the
aid of heat, or in which the conicine is susceptible of undergoing
decomposition. We think this is going rather too far. The extracts of
cicuta prepared with care, and particularly those prepared in vacuo,
are of daily service. We have been able to verify by trituration with
potassa, the presence of conicine in a hydro-alcoholic extract, a
number of years old. But, notwithstanding, recognizing the fact that
the preparations of cicuta of this kind are often inert, we agree with
the experimenters that it is of consequence to escape from such a state
of things.

The tincture of cicuta prepared with the fresh plant, is a very
beautiful product, but made from parts of the plant containing but a
small proportion of conicine, or at all events containing it in very
variable proportions, may be inert or irregular in its action. What
then is to be done? employ conicine itself? But the preparation of
the alkaloid is difficult; it is promptly decomposed by contact with
the air and light, and the apportionment of its dose, offers serious

There is a organ of the plant in which its active principle is found in
larger and more constant proportion, and under conditions in which it
is better preserved than in any other; that organ is the fruit. It is
at the moment of its most perfect development, when the plant commences
to flower, that it contains the largest proportion of conicine, and
that the principle is most perfectly elaborated. At a later period it
disappears and is fixed in the fruit, in which it is concentrated in
great quantity. It is in the fruit that we seek it when we wish to
extract it. It is in the fruit we should seek it for medical use.

PHARMACEUTICAL PREPARATIONS. FORMULÆ.—“Having shown by experiment as
well as by reasoning, that the fruit of the cicuta (akène) should
henceforth replace all the preparations of the plant employed in
medicine: we have to make known the use we have made of this fact.
It is important in the first {301} place, that the fruit employed
should be that of the great cicuta, and that it should not be mingled
with seeds of the other umbelliferæ. They may be known by being almost
globular with five crenelated sides.

When the fruit is divided, the sides fold in the form of a crescent.
They do not possess like most of the other umbelliferæ, a peculiar
aromatic odor. This appears to be covered by that of conicine. The
fool’s parsley, (_æthusa cynapium_,) the phellandrium aquaticum, the
anise, bear fruits which, physically, have much resemblance to that of
the cicuta; but, when the latter is pulverized, the characteristic odor
which is developed is sufficient to enable us readily to recognize it.
Another precaution to be taken is in relation to the time at which the
fruit should be collected. Those which were employed in our experiments
and preparations had reached the perfection of their maturity. It
is then it should be collected for medical use, because then it is
isolated, so to speak, from the plant which produces it; the active
principle exists then in them in a true state of concentration and

1st. FORMULÆ FOR INTERNAL USE.—“The fruit of the cicuta does not need
any complicated pharmaceutic preparation. It is active enough of itself
to be employed in its natural condition. A very simple manipulation
only seems necessary to facilitate its use. It is to reduce it to
powder and to form it into pills, which, coated with sugar, may be
preserved an indefinite time. We have thought best to give the pills
two degrees of strength according to the following formulæ.

“_Pills of Cicuta, No. 1._—Take one gramme of the fruit of the cicuta
recently pulverized; make with a sufficient quantity of sugar and of
syrup a mass, to be divided into 100 pills. These are to be covered
with sugar; each pill will weigh about 10 centigrammes. These are
suited to persons who are not yet habituated to the use of the drug,
and who are of a delicate constitution. We commence with two pills the
first day, and the dose is augmented day by day to 10, 15, or 20. It is
then most convenient to employ pills No. 2. {302}

_Pills No. 2._—Take 5 grammes of the recently powdered fruit of the
cicuta; incorporate them with a sufficient quantity of gum and sugar;
divide as before into 100 pills, which are to be enveloped with sugar,
each pill will weigh about 25 centigrammes.

“We will finish the series of internal medicines by the formula
of a syrup of conicine, which will be of the greatest utility to

“Exhaust 10 grammes of the fruit of the cicuta, with alcohol at 28° C.
(82 F.) so as to obtain 60 grammes, to which 3000 grammes of syrup,
aromatised, _ad libitum_, are to be added.

“Thirty grammes of this syrup represent 1 decigramme of the fruit or
a milligramme of conicine. A teaspoonful being the equivalent of 30
grammes of syrup, the patient who takes one pill of No. 2. will be able
to take half a teaspoonful of the syrup.

FORMULA FOR EXTERNAL USE.—_Balm of Conicine._—The process which
we employ to prepare the balm of conicine authorizes us to give
it that name. It is in effect, a true solution in lard freed from
the principles which retain it in combination, and as pure as the
processes we have proposed for its extraction will permit. Thus, after
having exhausted the fruit by alcohol, and after having separated as
completely as possible the conicine by means of ether and caustic
potash, confining ourselves to the precautions indicated below, we
take: the ether of cicuta, obtained by the exhaustion of 100 grammes
of the fruit, and 300 grammes of recently washed lard. We begin by
evaporating the ether in the open air, that is, by pouring it little
by little in a plate, and as soon as the greater part of it has been
eliminated, and the conicine commences to appear upon the plate in the
form of little yellow drops, separating themselves from the vehicle,
the lard is to be incorporated with it by degrees, the whole being
constantly stirred to facilitate the evaporation of the ether. A balm
of conicine is thus obtained, exceedingly active and convenient for
use. {303}

The following is the mode of preparing the ether of cicuta: “The
alcoholic tincture obtained by the complete exhaustion of 100 grammes
of the fruit, is to be evaporated to the consistence of a syrup, and
the alcohol is to be replaced by a small quantity of water. This leaves
undissolved a thick green oil, entirely soluble in ether, and of which
the quantity reaches the weight of 30 grammes. After having separated
this green oil, we wash with ether the product of the alcoholic
evaporation and obtain a yellowish resinous substance, which has no
action on litmus paper and which has a strong odor, _sui generis_,
different from that of conicine.

After having submitted the mother waters of the alcoholic extract
to this preliminary treatment, we have introduced them into a flask
having a capacity three times as great as their volume, and treated
them successively with a concentrated solution of caustic potash and
rectified sulphuric ether. Immediately after the addition of the
potash, a well marked odor of conicine was manifest in the mixture,
and the ether became strongly alkaline. We left the same ether, (about
20 grammes) upon the mixture for twelve hours, often agitating it. It
was then decanted and replaced by fresh ether, and this was replaced
until the ether became nearly insensible to litmus paper. We remarked
that the first 20 grammes of ether took up nearly all the alkaloid.
One hundred grammes of well rectified ether was sufficient to remove
almost completely the alkaloid from the extractive and alkaline mixture
derived from 100 grammes of the fruit of the cicuta.


 Tincture of the fruit,      100 grammes.
 Lime water,                 900 grammes.

Filter at the end of a few minutes.

“In this preparation we have thought best to employ lime water instead
of simple water. We have remarked previously that the tincture of
cicuta possessed no smell of conicine, but when lime water was added,
the odor was instantly developed in a high dagree. The conicine is
disengaged by the lime {304} from its saline combination, and remains
free, dissolved in the water.”

MM. Devay and Guillermond, who, in their work, have been so just
in their deductions, fail here, we think, in denominating syrup,
injection, &c., of conicine, the various preparations of the fruits of
the cicuta. It is only perhaps a matter of form, but it is important to
avoid in materia medica a matter of form which may give rise to a false
idea of things, which may in a word, induce error.

We have only occupied ourselves with the pharmacological part
of the work of MM. Devay and Guillermond. The Bulletin de
Therapeutique will soon offer an appreciation of its therapeutical
portion.—_Dorvault._—_Bulletin de Therapeutique._

 [The facts on which the preference of the seeds of conium to the
 preparations in ordinary use are founded, are by no means new. They
 have been long known and frequently commented on. From six lbs. of the
 fresh and nine of the dried fruit, Geiger obtained an ounce of conia,
 or, as the French chemists prefer to call it, conicine; while from 100
 lbs. of the fresh herb, he procured only a drachm. The fresh dried
 herb exhibited only traces of it. The extract prepared from the herb
 partakes necessarily of its uncertainty and inactivity. Most of what
 is found in the shop is entirely inert; while the best, that of Tilden
 or of Currie, which are superior to the best English extract we have
 seen, possess comparatively little power. If conium is to be retained
 in the materia media, it is evident that we should employ that part of
 the plant in which the active principle is contained in the greatest
 quantity, and in a condition least liable to alteration. We are as
 yet, however, very imperfectly acquainted with the properties, either
 medicinal or poisonous of conium; and, as the continuation of the
 memoir of MM. Devay and Guillermond promises us a solution of the
 question, we await it with much interest.]—ED. NEW YORK JOURNAL OF



In the manufacture of good writing ink, more nicety is required in the
choice of materials, as well as greater skill in manipulation, than is
generally bestowed upon it.

The proportion of the various ingredients used is a matter of
considerable importance, affecting in a great degree the durability of
the ink.

DR. LEWIS’S WRITING INK.—Dr. Lewis, who instituted a series of very
careful experiments on the manufacture of writing ink, found that equal
parts of sulphate of iron and of galls gave an ink, which, although of
a good color when first used, became yellowish-brown when the writing
was kept for a moderate length of time, and that in proportion to the
quantity of the sulphate, the inks were less durable in color, and that
those in which the galls were in excess, were most durable.

He, therefore, recommended the following proportions as best suited
for the manufacture of good writing ink:—Powdered sulphate of iron, 1
oz.; powdered logwood, 1 oz.; powdered galls, 3 oz.; gum arabic, 1 oz.;
white wine or vinegar, 1 quart.

Water will answer for common purposes, but white wine formed a blacker
ink than water, and vinegar formed one still blacker than wine. The
addition of spirit injured the color, and occasioned a precipitation of
coloring matter—a decoction of logwood, instead of water, improved both
the beauty and deepness of the black. The ingredients are to be put
in a glass or other convenient vessel, not metallic, and the mixture
shaken four or five times a day. In ten or twelve days it will be fit
for use, and sooner if in a warm situation; but it continues for a
long time to improve if left without decantation. When it is separated
from the powdery residue, it will be kept in a good state with greater
certainty, if some broken galls freed from the powder and some pieces
of iron are put into it. Iron, however, is the only metal which it is
safe to retain in contact with the ink.

Dr. Lewis gave the preference to distilled or rain water in {306} the
manufacture of ink, but it seems probable that a water containing a
certain proportion of carbonate of lime is more suitable. In dyeing
a black color by means of galls or sumach and copperas, hard spring
water is preferred by some dyers. To produce in a liquid a given depth
of color, distilled water requires more dyestuff than common spring
water. This is illustrated in the following experiment, devised by Mr.
Phillips: into two glass jars of the same size, each half-filled with
distilled water, introduce equal quantities of infusion or tincture of
galls or sumach, and an equal number of drops (only three or four) of
a solution of copperas; a faint purplish color will be developed in
both jars, but if one is filled with spring water, the color in that
rapidly becomes dark reddish-black, and one-half more water is required
to reduce it to the same shade of color as the other. The water which
is found by experience to be best adapted for dyeing with galls and
sulphate of iron, differs from distilled water in containing sulphate
of lime, carbonate of lime held in solution by free carbonic acid,
and chloride of calcium. The beneficial ingredient seems to be the
carbonate of lime, which possesses slight alkaline properties, for if
the smallest quantity of ammonia or of bicarbonate of potash is added
to the distilled water in the above experiments, the purple color is
struck as rapidly and as deeply as in the spring water; chloride of
calcium and sulphate of lime, on the contrary, produce no sensible
change either in the depth of color or the tint. The effect is no doubt
referable to the action of the alkali or lime on the proto-sulphate
of iron, by which the sulphuric acid of the latter is withdrawn, and
hydrated protoxide of iron set free, for protoxide of iron is much
more easily peroxidized and acted upon by tannic and gallic acids (the
dyeing principles of galls) when in the free and hydrated state, than
when in combination with sulphuric acid. Neither the caustic fixed
alkalies (potash and soda) nor their carbonates can be well introduced
in the above experiments, as the slightest excess reacts on the purple
color, converting it into a reddish-brown. Ammonia, lime-water, and the
alkaline {307} bicarbonates also produce a reddening, and if applied
in considerable quantity a brownish tinge. It is very probable that the
above-mentioned principle is applicable to the preparation of writing

RIBANCOURT’S WRITING INK.—M. Ribancourt, who paid much attention to the
preparation of inks, stated that none of the ingredients should be in
excess. “If there be a want of the matter of galls, part of the vitriol
will not be decomposed; if, on the contrary, there be too much, the
vitriol will take as much as it can decompose, and the remainder will
be nearly in the state of the decoction of galls, subject to change
by becoming mouldy, or to undergo an alteration after writing which
destroys its legibility much more completely than the change undergone
by ink containing too small a portion of the galls.

“It is doubtful whether the principles of the galls are well extracted
by cold maceration, and it is certain that inks made in this way flow
pale from the pen, and are not of so deep a black as those wherein
strong boiling is recurred to.”

From all the foregoing considertions, M. Ribancourt gives the following
directions for the composition of good ink:―

“Take 8 oz. of Aleppo galls (in coarse powder); 4 oz. of logwood (in
thin chips); 4 oz. of vitriol of iron; 3 oz. of gum arabic (in powder);
1 oz. of vitriol of copper; and 1 oz. of sugar-candy. Boil the galls
and logwood together in 12 lb of water for one hour, or till half the
liquid has evaporated. Strain the decoction through a hair sieve or
linen cloth, and then add the other ingredients. Stir the mixture till
the whole is dissolved (more especially the gum), after which leave it
to subside for twenty-four hours. Then decant the ink, and preserve it
in bottles of glass or stoneware well corked.” The sulphate of copper
must be omitted in the preparation of an ink required for steel pens.

since, Dr. Bostock presented to the Society of Arts the following,
valuable communication “On the Properties of Writing Inks,” which will
be read with interest. {308}

“When the sulphate of iron and the infusion of galls are added
together, for the purpose of forming ink, we may presume that the
metallic salt or oxide enters into combination with at least four
proximate vegetable principles, viz: gallic acid, tan, mucilage, and
extractive matter, all of which appear to enter into the composition
of the soluble part of the gall-nut. It has been generally supposed
that two of these, the gallic acid and the tan, are more especially
necessary to the constitution of ink; and hence it is considered, by
our best systematic writers, to be essentially a tannogallate of iron.
It has been also supposed that the peroxide of iron alone possesses the
property of forming the black compound which constitutes ink, and that
the substance of ink is rather mechanically suspended in the fluid than
dissolved in it.

“Ink, as it is usually prepared, is disposed to undergo certain
changes, which considerably impair its value; of these, the three
following are the most important:—Its tendency to moulding; the
liability of the black matter to separate from the fluid, the ink
then becoming what is termed ropy; and loss of color, the black first
changing to brown, and at length almost entirely disappearing.

“Besides these, there are objects of minor importance to be attended to
in the formation of ink. Its consistence should be such as to enable
it to flow easily from the pen, without, on the one hand, its being
so liquid as to blur the paper, or on the other, so adhesive as to
clog the pen and be long in drying. The shade of color is not to be
disregarded; a black approaching to blue is more agreeable to the eye
than browner ink; and a degree of lustre or glossiness, if compatible
with due consistence of the fluid, tends to render the characters more
legible and beautiful.

“With respect to the chemical constitution of ink, I may remark that,
although as usually prepared it is a combination of the metallic salt
or oxide with all the four vegetable principles mentioned above, yet I
am induced to believe that the last three of them, so far from being
essential, are the principal {309} cause of the difficulty that we
meet with in the formation of a perfect and durable ink.

“I endeavored to prove this point by a series of experiments, of which
the following is a brief extract.

“Having prepared a cold infusion of galls, I allowed a portion of it
to remain exposed to the atmosphere, in a shallow capsule, Until it
was covered with a thick stratum of mould, the mould was removed by
filtration, and the proper proportion of sulphate of iron being added
to the clear fluid, a compound was formed of a deep black color, which
showed no further tendency to mould, and which remained for a long time
without experiencing any further alteration. Another portion of the
same infusion of galls had solution of isinglass added to it, until it
no longer produced a precipitate; by employing the sulphate of iron,
a black compound was produced, which, although paler than that formed
from the entire fluid, appeared to be a perfect and durable ink.

“Lastly, a portion of the infusion of galls, was kept for some time
at the boiling temperature, by which means a part of its contents
became insoluble; this was removed by filtration, when, by addition of
sulphate of iron, a very perfect and durable ink was produced.

“In the above three processes, I conceive that a considerable part of
the mucilage, of the tan, and the extract, were respectively removed
from the infusion, whilst the greatest part of the gallic acid would be
left in solution.

“The three causes of deterioration in ink, the moulding, the
precipitation of black matter, and loss of color, as they are distinct
operations, so we may presume that they depend on the operation of
different proximate principles.

“It is probable that the moulding more particularly depends ©n the
mucilage, and the precipitation on the extract, from the property,
which extractive matter possesses of forming insoluble compounds with
metallic oxides.

“As to the operation of the tan, from its affinity for metallic salt we
may conjecture that, in the first instance, it forms a {310} triple
compound with the gallic acid and the iron, and that in consequence of
the decomposition of the tan, this compound is afterwards destroyed.
Owing to the difficulty, if not impossibility, of entirely depriving
the infusion of galls of any one of its ingredients without in some
degree affecting the others, I was not able to obtain any results which
can be regarded as decisive; but the general result of my experiments
favors the above opinion, and leads me to conclude that, in proportion
as ink consists merely of the gallate of iron it is less liable to
decomposition or to experience any kind of change. The experiments to
which I have alluded above, consisted in forming a standard solution
by macerating the powder of galls in five times its weight of water,
and comparing this with other infusions, which had either been suffered
to mould, from which the tan had been extracted by jelly, or which had
been kept for some time at the boiling temperature, and by adding to
each of these respectively both the recent solution of the sulphate
of iron, and a solution which had been exposed for some time to the

“The nature of the black compound produced was examined, by putting
portions of it into cylindrical jars and observing the changes which
they experienced with respect either to the formation of mould, the
deposition of their contents, or any change of color. The fluids
were also compared by dropping portions of them upon white tissue
paper, in which way both their color and their consistence might be
minutely ascertained. A third method was to add together the respective
infusions, and the solutions of the sulphate of iron, in a very diluted
state, by which I was enabled to form a more correct comparison of the
quantity and of the shade of the coloring matter, and of the degree of
its solubility.

“The practical conclusions which I think myself warranted in drawing
from these experiments are as follows:—In order to procure an ink which
may be little disposed either to mould or to deposit its contents,
and which at the same time may possess a deep black color not liable
to fade, the galls should be {311} macerated for some hours in hot
water, and the fluid filtered; it should then be exposed for about
fourteen days to a warm atmosphere, when any mould which may have
been produced must be removed. A solution of sulphate of iron is to
be employed which has been exposed for some time to the atmosphere,
and which consequently contains a certain quantity of the red oxide
diffused through it. I should recommend the infusion of galls to be
made of considerably greater strength than is generally directed, and I
believe that an ink formed in this manner will not necessarily require
the addition of any mucilaginous substance to render it of a proper

“I have only farther to add, that one of the best substances for
diluting ink, if it be in the first instance too thick for use, or
afterwards become so by evaporation, is a strong decoction of coffee,
which appears in no respect to promote the decomposition of the ink,
while it improves its color and gives it an additional lustre.”

Dr. Ure recommends the following formula for the manufacture of writing
ink. To make twelve gallons take: 12lb of nutgalls; 5lb of green
sulphate of iron; 5lb of gum Senegal; 12 gallons of water. The bruised
nutgalls are to be put into a cylindrical copper, of a depth equal to
its diameter, and boiled during three hours, with three-fourths of the
above quantity of water, taking care to add fresh water to replace what
is lost by evaporation. The decoction is to be emptied into a tub,
allowed to settle, and the clear liquor being drawn off, the lees are
to be drained. The gum is to be dissolved in a small quantity of hot
water, and the mucilage thus formed, being filtered, it is added to
the clear decoction. The sulphate of iron must likewise be separately
dissolved and well mixed with the above. The color darkens by degrees,
in consequence of the peroxidizement of the iron, on exposing the ink
to the action of the air.

But ink affords a more durable writing when used in the pale state,
because its particles are then finer and penetrate the paper more
intimately. When ink consists chiefly of tannate {312} of peroxide of
iron, however black, it is merely superficial, and is easily erased or
effaced. Therefore, whenever the liquid made by the above prescription
has acquired a moderately deep tint, it should be drawn off clear into
bottles and well corked up. Some ink-makers allow it to mould a little
in the casks before bottling, and suppose that it will thereby be not
so liable to become mouldy in the bottles. A few bruised cloves or
other aromatic perfume, added to ink, is said to prevent the formation
of mouldiness, which is produced by the ova of infusoria animalcules.

The ink made by this prescription is much more rich and powerful than
many of the inks commonly sold. To bring it to the common standard a
half more water may safely be added. Even twenty gallons of tolerable
ink may be made from the above weight of materials.

