Page images
PDF
EPUB

one of the longest. At present, if the wishes of the College be adopted, we shall have not unfrequently, even at the outset, to prescribe half a minim of a tincture to be taken at once. If there were any objections to fluigranum, it would have been easy to have appropriated some other term, such as stilla, or stiria, to á measured drop or grain; “ stilla stat, gutta cadit:" had we employed a Roman grammarian to coin us a word, he could scarcely have furnished one more descriptive.

A minim, as directed by the College, may easily be measured by means of a graduated tube, open at both ends, although scarcely with less chance of error, than two drops can be correctly identified : if, however, great accuracy were necessary, it might easily be obtained by diluting ten minims, and then subdividing them. At any rate, the employment of the term minim will supersede the chance of error arising from the arbitrary introduction of drop measures, which is at present very considerable." If a physician orders thirty drops of laudanum, an apothecary's assistant may think he is doing a meritorious action in measuring very accurately half a drachm, and the patient will thus swallow sixty or seventy drops instead of thirty ; an accident which could not happen if fifteen minims were directed.

The catalogue of the Materia Medica is enriched with a variety of new articles, most of which are of acknowledged utility, and many are so universally adopted in practice, that apothecaries in general have already found it necessary to be provided with them. The principal are-arsenici oxydum; belladonnæ folia ; cajuputi oleum ; cerevisiæ fermentum; cinchonæ cordifoliæ cortex, the yellow bark ; cinchonæ oblongifoliæ cortex, the red bark ; cuspariæ cortex, the angustura; dolichi pubes ; dulcamaræ caules ; euphorbiæ resina ; fucus ; humuli strobili ; hyoscyami folia et semen; lichen ; linum catharticum; porri radix; salicis cortex; tabaci folia ; and toxicodendri folia. The references to synonyms of the plants producing the different substances bave, in

many instances, been corrected and completed. The gum arabic is now named acaciæ gummi, as produced by the acacia vera of Willdenow: the aloë socotorina and Barbadensis are called respectively aloës spicatæ and vulgaris extractum, and referred to plants which are to be described in the Flora Græca. Ammoniacum is attributed, after Willdenow, to the Heracleum gummiserum, which this celebrated botanist raised from seeds found with the gum. Canella is referred to the ca nella alba ; cardamomum to a plant named by Dr. Maton elettaria eardamomum; caryophylli to the eugenia caryophyllata ; cascarilla to the croton cascarilla ; catechu, like gum arabic, to an acacia instead of a mimosa ; centaurium to the chironia; cinchona, now called lancifolia, to the plant so named by Mutis and Zea; filix to aspidium; jalapa to convolvulus jalapa; ipecacuanha to callicocca ipecacuanha ; manna to fraxinus ornus ; quassia to quassia excelsa ; quercus to quercus pedunculata ; damask rose to rosa centifolia, of which it bears the name; saccharum to saccharum officinale; terebinthina vulgaris to pinus sylvestris ; terebinthina canadensis, a new article, to pinus balsamea ; tormentilla to tormentilla officinalis ; tragacantha, after Olivier, to astragalus verus ; and zingiber to zingiber officinale. The insect cantharis is called lytta, being the lytta vesicatoria of Fabricius. Many of these species are the same which were formerly described under different names: others have been more lately ascertained. The articles, which are still obtained from unknown sources, are only four-calumba, kino, myrrh, and sagapenum.

The omissions of substances contained in the former catalogue are scarcely less numerous, than the insertions of new articles : the greater part of these omissions will, in all probability, be generally approved ; some of the most questionable are the arnica, carduus benedictus, cinara, ginseng, ichthyocolla, iris, juglans, ladanum, ribes, rubus idæus, and urtica. The testimonies in favour of any of these would perhaps scarcely be sufficient to command the admission of an unknown substance: but it may be doubted whether the evidence against them can be considered as strong enough to make their rejection a matter of absolute propriety.

In both the Latin editions, as well as in the translation, we find “ opoponax” and cervus “ elaphas," instead of opopanax, and elaphus. Opopanax, being a word,'quod versu dicere non est, has been as unfortunate in its quantity as in its orthography,-a poetaster of the iron age having concluded a very sonorous line with—" opopānaca pompholygemque.”

The additions which have been made to the preparations and compositions, and the alterations in some of the formulæ which are retained, are so numerous and important, as to deserve a brief examination in detail, and an insertion of some specimens of the improved processes.

ACIDUM CITRICUM. This is prepared by decomposing the citrate of lime, and frequently crystallizing and redissolving the acid obtained. Its great utility to seafaring persons is universally admitted ; and it is manufactured on a large scale by a well known chemist in London.

ACIDUM SULPHURICUM DILUTUM. This dilute acid is now made one-third stronger than before ; and the acidity of the infusum rosæ is increased in the same proportion. It is not easy to discover the advantage of such a change, except for exercising the memory and attention of the practitioner.

