By JOHN M. MAISCH.
Alkaloids in Boraginaceae.—Prof. Buchheim proved with tannin, phosphomolybdic and phosphotungstic acids, the presence of traces of alkaloids in the infusions and tinctures of Anchusa officinalis, Echium vulgare, Lycopsis arvensis, Symphytum officinale, Pulmonaria officinalis, Lithospermum arvense, Myosotis palustris and stricta; the alkaloids could not be isolated by means of the above precipitants; by Stas' method they were obtained as amorphous, brownish, hygroscopic masses of alkaline reaction, and readily soluble in alcohol and water. The extracts of the two first named plants produced upon frogs faint symptoms of curare poisoning, all the others merely pain at the place of application.—Zeitschr. d. Oesterr. Apoth. Ver. 1871, 106, 107.
Decomposition of Caffeidina.—Strecker reported in 1862, the decomposition, by caustic baryta, of caffeina into caffeidina. O. Schultzen decomposed the latter alkaloid completely by baryta and obtained ammonia, methylamina, formic acid and a crystalline body, C6H7NO4. Francis Rosengarten has now proven that the latter is identical with sarkosina.—Ann. d. Chem. und Pharm., 1871, Jan. 1-6.
Oil of Geranium.—Dr. Oscar Jacobsen has found in commercial Indian oil of Geranium 8 per cent. alcohol, and in another sample 20 per cent. fixed oil. Repeated fractional distillation of the volatile oil yielded a distillate boiling between 232° and 233° C., and of the composition C20H18O2. This geraniol is a colorless liquid of very agreeable rose odor, soluble in all proportions in alcohol and ether, insoluble in water, optically inactive and remains liquid at -15° C. It yields, with recently fused chloride of calcium, a crystalline compound, and with fusing hydrate of potassa, valerianic acid; chromate of potassa and sulphuric acid oxidizes it to succinic, acetic and valerianic acids.—Ibid., Febr., 232-239.
Glycerin in Pills.—The Pharm. Zeitung, No. 10, has been informed that pills containing glycerin cannot be silvered or gilt, since the lustre of both metals at once disappears, rendering the pills unsightly. Hager (Ph. Cent. Halle, 1871, 51) states, that this occurs only with recently prepared pills, and with older pills if prepared with an excessive quantity of glycerin. Two, and for quinia and iron three, drops of glycerin are sufficient for thirty pills.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. XLIII, 1871, was edited by William Procter, Jr. (Issues 1-4) and John M. Maisch (Issues 5-12).