SCOTT’S WRITING INK.—Mr. Scott’s method of manufacturing writing ink,
as patented by him in 1840, is as follows:—Take 48lb of logwood chips,
and let them be saturated two days in soft water, then put the same
into a close covered iron cauldron, and add 80 gallons of soft water;
let these be boiled one hour and a half, when the wood must be taken
out and the fluid left, to which add 48lb of the best picked Aleppo
galls in coarse powder; boil these half an hour longer, then draw
off the fire, and let it remain in the cauldron twenty-four hours
infusing, during which it is to be very frequently agitated; when the
properties of the galls are sufficiently extracted, draw off the clear
fluid into a vat, and add 40lb of pulverized sulphate of iron; let
these ingredients remain a week (stirring daily), after which add four
gallons of vinegar. Next take 7 1/2lb of the best picked gum arabic,
and dissolve it in sufficient water to form a good mucilage, which
must be well strained, and then added to the fluid by degrees; let
these stand a few days longer, when pour into the same 20 ounces of the
concentrated nitrate of iron; let the whole stand by again until it has
arrived at its height of blackness; next pour the clear fluid off from
the sediment, and add to it the following substances, each prepared
and ground separately:― {313}

First, take half a pound of Spanish indigo, which grind very fine
between a muller and stone, adding by degrees portions of the ink
until it is made into an easy soluble paste; next take well-washed and
purified Prussian blue five pounds, which prepare as the former, except
grinding it in distilled water in lieu of the fluid, until it is formed
into a soluble paste; also next take four ounces of gas black which
results from the smoke of gas burners received on surfaces of glass, as
is well known, which grind in one ounce of the nitrate of iron; when
each is sufficiently fine, let them remain a few hours unmixed, when
the whole may be incorporated with the fluid, and kept agitated daily
for a week. The clear may then be poured off for use. The above will
make eighty gallons of ink.

DR. NORMANDY’S BLACK INK.—In order to supersede the use of nutgalls,
Dr. Normandy patented the following process for making black ink:―

Take either sumach, elm wood, elder, chestnut, beech, willow, oak,
plum, sycamore, cherry, poplar wood, catechu, or any other wood or
berry, or extract of vegetable substances, containing gallic acid and
tannin, or either, and put this, previously reduced to powder, into a
copper full of common water, and boil it until a sufficiently strong
decoction be obtained.

The quantity of water must of course vary according to the sort of
vegetable substance employed; catechu, for example, requiring less
water than sumach, on account of the former being almost totally
soluble. To this add a certain quantity of Campeachy wood, of acetate
and hydrate of deutoxide of copper, of sulphate of alumina and potash,
of sulphate of protoxide of iron, in quantities which vary also
according to the vegetable material first employed, and gum arabic,
or the best sort of gum Senegal, in the proportion of eighty pounds
or thereabouts for 340 gallons of liquid; also a variable quantity of
sulphate of indigo; the whole of these last ingredients, depending on
the shade of the color intended to be produced, it is impossible to
indicate absolutely the proportions in which they are to be used, as
the taste and fancy of the operator must {314} decide. Supposing,
however, a blue black to be the color desired, and sumach, for example,
the vegetable ingredient selected for the purpose, the proportions
should be for 240 gallons: sumach, from 12 to 15 sacks, of four bushels
each; Campeachy logwood, 2 cwt. or thereabouts, according as new or old
chip is used; gum arabic, 80 lb. to 1 cwt.; sulphate of protoxide of
iron, 1 cwt.; acetate and hydrate of deutoxide of copper, 4lb; sulphate
of alumina and potash, 37lb; sulphate of indigo, 6lb, or even more,
according to the intensity of the blue cast desired. If catechu were to
be used instead of sumach, 1 cwt. would be required, the proportions of
the other materials remaining the same.

The variously colored precipitates which salts of iron form in the
solutions of the above-cited vegetable astringent substances, all of
which precipitates vary from the green to the brown (the decoction
of nutgalls yeilding with salts of iron only a dark purple,) are the
obstacles which have hitherto prevented the use of these vegetable
substances, with a view to supersede nutgalls; but by means of the
sulphate of indigo in various proportions, from the above-cited
substances a liquid may be obtained, of different shades of color, from
dark blue to most intense black, applicable to dyeing, staining, or
writing, and which may be used with every description of pen.

DR. NORMANDY’S PURPLE INK.—To produce a purple-colored ink called the
“King of Purples,” Dr. Normandy recommends the following proportions to
be observed:—To twelve pounds of Campeachy wood add as many gallons of
boiling water; pour the solution through a funnel with a strainer made
of coarse flannel, on one pound of hydrate or acetate of deutoxide of
copper finely pulverized (at the bottom of the funnel a piece of sponge
is placed), then add immediately 14lbs. of sulphate of alumina and
potash, and for every 340 gallons of liquid add eighty pounds of gum
arabic or gum Senegal. Let these remain for three or four days, and a
beautiful purple color will be produced.

DR. NORMANDY’S BLUE INK.—Dr. Normandy’s blue ink is made by operating
upon Chinese blue or cyanoferruret of {315} iron. The cyanoferruret
of iron is to be ground in water with oxalic acid or bin-oxalate of
potash, adding gum arabic in the following proportions: to seven ounces
of water add three drachms of Chinese blue, 1 drachm of bin-oxalate of
potash, and 1 drachm of gum arabic; to these ingredients a solution of
tin may be added.

GIROND’S SUBSTITUTE FOR GALLS.—The substitute for gallnuts, patented
by M. Girond, of Lyons, in 1825, is an extract from the shell of the
chestnut, and also from the wood and sap of the chestnut-tree. The
extract is denominated _Damajavag_, and the mode of preparing it is
by reducing the chestnut-shell into small pieces, and boiling them in

One hundred-weight of the shells of chestnuts broken into small pieces
is to be immersed in about 180 or 200 quarts of water, in a vessel
of copper or any other material, except iron, and after having been
allowed to soak in this water for about 12 hours, the material is then
to be boiled for about three hours, in order to obtain the extract. The
wood of the chestnut tree may be cut into small pieces or shaved thin,
and treated in the same way.

The extract is now to be drawn off from the boiler, and filtered
through a fine sieve or cloth, after which the water must be evaporated
from it until the extract is reduced to the consistence of paste.

It may now be cut into cakes of any convenient size, and dried in an
oven of low temperature, and when hard, may be packed for sale, and
used for any of the purposes in the arts to which gallnuts have been
heretofore applied. The quantity of damajavag obtained from the above
will be about 8 or 10 lbs.

In using this damajavag, it is only necessary to pound or otherwise
reduce it to powder when it may be mixed with other ingredients as
pulverized gall nuts.

The same chemical properties belong to the sap of the chestnut-tree,
which may be extracted by tapping the trunk, and when so obtained, may
be used for the same purpose as gallnuts.

STEPHENS’ BLUE INK.—Stephens’ blue ink is prepared as follows:—Take
Prussian blue, whether produced from a combination of prussiate of
potash and salts of iron, or the Prussian {316} blue of commerce, as
commonly manufactured, and put this into an earthen vessel, and pour
over it a quantity of strong acid, sufficient to cover the Prussian
blue. Muriatic acid, sulphuric acid, or any other acid which has a
sufficient action upon iron will do. If sulphuric acid is used it
should be diluted a little, that is, with a quantity of water equal to
about its bulk. The Prussian blue is allowed to remain in the acid from
twenty-four to forty-eight hours or longer, and then the mixture is
diluted with a large quantity of water, stirring it up at the time, for
the purpose of washing from it the salts of iron. When in this state
of dilution, it is allowed to stand until the color has subsided, when
the supernatant liquor is drawn off with a syphon and more water added
to it. This process is repeated until the acid, with the iron, has been
completely washed away, which is known by testing it with prussiate of
potash, which will show if it yields any blue precipitate; if not, it
is sufficiently washed. The product is then placed upon a filter, and
suffered to remain until the liquid has all drained away.

The Prussian blue, thus prepared, is reduced to a state containing less
iron than the Prussian blue of commerce, in which state it is more
readily acted upon, and rendered soluble than in any other condition.

This Prussian blue may then be placed in evaporating dishes, and
gently dried. To form the Prussian blue, so operated upon, into a
solution, oxalic acid is added, and carefully mixed with it, after
which cold water is added (cold distilled water is best) a little at
a time, making it into a dense or dilute solution, according to the
color required. The quantity of oxalic acid may vary according to the
quantity of water used. It will be found that the Prussian blue that
has undergone the process of digestion, as described, requires but a
small quantity of oxalic acid to dissolve it: about one part of oxalic
acid will dissolve six parts of Prussian blue, the weight taken before
digesting in the acid. This will answer for a concentrated solution,
but for a dilute solution more acid will be required.




QUINIDINE.—Sulphate of quinidine is advertised, “eo nomine,” for
sale in the London Journals. What we get, as yet, occurs only as an
adulteration of the sulphate of quinine. The same virtues, and to an
equal extent, are ascribed by the advertisers to the new article,
that are possessed by quinine. We do not know what authority there is
for this statement, but it is exceedingly desirable that careful and
well conducted experiments should be made to determine the properties
and relative value of quinidine, quinoidine, and cinchonine. The
great importance of quinine and its immense and constantly increasing
consumption, long ago created a well founded anxiety lest the sources
whence we obtain it should become exhausted or materially diminished.
If the allied alkaloids will in any degree replace it, it is a fact
of the highest value. Quinidine, in particular, is contained in some
varieties of bark in which little or no quinine is found, and if the
statements which have been made of the identity of its effects with
quinine, probably without any better foundation than the closeness
of resemblance of the two substances, should prove correct, the
destruction of the cinchona Calisaya which is going on, may be in some
measure stayed.

EXTRACT OF BARK.—A new article has appeared in our markets under the
name of Extract of Bark. The specimen that came under our observation
was a dark brown substance, homogenous, and about the consistence
of dry opium. It was very little soluble in water, much more so in
alcohol, and completely so in diluted sulphuric acid. From chemical
examination it would appear to contain about 46 per cent of quinine,
with perhaps traces of quinidine and cinchonine. At the price at which
we hear it is offered it will be sought for by the manufacturers of
sulphate of quinine.

SYRUP OF TURPENTINE.—M. Trousseau often uses the syrup of turpentine
in chronic catarrh of the bladder and the lungs, in old copious
suppurations, etc., but as the standard works contain no formula, the
preparation intended is not always obtained. {318}

The following is the formula which has been published by M. Dorvault,
according to the indications furnished by M. Trousseau, as being at
once the most rational, and as furnishing a product preferable in all
respects to that of the two formulæ given in the officine.

 Turpentine,[24]       100 grammes.
 Water,               375 grammes.

Digest during two days, taking care to agitate frequently; afterwards
make a syrup after the manner of the balsam of Tolu, by adding

 White sugar,         750 grammes.

This syrup contains besides the resinous principles, the nature of
which is not well ascertained, from 1-40 to 1-100 of its weight of the
essence of Turpentine.

It is limpid, of an aromatic odor—very sweet, and of an agreeable
taste; it may be employed pure, or used to sweeten appropriate drinks.

Dose: from one to a number of tablespoonsful per day.—_Bulletin de

[24] The turpentine recommended by M. Dorvault is a variety of the
Strasburg turpentine, having an agreeable odor of lemon.

ALOINE.—Our readers will recollect that Dr. Pereira has found Aloine,
the chrystalline neutral principle recently discovered in Barbadoes
aloes, by Mr. Smith of Edinburgh, in Socotorine aloe juice, (New
York Journal of Pharmacy, No. 6, p. 177.) Since then Mr. Smith has
succeeded in procuring it from Socotorine aloes. It was much longer in
crystallizing than when obtained from Barbadoes aloes, but did so at
last. When the impure product is recrystallized from rectified spirits
it presents the same appearance as the purified crystal of Barbadoes
aloes (the crystals obtained by Dr. Pereira which were spontaneously
deposited from the juice, were much smaller) and seems identical with
that substance. It has not yet been obtained from Cape aloes, but
undoubtedly exists in that substance, though probably from its inferior
activity in much smaller quantity.

Aloine has been introduced into the practice of medicine in Edinburgh,
and the Messrs. Smith have already (June) sold a quarter of a hundred
weight of it. It is five times more active than good aloes—a single
grain producing all the effect of a large aloetic pill; the Edinburgh
physicians describe it as acting “_tuto, cito, et jucunde_,” safely,
speedily, and pleasantly. If this is meant altogether seriously, in the
second of the characteristics it presents a marked contrast with the
crude drug. From the convenience with which it may be exhibited, it
bids fair to come into general and extensive use.

_Action of Sulphuric Acid on the insoluble residue left by Opium,
exhausted by water. Formation of a new Alkaloid, by_ M. STANISLAS
MARTIN.—The smallest object added to a kaleidoscope produces new shades
and different images; so it is {319} with vegetable chemistry; every
practical man knows that a foreign body, an hours delay in executing
a work already commenced, changes the nature of the products. Two
experiments on the inert residue of opium, exhausted by water give
another illustration of this truth.

The residue of opium submitted to fermentation, affords us a substance
which has a great analogy to paramorphia; this substance has since been
studied by M. A. Guergy. The account of the labor of that chemist has
been reproduced in the review of the Journal de Pharmacie, 1849.

Our second operation consists in treating the residue of opium
exhausted by water, with water acidulated with sulphuric acid. The
result is the formation of an alkali which has many of the chemical
properties of narcotine, but which differs from it completely by its
insolubility in ether.

This alkali has no relation with codeine or narceine; besides we obtain
an extractive matter, soluble in all proportions in water, to which it
communicates the property of frothing like soap.

The following is the method of proceeding. The residue of opium,
exhausted with water, is boiled in distilled water acidulated with
sulphuric acid, after ten minutes ebullition it has the appearance of a
thick magma; it is strained with strong expression; when the colature
is cold it is filtered through paper.

The colature is highly colored; its odor is similar to that of opium,
its taste is exceedingly bitter.

Ammonia is added until litmus paper is no longer altered; the liquid is
filtered, the precipitate washed with distilled water, and permitted to
dry; afterwards it is boiled with a sufficient quantity of rectified
alcohol and again filtered. The alcoholic solution deposits on cooling,
numerous needle like crystals, colored by a brownish bitter resin. It
is purified in the ordinary manner.

What are the therapeutic properties of this alkaloid, of the extractive
saponaceous matter, and of the brown bitter resin! Do they partake of
the properties of opium? We know not; the physician alone can determine
their value.—_Bulletin de Therapeutique._

ago having occasion to prepare some saturated Tincture of Rhatany,
about eighteen, ounces were put aside in a glass stoppered bottle.
The tincture being examined but a short time since, was found to be
gelatinized, as is generally the case with old tincture of kino. Having
never seen such a change before, I sought information, and ascertained
through the United States Dispensatory that a French Pharmaceutist
in Paris has remarked the same phenomenon, What is the cause of this
remarkable change, attended as it is, with the loss of astringency?
Is it not, perhaps, caused by the same action which produces peculiar
exudation from the bark of certain trees possessed of tannin, retaining
it for a {320} while and afterwards, when cut up in logs, losing their
tanning properties and exuding a species of ulmine? Is it not the same
process which takes place in the decomposition of the kino and rhatany?
But why is catechu exempt from such a decomposition? If you can
enlighten me, and especially can explain how to prevent this change,
you will much oblige myself and numerous readers.

LIST OF DELEGATES TO THE CONVENTION.—On the Sixth of this month the
National Convention will meet in Philadelphia, and we see that our
Philadelphia friends, with a reference to the convenience of the
Delegates, have fixed upon 4 o’clock in the afternoon as the hour for
assembling. The meeting will be held in the Hall of the College of
Pharmacy, in Zane Street, above Seventh, which has been placed at the
disposal of the Convention. As far as heard from, the following is a
list of Delegates:―

 _Philadelphia College of Pharmacy_,

 _Massachusetts College of Pharmacy_,

 _Richmond Pharmaceutical Society_,

 _Maryland College of Pharmacy_,

 _Cincinnatti College of Pharmacy_,

 _College of Pharmacy of the City of New York_,
     L. S. HASKELL,







 In the Court of Appeals,



 RUGGLES, _Chief Judge_.

This action was brought to recover damages from the defendant for
negligently putting up, labelling and selling as and for the extract
of _dandelion_, which is a simple and harmless medicine, a jar of
the extract of _belladonna_, which is a deadly poison; by means of
which the plaintiff, Mary Ann Thomas, to whom, being sick, a dose of
dandelion was prescribed by a physician, and a portion of the contents
of the jar was administered as and for the extract of dandelion, was
greatly injured, &c.

The facts proved were briefly these: Mrs. Thomas being in ill health,
her physician prescribed for her a dose of dandelion. Her husband
purchased what was believed to be the medicine prescribed, at the store
of Dr. Foord, a physician and druggist in Cazenovia, Madison County,
where the plaintiffs reside.

A small quantity of the medicine thus purchased, was administered
to Mrs. Thomas, on whom it produced very alarming effects; such as
coldness of the surface and extremities, feebleness of circulation,
spasms of the muscles, giddiness of the head, dilation of the pupils
of the eyes, and derangement of mind. She recovered, however, after
some time, from its effects, although, for a short time, her life was
thought to be in {322} great danger. The medicine administered was
_belladonna_, and not dandelion.

The jar from which it was taken was labelled “_1/2lb. Dandelion,
prepared by A. Gilbert, No. 108 John Street, N. Y. Jar 8.02_.” It was
sold for, and delivered by Dr. Foord, to be the extract of dandelion as
labelled. Dr. Foord purchased the article as the extract of dandelion,
from James S. Aspinwall, a druggist at New York. Aspinwall bought it of
the defendant as extract of dandelion, believing it to be such.

The defendant was engaged at No. 108 John Street, New York, in the
manufacture and sale of certain vegetable extracts for medicinal
purposes, and in the purchase and sale of others. The extracts
manufactured by him were put up in jars for sale, and those which he
purchased, were put up by him in like manner. The jars containing
extracts manufactured by himself, and those containing extracts
purchased by him from others, were labelled alike. Both were labelled
like the jar in question, as “prepared by A. Gilbert.” Gilbert was
a person employed by the defendant, at a salary, as an assistant in
his business. The jars were labelled in Gilbert’s name because he had
been previously engaged in the same business, on his own account, at
No. 108 John Street, and probably because Gilbert’s labels rendered
the articles more saleable. The extract contained in the jar sold to
Aspinwall, and by him to Foord, was not manufactured by the defendant,
but was purchased by him from another manufacturer or dealer. The
extract of dandelion and the extract of belladonna resemble each
other in color, consistence, smell and taste, but may, on careful
examination, be distinguished, the one from the other, by those who are
well acquainted with these articles. Gilbert’s labels were paid for by
Winchester, and used in his business, with his knowledge and assent.

The defendant’s counsel moved for a nonsuit on the following grounds:―

1. That the action could not be sustained, as the defendant was the
remote vender of the article in question, and there was {323} no
connexion, transaction, or privity between him and the plaintiffs, or
either of them.

2. That this action sought to charge the defendant with the
consequences of the negligence of Aspinwall and Foord.

3. That the plaintiffs were liable to, and chargeable with the
negligence of Aspinwall and Foord, and therefore could not maintain
this action.

4. That according to the testimony Foord was chargeable with
negligence, and that the plaintiffs therefore could not sustain this
suit against the defendant; if they could sustain a suit at all, it
would be against Foord only.

5. That this suit, being brought for the benefit of the wife, and
alleging her as the meritorious cause of action, cannot be sustained.

6. That there was not sufficient evidence of negligence in the
defendant to go to the jury.

The Judge overruled the motion for a nonsuit, and the defendant’s
counsel excepted.

The Judge, among other things, charged the jury that if they should
find from the evidence that either Aspinwall or Foord were guilty of
negligence in vending as and for dandelion the extract taken by Mrs.
Thomas, or that the plaintiff Thomas, or those who administered it to
Mrs. Thomas, were chargeable with negligence in administering it, the
plaintiffs were not entitled to recover; but if they were free from
negligence, and if the defendant Winchester was guilty of negligence in
putting up and vending the extracts in question, the plaintiffs were
entitled to recover, provided the extract administered to Mrs. Thomas
was the same which was put up by the defendant and sold by him to
Aspinwall, and by Aspinwall to Foord.

That if they should find the defendant liable, the plaintiffs in
this action were entitled to recover damages only for the personal
injury and suffering of the wife, and not for loss of service, medical
treatment, or expense to the husband, and that the recovery should be
confined to the actual damages suffered by the wife. {324}

The action was properly brought in the name of the husband and wife,
for the personal injury and suffering of the wife, and the case was
left to the jury, with the proper directions on that point. _1 Chitty
on Pleadings. 62 ed. of 1828._

The case depends on the first point taken by the defendant on his
motion for a nonsuit; and the question is whether the defendant,
being a remote vender of the medicine, and there being no privity or
connexion between him and the plaintiffs, the action can be maintained.

If in labelling a poisonous drug with the name of a harmless medicine
for public market, no duty was violated by the defendant, excepting
that which he owed to Aspinwall, his immediate vender, in virtue of
his contract of sale, this action cannot be maintained. If A build a
wagon and sell it to B, who sells it to C, and C hires it to D, who,
in consequence of the gross negligence of A in building the wagon,
is overturned and injured. D cannot recover damages against A, the
builder.—A’s obligation to build the wagon faithfully, arises solely
out of his contract with B. The public have nothing to do with it.
Misfortune to third persons, not parties to the contract, would not be
a natural and necessary consequence of the builder’s negligence; and
such negligence is not an act immediately dangerous to human life.

