The sticky juice of many trees, as the pine, the larch, and other coniferous trees, is known by the general name, turpentine, qualified by an adjective descriptive of its botanical origin or the country producing it; for example, Strasburg turpentine, Canada balsam, etc. This resinous, balsamic exudation has been used from all times as a balsam or pitch, or, when the wood of the tree is subjected to the action of heat, as a product of decomposition known as tar. This writer (1906) observed a fragrant oleaginous tar brought into Smyrna in sheepskins from the interior of Asia Minor, which enjoyed a domestic popularity in that part of the country. The Indians of North America employed Canada balsam as an application to wounds, it being an excellent antiseptic dressing for such purposes (see Indian Captivities, Guile's Narrative (198). The distillate of the natural turpentine, had once a widely known domestic use in America as a remedy for worms, whilst the resin (rosin), which remains after the distillation of the spirit, is much employed in domestic treatment of the horse. All these forms of turpentine, as well as the empyrheumatic products of many related trees, have been known to the common people, as a rule, from the earliest records of history. The last issue of the Pharmacopeia of the United States, under the title Oleum Terebinthinae Rectificatum, directs that the spirit obtained from the distillation of turpentine, usually obtained from the Pinus australis, be purified by redistillation from a solution of sodium hydrate.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.