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Fluid Extracts of the New Pharmacopoeia. Part IV, cont'd.

Cont'd from previous page.

EXTRACTUM XANTHOXYLI FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Xanthoxylum.—For this newly-introduced preparation the Pharmacopoeia directs alcohol, and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy recommended two parts of alcohol and one part of water, as the menstruum; a sample thus prepared in December, 1879, remains in good condition, except that a considerable quantity of a crystalline deposit has formed, which may be readily redissolved by placing the bottle for a few minutes in warm water; a change of menstruum is evidently required, but that it need be alcohol, or even that it need be as strong as the one used for this sample, continued experiment only can decide.

EXTRACTUM ZINGIBERIS FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Ginger.—For this preparation the Pharmacopoeia of 1870 directed alcohol (s.g .835). The present Pharmacopoeia directs alcohol, and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy recommended the same menstruum; samples thus prepared in November, 1879, with Jamaica and African ginger, remain at present with only a very slight deposit, and are apparently unchanged.

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Having now noticed the entire list of officinal fluid extracts, a brief review will be given of the ten rejected from the list recommended by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy; the first of these is,

EXTRACTUM ANTHEMIDIS FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Chamomile.—For this preparation a menstruum composed of one part of alcohol and two parts of water was recommended. A sample thus prepared in November, 1879, now contains a considerable precipitate; another sample, prepared at the same time, with one part of alcohol and three parts of water, now contains less than half as much precipitate as the first, in all other respects both samples are in excellent condition.

EXTRACTUM ASARI FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Wild Ginger.—Alcohol was recommended as the menstruum for this preparation; a sample thus prepared in January, 1880, is now entirely without precipitate, and is in every respect in most excellent condition; another sample prepared about the same time, with a menstruum of three parts of alcohol and one part of water, now contains a considerable deposit of soft resinous matter, which cannot be again dissolved in the fluid extract by shaking Alcohol is evidently the proper menstruum for this preparation.

The Committee of Revision not only rejected this preparation, but also dismissed asarum from the Pharmacopoeia. This is to be regretted, for although the article may have had only a very limited employment by physicians, it is considerably used in general pharmacy.

EXTRACTUM AURANTII DULCIS CORTICIS FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Sweet Orange Peel..—This was recommended to be made from the recently dried, yellow portion of the peel of sweet oranges, using alcohol as the menstruum; a sample thus prepared in January, 1880, now contains a very slight resinous deposit, and the flavor is also slightly deteriorated, but the preparation kept for nearly two years without perceptible change. If the percolation was allowed to proceed slowly, and occasionally stopped altogether for some hours, the orange peel would be exhausted before one hundred parts of percolate would be obtained, thereby avoiding the necessity for evaporation, and its doubtless injurious effect on the permanence of the preparation.

EXTRACTUM ERIGERONTIS CANADENSIS FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Canada Erigeron.—As the menstruum for this preparation the Pharmacopoeia of 1870 directed alcohol (s.g. .835); the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy recommended alcohol (s.g. .822), and a sample thus prepared in November, 1879, now contains only a slight, apparently resinous deposit on the bottom and sides of the bottle; but as this preparation was chiefly recommended because it was already officinal, and as whatever medicinal value Canada erigeron may possess, is no doubt fully represented by the volatile oil, which is also officinal, the Committee of Revision acted wisely in dismissing this evidently superfluous preparation.

EXTRACTUM HELIANTHEMI FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Frostwort.—For this preparation a menstruum composed of one part of alcohol and two parts of water, was recommended; a sample thus prepared in December, 1879, now contains a rather large precipitate, but is otherwise in good condition; but frostwort having been dismissed from the Pharmacopoeia, no preparations of it were adopted.

EXTRACTUM JUNIPERI FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Juniper.—For this preparation the juniper was recommended to be in number eight powder, and diluted alcohol the menstruum to be used; a sample thus prepared in January, 1880, now contains only a moderate precipitate, but there is also a considerable quantity of soft, brown, resinous matter on the sides of the bottle above the fluid extract; in other respects the preparation has not deteriorated, the odor and taste remaining as aromatic, and sweet as when first prepared. The specific gravity of this sample of fluid extract is 1.115, and the weight of dry residue from the juniper was fifty-eight per cent.

Juniper, if fresh and of good quality, is very difficult to percolate if finer than number eight powder, and to prove that so coarse a powder may be exhausted, another sample of the fluid extract was prepared at the same time, using the entire fruit, carefully selecting only such as were unbroken; this sample now contains about the same quantity of precipitate as the other, but instead of the brown matter in the upper part of the bottle, there is a very thin coating of a bright green color; the odor and taste are as well preserved as in the other sample, the specific gravity is 1.066, and the weight of dry residue was sixty-one per cent.