So for the same reason, if a horse be defectively shod by a smith,
and a person hiring the horse from the owner is thrown and injured in
consequence of the smith’s negligence in shoeing, the smith is not
liable for the injury. The smith’s duty in such case grows exclusively
out of his contract with the owner of the horse; it was a duty which
the smith owed him alone, and to no one else. And, although the injury
to the rider may have happened in consequence of the negligence of
the smith, the latter was not bound, either by his contract or by any
considerations of public policy or safety, to respond for his breach of
duty to any one except the person he contracted with.

This was the ground on which the case of _Winterbotham vs. Wright.
10 Mees and Wellsby, 109_, was decided. A {325} contracted with the
Post Master General to provide a coach to convey the mail bags along
a certain line of road, and B and others also contracted to horse the
coach along the same line. B and his co-contractors hired C, who was
the plaintiff, to drive the coach. The coach, in consequence of some
latent defect, broke down; the plaintiff was thrown from his seat, and
lamed. It was held that C could not maintain an action against A for
the injury thus sustained. The reason of the decision is best stated by
Baron Rolfe. A’s duty to keep the coach in good condition was a duty to
the Post Master General, with whom he made his contract, and not a duty
to the driver employed by the owners of the horses.

But the case in hand stands on a different ground. The defendant was a
dealer in poisonous drugs. Gilbert was his agent in preparing them for
market; the death, or great bodily harm of some person was the natural
and almost inevitable consequence of the sale of belladonna by means
of the false label.—Gilbert, the defendant’s agent, would have been
punishable for manslaughter if Mrs. Thomas had died in consequence of
taking the falsely labelled medicine. Every man who, by his culpable
negligence, causes the death of another, although without intent to
kill, is guilty of manslaughter. 2 _R. S._ 662. § 19. A chemist who
negligently sells laudanum in a phial labelled as paregoric, and
thereby causes the death of a person to whom it is administered, is
guilty of manslaughter. _Tessymond’s case, 1 Lewins’ crown cases,
169._ “So highly does the law value human life that it admits of no
justification wherever life has been lost, and the carelessness or
negligence of one person has contributed to the death of another.”
_Regina vs. Swindall, 2 Car. and Kir. 232–3._ And this rule applies
not only where the death of one is occasioned by the negligent act
of another, but where it is caused by the negligent omission of a
duty of that other. _2 Car. and Kir. 368–371._ Although the defendant
Winchester may not be answerable, criminally, for the negligence of
his agent, there can be no doubt of his liability in a civil action,
in which the act of the agent is to be regarded {326} as the act of
the principal. In respect to the wrongful and criminal character of the
negligence complained of, this case differs widely from those put by
the defendant’s counsel. No such imminent danger existed in those cases.

In the present case the sale of the poisonous article was made to a
dealer in drugs, and not to a consumer. The injury, therefore, was not
likely to fall on him, or on his vendee who was also a dealer; but much
more likely to be visited on a remote purchaser, as actually happened.
The defendant’s negligence put human life in imminent danger. Can it
be said that there was no duty on the part of the defendant to avoid
the creation of that danger by the exercise of greater caution. Or,
that the exercise of that caution was a duty only to his immediate
vendee, whose life was not endangered? The defendant’s duty arose out
of the nature of his business, and the danger to others incident to its
mismanagement. Nothing but mischief like that which actually happened
could have been expected from sending the poison falsely labelled into
the market; and the defendant is justly responsible for the propable
consequences of the act.

The duty of exercising caution in this respect did not arise out of
the defendant’s contract of sale to Aspinwall. The wrong done by the
defendant was in putting the poison mislabelled into the hands of
Aspinwall, as an article of merchandize to be sold and afterwards
used as the extract of _dandelion_ by some person then unknown. The
owner of a horse and cart, who leaves them unattended in the street,
is liable for any damage which may result from his negligence. _Lynch
vs. Mordon, 1 ad. and Ellis, U. S. 29, 5 Car. and Payne 190._ _Illidge
vs. Goodwin._ The owner of a loaded gun, who puts it into the hands
of a child by whose indiscretion it is discharged, is liable for
the damage occasioned by the discharge. _5 Maule and Sel. 198._ The
defendant’s contract of sale to Aspinwall does not excuse the wrong
done to plaintiffs. It was a part of the means by which the wrong was
effected. The plaintiffs injury and their remedy would have stood on
the same {327} principle, if the defendant had given the _belladonna_
to Dr. Foord without price; or, if he had put it in his shop without
his knowledge, under circumstances which would propably have led to its
sale, on the faith of the label.

In _Longmead vs. Holliday, 6 Law and Eq. Rep. 562_, the distinction is
recognized between an act of negligence imminently dangerous to the
lives of others, and one that is not so. In the former case, the party
guilty of the negligence is liable to the party injured, whether there
be a contract between them or not; in the latter, the negligent party
is liable only to the party with whom he contracted, and on the ground
that negligence is a breach of the contract.

The defendant on the trial insisted that Aspinwall and Foord were
guilty of negligence in selling the article in question for what it
was represented to be in the label; and that the suit if it could
be sustained at all, should have been brought against Foord. The
judge charged the jury that if they or either of them were guilty of
negligence in selling the _belladonna_ for _dandelion_, the verdict
must be for the defendant, and left the question of their negligence to
the jury, who found on that point for the plaintiff. If the case really
depended on the point thus raised, the question was properly left to
the jury. But, I think it did not. The defendant by affixing the label
to the jar represented its contents to be _dandelion_, and to have
been “prepared” by his agent Gilbert. The word “prepared” on the label
must be understood to mean that the article was manufactured by him,
or that it had passed through some process under his hand, which would
give him personal knowledge of its true name and quality. Whether Foord
was justified in selling the article upon the faith of the defendant’s
label, would have been an open question in an action by the plaintiffs
against him; and I wish to be understood as giving no opinion on that
point. But it seems to me to be clear, that the defendant cannot in
this case set up as a defence that Foord sold the contents of the jar
as and for what the defendant represented it to be. The label conveyed
the idea distinctly to Foord that the contents of the {328} jar was
the extract of _dandelion_, and that the defendant knew it to be such.
So far as the defendant is concerned, Foord was under no obligation
to test the truth of the representation. The charge of the judge in
submitting to the jury the question in relation to the negligence of
Foord and Aspinwall, cannot be complained of by the defendant.

Judgment Affirmed.

 A Copy.       H. R. SELDEN, _State Reporter_.

MEM.—The original verdict against Winchester was $800; the costs of
appeal, &c. swelled the amount to near $1,400, which was paid by



SUCCI INSPISSATI PER AERE SICCO.—I take occasion again to notice these
preparations, for the reason, that I perceive from a note, by the
Editor of this Journal, appended to an article on “Cicuta,” &c., in
the last (September) number: that he considers the extracts of Messrs.
Tilden or Currie, superior to the best English extracts he has seen. I
think, however, that on reflection, he will agree with me that those
prepared by means of a current of dried air—some of which so made have
been imported and used here—must particularly, when there is anything
volatile about them,—be superior to all others; indeed, so favorably
am I inclined to regard this process, that I think the profession,
medical and pharmaceutical, should _demand_ its adoption by those
engaged in the business of preparing extracts; until which is the case,
I shall feel it incumbent upon me to use the imported article, as I
have been in the habit of doing. Moreover, the relative virosity of
the _narcotic plants_ of the {329} American and European continents
are still in favor of the latter, although, if recent researches are
to be depended upon, the difference is not so great as was supposed.
Mr. Currie, I believe, prepares some at least, if not all his extracts
with imported herbs, and in vacuo, and they are therefore the best made
here; but these are the _dried_ herbs, and cannot afford as good an
extract, ceteris paribus, as when the fresh plant is used. The English
extracts of indigenous plants are, strictly speaking, _inspissated
juices_, according to the _London Pharmacopœia_. The juice of a plant
inspissated by air alone, and that quickly too, must be tantamount in
its properties to the fresh plant whence obtained, so far as we are at
present aware, or at least to the same, dried in the same equally safe
manner; wherefore, I consider them preferable to all other preparations
of the family of Extracts.[25]

[25] Mr. Canavan mistakes—the assertion was that the Extract of Conium,
prepared by Tilden or by Currie, was superior to the best English
Extract of that article we have seen, and a comparison of the odor of
the two articles, under the influence of a little liquor potassae, will
readily convince the observer of its correctness. The question as to
the other Extracts is one of great interest, and we still believe it
awaits a satisfactory solution.—[ED.]

SANGUINARINA.—Having been called upon to prepare some of this article,
I undertook to do so by the process said to have been adopted by Mr.
Dana, viz.: displacing the root with dilute acetic acid; precipitating
by ammonica; boiling with purified animal charcoal; treating with
alcohol, and finally evaporating the alcoholic solution, by which I
obtained from two ounces of the root, about twenty grains only, having
the sensible properties of the article very strongly, and being of a
reddish brown color, assuming, when finely pulverized, an ochreish
hue. It has been described as a “white, pearly substance,” which it
might have become by more perfect discoloration, or the use of a
different acid. The liquor from which it was precipitated, lost its
peculiar taste, but not all its color, showing that the color of the
root does not depend altogether on this principle, as was supposed.
The article in question has been used by one practitioner, who stated
it to have met his expectations, administered in doses of one sixth of
a grain. The preparation in question is a very desirable one, as the
objectionable taste of the ordinary preparations is a frequent bar to
their use.

ALOINE.—On this subject it may be well to mark the fact, {330} that
the officinal “ext. aloe purificat,” presents the active property of
the aloes, freed from its griping quality, (though this is doubted; but
the same doubt would seem to apply to aloine.) It is, however, about
twice the strength of the crude extract, and is generally used when the
“tuto cito et jucunde” effect is desired. The change which is supposed
to take place in the aloine, from the heat used in the preparation of
the purified extract, would only—according to the Messrs. Smith of
Edinburg—prevent its crystallization, and therefore the extract should
be equally advantageous, except, perhaps, in regard of bulk, which is
not a very _great_ object.

ZIMMER TEST FOR QUINIDINE.—In employing this test, some modification
of the original directions is necessary, in order to success. The
word _drop_ is used, but it is doubtful whether _minim_ may not be
meant, and if not, the difference in density of the liquids used would
prevent our getting, by dropping, the correct quantities. This I found
to be the case, and to save future trouble I give the minutiæ of the
experiment as I performed it, with success; no evidence of the presence
of quinidine being shown, as was expected:

 ℞  Aquae gtt. xxiij.
    Acid. Sulph. C. P. gtt. vi.
    Aether Sulph. _concentr._ gtt. lx.
    Aquae Ammonia F. F. F. gtt. xx.

Et agita bene.

In each instance, the drops were allowed to fall from the lip of an
ordinary quart tincture bottle, except the sulphuric acid, which was
contained in a small pint tincture bottle, and of which I used _three
times the number of drops_ directed; the drops being about one third
the size of a drop of distilled water, which was shown to be correct,
by the necessity for that quantity to effect a solution which took
place without the aid of external heat. With regard to this matter of
drops, it is a considerable eyesore. I would recommend to apothecaries,
(perhaps it might be deemed worthy of the action of the convention),
to agree upon some standard _size_ for the {331} drop,—say that of
a drop of distilled water, under definite circumstances. It is true,
we have a measure; but it is for minims not for drops, whilst in this
way, by a little practice, the eye might be accustomed to the proper
size of the drop, so that there would be little or no difficulty in
obtaining an exact result, by increasing or diminishing the number of
drops, according to the proportional size of its drop, to the standard
one. Of course, when I speak of “keeping the drop in the eye,” I do not
mean to imply anything incompatible with the Maine Liquor Law. I speak
aquatically, not _spiritually_.


According to the arrangement which had previously been announced,
the National Convention met in Philadelphia, on Wednesday the 6th of
October, at 4 P. M. In the absence of Dr. Guthrie, the President, the
Convention was organized by the appointment of Mr. Coggeshall, of New
York, as President _pro tempore_; Mr. A. B. Taylor, of Philadelphia,
as acting Secretary. A committee was then appointed by the Chair,
consisting of Messrs. Ellis, of Philadelphia, Colcord, of Boston, and
Laidley, of Richmond, to examine the credentials of the delegates
present; and to report a resolution in regard to the admission of such
apothecaries as might be present, who, though not {332} delegated by
any incorporated institution, desired to attend the Convention.

The committee reported that satisfactory credentials had been presented
by the following gentlemen:―

_From the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy_—Joseph Burnett, Samuel M.
Colcord, Dr. Samuel R. Philbrick.

_From the College of Pharmacy, of the City of New York_—George D.
Coggeshall, L. S. Haskell, John Meakim.

_From the Richmond Pharmaceutical Society_—Alexander Duvall, John
Purcell, Joseph Laidley.

_From the Cincinnatti College of Pharmacy_—William B. Chapman, Charles
Augustus Smith, Edward S. Wayne.

_From the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy-_-Daniel B. Smith, Charles
Ellis, William Procter, Jr.

_From the Maryland College of Pharmacy_—Dr. David Stewart, George W.

Henry F. Fish, of Waterbury, Connecticut, as the representative of
the apothecaries and druggists of Hartford county, Connecticut. The
following resolution was also offered by the committee:―

_Resolved_, That those gentlemen whose interest in the object of the
Convention has induced them to meet with us on this occasion, be
invited to take seats in the Convention, and fully participate in its

The report and resolutions were adopted, and the committee continued to
act on claims of delegates, and others not yet arrived.

After the roll had been called, the following gentlemen were invited to
seats in the convention, viz.:―

 CHARLES L. BACHE, of San Francisco, California.
 EUGENE DUPUY, of New York.

A committee, consisting of one from each delegation, was {333}
then chosen to nominate officers for the Convention, and on their
nomination, the following gentlemen were duly elected:―

 DANIEL B. SMITH, of Philadelphia, PRESIDENT.
 GEORGE W. ANDREWS, of Baltimore,
   SAMUEL M. COLCORD, of Boston,

After the officers had taken their seats, the following report was
presented by the committee appointed at the Convention, held the
previous year at New York, “To act as a standing committee, to collect
such information as maybe deemed valuable, together with memorials
and suggestions from Medical and Pharmaceutical Associations to be
presented to the next Convention.”

“The undersigned, a committee appointed at the Convention, held
last year in New York, and instructed “To collect and receive such
information as may be valuable, and memorials and suggestions from
Medical and Pharmaceutical Associations, to be presented to the next
Convention,” respectfully report: That in the period that has elapsed
since their appointment—notwithstanding the fact of their readiness
to receive any communications, having been duly announced—they
have received no contributions towards the end or object of their
appointment, except those relating to the inspection of drugs. They
have, however, not been unmindful of the duty imposed upon them, and
now offer the following suggestions, as tending to aid the business of
the Convention, in so far as they exhibit some of the more prominent
subjects, worthy of its serious deliberation and action.

1st, The number of pharmaceutists constituting the professional body in
the United States is large, comprehends all grades of qualifications,
and extends to every city and town in the country. The professed
object of the present Convention being to adopt measures calculated to
benefit this large body of citizens, in a professional point of view,
by showing that there exist many grounds of sympathy between them,
notwithstanding the present want of united action; we believe, that the
institution of a national association, whose members may come from all
sections of the body, is calculated to enlist this feeling of {334}
brotherhood, and direct its power, as a reforming force, towards the
elevation of the average standard of qualification now existing. In
view of this, it is suggested, whether the passage of a resolution by
this Convention, resolving itself into a National Association, should
not properly engage its attention at its commencement, so that the
important details of forming a Constitution—explaining the nature of
its organization, &c. &c., might receive the deliberate consideration
they merit, before being adopted.

As the basis upon which the Association will rest, will be the
decision as to what shall constitute a member, we believe its ultimate
usefulness will very much depend on the character of this decision, and
we cannot refrain from presenting some reflections on the subject.

The inefficiency or inadequacy of the present basis, viz.:—Delegates
from incorporated and unincorporated societies is here demonstrated,
by the small number who have been appointed in answer to the call; at
least, this must be true, so long as the process of local organization
is so dilatory. The aim should be, to enlist as much as possible of the
talent now engaged in the pharmaceutical ranks.

We think, therefore, that membership in the proposed association
should be of a representative character, to as full an extent as
practicable. Colleges and societies of pharmacy should, of course,
send delegates. Then, provision should be made for the apothecaries,
in cities and towns where no society exists, whereby they may send
representatives, to the extent of one for every ten apothecaries, in
such places; each representative to bring with him a certificate from
his constituents. Finally, to provide for the admission of isolated
individuals, who may not have neighbors sufficient to entitle them to
act as representatives, but who feel an interest in the association.
Power should be given to the committee, on credentials, under certain

The formation of the constitution, and the preparation of a code
of ethics applicable to the present condition of the profession;
sufficiently stringent to elevate the members above many things now too
prevalent, and yet not so binding as to exclude a large number, who,
though well disposed, are unable to free themselves from participation
in acts contrary to the highest standard, without a sacrifice greater
than could be expected of them, should engage the wisest action of the
Convention, to render them practicable in their working. {335}

2nd, The subject of _Pharmaceutical Education_ is, in the opinion
of this committee, one of great importance, and deserving of the
consideration of the committee, in several points of view. Indeed,
the primary object of the Convention being called, was in reference
to the improvement of the standard practice throughout the country;
and this cannot be effected without extending the present means of
education, either by schools, or by an increase of facilities, offered
by proprietors to their apprentices and assistants. In too many
instances the proprietors are illy fitted to extend to those whom they
have engaged to teach the business of a Pharmaceutist the tuition that
of right belongs to them. As schools of pharmacy are of gradual growth,
and cannot be expected to exist, except in large cities, the Convention
would do well to consider what subsidiary means may be enlisted to
reach those of our brethren who reside in small towns. One of the
first of these collateral aids will be found in local organizations,
embracing the proprietors in such towns where, by a union of their
exertions and contributions they may encourage pharmaceutical
literature, by forming libraries, and uphold among themselves correct
practice,—the employment only of good drugs, and the receipt of fair

In France, where but three pharmaceutical schools exist, there are
such societies in all large towns, which have halls and libraries,
where their young men and apprentices have opportunities for gaining
knowledge; and laboratories wherein they occasionally perform
operations not easily executed with the instruments and utensils most
usually found in shop laboratories. If such associations can be formed
by the proprietors, they will soon influence the apprentices, and thus
effect the object aimed at, to a great extent.

The superior advantages of tuition in well conducted schools of
pharmacy will not be doubted, especially, when it is preceded by
several years shop practice. Access to these, by young men at a
distance, can always be had, when their circumstances enable them to
attend, and thus finish their pharmaceutical education. The perfection
of a school of pharmacy is attained by attaching to it a practical
laboratory, wherein the advanced pupils can have an opportunity to
become familiar with the more difficult manipulations of pharmaceutical
chemistry, and of extemporaneous pharmacy. As yet, neither of the
schools in this country have that addition, which arises from the fact,
that the expense of conducting them, renders their support by the fees
{336} of the pupils almost impossible. We think the voice of the
Convention should be raised to encourage the formation of such schools,
and also, to advocate the practice of preparing chemicals in the shop

3rd, The apprenticeship system, which obtains, in many parts of the
United States, is a subject worthy the consideration of the Convention.
The conditions, conducing to mutual advantage, between the employer
and the employed, are not sufficiently attended to in general.
Proprietors often do not consider the fitness of applicants, both
as regards natural endowments and preliminary education, with that
care and attention that a due regard to such applicants demands; and
consequently, a large number of inefficient apothecaries are entailed
upon the country—inefficient from lack of talent, or from disgust at
a business for which they have no inclination. More attention to the
claims of apprentices, on the _teaching_ of their employers, should be
advocated by the Convention as due to the former, as advantageous to
the latter, and eventually to the profession.

4th, The committee believe that the subject of _secret medicines_, or
quackery, as applied to Pharmacy, together with the course usually
followed by quacks, in bringing their nostrums into notice, is becoming
yearly more fraught with ill consequences, both to the consumers and
the apothecaries, and merits the consideration of the Convention, as
to whether the reference of the subject to a committee to investigate,
would not result in some advantage.

5th, The subject of the _inspection of imported drugs_, as regards
the _actual_ working of the law, is of deep interest to all. The
possibility of bringing the influence of this Convention to bear, in
regard to the continuance in office of able men, solely on the ground
of fitness, is worth consideration. The usefulness of this law rests
absolutely on the ability and conscientiousness of the inspector, and
if incumbents, perfectly satisfactory to those concerned, are removed
on political grounds, and replaced by inexperienced and unqualified
persons, it is apparent that the good results of the law will cease.

Whatever may be the efficiency of the law against the importation of
inferior drugs, it will not reach those _at home_, who are disposed
to resort to adulteration as a means of increasing their profits. The
power of the General Government ceases with the Custom House. It will
be necessary in order to reach this evil effectually, as far as it can
be {337} done by legislation; to induce our State Legislatures and
Municipal Authorities to authorize some form of inspection by which
the delinquents can be reached; not the drug adulterator merely, but
the medicine adulterator—the apothecary who scruples not to reduce
the strength of standard medicines, that he may reduce his prices.
Whatever may be the proper course of this Convention, we believe that
eventually the National Association should urge, with all the force of
its influence, the enactment of State laws tending to the reformation
of these evils.

