Papers presented on plant medicine.
Vanillin and Extract of Vanilla was the subject of the first paper read by Clay W. Holmes. Solutions of vanillin of European and American manufacture were made, also of coumarin, and compared with an extract of vanilla of the customary strength, one ounce to one pound. It was ascertained that vanillin will produce an artificial extract resembling that of vanilla, but not of the strength indicated by the manufacturers. However, since the vanillin of commerce is an artificial product, not prepared from vanilla, the author thinks that its solution should be sold under its proper name, and he states that a dealer selling it in the State of New York as extract of vanilla would be violating the adulteration of food law. During the discussion which followed, it was stated that one ounce of vanillin may be regarded as producing an equally strong flavor as one pound of vanilla, but that the former was accompanied by a foreign odor which cannot well be described, but was called " pine-odor."
Fluid Extract of Liquorice-root, by G. W. Kennedy. For sixteen troy ounces of liquorice-root a menstruum is recommended, consisting in the beginning of a mixture of alcohol, five fluidounces, glycerin, three fluidounces, water, seven, and ammonia water, 1 fluidounce; the percolation is finished with diluted alcohol; the first twelve fluidounces of percolate are reserved, the weaker percolate evaporated to four fluidounces, and this is mixed with the reserved portion. It is claimed that the above amount of ammonia is sufficient to prevent precipitation of glycyrrhizin, and that the addition of glycerin improves the appearance of the fluid-extract and contributes to its permanence.
Prof. Diehl stated that the amount of ammonia directed by the pharmacopoeia was about correct for the pharmacopoeial process, the excess being volatilized in evaporating the weak percolate. Mr. Ebert had observed that a much better fluid-extract of liquorice-root is obtained if heat be avoided; for the flavoring of tobacco a serviceable extract had been prepared by the use of lime-water, which was considered much superior to that made with ammonia. Prof. Lloyd had observed that different samples of liquorice-root required different amounts of ammonia. Prof. Remington called attention to the change in the menstruum of the completed preparation, as proposed by Mr. Kennedy, which would induce precipitation. That the pharmacopoeial fluid-extract is not clear was stated by Mr. Klie, who favored making this preparation by repercolation.
Reference was also made to wild liquorice-root of the southern States, which is used in some places to a considerable extent, and is said to be very similar to the officinal drug; it is probably obtained from Glycyrrhiza lepidota, and an investigation of the subject was promised by Mr. Carraway.
Irish-moss Gelatin was the title of a paper read by Prof. Painter, and a number of samples were exhibited. A strong solution of the gelatinous principle of Irish-moss may be made by suspending the washed drug enclosed in a conical bag in a percolator containing water, and heating this by means of a water-jacket to the boiling temperature for about two hours; the thick mucilaginous liquid is then drawn off, and may be evaporated to dryness by placing it in shallow trays in a well-heated drying closet. The yield of gelatin is about 70 per cent., the Irish-moss not being completely exhausted. As an example for the manner in which it may be used for emulsions, the following is given:
Emulsion of Cod-Liver Oil. Dissolve Irish moss gelatin, 40 gr., in boiling water, 5 fluidounces, transfer the solution to a pint bottle, add cod liver oil, 8 fluidounces, in divided portions, shaking vigorously after each addition until a perfect emulsion is formed; then add syrup of tolu, 2 fluidounces, and lastly a solution of oil of sassafras 10 minims, oil of wintergreen 10 minims, and oil of bitter almond 2 minims, in alcohol 1 fluidounce; shake well together. The emulsion may also be made in a mortar in the usual way.
Pharmacist and Manufacturer was the subject discussed in a paper by Prof. Lloyd. The relations between the two are of such a nature that it is not easy to give a synopsis of the paper in a few lines. The advantages and disadvantages of each, in manipulating upon small and large quantities, were reviewed, and it was argued that the manufacturer should aim at producing preparations equal to those made by the skillful pharmacist, but that the latter should endeavor to make most, if not all, the pharmacopoeial preparations. A lengthy discussion followed, in which among other things, the practice prevailing to some extent, of making tinctures from commercial fluid-extracts was criticized, and the abolishment by the pharmacopoeia of fluid-extracts was advocated, the latter to be replaced by fifty-per-cent. tinctures, which would ultimately take the place of the stronger and the weaker preparations, and in their manufacture did not require the use of heat.
The Medicines of Medicine was the somewhat ambiguous title of a paper read by Prof. Painter, referring to the numerous proprietory articles prescribed by physicians, a practice which should be condemned for professional and scientific reasons; but unfortunately, a practical remedy for the evil was not suggested. A motion to publish this paper for general distribution to physicians was tabled.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 59, 1887, was edited by John M. Maisch.