Although juniper may not be a very important remedial agent, it is considerably used by physicians, and so elegant and permanent a preparation as this fluid extract might well have been made officinal.

EXTRACTUM LAPPAE FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Burdock.—For this preparation a menstruum composed of one part of alcohol and two parts of water, was recommended; a sample thus prepared in December, 1879, now contains only a slight precipitate, and is otherwise entirely without change. Burdock does not, however, appear to be of sufficient medicinal value or employment to require any officinal preparations thereof.

EXTRACTUM SPIGELIAE ET SENNAE FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Spigelia and Senna.—For this preparation the following formula was recommended; Spigelia sixty parts, senna thirty parts, anise five parts, and caraway five parts, all to be mixed together, reduced to number forty powder, and percolated with diluted alcohol; a sample thus prepared in January, 1880, now contains only a very moderate precipitate, which formed soon after its preparation, and a thin coating of separated matter on the sides of the bottle above the fluid extract; in every other respect the preparation is in excellent condition, and although no longer officinal, it will, no doubt, continue to maintain with physicians and the public the prominent and popular position heretofore held by it.

EXTRACTUM SUMBUL FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Sumbul.—For this preparation a menstruum composed of two parts of alcohol and one part of water, was recommended; a sample thus prepared in January, 1880, now contains only a very slight precipitate, is very dark in color, deep red and perfectly transparent in thin layers; it has kept remarkably well, and no doubt fully represents the drug. Another sample, with alcohol as the menstruum, was prepared at the same time, this is much lighter in color, and soon deposited a white crystalline substance all over the bottom and sides of the bottle; alcohol is evidently not the proper menstruum for this preparation, although the present officinal tincture, containing one part of sumbul in ten, is directed to be made with that menstruum; but as the dose of sumbul in powder is stated to be from ten to twenty grains, this tincture, in addition to being made with an improper menstruum, would contain in an ordinary dose, sufficient alcohol to seriously interfere with the remedial action of the drug; the tincture of the British Pharmacopoeia is made with proof spirit, but still the quantity of alcohol is entirely too large in the full dose of the preparation.

The fluid extract recommended above should have been admitted, as it would have proved to be, an elegant, pleasant, and efficient addition to that small and very disagreeable class of medicines to which asafetida and valerian belong.

EXTRACTUM THUJAE FLUIDUM.—Fluid Extract of Arbor Vitae.—For this preparation alcohol was recommended as the menstruum, and. a sample thus prepared in December, 1879, now contains only a moderate precipitate, and does not appear to have undergone any other change whatever; but as arbor vitae, when dry, is said to be no longer efficient, a tincture of the fresh tops would seem to be preferable to the fluid extract.

All of the formulas for fluid extracts requiring the use of alcohol, it seemed advisable to examine commercial specimens as to the actual percentage of absolute alcohol contained therein. Five samples, from as many different manufacturers, were therefore obtained and examined, with the following results, at 15.6° C. (60°F.)

Percentage of absolute alcohol.
No. Specific gravity By weight. By volume.
1 .8185 91.56 94.38
2 .8190 91.36 94.26
3 .8196 91.14 94.10
4 .8207 90.75 93.82
5 .8265 88.56 92.21

The officinal alcohol (s.g. .820), containing ninety-one per cent. by weight and ninety-four per cent. by volume, it will be observed that three of the five specimens contain a slightly larger percentage of absolute alcohol than the officinal; and also that only one of the samples is considerably below the officinal standard, and this one is said to be not the product of a regular manufacturer of alcohol, but the surplus, or rejected goods, which have been made for another special trade demand. If, during the warm season, no greater variations in the strength occur, no appreciable difference in the product made therewith would result.

In conclusion it may be stated that none of the formulas for the fluid extracts require any special or expensive apparatus in carrying them out, and that they all appear to have been so arranged as to induce the pharmacist to make this important class of preparations himself; the danger of injury from heat, in the evaporation of the dilute percolate, and of loss of activity by precipitation in the finished product, have both been over-estimated by writers, on fluid extracts, whose papers have had, perhaps unintentionally, a tendency to deter the pharmacist from trusting himself with their preparation, and led him to rely too much on the reputation and supposed superior facilities of the wholesale manufacturer.


The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 55, 1883, was edited by John M. Maisch.



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