6th, The general adoption of our _National Pharmacopœia_ as a guide
in the preparation of officinal medicines, is much to be desired. We
believe that this Convention should encourage its adoption, and should
request the publishers of that work to issue a small sized cheap
edition, so that every physician and apothecary shall have a copy. We
also believe that a fruitful source of variation in the preparations
of the shops, is the existence of a number of formulæ for the same
preparation, as found in the British Pharmacopœias parallel with that
of our own code, in the commentaries in general use.

7th, The _indiscriminate sale of poisons_ by druggists and
apothecaries, as at present conducted, is a serious evil in the United
States. Any views which may originate in the Convention, tending to
abate this evil, would no doubt have some influence, if circulated by
its authority.

8th, The separation of Pharmacy from the practice of Medicine, has long
been effected on the continent of Europe, by the direct interference
of the government, each profession being in the hands of a distinct
class of men. Inheriting, as we do, our medical institutions from
Great Britain, the confusion of interests which has long prevailed
there has in some measure descended to us; and many instances of
medical practitioners conducting apothecary shops, like the so-called
_apothecaries_ of England, exist among us. The increase of this class
in some localities has been marked of late years—a fact attributable
to the “undue multiplication of graduates in medicine, who, finding
the ranks of their profession so full as to render prospect of
immediate success doubtful, turn their attention towards Pharmacy,
as a subsidiary means of support. As these mongrel apothecaries too
frequently use their shops merely as stepping-stones to business,
they tend directly to depreciate the standard of practice on the one
hand, and tempt {338} young apothecaries, who are struggling against
the difficulties of an already excessive competition, to turn their
attention to medical practice with or without a diploma, as may suit
their circumstances or fancy, on the other, and thus complicate the
confusion. As pharmacy never will advance as it should, whilst this
amalgamation exists in cities and towns to any large extent, we
earnestly recommend to this Convention, that a voice may go forth at
its present session, calling attention to this growing evil.

9th, Believing, that if the Pharmaceutists of the United States are
true to themselves, the Meetings of the Association, of which the
present may be considered the beginning, will annually increase in
interest and importance, we would suggest—what must have occurred to
many present—that they should be partially devoted to the advancement
of Pharmacy, as well as to the sciences on which it is based, by
inviting contributions of original papers, and by committing subjects
requiring investigation to suitable committees, who should report
the results of their researches at the ensuing Annual Meeting,
when, if they meet the approbation of the Association, it might
direct their publication. Participation in the proceedings of such
a gathering of their brethren, would prove a powerful incentive to
many pharmaceutists, whose tastes lead them into scientific paths, to
cultivate their talents by the pursuit of investigations fraught with
usefulness to their profession at home, and with honor to it abroad.

And lastly, whatever may be the ultimate action of the Convention,
in relation to the subjects brought forward in this Report, we would
respectfully suggest that a full digest of its proceedings be directed
to be published, and largely circulated among the Pharmaceutists of the
United States, as calculated to do much good.


The Second Meeting of this Association was mainly occupied in reading
and discussing a draft of a Constitution and code of Ethics.

THIRD SITTING, October 7th, 4 o’clock, P. M.

President in the chair.

On the roll being called, the delegates generally were present. {339}

The minutes of the preceding sitting were read and adopted.

The President informed the Convention, that the Business Committee not
being ready to report, it was understood that Dr. Stewart, Examiner of
Drugs, &c., at the port of Baltimore, had some statements to offer in
regard to the working of the Drug Law at that port, and the Convention
assenting, requested him to proceed.

Dr. Stewart stated, that as there had been some difference of opinion
among the Drug Examiners, as to the intention of the law in certain
cases, he desired the opinion of the Convention regarding the inferior
class of Cinchona Barks that came from Maracaibo, Carthagena, &c.,
and other articles about which there is difference of opinion among
druggists. In illustration of the difficulties of the subject, he
remarked that one invoice of bark, that in a commercial point of view
was not esteemed, and which came invoiced at ten cents per pound, had
yielded, on analysis, two and a half per cent of cinchonine; whilst
Loxa bark, invoiced at thirty cents per pound, had afforded but a
fraction of one per cent. He considered the admission of the barks in
question as quite different from deteriorated or adulterated drugs, in
as much as they possessed a range of power which, though inferior to
the best Peruvian barks, was yet useful, and capable of application in

He therefore offered the following resolution:

“Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Convention, that all
varieties of drugs, that are good of their kind, should be admitted by
the Special Examiners of drugs and medicines.”

Pending the consideration of this resolution, Mr. Coggeshall informed
the Convention that Dr. Bailey, the Special Examiner of Drugs for
the port of New York, had furnished, at his request, a report on the
character of imported drugs, coming under his supervision, and on the
general working of the laws, which, by request, was read. (Published in
our last.)

A similar report from Mr. Edward Hamilton, late Drug Examiner at the
port of Boston, communicated to Mr. S. M. Colcord, at his request, with
a view to its being presented to {340} this Convention, was also read.
(To be published in our next.)

Dr. Stewart then opened the debate on the subject, arguing that drugs,
of whatever virtue or variety, so that they are good of their kind,
should be admitted. In reference to Barks he could say, that perhaps
a larger amount of the varieties of that drug came to the port of
Baltimore than any other. That the merchants in that trade were so
desirous of getting the best kinds, that it was quite usual for them
to import specimens by way of the Isthmus, and have them examined
before ordering their invoices, to ascertain whether they would pass
the Custom-house, that he had, (as Examiner at that port,) chemically
examined a large number of samples of the barks, both Peruvian and
Carthagena, and that the latter had invariably contained more or less
of alkaloids, and were generally of good quality, of their kind.

He therefore considered the fact that a drug is, or may be used as an
adulteration for other drugs, should not exclude it if it is used to
any extent on its own merits. In illustration, Dr. Stewart remarked
that the Examiner might go on a vessel and observe, side by side, two
casks of oil, consigned to the same individual, one invoiced “cod liver
oil,” and the other “sperm oil.” On examination he finds that they are
what they purport to be; the suspicion would arise very naturally,
that the latter was to be used for adulterating the former, yet,
should sperm oil be excluded, because certain parties use it for an
adulteration? He thought not, and on the same grounds he considered
that the inferior barks and rhubarb should be admitted, although some
persons may use them for adulteration.

At the request of the President, Professor Carson, of the University
of Pennsylvania, addressed the Convention on the subject before it.
He coincided generally with the views of Dr. Stewart, as regarded the
value of the drugs in question. He expressed the opinion that numerous
varieties of the so-called Carthagena and Maracaibo barks, were
possessed of decided medicinal virtue; that several kinds of European
rhubarb {341} were of much value in medicine, especially in times when
the officinal varieties are scarce, and that these drugs should all be
admitted, when not deteriorated or adulterated.

Mr. Haskell, of New York, advocated the same views, more especially,
as related to English rhubarb, bringing forward the testimony of Dr.
Pereira, to the effect, that some specimens of Banbury rhubarb were
almost, if not fully equal to the Chinese drug, and they were here even
of rather higher price. He also stated, that a large demand existed in
this country for the yellow Carthagena barks, that the House, of which
he Was a member, sold large quantities in powder, and that the parties
purchasing it did so, knowing its origin. He was not aware of the use
to which it was put, but presumed that it was employed legitimately.

Mr. Fisk, of Connecticut, stated, that through the part of New England
that he represented, considerable quantities of the barks in question
were used legitimately, as tonics; and that no instance of their being
used as an adulteration of the Peruvian barks had come to his knowledge.

Mr. Coggeshall on the other side of the question, called the attention
of the Convention to the item in Dr. Bailey’s Report, showing that
three hundred thousand pounds of these barks had been rejected at the
port of New York, in about two years and a half. He argued that this
bark was not consumed there; that it was not used in the manufacture
of the alkaloids; that the allegation that it was used for making
tooth powders would hardly account for the great consumption of it,
and the question naturally arose for what purpose was it imported? He
believed that it was used extensively to grind with the Peruvian barks,
as an adulteration, and to make an inferior extract, which could be
done cheaply and profitably, and it was largely sold as an officinal
preparation, that many of the persons who came to our cities to buy
drugs, were not able to judge of their purity, and bought them without
asking any questions, save, as regarded price,—and so convinced was he
of the application of these false barks to these false purposes, {342}
that as a protective measure, in his opinion, they should be excluded.
And also, in regard to English and other European rhubarb, that the
argument of Professor Carson would not hold good while the markets were
so well supplied with the Russian and Chinese varieties, to which the
Banbury, regarded as the best of the European, was so very inferior. It
might be used as a dernier resort, but should only be so used. Entirely
independent of this argument, however, Mr. Coggeshall considered that
European rhubarb should be excluded, because of its peculiar adaptation
and general use as an adulteration, owing to its fine color, which
enables the adulterator to improve the appearance of the inferior
Chinese variety, to mix it with the Russian article in powder, without
depreciating its appearance; or, as it is notoriously done, to a great
extent, substitute it entirely for the true article.

Mr. Colcord, of Boston, advocated the latter view, and hoped that the
Resolution would not pass.

Other members of the Convention joined in the debate, after which, the
question was taken on the Resolution of Dr. Stewart, and it was lost.

As the importance of the subject introduced by Dr. Stewart, was fully
appreciated by the Convention, at the same time that no direct course
of action seemed proper for it to pursue, the following Resolution was
offered by Mr. Smith, of Cincinnati, viz.:

“Resolved, that the whole subject of the Inspection of Drugs shall be
referred to a Committee, who shall be instructed to confer with the
Examiners, and endeavor to arrive at some practicable means of fixing
standards for imported drugs.”

The resolution was unanimously adopted, and Mr. Taylor, of
Philadelphia, Mr. Meakim, of New York, and Mr. Burnett, of Boston, were
appointed by the President, to carry it into effect.

On motion of Mr. Procter, Dr. Stewart, of Baltimore, was added to the

[This Report is made up from the Report of the Executive Committee,
published in Philadelphia. The conclusion of the proceedings will be
given in our next.]




Whatever certain authors may have said on the subject, it is possible
to discover in a suspected liquid all the alkaloids, in whatever state
they may be. I am quite convinced that every Chemist who has kept
up his knowledge as to analysis, will not only succeed in detecting
their presence, but even in determining the nature of that which he
has discovered, provided that the alkaloid in question is one of
that class of bodies, the properties of which have been suitably
studied. Thus he will be able to discover conia, nicotine, aniline,
picoline, petinine, morphine, codeine, narcotine, strychnine, brucine,
veratrine, colchicine, delphine, emetine, solanine, aconitine,
atropine, hyoscyamine. I do not pretend to say that the chemical study
of all these alkaloids has been sufficiently well made to enable the
experimenter who detects one of them to know it immediately, and affirm
that it is such an alkaloid, and not such another. Nevertheless, in
those even which he cannot positively determine or specify, he may
be able to say that it belongs to such a family of vegetables—the
Solanaceæ, for example. In a case of poisoning by such agents, even
this will be of much importance. The method which I now propose for
detecting the alkaloids in suspected matters, is nearly the same as
that employed for extracting those bodies from the vegetables which
contain them. The only difference consists in the manner of setting
them free, and of presenting them to the action of solvents. We know
that the alkaloids form acid salts, which are equally soluble in water
and alcohol; we know also that a solution of these acid salts can be
decomposed so that the base set at liberty remains either momentarily
or permanently in solution in the liquid. _I have observed that all
the solid and fixed alkaloids above enumerated, when maintained in a
free state_ {344} _and in solution in a liquid, can be taken up by
ether when this solvent is in sufficient quantity._ Thus, to extract
an alkaloid from a suspected substance, the only problem to resolve
consists in separating, by the aid of simple means, the foreign
matters, and then to find a base which, in rendering the alkaloid free,
retains it in solution, in order that the ether may extract it from
the liquid. Successive treatment by water and alcohol of different
degrees of concentration, suffices for separating the foreign matters,
and obtaining in a small bulk a solution in which the alkaloid can
be found. The bicarbonates of potash or soda, or these alkalies in
a caustic state, are convenient bases for setting the alkaloids at
liberty, at the same time keeping them wholly in solution, especially
if the alkaloids have been combined with an excess of tartaric or of
oxalic acid.

To separate foreign substances, animal or otherwise, from the suspected
matters, recourse is commonly had to the tribasic acetate of lead,
and precipitating the lead afterwards by a current of sulphuretted
hydrogen. As I have several times witnessed, this procedure has many
and very serious inconveniences. In the first place, the tribasic
acetate of lead, even when used in large excess, comes far short of
precipitating all the foreign matters; secondly, the sulphuretted
hydrogen, which is used to precipitate the lead, remains in combination
with certain organic matters which undergo great changes by the action
of the air and of even a moderate heat; so that animal liquids which
have been precipitated by the tribasic acetate of lead, and from which
the lead has been separated afterwards by hydrosulphuric acid, color
rapidly on exposure to the air, and exhale at the same time a putrid
odor, which adheres firmly to the matters which we extract afterwards
from these liquids. The use of a salt of lead presents another
inconvenience, viz.: the introduction of foreign metals into the
suspected matters, so that that portion of the suspected substance is
rendered unfit for testing for mineral substances. The successive and
combined use of water and alcohol at different states of concentration,
{345} permits us to search for mineral substances, whatever be their
nature, so that in this way nothing is compromised, which is of immense
advantage when the analyst does not know what poison he is to look for.

It is hardly necessary to say, that in medico-legal researches for the
alkaloids, we ought never to use animal charcoal for decolorizing the
liquids, because we may lose all the alkaloid in the suspected matters.
It is generally known that animal charcoal absorbs these substances at
the same time that it fixes the coloring and odoriferous matters.

[This is no doubt true; we must not use animal charcoal to decolorize,
and then look for the alkaloid in the _liquid_, but we may use it, at
least in the case of strychnia and some of the non-volatile alkaloids,
to separate them, and then we look for them _in the charcoal_. See
notice of Graham and Hofmann’s Process for Detecting Strychnia:
_Monthly Journal_, Aug., 1852, p. 140; _Pharmaceutical Journal_, vol.
xi., p. 504, May, 1852.]

The above observations do not proceed from speculative ideas only, but
are the result of a pretty long series of experiments which I have
several times employed for discovering these organic alkaloids. To put
in practice the principles which I have thus explained, the following
is the method in which I propose to set about such an analysis:—I
suppose that we wish to look for an alkaloid in the contents of the
stomach or intestines; we commence by adding to these matters twice
their weight of pure and very strong alcohol;[26] we add afterwards,
according to the quantity and nature of the suspected matter, from ten
to thirty grains of tartaric or oxalic acid—in preference tartaric;
we introduce the mixture into a flask, and heat it to 160° or 170°
Fahrenheit. After it has completely cooled it is to be filtered, the
insoluble residue washed with strong alcohol, and the {346} filtered
liquid evaporated in vacuo. If the operator has not an air-pump, the
liquid is to be exposed to a strong current of air at a temperature
of not more than 90° Fahrenheit. If, after the volatilization of the
alcohol, the residue contains fatty or other insoluble matters, the
liquid is to be filtered a second time, and then the filtrate and
washings of the filter evaporated in the air-pump till nearly dry.
If we have no air pump, it is to be placed under a bell-jar over a
vessel containing concentrated sulphuric acid. We are then to treat
the residue with cold anhydrous alcohol, taking care to exhaust the
substance thoroughly; we evaporate the alcohol in the open air at the
ordinary temperature, or still better, in vacuo; we now dissolve the
acid residue in the smallest possible quantity of water, and introduce
the solution into a small test-tube, and add little by little pure
powdered bicarbonate of soda or potash, till a fresh quantity produces
no further effervescence of carbonic acid. We then agitate the whole
with four or five times its bulk of pure ether, and leave it to settle.
When the ether swimming on the top is perfectly clear, then decant some
of it into a capsule, and leave it in _a very dry place_ to spontaneous

[26] When we wish to look for an alkaloid in the tissue of an organ,
as the liver, heart, or lungs, we must first divide the organ into
very small fragments, moisten the mass with pure strong alcohol, then
express strongly, and by further treatment with alcohol exhaust the
tissue of everything soluble. The liquid so obtained, is to be treated
in the same way as a mixture of suspected matter and alcohol.

Now, two orders of things may present themselves; either the alkaloid
contained in the suspected matter is liquid and volatile, or solid and
fixed. I shall now consider these two hypotheses.


We suppose there exists a liquid and volatile alkaloid. In such a
case, by the evaporation of the ether, there remains in the inside of
the capsule some small liquid striæ which fall to the bottom of the
vessel. In this case, under the influence of the heat of the hand,
the contents of the capsule exhale an odor more or less disagreeable,
which becomes, according to the nature of the alkaloid, more or less
pungent, suffocating, irritant; it presents, in short, a smell like
that of a volatile alkali masked by an animal odor. If we discover
any traces of the presence of a volatile alkaloid, we add then to the
contents {347} of the vessel, from which we have decanted a small
quantity of ether, one or two fluid drachms of a strong solution of
caustic potash or soda, and agitate the mixture. After a sufficient
time, we draw off the ether into a test-tube; we exhaust the mixture by
two or three treatments with ether, and unite all the ethereal fluids.
We pour afterwards into this ether, holding the alkaloid in solution,
one or two drachms of water, acidulated with a fifth part of its weight
of pure sulphuric acid, agitate it for some time, leave it to settle,
pour off the ether swimming on the top, and wash the acid liquid at
the bottom with a new quantity of ether. As the sulphates of ammonia,
of nicotine, aniline, quinoleine, picoline, and petinine, are entirely
insoluble in ether, the water acidulated with sulphuric acid contains
the alkaloid in a small bulk, and in the state of a pure sulphate;
but as the sulphate of conia is soluble in ether, the ether may
contain a small quantity of this alkali, but the greater part remains
in the acidulated watery solution. The ether, on the other hand,
retains all the animal matters which it has taken from the alkaline
solutions. If it on spontaneous evaporation leaves a small quantity of
a feebly-colored yellowish residue, of a repulsive animal odor, mixed
with a certain quantity of sulphate of conine, this alkaloid exists
in the suspected matter under analysis. To extract the alkaloid from
the solution of the acid sulphate, we add to the latter an aqueous
and concentrated solution of potash or caustic soda, we agitate and
exhaust the mixture with pure ether; the ether dissolves ammonia, and
the alkaloid is now free. We expose the ethereal solution at the lowest
possible temperature to spontaneous evaporation; almost all the ammonia
volatilizes with the ether, whilst the alkaloid remains as residue. To
eliminate the last traces of ammonia, we place for a few minutes the
vessel containing the alkaloid in a vacuum over sulphuric acid, and
obtain the organic alkaloid with the chemical and physical characters
which belong to it, and which it is now the Chemist’s duty to determine

I applied, on the 3d March, 1851, the process which I have {348}
described, to the detection of nicotine in the blood from the heart
of a dog poisoned by two cubic centimetres [0.78 C.I.] of nicotine
introduced into the œsophagus, and I was able in a most positive manner
to determine the presence of nicotine in the blood. I was able to
determine its physical characters, its odor, taste, and alkalinity.
I succeeded in obtaining the chloroplatinate of the base perfectly
crystallized in quadrilateral rhomboidal prisms of a rather dark yellow
color, and to ascertain their insolubility in alcohol and ether.

I have applied the same process for the detection of conia in a very
old tincture of hemlock, which my friend and colleague M. de Hemptinne
was so kind as to put at my disposal; and I was equally successful in
extracting from the liquid colorless conia, presenting all the physical
and chemical properties of this alkali. I was also able to prove that
the ether which holds conia in solution, carries off a notable portion
of this alkaloid when the solvent is exposed to spontaneous evaporation.


Let us now suppose that the alkali is solid and fixed; in that
case, according to the nature of the alkali, it may happen that the
evaporation of the ether resulting from the treatment of the acid
matter, to which we have added bicarbonate of soda, may leave or not
a residue, containing an alkaloid. If it does, we add a solution of
caustic potash or soda to the liquid, and agitate it briskly with
ether. This dissolves the vegetable alkaloid, now free and remaining
in the solution of potash or soda. In either case, we exhaust the
matter with ether. Whatever be the agent which has set the alkaloid
free, whether it be the bicarbonate of soda or potash, or caustic soda
or potash, it remains, by the evaporation of the ether, on the side
of the capsule as a solid body, but more commonly a colorless milky
liquid, holding solid matters in suspension. The odor of the substance
is animal, disagreeable, but not pungent. It turns litmus paper
permanently blue.

