Extractum Geranii.—Extract of Geranium.
Preparation and History.—This article was formerly obtained by making a saturated tincture of the root of Geranium maculatum, filtering, distilling off a part of the alcohol, adding water to the residue, and evaporating to dryness. Many manufacturers have preferred to make it by evaporating an aqueous decoction of the root to dryness. Dr. T. L. A. Greve has given me the following statement: "Formerly, the dried and powdered resin of Geranium maculatum was sold under the name of geraniin, but was found to be nearly inert; the dried alcoholic extract was then substituted for it under the same name. By the ordinary mode of desiccating this extract, the red tannin, upon which the activity of the root principally, if not exclusively, depends, is almost wholly decomposed, and the resulting 'geraniin' is quite worthless. A very good preparation may, however, be obtained, by evaporating a saturated tincture of the root to the consistence of thin syrup, then spreading this on glass plates with a brush, and when dry scraping off with a knife. The geraniin thus formed is in thin scales, very astringent, and possesses in a great degree, the active properties of the root." This latter is the article now used by the profession (J. King).
This is especially an American remedy. It was first prepared by Mr. Wm. S. Merrell, of Cincinnati, according to the first formula given above, who introduced it to the profession under the name of Geraniin; it was a black substance, forming a dark-brown glistening powder of a faint odor, somewhat like that of molasses, and an astringent, acidulous taste, leaving a flavor in the mouth somewhat resembling that of good green tea. Like many other concentrated agents, the name selected for it was entirely inappropriate (see Concentrations).
Medical Uses and Dosage.—Extract of geranium is a powerful astringent, and, unlike tannic acid in its action, does not cause a dryness of the mucous surfaces with which it comes in contact, but produces its therapeutical influence upon them with the continuance of their natural moisture. On this account and in connection with its not unpleasant taste, it may be substituted for tannic acid in many of the diseases in which this acid is employed. It may be employed in all instances where astringents are indicated. It has been found a superior article, both in the first and second stages of dysenteric diarrhoea, diarrhoea, and cholera morbus. Equal parts of extracts of geranium and dioscorea, and resin of blue cohosh, will be found a valuable mixture in diarrhoea and cholera morbus, when much pain and flatulency are present; the mixture may be given in 6-grain doses to an adult, every 15 or 20 minutes, or as often as the urgency of the case may require. Extract of geranium will be found efficient in hemorrhages, hematuria, menorrhagia, leucorrhoea, gleet, diabetes, etc. In colliquative diarrhoea it answers an excellent purpose, either alone, or in combination with quinine. Externally, it may be applied to ulcers, and combined with alum and gum Arabic, it forms an excellent application to bleeding wounds and in epistaxis. Dose of the extract, from 1 to 5 grains or more, repeated as required; it may be given in syrup, molasses, gruel, water, or port wine.