Acetic acid is obtained by the destructive distillation of wood, or by the oxidation of alcohol. It should contain 33 per cent. by weight of real acid, CH3COOH, and may be purified by distilling over potassium permanganate. It occurs as a clear, colourless, pungent liquid, miscible with water and alcohol in all proportions. Specific gravity, 1.044. Acidum Aceticum, U.S.P., contains 36 per cent. by weight of absolute acetic acid, and has a specific gravity of 1.045 at 25°.
Action and Uses.—Acetic acid is oxidised in the body and is excreted in the urine as carbonate; it is, therefore, mildly diaphoretic, diuretic, and expectorant. It is administered in mixtures in the form of the diluted acid, or as oxymel, or oxymel of squill. Applied externally, it has an irritant action, and it is therefore used in liniments. The well-diluted acid is employed as a gargle (1 in 30). Acidum Aceticum Dilutum is used to sponge the skin in fevers, and as a lotion for the scalp. Acetic acid has been employed as a menstruum for making non-alcoholic preparations resembling tinctures. It is an efficient agent for the exhaustion of many drugs, and preparations made in this way are known as "acetracts"; their acidity and sour flavour are, in some instances, objections to their use. Acetic acid is incompatible with alkali salts, hydroxides, carbonates, bicarbonates, salicylates, and benzoates.
- Acetum Odoratum, B.P.C.—TOILET VINEGAR.
- Acetic acid (1 in 8), with odorants. Used as a deodorant by sprinkling about the sick room; it is mixed with water for washing in the bath or hand-basin; a few drops are inhaled from the handkerchief as a restorative, or applied to the forehead to relieve headache.
- Acidum Aceticum Dilutum, B.P.—DILUTED ACETIC ACID.
- Acetic acid (33 per cent.), 12.5; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100.
- Acidum Aceticum Dilutum, U.S.P.—DILUTED ACETIC ACID, U.S.P.
- Acetic acid (36 per cent.), by weight, 20; distilled water, 100.
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.