When we thus discover a solid alkaloid, the first thing to do is
to try and obtain it in a crystalline state, so as to be able to
{349} determine its form. Put some drops of alcohol in the capsule
which contains the alkaloid, and leave the solution to spontaneous
evaporation. It is, however, very rare that the alkaloid obtained by
the above process is pure enough to crystallize. Almost always it is
soiled by foreign matters. To isolate these substances, some drops
of water, feebly acidulated with sulphuric acid, are poured into the
capsule, and then moved over its surface, so as to bring it in contact
with the matter in the capsule. Generally we observe that the acid
water does not moisten the sides of the vessel. The matter which is
contained in it separates into two parts, one formed of greasy matter,
which remains adherent to the sides—the other alkaline, which dissolves
and forms an acid sulphate. We cautiously decant the acid liquid,
which ought to be limpid and colorless, if the process has been well
executed; the capsule is well washed with some drops of acidulated
water, added to the first liquid, and the whole is evaporated to
three-fourths in vacuo, or under a bell-jar over sulphuric acid. We
put into the residue a very concentrated solution of pure carbonate
of potash, and treat the whole liquid with absolute alcohol. This
dissolves the alkaloid, while it leaves untouched the sulphate of
potash and excess of carbonate of potash. The evaporation of the
alcoholic solution gives us the alkaloid in crystals.

It is now the Chemist’s business to determine its properties, to be
able to prove its individuality. I have applied the principles which I
have just expounded to the detection of morphine, iodine, strychnine,
brucine, veratrine, emetine, colchicine, aconitine, atropine,
hyoscyamine—and I have succeeded in isolating, without the least
difficulty, these different alkalies, previously mixed with foreign

I have thus been able to extract, by this process, morphine from opium,
strychnine and brucine from nux vomica, veratrine from extract of
veratram, emetine from extract of ipecacuanha, colchicine from tincture
of colchicum, aconitine from an aqueous extract of aconite, hyoscyamine
from a very old extract of henbane, and atropine from an equally old
tincture of {350} belladonna. Thus it is in all confidence that I
submit this process to the consideration of Chemists who undertake
medico-legal researches.—_Bulletin de l’ Académie Royale de Médecine de
Belgique_, tom. vi., No. 2; _and Edinburgh Monthly Journal of Medical


OINTMENT OF STAVESACRE IN ITCH.—It has long been known that the itch is
caused by the attack of a minute insect, the acarus scabiei, the male
of which has only been lately detected, by the microscope. The ordinary
sulphur ointment, though successful after repeated applications, in
destroying the insect, often causes a good deal of irritation of the
skin, and leaves the patient with an eruption as troublesome if not
as permanent as the itch itself. M. Bourguignon, a French physician,
finds that the infusion of the seeds of the stavesacre, (Delphinium
Staphisagria) or a solution of the extract, not only speedily kills
the insects and destroys their eggs, but that it has no irritating
influence whatever upon the skin itself. He afterwards adopted an
ointment, prepared by digesting over a vapor bath, for twenty-four
hours, three parts of stavesacre seeds in five parts of lard, and
straining the product while still liquid. He found that friction with
this ointment cured the patient in four days, while seven days were
required when sulphur ointment was used.

POISONOUS HONEY.—The family of one of our most respectable wholesale
druggists has lately suffered severely from symptoms of poisoning,
caused by some honey which they had eaten. The family of one of
his neighbors likewise, to whom, induced by its particularly fine
appearance, he had sent some of the honey, were affected in a similar
manner. The number of those who partook of the suspected article,
all of whom were affected, though not to the same degree, renders it
certain that the symptoms were not caused by any idiosyncracy, but
were produced by some poisonous principle, probably derived from some
narcotico-acrid plant on which the bees had fed.

On eating it there was an unpleasant sense of pricking and burning
in the throat, nausea, and a burning sensation throughout the whole
system, together with an immediate effect upon vision, approaching
to blindness. Several of those who {351} ate of the honey vomited
violently and were in great distress. One was rendered entirely blind
and insensible, and it was feared for some time might not recover. In
the other cases the effect passed off in some ten or twelve hours. In
one case a single drop of the honey, taken on the end of the finger
from the box where it had leaked through a crevice, had such an effect
on the sight that the person could not see to read a newspaper, but it
passed off within an hour.

“We are not aware,” continues our informant, “of any poisonous plants
in the vicinity where the honey was made, except what is called
kill-calf, (Andromeda Mariana) which is found in abundance on Hempstead
Plains, at a distance of about a mile.”

If, as is supposed, the poison was derived from some plant in which
the bees had fed, it must have been elaborated or concentrated in the
economy of the insect, or been the product of some reaction of the
honey itself upon the poisonous principle, since no poisonous vegetable
is known which would produce such effects, in such minute quantity.

NEW REMEDIES.—Dr. J. Y. Simpson, of Edinburg, the discoverer of the
anaesthetic properties of Chloroform, has lately been experimenting
on the physiological and therapeutical properties of a varitey of
substances which have not previously been used in medicine. He finds
that the alkaloid furfurine in poisonous doses, produces upon animals
many of the symptoms of poisoning by quinine, and that in smaller doses
on the human subject it acts as a tonic, if not an anti-periodic. He
has likewise used nickel, generally in the form of sulphate, and finds
that it is exceedingly analagous in its therapeutic effects to the
salts of iron. In one instance, however, a case of severe periodic
headache, it proved completely successful, after iron with quinine, and
a great many other remedies had been tried in vain.

THE CONVENTION.—The _event_ for Pharmaceutists in the past month, was
the Meeting of the Convention at Philadelphia. The number present was
smaller than could have been wished, yet great as could reasonably have
been anticipated. Eight states were represented, including Mr. Bache,
of San Francisco, California, and there were delegates present from
five Colleges. We have devoted, perhaps, an undue portion of our space
to a partial record of its proceedings. Though on particular points
there were differences of opinion, yet on the whole the meetings were
characterized by great unanimity of sentiment, as well as cordiality
of feeling. Our great hope for the Convention is, that it will form a
bond of union among the scattered and divided members of the profession
in the United States; that it will tend to bring them into one great
body, united by common interests and common pursuits, that it will
tend to soften commercial jealousies between individuals, as well as
between states and cities; that it will enable the profession when
united, to exercise its rightful and legitimate influence upon {352}
public opinion; that in the profession itself it will promote a
more extended course of education, a higher standard of attainment
and nobler principles of conduct. These are great aims and worthy of
strenuous efforts, and it is to be hoped that no personal or sectional
jealousies may be permitted to stand in the way of their attainment.
The Convention has made a good beginning, “Esto perpetua.”


The regular Winter Course of Lectures in this Institution, will
commence on Monday, 1st instant, at 7 o’clock, P. M., and be continued
four months, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings of each week, at
the College Rooms.

 On Materia Medica and Pharmacy, from 7 to 8 o’clock, by Prof. B.W.

 On Chemistry, from 8 to 9 o’clock, by Professor R. O. DOREMUS, M.D.

 On Botany, by Professor I. F. HOLTON, of which further notice will be

The Chemical Lectures will comprise instruction in the Science as
extensively connected with many of the useful and ornamental arts,
rendering them of great advantage to the community at large as well as
to the Apothecary.

In calling public attention to the present Course, the Trustees would
more especially call upon the Medical Profession and Druggists and
Apothecaries generally, to encourage them in carrying out, in the most
effectual manner, the important design of providing, at a nominal
expense, for a knowledge of Chemistry, Pharmacy, and the collateral
Sciences, to our future Apothecaries, and to all others who will avail
themselves of the facilities offered.

In urging these, the Trustees have no selfish ends to attain beyond
the gratification of ministering to the public good in the elevation
of their profession; they desire to see their efforts appreciated and
sustained by full classes, and would earnestly ask of their brethren
to make sufficient sacrifice of time and convenience to enable their
Assistants and Pupils to profit by the opportunity offered for their
instruction. The advantages will recur directly to the employer in the
improved capacity and usefulness of his Assistants.

The Trustees solicit the influence of the Medical Profession to aid
them in cultivating a desire to improve this important Auxilliary
Department of the Profession, as the successful treatment of disease is
greatly dependent on the integrity and intelligence of the apothecary.

Tickets for the Course on Chemistry, at $7, and on Materia Medica and
Pharmacy, at $7, may be procured from

 MR. J. S. ASPINWALL,           No. 86 WILLIAM STREET.
 DR. W. J. OLLIFFE,             No. 6 BOWERY.


 October, 1852.

ERRATUM.—In the October No. on page 294, twentieth line from the top,
for _manifestations_, read _modifications_.







There can be no doubt that imperfections exist in many of the methods
at present in use for the preservation of various articles of the
materia medica. Wherever the fault may be in these cases, the evil
is generally shared between the physicians and the patients, much
the larger share of course, falling to the latter. The _iodide of
iron_ is one of these articles, and it will appear probable from the
sequel that, in a multitude of cases, this remedy is administered to
the patient in quantities which are inconstant and much too small to
produce the effect contemplated by the physician in his prescription.

One method, extensively employed, of preserving iodide of iron, for
use in medicine, is in the form of an aqueous solution in which a coil
of iron wire is kept immersed. This method is given by Pereira,[27] as
proposed by Hemingway. Pereira also remarks in another place that “it
is important to know, that by keeping a coil of iron wire in a solution
of the protiodide, as suggested by Mr. Squire, no free iodine or
sesquiodide of iron is formed although the liquid may be fully exposed
to air and light; sesquioxide of iron is formed, but if the solution be
filtered it is found to contain protiodide only.”

[27] Materia Medica, 3rd Am. Ed. 1, 745.

In a paper previously published in this journal, I have remarked with
reference to this matter, that I should strongly {354} suspect in this
case a formation of a subiodide of iron and consequent abstraction of
iodine from the solution.[28] Since that time I have been enabled to
confirm this supposition by experiment. Pieces of iron wire placed in
contact with a colorless solution of iodide of iron caused, in the
course of a few hours, the deposition of a precipitate, which had a
dark orange color quite distinct from the dark brown color of hydrated
sesquioxide of iron precipitated from a solution of the protochloride
of iron by metallic iron. This precipitate, being washed with distilled
water until the washings gave no indication of the presence of _iron_,
was still found to contain much iodine. No quantitative analysis of
the precipitate, however, was attempted, for it was found that the
washings which no longer contained a trace of iron still gave with
nitric acid and starch, a strong iodine reaction, thus indicating that
the subiodide of iron upon the filter, whatever its composition, was
decomposed by the action of water and oxygen as soon as the neutral
iodide of iron was washed out. This is probably the reason why previous
observers have mistaken this precipitate for pure sesquioxide of iron,
having continued washing the precipitate until the washing no longer
gave an _iodine_ reaction, instead of an _iron_ reaction as in the plan
adopted by me, and consequently until all the subiodide of iron was
decomposed and nothing but sesquioxide of iron was actually left upon
the filter.

[28] New-York Journal of Pharmacy, August, 1852.

The washings, however, after the removal of the iodide of iron, gave
no iodine reaction with starch until after the addition of nitric
acid; iodine, therefore, could only have been present in the form of
hydriodic acid and the reaction by which the unknown subiodide of
iron was decomposed may be represented as follows:—2 Fe I^{1}‗{x} +
^{1}‗{x}H O + (3−^{1}‗{x})O = Fe ^{2}O^{3} + ^{1}‗{x}HI.

Since the above experiments were made, I have found that I have,
after all, merely been in a measure confirming an observation of
the illustrious Berzelius. _Gmelin’s Handbuch_ under the head of
_Einfachiodeisen_, has the following, “Nach Berzelius ist das braune
Pulver welches sich beim Aussetzen des {355} wässrigen Einfachiodeisens
an die Luft absetzt, nicht reines Eisenoxyd, sondern ein basisches

It appears, therefore, that the method of preserving iodide of iron in
solution, in contact with metallic iron is perfectly fallacious. This
remedy, if preserved in solution at all, should be kept in bottles
hermetically closed.

[29] According to Berzelius, the brown powder, which is deposited
upon exposure of aqueous protiodide of iron to the air, is not pure
sesquioxide of iron, but a basic salt.



Cantharides have been used in Pharmacy since the days of Hippocrates.
It was not till 1810, however, that the principle giving them
activity was isolated by Robiquet (Annal. de Chimie lxxvi. 302,) and
subsequently named _Cantharidin_ by Dr. Thomas Thompson. Since then
various experimenters have been engaged in the chemical investigation
of these flies, and in the more recent treatises they are stated to
consist of _cantharidin_, _yellow fixed oil_, _green fixed oil_,
_a yellow viscous substance_, _a black matter_, _ozmazome_, _uric
acid_, _acetic acid_, _phosphoric acid_, and the _phosphate of lime
and magnesia_. It is proverbial among apothecaries and physicians,
that the pharmaceutical preparations designed to produce vesication,
vary very much in their power as prepared by different individuals,
and from different samples of cantharides by the same recipes. Is
this variableness of power due to the inequality of strength of the
commercial drug? or, are we to attribute it to the treatment employed
by the apothecary? The real importance of these queries demands an
answer. To proceed {356} properly, the investigator should examine
cantharidin in a pure state, ascertain how far the statements of
writers are correct, then by a series of analyses, quantitative as
regards that principle, determine whether its proportion varies, and to
what extent, in different specimens of cantharides of fair quality; and
finally to test the preparations derived from the same samples and see
how far they correspond with the inferences drawn from the ascertained
properties and proportion of the active principle. I have at present
undertaken to resolve but a part of these queries—yet by far the most
important ones—as will be seen.

Cantharidin is a white, neutral substance, of which the formula
according to Regnault is C‗{10}H O‗{4}. Gmelin considers it of the
nature of a solid volatile oil. As usually seen it has the form of
minute flatted four-sided prisms (_c_,) much broken up, so as to appear
like scales. When deposited from an ethereal solution of cantharides by
slow evaporation, or from its solution in hot acetic acid by cooling,
it assumes the form of flattened oblique four-sided prisms with
dihedral summits, derived from the rectangular prism by the bevelment
of its edges (see fig. _a_ and _b_ from _c_.) The crystals by slow
sublimation are four-sided rectangular prisms of great brilliance and
sometimes iridescent, _c_ and _d_.


SOLUBILITY.—Pure cantharidin is insoluble in water, hot or cold. It is
slightly soluble in cold alcohol, readily so when hot. Ether dissolves
it to a greater extent, yet much more easily hot than cold. Chloroform
is its best solvent, cold or hot, as shown in a former essay (Am. Jour.
Pharm. vol. xxiii. 124,) and will remove it from the aqueous infusion
of the flies. Acetic ether dissolves cantharidin, especially when hot,
but does not retain much on cooling. When one part of cantharides
is mixed with 20 parts of olive oil and heated to 250° Fahr. it is
completely dissolved. As the solution cools, the cantharidin rapidly
separates in shining needles in such quantity as {357} at first to
give the oil a pulpy consistence. The clear cold oil retains sufficient
to act as an efficient rubefacient but not as an epispastic. One part
of cantharidin requires 70 parts of oil of turpentine to dissolve it at
the boiling temperature, the greater part separating, as the solution
cools, in long asbestos-like needles. A piece of paper saturated with
the cold solution and applied to the skin under adhesive plaster did
not vesicate. Acetone (from the distillation of acetate of lime)
dissolves cantharidin with great readiness and ranks next to chloroform
in this regard. The solution deposits the substance in crystals by
evaporation. The commercial methylic alcohol or wood naphtha also
dissolves cantharidin, but to a much less extent than acetone. When
acetic acid sp. gr. 1.41 (U. S. P.) is added to cantharidin, it but
slightly acts on it in the cold; heat much increases its solvent power,
which is lost on cooling and the substance deposited by standing,
though not immediately. One part of cantharidin was mixed with 40
parts of _crystallizable_ acetic acid and agitated together during
five hours, but a small percentage was dissolved; but on applying heat
the crystals were dissolved quickly. On standing, nearly all of the
cantharidin was slowly deposited in regular crystals. To ascertain
whether, as has been asserted,[30] a combination was effected, and an
_acetate_ of cantharidin produced, an acetic solution of cantharidin
was evaporated to dryness and the crystals mixed with strong sulphuric
acid and heated till dissolved, while the nose was held near, without
the slightest evidence of acetic odor; one twentieth of a grain of
acetate of potassa was then added, which instantly evolved the well
marked smell of acetic acid. Formic acid dissolves but a trace of
cantharidin, cold or hot; and muriatic acid sp. gr. 1.18 hardly can be
said to act on it in the cold, but when boiling a minute portion is
taken up. The same is true of phosphoric acid dissolved in five parts
water. Sulphuric acid sp. gr. 1.840, when heated readily dissolves
pure cantharidin without being discolored, {358} and deposits it in
crystals unchanged by cooling. Hot nitric acid sp. gr. 1.38, dissolves
cantharidin readily, and deposits the greater part of it on cooling
in brilliant crystals, unchanged. A concentrated solution of ammonia
slowly dissolves cantharidin to a small extent, and yields it up
on evaporation in crystals. Solutions of pottassa and of soda also
dissolve this principle.

[30] New York Jour. Pharm. vol. 1. p. 72.

ITS VOLATILITY.—About ten grains of pure and perfectly dry cantharidin
was spread on the pan of an Oertling’s balance, (sensitive to 1-150th
of a grain,) and the equilibrium carefully adjusted with platina
weights. After exposure for a week to the action of the air, a vessel
of lime being present to keep the air dry, no change in the adjustment
had occurred. To further test the volatility of cantharidin, a portion
of it was put at the bottom of a dry test tube, through a paper funnel
so as not to soil the sides, which was then fixed so as to dip half an
inch in a mercurial bath having a thermometer suspended in it. It lost
nothing appreciable after being kept at 212° F. for half an hour, no
sublimate being visible with a lens. At 220° F. no visible effect was
produced. Kept at 250° F. for twenty minutes, a very slow sublimation
commenced. At 300° F. the vaporization was but slightly increased.
The heat was then raised to 360° F., when the sublimation became
more decided, yet still slow. Between 402° F. and 410° F. it fused,
and rapidly sublimed at a few degrees higher. Cantharidin at this
temperature volatilizes with great ease and condenses in beautiful well
defined crystals like salicylic acid.

The specific gravity of cantharidin is considerable, as it sinks in
nitric acid sp. gr. 1.38; it is exceedingly acrid; its powder applied
to the skin with a little oil, produces speedy vesication, and taken
internally it is an irritant poison of the most virulent kind.

Such are some of the more prominent characters of this remarkable
substance, which exhibits a permanence and want of affinity
extraordinary in an animal principle. Let us now see how far
experiments with cantharidin as it exists in the flies in substance,
correspond with its behaviour in an isolated state. {359}

1st. Is cantharidin, as it exists in Spanish flies, volatile at common
temperatures, or at the temperature usually employed in making the
cerate; and if so to what extent?

_a._ Six hundred grains of powdered cantharides were put into a quart
flask, a pint of water poured on, and macerated two hours. The flask
was then adapted to a glass tubulated receiver by means of a long glass
tube, the joints made tight, and the tube refrigerated throughout its
length by a current of cool water, the receiver itself being surrounded
by water. A sand-bath heat was then applied and the materials in the
flask kept boiling during several hours, until half a pint liquid had
distilled. The product in the receiver was opalescent, with white
particles floating through it, and had a strong odor of spanish flies.
It was decanted into a bottle, and agitated repeatedly with half
an ounce of chloroform, which dissolved the particles and removed
the opalescence. The chloroform, when separated with a funnel, and
evaporated spontaneously, yielded a colorless semi-crystalline residue,
having a waxy consistence and a strong odor different from that of the
flies. It fused at 120° Fahr., was volatile _per se_, but was partially
decomposed and condensed in drops which subsequently solidified. This
substance is soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, is decomposed
and dissolved by sulphuric acid, produces _no signs of vesication after
forty-eight hours’ contact with the skin_ under adhesive plaster, and
is most probably the same volatile principle that has been noticed by

The long glass tube was then examined for a sublimate, by rinsing it
thoroughly with chloroform, which, on evaporation, afforded more of the
same substance obtained from the distilled water, and like it did not
produce vesication.

This experiment shows conclusively that cantharidin _does not
volatilize to an appreciable extent with water evaporating from

_b._ More water was added to the residue in the flask, again boiled for
fifteen minutes and thrown on a displacing filter, and water added to
the solid residue, after the decoction had {360} ceased to pass, until
the absorbed liquid was displaced. The decoction was much less odorous
than the distilled water, and had a deep reddish-brown color. Half of
this was agitated repeatedly with chloroform. The latter decanted and
evaporated yielded a crop of crystals intermixed with some coloring
matter. A part of these heated in a tube over a lamp, gave immediately
the brilliant crystaline sublimate of cantharidin well marked; another
portion applied to the skin produced vesication in a few hours.

The other half of the decoction was evaporated to a soft extract by
direct heat. This produced speedy and deep vesication, more effectual
than that of pure cantharidin, as in the extract that principle was in
a soluble state by virtue of the yellow matter of the flies.

_c._ The residual flies were then dried carefully and exhausted with
ether, which assumed a deep green color. A green semi-fluid fatty oil
was obtained by evaporation, from which a fluid yellow oil separated by
standing, which produced a tardy vesication, not comparable with the
aqueous extract.

_d._ One hundred grains of flies in powder were introduced into a test
tube so as not to soil the sides. This was then kept at the temperature
of 212° F. during six hours, by causing it to dip into a vessel of
boiling water through a tin plate. The hygrometric water was removed as
it condensed above. At the end of the experiment a minute deposit of
microscopic crystals less than one thirtieth of a grain, was observed
above the flies on the side of the tube.

_e._ Two hundred grains of flies were introduced into a two ounce
retort, which they half filled, adapted to a two ounce receiver, and
this again connected with a third vessel. The retort heated by a
mercurial bath, was kept at 225° F., for two hours, without any product
except a little odorous hygrometric water. The heat was then raised to
412° F., when a colorless oily matter flowed slowly into the receiver,
mixed with water, whilst a crystalline matter mixed with oil collected
in the neck. This crystalline matter mixed with the oil produced
{361} vesication when applied to the skin. The heat was now rapidly
increased so as to produce brown vapors, from which was condensed a
dark colored empyreumatic oil, abundant crystals of an ammonical salt
collected in the tubes and on the sides of the receiver, whilst the
aqueous liquor in the receiver was strongly ammonical. Neither the dark
oil nor the crystals produced vesication, the high temperature having
probably decomposed the cantharidin.

From these experiments it must be admitted that cantharidin is less
volatile than has been asserted. The effect produced on the eye of the
pupil of Robiquet who was watching the crystallization of cantharidin
during the evaporation of an ethereal solution, may be accounted for
by the mechanical action of the dense ethereal vapor escaping near his
eye, as he watched the process with a lens, carrying off some particles
of cantharidin; and the readiness with which this principle may be
brought mechanically in contact with the skin of the face, during a
series of experiments, by want of care, will easily account for the
occasional testimony of writers in favor of its volatility at low
temperatures based on that kind of evidence. During the whole of the
experiments detailed in this paper, the author has not experienced any
inconvenience to his eyes or face except in two instances, once when
decomposing cantharides by destructive distillation, during which some
of the vapors escaped near his person, and again where a small capsule
containing aqueous extract of cantharides was accidentally exposed
to high temperature over a lamp so as to partially decompose it; he
suffered slight pain for a few hours in the conjunctiva of both eyes.

It must also be admitted that the heat ordinarily employed in making
the blistering cerate of the United States Pharmacopœia, does not
injure the preparation by volatilizing the cantharidin, and that the
recommendation to digest the flies in the melted vehicle on a water
bath is not only not injurious, but decidedly advantageous, as it
increases, many fold, the solvent power of the fatty matter. {362}

2d. Having ascertained the solvent powers of olive oil, oil of
turpentine and acetic acid, on pure cantharidin, the following
experiments were made with those menstrua, and with water, on the flies
in substance:

_a._ One hundred grains of powdered cantharides were mixed with two
hundred grains of olive oil in a large test tube, which was corked,
and the mixture heated in a boiling water bath during four hours, with
occasional agitation. The contents of the tube were then poured into a
small glass displacement apparatus, surrounded with water kept hot by
a lamp, and the saturated oil gradually displaced, without cooling, by
the addition of fresh portions of oil. The oily liquid thus obtained
had a deep green color, smelled strongly of the flies, and when applied
to the skin produced full vesication in about twelve hours contact.
After standing twenty-four hours shining needles of cantharidin
gradually separated, but not in quantity.

_b._ One hundred grains of powdered flies were mixed with two hundred
grains of pure oil of turpentine in a closed tube, heated in a boiling
water bath four hours, and displaced while hot as in the preceding
experiment. The terebinthinate solution had a dull yellow color, and
was perfectly transparent as it passed, but in a short time numerous
minute stellated crystals commenced forming, which increased in
quantity by standing. The saturated cold solution, separated from the
crystals after standing twenty-four hours, did not blister when applied
to the skin.

_c._ One hundred grains of powdered flies were digested in a close
vessel, at the temperature of boiling water, in three hundred grains
of acetic acid sp. gr. 1.041, for six hours, and then subjected to
displacement in the hot filter above noticed. A dark reddish-brown
transparent liquid passed, which had very little odor of flies, even
when a portion was exposed until the acetic acid had nearly all
evaporated. A portion of this liquid applied to the skin produced
complete vesication in about ten hours. After standing a few hours,
numerous minute {363} granular crystals were deposited, which
gradually increased in amount and size.

These three experiments prove that hot fatty matter is a good solvent
for cantharidin as it exists in the flies, and that it retains more
on cooling than either turpentine or acetic acid. That hot oil of
turpentine is a good solvent for extracting cantharidin, although it
does not retain much on cooling, and that officinal acetic acid at the
temperature of 212° F. will remove cantharidin readily from Spanish
flies, but retains but a part on cooling.

_d._ Five hundred grains of recently powdered flies, contained in a
flask, were boiled in a pint of water, for an hour, and the clear
decoction decanted, the residue again treated with half a pint
of water, so as to remove all matter soluble in that liquid. The
decoctions were mixed, filtered, and evaporated carefully to dryness.
The extract was exhausted by repeated treatment with boiling alcohol,
which left a dark colored pulpy matter, very soluble in water, from
which it is precipitated by subacetate of lead. The alcoholic solution
was now evaporated to a syrup, and on cooling yielded a yellow extract
like mass, interspersed with numerous minute four-sided prisms.
By washing a portion with water, the yellow matter was removed,
leaving the crystals white and pure. The aqueous washings yielded
by evaporation a residue of crystals, and does not vesicate. When
the alcoholic extract was treated with chloroform the crystals were
dissolved, and the yellow matter left. On evaporating the chloroform
solution the crystals were re-obtained with all the characters of
cantharidin. The matter left by chloroform was now treated with water,
in which it dissolved, except a trace of dark substance, and was
again evaporated carefully. It afforded a yellow honey-like residue,
thickly interspersed with crystals and strongly acid to litmus, without
vesicating power.

A portion of the yellow matter separated from the alcoholic extract by
water was boiled with some cantharidin, filtered and evaporated. The
residue treated with chloroform afforded no {364} cantharidin; hence
it would appear that although the yellow matter enables the cantharidin
to dissolve in water and cold alcohol, when once separated its solvent
power ceases.

Having now studied the effects of the ordinary solvents on cantharidin
in a free state, and in the condition in which it exists in the insect,
we are prepared to consider with some clearness, the pharmaceutical
preparations of the Spanish fly, and their action as vesicants.

_a._ If 1-30th of a grain of pure cantharidin, in fine powder, be
placed on the skin of the arm and covered with a piece of warmed
adhesive plaster, active vesication occurs in eight hours, with pain.
If the same quantity of cantharidin be put on the other arm, a small
piece of paper be laid over it, and then a piece of adhesive plaster
with a circular hole in it be applied, so as to hold on the paper,
no vesication occurs in sixteen hours, the powder remaining dry. If
then a large piece of plaster be put over the whole, at the end of
eight hours more no blistering action will have taken place. If now a
trace of olive oil be applied to the back of the paper covering the
cantharidin, and the plaster replaced, speedy vesication will occur.
These experiments prove that cantharidin must be in solution to have
its vesicating action, and that oily matter is a proper medium.

_b._ When powdered flies are stirred into the ordinary vehicle of
resin, wax, and lard, so as to chill it almost immediately as was
formerly directed, but little of the cantharidin is dissolved by the
fatty matter, and when applied to the skin the process of vesication is
retarded. If, however, the cerate be kept fluid for a length of time,
say for half an hour, by a water-bath or other regular heat, no loss
of cantharidin occurs by the heat, the active principle is in a great
measure dissolved by the fat, and every part is impregnated and active.
In the foregoing experiments it has been shown that twenty parts of
olive oil will dissolve one of cantharidin when hot. If we admit with
Thierry that cantharides contain but four thousandths of their weight
of cantharidin, the quantity contained in a {365} pound of cerate is
about _eight_ grains, whilst the lard in the same weight of cerate is
1600 grains, or two hundred times the weight of that principle, not to
speak of the influence of the wax and resin, which, in union, with the
melted lard, act as solvents. Hence the whole of the cantharidin may be
dissolved by the vehicle. Another advantage of employing a continued
heat in digestion is the removal of the hygrometric water from the
flies, which is the source of the mouldiness to which the cerate is
prone in certain conditions.

In a former essay (Amer. Journ. Pharm., vol. xiii, p. 302,) I have
advocated digestion in making this cerate, (a recommendation also made
by Mr. Donovan, of Dublin, about the same time,) and also the use of
a portion of the oil of turpentine to facilitate the solution of the
cantharidin, but the foregoing experiments prove that fatty matter is
quite as good, if not a better solvent alone than with turpentine.

_c._ It has been asserted long ago by Beaupoil, Robiquet and others,
that water will perfectly extract the active matter from Spanish flies,
which these experiments corroborate. Hence it is easy to understand
how the condensed perspiration may facilitate the action of a blister,
especially when, as was formerly much the case, its surface is coated
with the dust of the flies, and the skin moistened.

It is also clear why the Unguentum Cantharidis of the United States
Pharmacopœia is active although made with a decoction of flies, yet,
in this preparation, care should be observed not to evaporate all the
water, as on the existence of the aqueous extract in a soft state
depends much of the efficiency of the preparation as an irritant

_d._ In the Linimentum Cantharidis, United States Pharm., in which an
ounce of flies is digested in eight fluid ounces of oil of turpentine,
the cantharidin is to be the menstruum as 1 to 1500, a proportion
probably quite sufficient to retain it in solution. The importance of
the officinal direction to digest is evident. It is quite doubtful
whether this liniment, as made by the process of Dr. Joseph Hartshorne,
one part of flies to {366} three parts of oil, will retain all the
cantharidin after standing awhile.

_e._ The Acetum Cantharidis, (Lond. Ph.) made by macerating an ounce of
flies in ten fluid ounces of acetic acid, 1.48, has been criticised by
Mr. Redwood, (Pharm. Journal, Oct. 1841,) who arrived at the conclusion
that it owed its vesicating power almost solely to the acid, he not
being able to discover cantharidin in it. The inefficiency of _cold_
acetic acid as a solvent for _pure_ cantharidin has been proven by the
above experiments, and its efficiency when hot equally shown. There can
be little doubt that the London preparation would be much improved by
_digesting_ the flies in the acid for an hour in a close glass vessel
at the temperature of boiling water.

_f._ The _cantharidal collodion_ of M. Ilisch has been considerably
used as a vesicant in this country. Ether being a good solvent for
cantharidin readily keeps that principle in solution. When applied to
the skin, the escape of the ether leaves a coating of ethereal extract
of cantharides, admixed with collodion. This preparation sometimes
fails from a deficiency of cantharidin, at other times from want of
a sufficient body in the collodion excipient, and it has been found
more advantageous to treat the cantharides with ether till exhausted,
distill off the ether, and add the oily residue to collodion of the
proper consistence. The addition of a little olive oil, and of Venice
turpentine, as recommended by Mr. Rand, will give more activity to the
preparation, especially if a piece of oiled silk or adhesive plaster be
applied over the part.

_g._ Besides these, many other epispastic preparations are made in
France and other countries. The acetic alcoholic extract of cantharides
of Ferrari is made by digesting four parts of cantharides in sixteen
parts of alcohol 36° B. mixed with one part of acetic acid 10° B.
In the opinion of the author, the acetic acid tends to prevent the
crystallization of the cantharidin, a statement rendered doubtful by
the above experiments, as that principle separates in crystals from an
acetic solution of cantharides. The alcohol dissolves the green oil
{367} which gives to the extract a butyraceous consistence. This is
undoubtedly an efficient preparation, and is used by spreading it on
paper with a brush, and applying to the skin. Nearly all the French
preparations direct digestion of from 2 to 6 hours, showing evidently
that the experience of pharmaceutists is opposed to the opinion that
cantharides is “a very volatile substance, even at common temperatures.”

The vesicating tafeta of the Codex, is that proposed by Messrs. Henry
& Guibourt, and is made by fusing together one part of the ethereal
extract of cantharides and two of wax, and spreading it on waxed paper
or linen in the manner of adhesive plaster. This preparation is said
to lose its efficiency by exposure to the air. How can this occur in
view of the results which have been detailed above? admitting the fact,
it is not probable that the change lies in the strong tendency of the
cantharidin to separate in crystals? a change easily observable in
the ethereal extract. This is the chief objection to some otherwise
excellent preparations of cantharides for vesication, and it is far
more probably the true explanation, than, that volatility should be the

The recently prepared and soft aqueous extract of cantharides has
been shown to be a powerful epispastic. Will this extract of the
consistence of honey, associated with sufficient acetic acid, alcohol,
or acetone, to preserve it, keep without the gradual separation of
the cantharidin? If so, it will undoubtedly prove one of the very
best blistering agents, as by simply applying a covering of it over
the surface of waxed paper, or adhesive plaster, with a camel’s-hair
brush, a perfect blistering plaster can be made quickly and neatly,
and all tendency to change of aggregation by the action of the air on
the menstruum avoided. This is a question now under trial, and should
it result favorably, a formula will be published. The extraordinary
tendency of cantharidin to crystallize, even under the most adverse
circumstances, taken in connection with its insolubility, _per se_,
has hardly received sufficient attention from pharmaceutists as a
cause of the deterioration of {368} cantharidal preparations, and the
discovery of a menstruum, that will retain that principle in solution
for an indefinite period, is a problem yet to be solved, and worthy the
attention of pharmaceutical investigators.

Philadelphia, September, 1852.



Considerable attention has recently been turned to the Yellow Jassamin
of our Southern States, from the accidental discovery of certain
remarkable effects produced by it when taken internally. A planter
of Mississippi having suffered much from a tedious attack of bilious
fever, which resisted the usual medicines employed in such cases,
requested one of his servants to obtain from the garden a certain root,
from which he intended to prepare an infusion for drinking. By mistake,
the person sent collected a different root, and administered the tea
to his master, who, soon after taking it, was seized with a complete
loss of muscular power, being, in fact, so completely prostrated as
to be unable to move a limb or to raise the eyelids, yet he could
hear, and could appreciate what was occurring around him. After some
hours, during which his friends were watching him with much anxiety
and little hope, he gradually recovered his muscular control, and was
astonished to find that the fever had left him. Having ascertained from
his servant what plant he had collected, he subsequently employed it
successfully on his own plantation as well as among his neighbors. The
history becoming known to a quackish physician, he prepared from it
a nostrum called the “Electrical Febrifuge,” in {369} which, it was
disguised by oil of winter-green, (_Eclectic_ Dispensatory, page 186.)

The Gelseminum is not noticed by Dr. Griffith in his Medical Botany,
nor in the recent edition of the United States Dispensatory, and so
far appears to have been used chiefly by the “Eclectic” practitioners
of Cincinnati and other parts of the Western States. The accompanying
description of the plant is taken partly from a specimen sent
from Memphis, Tennessee, where, in common with other parts of the
south-western States, it is cultivated as an ornamental garden plant.

The Gelseminum belongs to the natural order Apocyneæ, so remarkable for
the great activity of many of its genera, and the name of the genus,
given by Jussieu, is one of the ancient names of the jessamine, and
that of the species arises from its evergreen foliage.

GELSEMINUM belongs to Pentandria Digynia of Linnæus, and to the natural
order Apocyneæ of Jussieu.

_Generic characters._—Regular, calyx five parted, (the sepals of
this species being furnished with bract-like appendages) carolla
funnel-form, border spreading, five lobed, nearly equal, capsule
compressed, flat, two partible, two-celled, seeds flat and attached to
the margins of the valves, (Eaton.)

_Specific characters._—The G. sempervirens is known at the South under
the names yellow jasmine, wild jasmine, and woodbine. In Florida it
flowers in March, and in Mississippi and Tennessee in May and June.
Its stem is twining, smooth and glabrous; its leaves are opposite,
perennial, lanceolate, entire, dark green above, paler beneath; with
short petioles. The flowers, which are esteemed poisonous, are yellow,
about an inch long and half an inch wide at the top, of a fine yellow
color, and have an agreeable odor, which perfumes the air when they
bloom. It grows luxuriantly, climbing from tree to tree, forming a
delightful shade. According to Eaton, from whose botany we glean part
of the above botanical notice, there is a variety called inodorum which
has scentless flowers.

The Gelseminum is indigenous to the Southern States, and its beauty has
caused its introduction into the gardens. {370}

_Medical properties and uses._—The root is the part used, and the
tincture is the preparation most usually employed, and, as made, must
be a saturated tincture. The roots, in a green state, well bruised,
are introduced into a suitable vessel, and covered with whiskey, or
diluted alcohol. After standing two weeks, the tincture is separated by
expression and filtered. It has a dark red color, and a pleasant bitter
taste. The dose is from ten to fifty drops. The following account
of its medical properties and effects is taken from a paper in the
“Eclectic Medical Journal,” August, 1852, page 353, by F. D. Hill of

 “Gelseminum is stimulant, tonic, and anti-spasmodic. By its relaxing
 effect it produces gentle diaphoresis, and is said to be _narcotic_.
 Its effect in large doses, or doses too frequently repeated, is
 extreme relaxation, and general prostration of the whole muscular
 and nervous system. It will suspend and hold in check muscular
 irritability and nervous excitement with more force and power than
 any known remedy. It is of a pleasant bitter taste, and performs its
 wonder-working cures, in all febrile diseases, without exciting either
 nausea, vomiting, or purging. When enough has been given to produce
 its specific effect, the eye is dimmed, the vision clouded and double,
 the head light and dizzy. When these effects follow the administration
 of this remedy, no more should be given until the patient has entirely
 recovered from its influence. ‘It maybe used in all species of
 fevers, nervous and bilious headache, colds, pneumonia, hemorrhages,
 leucorrhea, chorea, ague-cake, asthma, and many other diseases: but
 its efficacy has been most admired in all forms and grades of fevers.’
 It should always be used with great care and caution. The root is
 said to possess a resinous principle, which, when extracted by pure
 alcohol, will produce death in very small doses. But no such effect
 need be expected from the proper dose of the common tincture. There
 is danger of carrying it to such an extent as to suspend involuntary
 muscular action, and when this is the case, death must ensue. ‘It is
 incompatible with no known substance, and may follow any _preceeding
 treatment with perfect safety_.’ The dose is forty drops for an
 adult, and children in proportion to age and temperament. It is given
 either with or without quinine. It has been used alone for _chronic
 rheumatism_, in doses of forty drops, three times a day, with marked
 effects. Three or four doses, with a mild cathartic, will remove the
 redness and swelling attending inflamed sore eyes. Special attention
 should be directed to the general health and constitution of the
 patient before giving gelseminum. If the bowels be constipated they
 should be moved by a gentle aperient, and kept in a relaxed condition.
 It requires double the quantity to produce the effect on some that it
 does on others; and should the practitioner ever produce too great a
 degree of relaxation, he should lose no time in stimulating and toning
 up his patient.” {371}

The alleged effects of this plant on the human system, taken in
connection with its medico-botanical relations, mark it out as being
probably one of the most valuable of our indigenous remedial agents,
and render it well worthy of the investigation of regular physicians.


(_Concluded from page 316._)

Prussian blue, that has not undergone digestion in acid in the way
above pointed out, will require a much larger proportion of oxalic
acid, from twice to three times its weight; and even then it will be
greatly liable to precipitation after standing; but when treated in the
way described, it is not liable to precipitate, but remains a permanent

STEPHENS’ RED INK.—Stephens’ red ink is prepared as follows:—Take a
quantity of common soda, potash or carbonate of ammonia, to which is to
be added, at intervals, twice its weight of crude argol in powder.

When the effervescence, arising from this combination, has ceased, pour
off the solution, or filter it from the insoluble matter; to this, add
by measure half the quantity of oxalate of alumina, or oxalo-phosphate
of alumina, prepared by adding to precipitated alumina or phosphate
of alumina, in a damp state, as much oxalic acid as will dissolve.
Into this mixture, put, when cold, as much cochineal, first bruised
or powdered, as will give it a fine red color, varying the quantity
according to the shade of color required; and after letting it stand
for the space of forty eight hours, strain it off for use.

PROFESSOR RUNGE’S WRITING FLUID.—One of the least expensive formulas
for the manufacture of a writing ink, is that given by Professor Runge,
who says: “I have for some time {372} endeavored to find a black fluid
possessing the properties of forming no deposit, of adhering strongly
to the paper, of being unaffected by acids, and lastly, what is of
great importance, not acted upon by steel pens.

“After many experiments, I have succeeded in obtaining a composition of
the kind required, very simple in its preparation, containing nothing
but logwood, chromate of potash, and water, and free from vinegar,
gum, copperas, blue vitriol, and even nutgalls. The low price of this
writing fluid is also in its favor. It is prepared by simply adding
one part of chromate of potash to 1000 parts of decoction of logwood,
made by boiling twenty-two pounds of logwood in a sufficient quantity
of water to give fourteen gallons of decoction; to this decoction,
when cold, the chromic salt is gradually added, and the mixture well
stirred. The addition of gum is injurious. In the preparation of
this ink, it must be remembered that the yellow chromate and not the
bi-carbonate of potash is employed, and great care is required to
ensure due adjustment of the relative proportions of the ingredients
used. The best way is to make a decoction of logwood, and _gradually_
add to it, well stirring the mixture, as much solution of chromate as
will give the shade required.