POTASSÆ SUPERSULPHAS. Crystallized at once from the residue, left after the distillation of the nitric acid. It contains, as Dr. Wollaston has ascertained, exactly twice as much sulfuric acid as the neutral salt, and may often afford a convenient form for administring that acid.

POTASSÆ CARBONAS.-SODÆ CARBONAS. Crystallized from a mixture of the subcarbonates with ammonia in its common form ; the ammonia being driyen off by a gentle heat.

CRETA PRÆPARATA. Insoluble powders, which were for merly to be prepared by levigation only, are now directed to be elutriated.

PRÆPARATA EX ANTIMONIO. Most of the preparations of antimony are considerably varied : the whole section, which relates to them, will afford us an interesting specimen of the work. It is thus exhibited in Dr. Powell's translation :

[ocr errors]

66 OXYDUM ANTIMONII---OXYD OF ANTIMONY,
“Take of Sulphuret of antimony, powdered, two ounces.

Muriatic acid, eleven fluidounces.

... Nitric acid, one fluidounce. “ The acids being mixed together in a glass vessel, add the anti16 mony gradually thereto, and digest them in a boiling heat for an 66 hour; then strain the solution, and pour it into a gallon of water, 66 in which two ounces of subcarbonate of potash have been previa < ously dissolved : wash the precipitated powder by repeated affu66 sions of water, until all the acid is washed away ; then dry it upon bibulous

paper.
ANTIMONII SULPHURETUM PRÆCIPITATUM PRECIPI-

TATED SULPHURET OF ANTIMONY.
« Take of Sulphuret of antimony, in powder, two pounds.

Solution of potash, four pints.

Distilled water, three pints. 66 Mix and boil the mixture over a gentle fire for three hours, +6 stirring it well, and occasionally adding distilled water, so that the

same measure may be preserved. Strain the solution forthwith “ through a double linert cloth, and while it is yet hot, drop in gra. “ dually as much sulphuric acid as may be required to precipitate “the powder; then wash away the sulphate of potash by hot water;

dry the precipitated sulphuret of antimony, and reduce it to powder.

66

ANTIMONIUM TARTARIZATUM-TARTARIZED ANTIMONY. 66 Take of Oxyd of antimony, two ounces.

Supertartrate of potash powdered, three ounces.

Distilled water, eighteen fluidounces. 66 To the water, whilst boiling in a glass vessel, add gradually “ the antimony and supertartrate of potash, previously mixed to. “gether, and continue to boil for half an hour ; then filter the “ solution through paper, and evaporate it in a gentle heat, so that, 66 whilst it cools slowly, crystals may form.

" PULVIS ANTIMONIALIS-ANTIMONIAL POWDER.
“ Take of Sulphuret of antimony, powdered, a pound.

Hartshorn shavings, two pounds. “ Mix and throw them into a broad iron pot, heated to a white

66

“ heat, and stir the mixture constantly until it acquires an ash “co'our. Having taken it out,. reduce it to powder, and put it “ into a coated crucible, upon which another inverted crucible,

having a small hole in its bottom, is to be luted. Then raise the “ fire by degrees to a white heat, and keep it so for two hours. “Reduce the residuary mass to a very fine powder. LIQUOR ANTIMONII TARTARIZATI-SOLUTION OF TARTA

C6 RIZED ANTIMONY.
66 Take of Tartarized antimony, one scruple.

Boiling distilled water, four fluidounces.

Wine, six fluidounces. “ Dissolve the tartarized antimony in the boiling distilled water, 66 theu add the wine."

[ocr errors]

On the first process, it has been observed by a practical chemist, that the acids will be very liable to boil away, and leave the antimony undissolved, unless particular precautions be taken to avoid the inconvenience. A very tall vessel nearly closed, and kept cold at its upper part, would probably afford the best remedy, the acid continually running back as its vapours became condensed. The antimonial powder being weaker than formerly, it will be necessary, for some years to come, that physicians should specify in their prescriptions, whether they mean the old or the new preparation : and it may be questioned, whether the change will produce any advantage equivalent to this inconvenience, and to the mistakes which may arise from the inattention of the compounders of medicine. LIQUOR ARSENICALIS.

This is the arsenite of potass, as introduced by Dr. Fowler : it seems to be more easily prepared than the arseniate, which was Macquer's salt.

CUPRUM AMMONIATUM. Made by rubbing together sulfate of

copper and carbonate of ammonia, as directed by the College of Edinburgh. Dr. Powell supposes it to be a subsulfate of copper and ammonia : but in the former aqua cupri ammoni. ati there was no acid, and the essential combination appears to consist in a direct union of the oxid with the ammonia, a case by no means without an example; so that it might almost be called a cuprite of ammonia.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »