Minutes of the Pharmaceutical Meetings.
The second meeting of the Session 1871-2 was held on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 21, 1871, Dr. Wilson H. Pile presiding.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and adopted.
Mr. Charles Heinitsh, of Lancaster, Pa., presented a sample of capsicum, bearing a very small fruit, finely flavored. It was raised from seeds brought from Mexico during the war. The species seems to be unknown.
An original package, in which otto of rose was imported, was presented for the cabinet by Tilge & Bro.
Prof. Maisch exhibited specimens of cundurango, received, since the last pharmaceutical meeting, from various parties. The flowering branch and the pod of that variety of cundurango called "mata perro," sent for exhibition by McKesson & Robbins, of New York, belong to a plant of the natural order Asclepiadaceae, though not to the genus Asclepias. Authentic specimens of mata-perro, tumbo grande and tumbo ebico, received from the same house, were likewise exhibited, and compared with a specimen coming from the State Department at Washington (see page 525, Nov. number). The latter is a piece from a young branch, and probably identical with the tumbo grande, which, however, consists, in the specimens exhibited, of older bark only. The experiments of physicians with the cundurango first received in this country have not sustained its reputation. It remains to be seen whether mata perro and tumbo chico possess valuable medicinal properties; for the former, alterative properties and beneficial effects in syphilitic complaints are claimed. Various samples of cundurango met with in commerce consist of mata-perro and tumbo chico, the latter sometimes mixed with small and variable quantities of tumbo grande. The appearance of the decoctions of the three varieties, and their behavior to ammonia and nitric acid, afford no reliable means of distinguishing them, as had been stated in a circular lately received.
Prof. Maisch also exhibited South American and East Indian clove or culilawan bark. The former comes from Dicypellium caryophyllatum, Nees, and occurs in large quills, composed of several layers of the thin liber; the latter is the produce of Cinnamomum Culilawan, Nees, and comes in flat pieces, the taste resembling a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and sassafras.
Prof. Parrish presented specimens of "Boldo" leaves and branches, brought by Dr. E. W. Burton from Conception, in Southern Chili, where it has a reputation among physicians and people as a specific remedy in chronic liver complaints. The tree was supposed by Dr. Burton to be a species of Drimys, probably Drimys Chilensis, but the leaves are opposite, while those of all the Magnoliaceae are alternate. The tree is an evergreen, growing 20 feet high, and is very abundant. The twigs or small branches are covered with a thin bark, perhaps a line in thickness, firmly adherent to the tough and fibrous wood. The wood is slightly, the bark very, aromatic; it is wrinkled longitudinally, covered with vesicles, light brown or fawn color, much branched, with opposite very numerous branchlets; the terminal branches are very bushy. The leaves—which are described as of a dark though lively green color on the upper surface, lighter on the under when fresh—are in this dry specimen reddish brown, mottled with whitish spots, coriaceous, deeply marked with midrib and alternate, sometimes opposite veins, which are anastomosed and looped near the edges. They are conspicuously covered with vesicles and very aromatic, opposite, petiolate, entire, ovate, with a small stipule at the base. The flavor is grateful, and recalls that of chenopodium. The medicinal virtues of this tree were discovered by its marvelous effect an a flock of sheep inclosed in a corral formed of this tree. The sheep were much afflicted with a disease attributed to the liver, and by browsing on the leaves of the Boldo, constituting their inclosure, were restored to health. Large quantities of this drug are said to be exported from Chili to Peru, where it is highly valued.
Prof. Parrish exhibited specimens of bichloride methylene, imported by him. It bears the lable of J. Robbins & Co., of London. The odor is fragrant, similar to that of chloroform. It is dense and limpid, inflammable with difficulty, burning with a smoky flame. It has been used successfully as an anaesthetic by Dr. Levis, Surgeon in the Pennsylvania Hospital. The only objections found to it is its high price as compared with ether and chloroform, although its dose by inhalation is only from one to two fluid-drachms.
Prof. Maisch read a paper on chestnut leaves and its fluid extract (see page 529).
Prof. Parrish exhibited specimens of "Perkins & Hyatt's Celluloid Base," patented for the use of dentists in making artificial dentures. This is composed of inspissated collodion combined with a certain proportion of camphor. At the temperature of 300° F. it softens so as to be perfectly adapted to the plaster cast of the mouth, and when cold is firm and somewhat elastic, much resembling the hard rubber plates so much in use. He also showed the convenient screw-press, flask and oil-bath, with thermometer attached, in which the base is moulded to fit the plaster cast. Although adapted to withstand any test experienced in actual use in the mouth, this substance is soluble in ether and alcohol, and at a temperature of about 330° F. is decomposed and volatilized. Touched by an ignited match, it was shown to burn rapidly, with much smoke.
Dr. Pile exhibited crystallized bromide of morphia, prepared by him by double decomposition between equivalent quantities of bromide of barium and sulphate of morphia. The crystals, which are very beautiful, acicular, and disposed in stellate groups, are very difficult to dry without losing their whiteness. He stated that this salt is sometimes prescribed as a remedy in nervous affections.
Dr. Bridges remarked that bromide of potassium has been found useful in correcting the effects of opium, and this combination may have been suggested by a knowledge of that fact.
Prof. Parrish exhibited so-called "divided medicines," patented by Fred. Kraus, of Cincinnati. They consist of sheets of gelatine containing, either in solution or suspended equally throughout, such medicines as calomel, opium, subnitrate of bismuth, sulphate of quinia, sulphate of morphia, and arsenious acid. Being of uniform thickness and definite outline, they are marked while yet soft with lines dividing them into 12 equal squares, each of which, by being cut out, will furnish a definite dose. He stated an objection to this form of administering soluble medicines, that the full impression is made upon the palate during their solution in the mouth, which must necessarily be protracted; the French wafer, on the contrary, by enveloping a nauseous medicine, so as to prevent its contact with the organs of taste, completely disguise it. The effect of moisture upon these gelatine sheets would seem to render them more perishable than many other pharmaceutital forms.
In the discussion which followed upon the eligibility of these medicines, Prof. Maisch spoke of their having been used in Germany and other parts of Europe for several years, and were first suggested and introduced by Prof. Almén, of Upsala, Sweden. The elegant atropine and calabar discs of Squire, and those containing a variety of concentrated remedies made by Savory & Moore, are similar, though of greatly superior workmanship, and are especially adapted to be applied in the eye and for similar applications.
Prof. Maisch called attention to the recent observations in regard to the solvent action of citrate of ammonia, potassa, soda and lithia upon various salts of iron and bismuth insoluble in water, and exhibited scales resembling the officinal pyrophosphate of iron, but composed of phosphate of sesquioxide of iron and citrate of potassa. This salt was made by A J. Creuse, of Brooklyn. It is surprising how long a time it took to make this discovery, while it has been well known for a number of years that soluble salts of iron, mixed with sufficient citric or tartaric acid, are not precipitated by potassa, which has generally been attributed to the formation of a double salt. The discovery by Robiquet, in 1856, of the solubility of pyrophosphate of iron, and the observation by several, in 1859, of the solubility of the ordinary phosphate of iron in citrate of ammonia, failed to provoke similar experiments with citrate of potassa and of soda, until the present time, by Mr. Creuse.
C. PARRISH, Registrar.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. XLIII, 1871, was edited by William Procter, Jr. (Issues 1-4) and John M. Maisch (Issues 5-12).