“It appears astonishing what a small quantity of the chrome salt is
required to convert a large quantity of decoction of logwood into a
black writing fluid; the fact is however certain, and care must be
taken not to allow the proportion of chrome salt to exceed half a
part for each 500 parts of decoction of logwood, as a larger quantity
exercises a prejudicial effect in destroying the coloring matter of the
liquid, whilst in the proportion above mentioned, a deep blue black
writing ink is formed, which, unlike the ink made with tannogallate
of iron, is perfectly fluid, forming no deposit. This writing fluid
possesses another advantage; the paper which has been written upon with
it may be washed with a sponge, or be left twenty-four hours under
water, without the writing being effaced. Weak acids do not destroy
the writing, nor do they even change the {373} shade, whilst that
made with gallnuts is effaced, and the ink prepared with logwood and
copperas is turned red.

“New steel pens are coated with a greasy substance, which prevents the
ready flow of the ink; this should, therefore, be removed previous to
use by moistening the pens with saliva, and then washing them in water.
The application of an alkaline solution is still preferable to remove
this greasy matter. The cleansing of the steel pens is absolutely
essential in the case of using the ink above mentioned. I have used
this ink upwards of two years, and my steel pens are not in the least
degree affected. No rust is formed on the pens, so that after years
of service the only wear experienced is that from constant use on the
paper, thus rendering unnecessary the use of pens tipped with iridium
and other hard substances.”


Professor Balfour, the Professor of Botany in the University of
Edinburgh, has read a valuable paper on this subject, at the Botanical
Society in that city, in which he states that mould of various kinds,
when placed in syrup, has a tendency to spread out and form a flat,
gelatinous, and leathery expansion. This he shows by experiments, as
follows:—Mould that had grown upon an apple was put into syrup; and in
the course of two months there was formed upon the syrup a cellular,
flat, expanded mass, while the syrup was converted into vinegar.

Mould that had grown upon a pear was also put into syrup, and the
same result was produced. He also experimented in the same manner
with various moulds that were growing upon bread, tea, and some other
vegetable substances; the effect {374} produced, in most cases, was
to cause a fermentation, resulting in the production of vinegar. In
another experiment, a quantity of raw sugar, treacle, and water, were
put into a jar, without any mould being introduced. When examined,
after a lapse of four or five months, a growth like that of the vinegar
plant was visible, and vinegar was formed. This plant was removed, and
put into fresh syrup, which was followed again by the production of
vinegar. It appears that, when purified white sugar only is used to
make syrup, the plant, when placed in it, does not produce vinegar so
speedily; the length of time required for the changes varying from four
to six months. Dr. Balfour thinks this may possibly be owing, to the
presence of some ingredient in the raw sugar and treacle, which may
tend to promote the production of vinegar.

In connection with this subject, I may refer to the _Vinegar Plant_,
which is considered by some eminent botanists to be an unnatural and
peculiar form of some fungus. This plant, which has a tough gelatinous
consistence, when put into a mixture of treacle, sugar and water,
gives rise to an acetous fermentation. The vinegar, which is the
result of this acetous fermentation, is of a syrupy nature; and when
evaporated to dryness, a large quantity of saccharine matter is left.
Various conjectures have been hazarded as to the origin of this vinegar
plant; some stating that it came from South America, or other distant
regions; and others that it is a spontaneous production. Dr. Lindley
is of opinion that it is a peculiar form of _penicillum glaucum_, or
common blue-mould. The general opinion appears to be, that it is in an
anomalous state of mould, or of some fungus: and the peculiar form and
consistence it assumes on different occasions, seems to depend upon the
nature of the material in, or upon which, it makes its appearance.



_Whereas_, The advancement of pharmaceutical knowledge and the
elevation of the professional character of apothecaries and druggists
throughout the United States are objects that are dear to us in common
with all well disposed pharmaceutists; and, _whereas_, a large portion
of those in whose hands the practice of pharmacy now exists, are not
properly qualified for the responsible offices it involves, chiefly
by reason of the many difficulties that impede the acquirement of a
correct knowledge of their business;―

_Therefore_, We, the members of a Convention now met at Philadelphia,
composed of apothecaries and druggists from different sections of the
Union, and from all the Colleges and Societies therein existing, with
the object of deliberating on the condition of our profession, _do_
hereby resolve and constitute ourselves into a permanent asociation, to
meet annually at such times and places as may hereafter be determined,
for more effectually accomplishing the objects for which we are now
assembled; and do now adopt the following CONSTITUTION:


This association shall be called “_The American Pharmaceutical

SECTION 2. _Of the Members._

_Article_ I. All pharmaceutists and druggists who shall have
attained the age of twenty-one years, whose character, morally
and professionally, is fair, and who, after duly considering the
obligations of the Constitution and Code of Ethics of this Association
are willing to subscribe to them, shall be eligible for membership.

_Article_ II. The members shall consist of delegates from regularly
constituted Colleges of Pharmacy, and Pharmaceutical Societies, who
shall present properly authorized credentials, and of other reputable
Pharmaceutists feeling an interest in the objects of the Association,
who may not be so delegated, the latter being required to present a
certificate signed by a majority of the delegates from the places
whence they come. If no such delegates are present at the Association,
they may, on obtaining the certificates of any three members of the
{376} Association, be admitted, provided they be introduced by the
committee on credentials.

_Article_ III. All persons who become members of this Association shall
be considered as permanent members, but may be expelled for improper
conduct by a vote of two thirds of the members present at any annual

_Article_ IV. Every member in attendance at the annual meetings shall
pay into the hands of the Treasurer the sum of two dollars as his
yearly contribution.

_Article_ V. Every local Pharmaceutical Association shall be entitled
to five delegates.

SECTION III. _Of the Officers._

The officers of this association shall be a President, three Vice
Presidents, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a
Treasurer, and an Executive Committee of three, which may include any
of the members except the President, all of whom shall be elected

_Article_ I. The President shall preside at the meetings and preserve
order. He shall nominate all committees, except a majority of the
members present direct a resort to balloting or other means. He
shall sign all certificates of membership, approve of all foreign
correspondence, and countersign all orders on the Treasurer drawn by
the Executive Committee. And he shall, at least three months previously
to the annual meeting publish a call in all the pharmaceutical and in
such medical and other Journals as he may select, stating therein the
objects of the Association, and the conditions of membership.

_Article_ II. In case of the temporary absence, or inability of the
President, his duties shall devolve on one of the Vice Presidents.

_Article_ III. The Recording Secretary shall keep fair and correct
minutes of the proceedings of the Association. He shall keep a roll
book of the members, and see that it is corrected annually, and he
shall furnish to the Executive Committee a correct transcript of the
minutes of the meeting for publication in the Transactions of the

_Article_ IV. The Corresponding Secretary shall attend to the official
correspondence directed by the association with other bodies, or with
its members, all of which correspondence shall be approved by the
President. {377}

_Article_ V. The Treasurer shall receive and take care of the funds
of the Association; shall pay its money only on the order of the
Executive Committee, countersigned by the President; and shall present
a statement of his accounts annually that they may be audited.

_Article_ VI. The Executive Committee shall take charge of the
publication of the proceedings of the Association, including such
papers on scientific subjects as it may direct to be published; attend
to their distribution; pay the expenses incurred on behalf of the
Association at its meetings or in the interim, and report a statement
of their transactions to the next meeting.

SECTION IV. _Of the Meetings._

_Article_ I. The meetings shall be held annually, at such time and
place as shall be determined at the adjournment of the previous
meeting, observing that no two meetings shall be held consecutively at
the same place.

_Article_ II. The meetings shall be organized by the President of the
previous year, or, in his absence, by either of the Vice Presidents in
the order of their election, or, in their absence, by the Recording
Secretary, who shall act _pro tempore_ until the nomination and
election of officers for the session.

_Article_ III. Immediately after the temporary organization of the
Association the roll shall be called, when a committee on credentials
shall be appointed from the _members_ present, to whom the certificates
of delegates shall be submitted, and who shall examine the claims of
all other applicants for membership before they are submitted to the


This Constitution may be altered or amended by a vote of three-fourths
of the members present at any regular meeting, and notice to alter
or amend the same shall be given at least one sitting before a vote



The American Pharmaceutical Association, composed of Pharmaceutists and
Druggists throughout the United States, feeling a strong interest in
the success and advancement of their profession in its practical and
scientific relations, and also impressed with the belief that no amount
of knowledge and skill will protect themselves and the public from the
ill effects of an undue competition, and the temptations to gain at the
expense of quality, unless they are upheld by high moral obligations in
the path of duty, have subscribed to the following _Code of Ethics_ for
the government of their professional conduct.

ART. I. As the practice of pharmacy can only become uniform by an open
and candid intercourse being kept up between apothecaries and druggists
among themselves and each other, by the adoption of the National
Pharmacopœia as a guide in the preparation of officinal medicines, by
the discontinuance of secret formulæ and the practices arising from
a quackish spirit, and by an encouragement of that _esprit du corps_
which will prevent a resort to those disreputable practices arising out
of an injurious and wicked competition;—_Therefore_, the members of
this Association agree to uphold the use of the Pharmacopœia in their
practice; to cultivate brotherly feeling among the members, and to
discountenance quackery and dishonorable competition in their business.

ART. II. As labor should have its just reward, and as the skill,
knowledge and responsibility required in the practice of pharmacy are
great, the remuneration of the pharmaceutist’s services should be
proportioned to these, rather than to the market value of preparations
vended. The rate of charges will necessarily vary with geographical
position, municipal location, and other circumstances of a permanent
character, but a resort to intentional and unnecessary reduction in
the rate of charges among apothecaries, with a view to gaining at
the expense of their brethren, is strongly discountenanced by this
Association as productive of evil results.

ART. III. The first duty of the apothecary, after duly preparing
himself for his profession, being to procure good drugs and
prepartions, (for without these his skill and knowledge are of small
avail,) he frequently has to rely on the good faith of the druggists
for their selection. {379} Those druggists whose knowledge, skill and
integrity enable them to conduct their business faithfully, should
be encouraged, rather than those who base their claims to patronage
on the cheapness of their articles solely. When accidentally or
otherwise, a deteriorated, or adulterated drug or medicine is sent to
the apothecary, he should invariably return it to the druggist, with a
statement of its defects. What is too frequently considered as a mere
error of trade on the part of the druggist becomes a _highly culpable_
act when countenanced by the apothecary; hence, when repetitions of
such frauds occur, they should be exposed for the benefit of the
profession. A careful but firm pursuit of this course would render
well-disposed druggists more careful, and deter the fraudulently
inclined from a resort to their disreputable practices.

ART. IV. As the practice of pharmacy is quite distinct from the
practice of medicine, and has been found to flourish in proportion as
its practitioners have confined their attention to its requirements;
and as the conducting of the business of both professions by the
same individual involves pecuniary temptations which are often not
compatible with a conscientious discharge of duty; we consider that
the members of this Association should discountenance all such
professional amalgamation; and in conducting business at the counter,
should avoid prescribing for diseases when practicable, referring
applicants for medical advice to the physician. We hold it as
unprofessional and highly reprehensible for apothecaries to allow any
per centage or commission to physicians on their prescriptions, as
unjust to the public, and hurtful to the independence and self-respect
of both parties concerned. We also consider that the practice of
some physicians, (in places where good apothecaries are numerous) of
obtaining medicines at low prices from the latter, and selling them to
their patients, is not only unjust and unprofessional, but deserving
the censure of all high-minded medical men.

ART. V. The important influence exerted on the practice of pharmacy
by the large proportion of physicians who have resigned its duties
and emoluments to the apothecary, are reasons why he should seek
their favorable opinion and cultivate their friendship, by earnest
endeavors to furnish their patients with pure and well-prepared
medicines. As physicians are liable to commit errors in writing their
prescriptions, involving serious consequences to health and reputation
if {380} permitted to leave the shop, the apothecary should always,
when he deems an error has been made, consult the physician before
proceeding; yet in the delay which must necessarily occur, it is his
duty, when possible, to accomplish the interview without compromising
the reputation of the physician. On the other hand, when apothecaries
commit errors involving ill consequences, the physician, knowing the
constant liability to error, should feel bound to screen them from
undue censure, unless the result of a culpable negligence.

ART. VI. As we owe a debt of gratitude to our predecessors for the
researches and observations which have so far advanced our scientific
art, we hold that every apothecary and druggist is bound to contribute
his mite towards the same fund, by noting the new ideas and phenomena
which may occur in the course of his business, and publishing them,
when of sufficient consequence, for the benefit of the profession.


THE JOURNAL.—With the present number, the first volume of the Journal
is completed. In a pecuniary point of view its success has fully
equalled the expectations of its originators; it is no longer an
experiment, but is established on a firm basis, and will be continued
with increased energy and a larger experience in the art of journalism.
We have tried to keep faithfully in view the objects with which the
Journal was commenced; while we have endeavored to present to our
readers whatever of general interest or importance has been published
abroad, we have the gratification to believe that some contributions
to the general stock have first appeared in our pages which would
otherwise never have seen the light. But those who confine the benefit
of a journal solely to the information it imparts have but a limited
view of its usefulness; an account of what is done abroad excites
but little emulation compared with far humbler efforts made by our
own friends, and in our own neighborhood, and the encouragement and
promotion of such efforts is a large good, quite independent of the
results that may be attained. The mere attempt to write on a subject
like scientific pharmacy leads to a close scanning of the foundation of
our opinions, to renewed experiments to ascertain their justness, to
more enlightened views of the connection and bearing of our science.
In this way we hope to see the good done by the {381} Journal greatly
increased. The contributors to its pages have hitherto been but few
in number, but its columns are open to all. They are controlled by no
clique, are subservient to no views of merely personal advancement, and
we will gladly, welcome communications from all quarters, judging of
them only by their merit and usefulness.


We had intended to have made some remarks on the debate which took
place in the Convention regarding the admission of certain articles,
under the law for the inspection of imported drugs, which, though
possessing medicinal properties are, we believe, merely used for the
purpose of adulterating other and better articles, but willingly
give place to the subjoined communication from Dr. Guthrie, which,
on the whole, advocates views similar to our own. With regard to the
Carthagena barks, as they are termed, we confess to a desire for
further information. Those barks vary very much from each other.
Though not rich in quinia, some of them contain a large per centage of
alkaloids, which are closely allied to it. We hope that the committee
to whom the subject was referred by the Convention will not only cause
proper analyses to be made of the commercial varieties of these barks,
but will have experiments instituted regarding their comparative
therapeutic value. The Hospitals of our country afford abundant cases
of malarious disease, and, we have no doubt, the physicians attached
to them would be ready to institute trials which would afford a
satisfactory solution to this important question.


 _My Dear Sir_,—The proceedings of the National Pharmaceutical
 Convention have just come to hand, and been perused by me, with no
 ordinary degree of interest.

 You have known somewhat of my anxiety concerning these preliminary and
 forming stages of an Association of this character, and will readily
 believe that I have awaited the results of the late Convention, from
 which, most unfortunately for myself, I was compelled to be absent,
 with great solicitude. That solicitude has been relieved, and in
 its stead I have the assurance that a good foundation to a National
 structure has been laid, towards which hope points and expectation
 looks with joyous anticipations of future good.

 I may be permitted to congratulate you upon the successful labors
 of the convention, and more especially upon the fact that you have
 avoided any untenable false ground both in the convention and
 organization of the Association.

 That old stumbling block of “all drugs good of their kind,” in
 reference to our Drug Law, I see made its appearance again, but
 this time from a quarter I {382} little expected. But it had,
 notwithstanding its new paternity and eminent godfathership, only, so
 far as I can see, the same lame, diffuse and weak conclusions to back

 I was the more surprised at seeing the resolution in the form offered
 as coming from my friend Dr. Stewart, of Baltimore, because I had
 considered him as one who held entirely opposite opinions, and from
 this fact, that in a communication made to me in January last, as
 special agent of the Treasury Department, charged with the examination
 of the practical workings of the Drug Law, he says, “I have inspected
 several hundred thousand dollars worth of one drug which requires some
 particular notice, as I understand your views and mine correspond with
 regard to it, and you have succeeded in arranging a uniform system of
 examination at the different ports.

 The prominent principles upon which its value is based vary from
 about one to four per cent. The commercial article of the best
 varieties is graduated by the quantity of valuable element above
 referred to, but with regard to the inferior kinds this is not the
 case, as I have found upon repeated analyses that what are called
 bastard varieties (which are not used for extracting the valuable
 principles above referred to) _sell at_ higher prices in proportion
 to their resemblance to the _officinal kinds_. Even in cases where
 they contain no valuable medicinal constituents they are invoiced at 3
 to 4 times the price of the other varieties on board the same vessel
 containing 3 per cent. Now if our object in this law is to discourage
 the introduction of those articles that are used for the purpose of
 adulterating medicines, it is manifest that the true interest of
 all will be served by admitting those only of the bastard varieties
 that are _equal_ to the inferior officinal varieties, particularly
 as they happen to be at a lower cost and are very abundant.” This
 is Dr. Stewart, Jan. 9, 1852. The whole of his report to me, a very
 interesting and able document, I intend publishing, and have delayed
 it for the purpose of accompanying it with some other matter of the
 same nature, not yet in hand.

 If I understand him correctly, he took entirely opposite ground in the
 Convention, and I certainly shall look with no ordinary interest for
 some explanation of a change so entire, in one whose position and well
 earned reputation give him importance and great influence in the final
 settlement of this matter. What new light has shone upon his path?
 What new facts has he to offer? I say _final_ settlement, because I
 see by the appointment of a committee to whom the matter was referred,
 that the whole subject is but laid over. Although the convention
 negatived the resolution, as it did a _similar_ one a year ago in New
 York, they seem disposed to endow the question with as many lives as
 are fabled of the cat.

 Notwithstanding all the reasoning of the author of the resolution,
 backed by the eminent professor, and aided by other reasons, thick
 no doubt as blackberries, you practical men who buy and sell these
 articles, were not convinced and never will be. They may cry out for
 “tooth powder,” until the demand for dentrifice shall quadruple, and
 tell us of the legitimate use of Carthagena or Maracaibo barks; (what
 is its legitimate use?) all in vain, for it is too well {383} known
 that the main use of the article is to adulterate the genuine barks.
 Why does the Drug examiner at Baltimore, Dr. Stewart, say that the
 “bastard varieties _sell at higher_ prices in proportion to their
 _resemblance to the officinal kinds_?” Why this demand for such as
 resemble the genuine, but to supply it to the buyers of Peruvian bark
 for the genuine and officinal. There can be no other conclusion.
 If more proof is wanting I take the remark of the gentleman from
 New-York, that the “house he was connected with sold large quantities
 in powder, and the parties purchasing did so knowing its origin.” No
 one could doubt this statement, at least as to the quantity annually
 purchased, who will go through half-a-dozen drug stores in any of the
 country villages or small towns any where in our country from Maine to

 He will have offered prime, best quality cinchona bark for 40 to 100
 cents almost any where, and in one half the cases the venders believe
 they are selling what they offer, for they bought it for that. Is this
 not so, or is it all bought for “tooth powder?” One half the druggists
 who go to our large cities, buy “pale yellow” and red bark, and never
 think to enquire for the inferior barks, and once drive these last
 from our seaboard cities, and we shall have done with them.

 You are aware that I have had some opportunity of becoming acquainted
 with the drug trade of our country, and I assure you that throughout
 its length and breadth there is more worthless Peruvian bark sold and
 consumed by far than of the genuine, mostly, I hope through ignorance,
 but many times knowingly on the part of the dealer.

 The same that has been said of these false barks, may be said of
 English rhubarb; when it is not sold for and in the place of Turkey,
 it is used to make powdered Turkey out of. But the resolution does not
 stop short at these two articles, as the discussion seemed to. There
 is “false jalap” undoubtedly good of its kind, but unfortunately for
 the buyer the kind is good for nothing, although it makes extract of
 jalap, that in looks cannot be told from the genuine.

 There is also Egyptian opium, and a false Sarsaparilla and many other
 important drugs, that should have received the attention of the
 friends of this resolution, all of which, I beg to assure them, are
 undoubtedly good of their kind.

 But I have written more than I designed by far, as the subject grows
 upon my hands, though I regard it a very important one, and vitally so
 to the drug law which lies at the very foundation of all beneficial
 results to grow out of this association, and the position of the
 association as to the whole subject is equally important, for if we
 unfortunately commit ourselves to a wrong principle in the start, and
 especially upon this standard of purity as applicable to our Drug
 examiners, which is now regarded as a test question by the community
 at large, we lose all hold upon their confidence, and with it all hope
 of effecting any good either to ourselves as a profession or to the
 community in general.

 My chief object in addressing you this communication (intended for
 the New York Journal of Pharmacy, if you choose so to use it) is to
 record my experience as differing in toto from those of Dr. Stewart
 and Prof. Carson, and to elicit a full discussion of the whole matter.
 Let us have light! light! light enough to {384} settle this question,
 especially about the barks, for they are the source of this whole
 contention after all. There must be data enough to be had, upon which
 to form an opinion, and a correct one as to the medicinal virtues of
 Maracaibo, and Carthagena barks, as well as of English rhubarb, false
 jalap, Egyptian opium etc., etc.

