The American Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. Second Edition. Thoroughly revised and augmented by Joseph T. O'Connor, lately Professor in the New York Homeopathic Medical College. Compiled and published by Boericke & Tafel, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago. 1883. 8vo, pp. 511.
The work partakes less of the nature of a pharmacopoeia than it does of the dispensatories in use, with the physiological and therapeutical properties and uses omitted. There is scarcely an attempt made at describing the crude drugs, brief botanical descriptions of the plants and their habitat being substituted in place thereof. The few attempts at the characterization of the histological structure are made without a clear comprehension of the subject; thus it is said of black hellebore: "Imbedded in the pith, but not reaching its centre, are six to ten wedge-shaped bundles of wood fibre which radiate and extend into the substance of the bark." The botanical terms are likewise frequently used erroneously or in an inexact manner. Levant wormseed, cina, is said to be frequently mixed with the scales of the calyx; the strobiles of hop, lupulus, are stated to bear rudimentary leaflets on a central irregular stalk, etc. The chemicals are somewhat better off than the vegetable drugs; but there appears to be little uniformity in the extent to which the processes, the physical characters and the chemical tests are. referred to.
The chief interest for us in this work lies in the materia medica list and in the pharmaceutical processes. Of the latter we propose to speak in a future number. Regarding the former, we find that the drugs used in regular practice are likewise employed by homeopathic practitioners, and in addition thereto a large number, which are used in domestic practice, or which were formerly recognized and are now discarded by most pharmacopoeias, though from time to time one or the other is galvanized into a short-lived notoriety by an enthusiastic physician. A number of drugs in use in foreign countries and rarely seen here, have likewise found a place in this pharmacopoeia.
The drugs derived from the animal kingdom bear a striking resemblance to those generally employed about two centuries ago. The poisons from half a dozen or more reptiles and from some insects; the gall, liver and lungs of the fox, the saliva of the South American toad; the fresh hide with the hair on, of the Brazilian stag; fresh bedbugs, spiders, plant lice, etc., form a collection of remedies which may possibly possess some historical interest, but beyond this have no claim to be considered as remedial agents. Psorinum, the pus from the itch pustle; variolinum, the contents of a ripe small-pox pustule and other similar substances have been retained in the present edition; but others which were honored with some notice in the first edition, have been omitted; among them such with suggestive names like buboinum, gonorrhin, syphilinum, etc.
The book is well gotten up, and will doubtless prove of interest to those who may seek an acquaintance with homeopathic materia medica and pharmacy.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 55, 1883, was edited by John M. Maisch.