 I shall be perfectly satisfied if the labors of this committee result
 in fixing a definite standard of strength, or amount of alkaloids
 required to be found in barks before consumed for medicine, and
 therefore admissible under the act, but satisfied at nothing short
 of this, for till that is done there will never be any uniformity in
 the action of the law. I had designed to make some remarks upon the
 requirements of the law and its needed emendation which I must defer
 to more leisure.

 Yours, etc., C. B. GUTHRIE.

 Memphis, Tenn., November 2, 1852.

JURISPRUDENCE. Published by the Class.

Introductory lectures are generally very common-place affairs. Custom
has prescribed that every year the different medical schools shall be
opened with them; and custom, too, has prescribed for them a certain
limited range of topics. Year after year, in a hundred places, the
same round is gone over, and the same good advice is listened to, and
neglected. Dr. Bartlett has broken through all this. He has chosen for
the subject of his discourse the Character and Writings of the Father
of Medicine, and he has illustrated them well and thoroughly. This is
not the place for a detailed notice of the lecture. Yet we cannot but
call attention to the playful humour, the kindly and genial spirit
which set off and enliven its details, and which, breathing from the
whole air and features of the man, render him one of the most agreeable
lecturers to whom we have ever listened.

EXCHANGES.—Hitherto the exchanges of this journal have not been
conducted with proper regularity. It has neither been transmitted
punctually to other journals, nor have they been received regularly
in return. For the future this will be corrected; the journal
will be forwarded immediately on its publication; and we hope our
contemporaries will observe a like regularity with us.



 Accidents caused by a very small dose of Santonine given to a child,
 . . . 16

 Act relative to the sale of drugs, . . . 62

 Action of Sulphuric Acid on the insoluble residue left by opium,
 exhausted by water. Formation of a new alkaloid, . . . 318

 Adulteration of certain drugs, and the methods of detecting said
 adulteration, . . . 73

 Adulteration of sulphate of quinine, . . . 142

 Aleppo Scammony, results of the examination of several parcels of,
 . . . 165

 Alcohol in essential oils, a test for, . . . 154

 Aloe Juice, Socotrine, . . . 235

 Aloine, the crystalline cathartic principle of Barbadoes aloes, . . .

 Aloine, . . . 318

 American Journal of Pharmacy, . . . 252

 Amount of loss in powdering drugs, . . . 225

 Anodyne liquor, Hoffman’s, . . . 209

 Application of Organic Chemistry to perfumery, . . . 148

 Barbadoes Aloes, Aloine, the cathartic principle of, . . . 177

 Barium Compounds, . . . 161

 Bark, extract of, . . . 317

 Belladonna, accidental substitution of, for extract of dandelion,
 . . . 321

 Bestucheff’s tincture, . . . 233

 Blistering cerate, . . . 72

 Broom, Chemical examination of, . . . 189

 Butter of Cacao, . . . 224

 Camphor, as a stimulant, . . . 63

 Carbonate of potash, preparation of pure, . . . 33

 Carbonate of Soda, preparation of pure, . . . 36

 Cavendish Society, . . . 64

 Cerate, blistering, . . . 72

 Cicuta, . . . 299

 Cider, poisoning by adulterated, . . . 287

 Chemical technology, . . . 128

 Cherry laurel water, strength of, . . . 26

 Chloric ether, . . . 48

 Chloroform, as a solvent, . . . 197

 Chloroform, remarkable specimen of decomposed, . . . 116

 Chloroform, prepared from essences of lemon, copaiba, peppermint and
 bergamotte, . . . 157

 Chromic acid, an escharotic, . . . 127

 Chronic diseases, cure of by movement, . . . 221

 Coal gas, used as a source of heat in laboratories, . . . 296

 Cod liver oil, chemical composition of, . . . 240


 Code of ethics of the American Pharmaceutical Association, . . . 378

 Coffinism, . . . 63

 Colchicum Autumnale, . . . 95

 College of Pharmacy, . . . 128, 352

 Colored fires for pyrotechnical purposes, . . . 248

 Committee of College of Pharmacy, . . . 3

 Comments on comments, . . . 252

 Constitution of the American Pharmaceutical Association, . . . 375

 Convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association, . . . 159, 252,
 285, 331, 352

 Convention delegates to, . . . 224

 Croton oil, Chemical examination of, . . . 172

 Dandelion, compound fluid extract of Senna and, . . . 15

 Delegates to the Convention, . . . 224

 Delegates to the National Pharmaceutical Convention, . . . 320

 Division of gum resins in potions and in diachylon plaster, . . . 58

 Drugs, adulteration of, . . . 73

 Drugs, law, report on, . . . 264

 Drugs, amount of loss in powdering, . . . 225

 Dry Extracts, . . . 158

 Envelopment of pills, . . . 146

 Emplastrum epispasticum, . . . 255

 Ergotine, preparation of propylamine from, . . . 280

 Escharotic, chromic acid as an, . . . 127

 Essential oil of bitter almonds, . . . 205

 Essential oils, test for alcohol in, . . . 154

 Essence of jargonelle pear, . . . 60

 Essence of pine apple, . . . 114

 Estimation of strength of Medicinal Hydrocianic acid, of bitter almond
 water, and of cherry laurel water, . . . 26

 Ether, chloric, . . . 197

 Extract of bark, . . . 317

 Extract of belladonna, accidental substitution of, for extract of
 dandelion, . . . 321

 Extract of Senna and dandelion, . . . 15

 Extractum lobeliæ fluidum, . . . 249

 Extracts, dry, . . . 158

 Facts and discoveries in science, . . . 373

 False jalap, . . . 4

 Fires, colored for pyrotechnical purposes, . . . 248

 Fluid extract of senna and dandelion, . . . 15

 Fusel oil, . . . 257

 Galbanum plant, . . . 220

 Gambir, . . . 219

 Gas, coal, use of as a means of heat in the laboratory, . . . 296

 General method for detecting alkaloids in cases of poisoning, . . . 343

 General report on the drug law, . . . 264


 Gelatinization of tincture of rhatany, . . . 319

 Gelseminum sempervirens, . . . 368

 Growth of plants in various gases, . . . 61

 Guarana, . . . 243

 Gum resins, division of in potions and in diachylon plaster, . . . 58

 Gutta Taban, . . . 216

 Heavy oil of wine, . . . 61

 Heat, coal gas used as a means of, in the laboratory, . . . 296

 Henry’s magnesia, . . . 127

 Hints, practical, . . . 69, 133

 Hoffman’s anodyne liquor, . . . 184

 Honey, poisonous, . . . 350

 Hydrate of potash, preparation of pure, . . . 33

 Hydrate of soda, . . . 36

 Hydrocyanic acid and bitter almond water, strength of, . . . 26

 Hygeine, public, . . . 127

 Hyposulphite of soda, easy method to make, . . . 259

 Impurities, test for, in acetic acid, . . . 152

 Indelible ink, . . . 106

 Inks, writing, . . . 305, 371

 Inspection of the drug law, . . . 381

 Internal use of Atropine, . . . 125

 Ioduretted oil, artificial, a substitute for cod liver oil, . . . 121

 Ipecacuanha, tincture of, . . . 201

 Iron, used in Medicine, notes on the preparations of, . . . 229

 Iron, protiodide of, new method of preparing and exhibiting, . . . 250

 Iron, soda, pyrophosphate of, . . . 92

 Itch, ointment of stavesacre in, . . . 350

 Jalap, two varieties of false, . . . 4

 Jalap, resin of, . . . 155

 Jargonelle pear, essence of, . . . 60

 Lemon, essence of, preparation of chloroform from, . . . 157

 Liquid socotrine aloes, . . . 235

 Liquor magnesiæ citratis, . . . 132

 Lobeliæ extractum fluidum, . . . 249

 Loss in powdering drugs, . . . 225

 Magnesiæ citratis, liquor, . . . 132

 Magnesia, preparation of pure, . . . 199

 Magnesia, Henry’s, . . . 184

 Manganese, . . . 192

 Manufacture of nitrate of potash, (saltpetre), . . . 273

 Manufacture of writing inks, . . . 305, 371

 Matico, pharmacology of, . . . 169

 Means of detecting adulterations in sulphate of quinine, . . . 142

 Measures, weights and, . . . 135


 Medicine and pharmacy in Brazil, . . . 186

 Medicines, act relating to, . . . 62

 Medicine, preparations of iron used in, . . . 229

 Medical hydrocyanic acid, estimation of strength of, . . . 26

 Method of preparing and exhibiting protiodide of iron, . . . 250

 Method of detecting organic alkaloids in cases of poisoning, . . . 343

 Method of easy to make hyposulphite of soda, . . . 259

 Mode of ascertaining the purity of essential oil of bitter almonds,
 . . . 205

 Monesia, what is, . . . 167

 Movements as a cure in chronic diseases, . . . 221

 National Pharmaceutical Convention, . . . 285, 331

 National Pharmaceutical Convention, delegates to, . . . 320

 New alkaloid, discovery of, . . . 318

 New remedies, . . . 351

 New method of preparing protiodide of iron, . . . 250

 Nicotine, poisoning by, . . . 17

 Nitrogen of the air, other gases substituted for, . . . 61

 Nitrate of potash, manufacture of, . . . 273

 Notes in pharmacy, . . . 103, 129, 193, 260, 328

 Notes on the division of gum resins in potions, . . . 58

 Notice of some vegetable and animal substances, products of New
 Granada, . . . 89

 Observations on a method of detecting organic alkaloids in cases of
 poisoning, . . . 343

 Observations on the volatility and solubility of cantharidin, . . . 355

 Officers of the College of Pharmacy, . . . 128

 Oil, cod liver, . . . 240

 Oil, Croton, . . . 172

 Oil, fusel, . . . 257

 Oil, ioduretted, . . . 121

 Oil, of bitter almonds, . . . 205

 Oil, heavy wine, . . . 65

 Oil, test for alcohol in essential, . . . 154

 Ointment, stavesacre, . . . 350

 Ointment, stramonium, . . . 13

 Opium, cultivation of, . . . 127

 Opium, residue left by, . . . 318

 Opium, letter on, . . . 45

 Opium, observations on strength of tincture of, . . . 85

 Opium, tincture of, . . . 279

 Pear, essence of jargonelle, . . . 60

 Perfumery, application of organic chemistry to, . . . 148

 Pharmacopœia of the United States, . . . 27

 Pharmaceutical Convention, . . . 30, 157, 193, 331

 Pharmacy, . . . 119, 328

 Pharmacy, College of, . . . 352

 Pharmacy, Journal of, . . . 3, 252


 Pharmacology of Matico, . . . 169

 Pharmacy in Brazil, . . . 186

 Pharmacy in Richmond, . . . 223

 Pills, on the envelopment of, . . . 146

 Pine apple, essence of, . . . 114

 Poisoning by drinking adulterated cider, . . . 287

 Poisoning, by tincture of aconite, . . . 190

 Poisoning, Nicotine, . . . 17

 Potash, nitrate of, . . . 273

 Potions, division of gum resins in, . . . 58

 Poisonous honey, . . . 350

 Powdering drugs, loss in, . . . 225

 Preparations of iron used in medicine, . . . 229

 Preparations of the pharmacopœia of the United States, . . . 38

 Preservation of iodide of iron, . . . 355

 Practical hints, . . . 69

 Propylamine, prepared from ergotine, . . . 280

 Protiodide of iron, new method of preparing, . . . 250

 Prosecution of a manufacturer of extract of dandelion, . . . 321

 Pure magnesia, . . . 199

 Pure Hydrate of potash, . . . 33

 Pure Hydrate of Soda, . . . 36

 Quinine, spurious sulphate of, . . . 192

 Quinidine, . . . 141, 317

 Santonine, . . . 16

 Scammony resin, . . . 7

 Scammony, Aleppo, . . . 165

 Senna and dandelion, compound fluid extract of, . . . 15

 Simaba Cedron, . . . 93

 Socotorine aloes juice, . . . 235

 Stavesacre ointment, . . . 350

 Stramonium ointment, . . . 13

 Sulphate of quinine, spurious, . . . 192

 Sulphate of quinine, adulteration of, . . . 142

 Sulphuric acid, action of on the residue left by opium, . . . 318

 Suppositories of butter of cacao, . . . 224

 Tannate of zinc, . . . 251

 Technology, Chemical, . . . 317

 Test for alcohol in essential oils, . . . 154

 Tincture of aconite, poisoning by, . . . 190

 Tincture, Bestucheff’s, . . . 233

 Tincture, Ipecacuanha, . . . 201

 Tincture, opium, . . . 279

 Tincture of rhatany, . . . 319

 United States Customs, . . . 289


 Use of coal gas as a means of heat in laboratories, . . . 296

 Valerianic acid, . . . 108

 Virgin Scammony, . . . 7

 Weights and Measures, . . . 135

 Woorara, . . . 77

 Writing inks, . . . 305, 371

 Yatamansi, . . . 82

 Yellow jessamine, . . . 368

 Zinc, tannate of, . . . 251



   United States Customs, . . . 289


   Valerianic Acid, and its salts, . . . 108


   On Woorara, . . . 77


   A test for alcohol in essential oils, . . . 154


   New method of preparing and exhibiting protiodide of iron, . . . 250

 BULL, B. W.

   Virgin scammony, with some remarks upon the characteristics of
   scammony resin, . . . 7

   Results of the examination of several parcels of Aleppo scammony,
   . . . 165


   On the Galbanum plant, . . . 220


   Notes in Pharmacy, No. 1, . . . 103

   Notes in Pharmacy, No. 2, . . . 129

   Notes in Pharmacy, No. 3, . . . 198

   Notes in Pharmacy, No. 4, . . . 260

   Notes in Pharmacy, No. 5, . . . 328


   On the preparation of chloroform from the essences of lemon, copaiba,
   peppermint, and bergamotte, . . . 157


   Remarks upon some of the preparations of the United States
   Pharmacopœia, 1851, . . . 38

   The same continued, . . . 97


   On two varieties of false jalap, . . . 4


   Remarks on the envelopment of pills, . . . 146

   Pharmacology of Matico, with formulæ for its preparation, . . . 169


   Chemical research on croton oil, . . . 172


   On the preparation of stramonium ointment, . . . 13

   Compound fluid extract of senna and dandelion, . . . 15

   On blistering cerate, . . . 72

   What is Monesia? . . . 167



   Observations on the strength of tincture of opium, . . . 85


   Report presented to the Academy of Medicine of Paris, on the
   substitution of an artificial ioduretted oil for cod liver oil, . . .


   On the growth of plants in various gases, especially substituting
   carbonic oxide, hydrogen and light carburetted hydrogen, for the
   nitrogen of the air, . . . 61


   Indelible ink, . . . 106


   General report upon the results and effects of the drug law, . . . 264


   On the adulteration of certain drugs and the methods of detecting said
   adulterations, . . . 73


   On the application of organic chemistry to perfumery, . . . 148


   Chloric ether, . . . 197


   Quinidine, . . . 141


   On the heavy oil of wine, . . . 65

   On the oil of grain spirit, or fusel oil, . . . 257

   On the use of coal gas as a source of heat for the laboratory, . . . 296


   On chloroform as a solvent, . . . 48


   On tincture of Ipecacuanha, . . . 201


   On the estimation of the strength of medicinal hydrocianic acid of
   bitter almond water, and of cherry laurel water, . . . 26


   Note on the preparation of Bestucheff’s tincture, . . . 233


   On dry extracts, . . . 158

   On Henry’s Magnesia, . . . 184


   Notice of some vegetable and animal substances natural products of New
   Granada, . . . 89


   On poisoning by nicotine, . . . 17


   On a remarkable specimen of decomposed chloroform, . . . 116

   On socotrine aloe juice, . . . 235


   On Hoffman’s anodyne liquor, . . . 209

   Extractum Lobeliæ Fluidum, . . . 249

   On the volatility and solubility of cantharidin, . . . 355

   On Gelseminum Sempervirens, . . . 368


   Guarana, . . . 243


   Chemical examination of resin of jalap, . . . 155


   On the simaba cedron, . . . 93

   On Gutta Taban, . . . 216

   On gambir, . . . 219

 STAS, Prof.

   Observations upon a general method for detecting the organic alkaloids
   in cases of poisoning, . . . 343

   On aloine, . . . 177


   Chemical examination of Broom, . . . 189


   Easy method to make hyposulphite of soda, . . . 259


   On the soda pyrophosphate of iron, . . . 92


   Liquor Magnesiæ citratis, . . . 132



   Chemical composition of cod liver oil, . . . 240

   Preparation of propylamine from ergotine, . . . 280


   On the preparation of pure hydrate of potash and carbonate of potash,
   . . . 33

   On the preparation of chemically pure hydrate and carbonate of soda,
   . . . 36

   Preparation of barium compounds, . . . 161

   Preparation of pure magnesia, . . . 199

   On the preparations of iron used in medicine, . . . 229

   On the preservation of iodide of iron, . . . 353


   On the adulteration of sulphate of quinine, and the means of its
   detection, . . . 142


Original spelling and grammar have been generally retained, with
some exceptions noted below. Errata mentioned in the endmatter of
monthly issues have been ignored—left unchanged. Original printed
page numbers are shown like this: “{52}”. Original small caps are now
uppercase. Italics look _like this_. Footnotes have been relabeled
1–30. The commas used to end several paragraphs by mistake, e.g.
on page 176, were changed to full stops. Superscript x looks like
this: “^x” or “^{x}”. Subscript x looks like “‗{x}”. The transcriber
produced the cover image and hereby assigns it to the public domain.
Original page images are available from archive.org—search for

Ditto marks, including “Do” or “do”, have been eliminated, replaced
by repeated text. In a table on page 130, white space was employed as
a ditto mark. In this table, the white space ditto and “Nitrici” have
been replaced with “Acidi hydro nitrici”.

Page 36. The formula for ordinary monohydrated bicarbonate of soda is
retained. The phrase “lost by ignition; O. 845 grn.” was changed to
“lost by ignition; 0.845 grn.”

Page 44. Large curly brackets “}” employed as graphic devices to
indicate combination of information over two or more lines of text were
eliminated. There were examples of this on pages 44 and 58. The text
was restructured as necessary to retain the evident meaning of the
original brackets.

Page 63; “sufficient t  supply” to “sufficient to supply”.

Page 70; added a full stop after “the doctor knows but little more”.

Page 81; “3nd” to “2nd”.

Page 86; “constitutents” to “constituents”.

Page 90; “exeoriating” to “excoriating”.

Page 100; “with fonr ounces” to “with four ounces”.

Page 110. The formula for valerianic acid is retained.

Page 122; “phrosphorus” to “phosphorus”.

Page 124; “a renecessary” to “are necessary”.

Page 126; “Anaethesia” to “Anaesthesia”.

Page 127; “engagaged” to “engaged”.

Page 142; “800 gains” to “800 grains”.

Page 167; “_Chrysophi lum;_” to “_Chrysophi lum._;”.

Page 169; “fossœ”, retained, possibly should be “fossæ”.

Page 170; “over their property” is retained, but maybe should be “owe
their property”.

Page 171; “represents 1-10 of its weight of matico” is retained.

Page 209; “gavity” to “gravity”.

Page 225. In the table row “Potassæ Nitrat.”, “3 98” was changed to

Page 228. In table row “——— Bi-tartrat.”, “ 45” was changed to “.45”.
In row “Buchu”, “ 96” was changed to “.96”.

Page 243; “hyrate” to “hydrate”. The words “guarana” and “guaraná”,
in various states of capitalization, have been retained as printed
throughout the book.

Page 244; “imformation” was changed to “information”, and “knowlege” to
“knowledge”. The word “angnlato” is retained, but possibly should be

Page 249; “Salpetre” to “Saltpetre”.

Page 250; “incoveniences” to “inconveniences”.

Page 254; “evarated” to “evaporated”.

Page 259; “preciptate” to “precipitate”.

Page 261; “qnantity” to “quantity”.

Page 278; “mannfacture” to “manufacture”.

Page 280; unmatched right parenthesis was removed from “part i., p.

Page 287; “rceive” to “receive”.

Page 297; “atttched” to “attached”.

Page 302. The original quotation punctuation is retained, although it
appears wrong. The first paragraph has no left quotation mark, and the
fourth paragraph has no end quotation mark. Similarly, the original
quotation marks are retained on page 303.

Page 326, 327; “propable” and “propably” retained.

Page 330. A right parenthesis is added after “(perhaps it might be
deemed worthy of the action of the convention” to close the left

Page 357; “catharidin” to “cantharidin”.

Page 369; “commom” to “common”.

Page 381; “satisfacfactory” to “satisfactory”. Also, there is a letter
to “Geo. D. Goggeshall”. The name has been retained on page 381,
although the only other reference to “Goggeshall” was on page 390—see
below—where it was evidently wrong, and refers to “Coggeshall”.

Page 383. A matching right quotation mark was added to ‘say that the
“bastard varieties _sell at higher_ prices in proportion to their
_resemblance to the officinal kinds_?’.

Page 390. The name “Goggeshall” has been changed to “Coggeshall”
on page 390 (Index of Authors) to conform with its position in the
alphabetical list, and to agree with the names found on the referenced
pages 38 and 97.

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