Oleum Terebinthinae, Oleum Terebinthinae Rectificatum.

Botanical name: 


Related entries: Pix liquida - Resina

Oil of Turpentine, Spirit of Turpentine, Turpentine Oil.
A volatile oil distilled with water from the concrete oleoresin derived from Pinus palustris, Miller, and other species of Pinus. (Nat. Ord. Pinaceae.) United States and Europe.

Description.—A thin colorless liquid having a characteristic taste and odor, becoming more intense with age and by exposure. Soluble in alcohol and glacial acetic acid. It readily dissolves resins, wax, sulphur, iodine, and phosphorus.
Principal Constituents.—A mixture of several terpenes each having the formula C10H16. Among them are pinene, phellandrene, camphene, dipentene, and limonene; some sesquiterpenes. and the fragrant ester bornyl acetate (borneol). American oil of turpentine contains principally dextro-pinene (australene), while French oil of turpentine is chiefly laevo-pinene (terebentene). Oil of turpentine emulsifies with mucilage 2 parts and water 16 parts, by thorough trituration.
Preparation.—Linimentum Terebinthinae, Turpentine Liniment. Prepared by melting and mixing together 350 parts of oil of turpentine and 650 parts of rosin cerate.

Action and Therapy.—External. Oil of turpentine may be used for most of the purposes named under Rectified Oil of Turpentine. However, the latter is the least likely to cause unpleasant effects.

Internal. This preparation should not be used internally; only when rectified is it fit for internal medication. (See Oleum Terebinthinae Rectificatum.)


Rectified Oil of Turpentine, Rectified Turpentine Oil.

Description.—A thin colorless liquid corresponding to the properties described under Oleum Terebinthinae, which see. Dose, 1 to 20 drops. ( Usual dose, 5 drops.)
Preparation.—Emulsum Olei Terebinthinae, Emulsion of Oil of Turpentine. Dose, ½ to 2 fluidrachms.
Specific Indications.—Internal. Dry, deep red, glazed and cracked tongue, with sordes, muttering delirium, rapid feeble pulse, repressed secretions, tympanites and hemorrhage; relaxed and enfeebled mucosa with excessive catarrhal discharges.

External. Pain and meteorism.

Action and Toxicology.—Oil of turpentine is rapidly absorbed by the skin, which it irritates and reddens, and if long in contact, may produce vesication or ulceration. These untoward effects are more apt to occur if the oil be applied hot or with friction. Applied to the skin it imparts warmth and dilates the peripheral vessels. Upon the mucous tissues its warmth is more intense and may amount to smarting pain and produce congestion. Swallowed it imparts the same glowing warmth from mouth to stomach, excites secretion, checks flatulence, induces peristalsis, and if the amount be large, provokes diarrhea. Its ingestion causes the skin to feel hot, the circulation is slightly accelerated and arterial tension increased. Being quickly absorbed it appears in the urine almost immediately after being swallowed or inhaled, imparting to that excretion the characteristic odor of violets. The vapor is irritating to the breathing passages, and, as also when taken, induces a sense of intoxication and dizziness. The secretion of the kidneys is increased, and prolonged use or overdoses may cause irritation, and inflammation of those organs, and hematuria. Poisonous amounts cause bloody urine, severe strangury, priapism, intolerable aching in the loins, acute nephritis, cyanosis, dilated pupils, gastro-enteritis, and collapse. Some individuals are very susceptible to the effects of turpentine, and, in a few, vesicular or papular rashes of an eczematous type have occurred.

Therapy.—External. Turpentine is rubefacient and counter-irritant and to some degree antiseptic and hemostatic. Locally applied it is valuable to assist in relieving deep-seated and other inflammations, as in pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, peritonitis, arthritis, and other congestive and inflammatory disorders; and to alleviate pain in sciatica, myalgia, pleurodynia, and various neuralgias. For these purposes equal parts or one-fourth part of turpentine may be mixed with hot lard or olive or cotton-seed oil, and applied by hand, with or without friction, as desired. It must be borne in mind that friction intensifies the local effect of the oil. A more effectual method is to apply a flannel cloth wrung from hot water and upon which has been sprinkled a few drops of turpentine. Another but more complicated procedure of preparing a "turpentine stupe" is to wring a flannel out of very hot water by twisting it in a towel until it ceases to drip. Then dip the cloth in turpentine which has been heated in a tin container immersed in another vessel of very hot water and wring out all excess of the oil. (Caution: Turpentine must not be heated on a stove or over a flame; it is highly inflammable.) Turpentine stupes are to be applied as hot as can be borne, and as soon as any discomfort or pain is felt are to be immediately removed, lest blistering occur. Turpentine, applied full strength, or diluted with a bland oil, may be used to relieve chilblains and bunions and to stimulate repair in sluggish ulcers and bed sores. Combined with linseed oil it has been advised for small burns and scalds, but as this method is painful and absorption great it is not to be commended. Liniments containing turpentine may give relief to inflamed joints in acute articular rheumatism, swollen and inflamed glands, and are popular in domestic practice for the relief of temporary lameness and muscular soreness. It is of great service locally, together with its internal use, to prevent and control meteorism in typhoid fever and puerperal peritonitis. In all inflammations with tense skin great care must be taken not to cause blistering by it. The vapor of turpentine is said to be fatal to the itch mite; and the oil vaporized from hot water gives relief in croup and chronic bronchitis. It may be used as an adjunct to treatment in diphtheria for its antiseptic and stimulant properties, and particularly in the membranous form of laryngeal diphtheria, in which it contributes in some measure to the loosening and expulsion of the membrane.

Internal. For internal use only the rectified oil of turpentine should be used. Turpentine is employed as a diffusible stimulant, antiseptic, and antihemorrhagic. It is also an anthelmintic and taeniafuge. Very small doses are stomachic, and as a warming carminative it is useful to relieve intestinal flatulence. Turpentine has a twofold action, which is important. It stimulates to normal secretory activity when there is a lack of intestinal secretion due to a semi-paretic state of the alimentary canal; and it restrains excessive secretion when due to lack of tone. It is always a remedy for atony and debility; never for active and plethoric conditions. In typhoid or enteric fever it is the best remedy known to prevent tympany and ulceration. It is indicated when the tongue is dark red, glazed, or brown-coated, hard, dry, and cracked, and there are sordes upon it, as well as upon the teeth. In this stage ulceration is active, hemorrhage impending or present, temperature high, pulse small, wiry and rapid, the mind wanders, and the urine is scanty, concentrated, and very dark. In this state there is marked depression of innervation, putrefactive gases are formed, hemorrhage imminent, prostration is great, mentality disordered, and the patient is at a very low ebb. When this condition prevails no other medicine offers such hope of relief as turpentine. From five to ten minims may be given in emulsion every two or three hours. In tardy convalescence from enteric fever, when ulcers of Peyer's glands stubbornly refuse to heal and diarrhoea continues or frequently recurs, and hemorrhage still threatens, turpentine may be given to stimulate repair and will do as much as any medicine can to hasten recovery. When hemorrhage does occur during the progress of the fever, turpentine by its hemostatic action assists in controlling manageable cases. The external use of the drug (see above) should accompany its internal administration.

Turpentine is of value in other hemorrhages of the gastro-intestinal tract—notably that accompanying ulceration of any part of the small intestines, with flatulent distention. It frequently renders good service in the hemorrhage of gastric and duodenal ulcer; and it may succeed in some cases of hematuria and menorrhagia. As these cases are seldom or never hemorrhages of plethora, but are of the passive variety that occurs in the weak and anemic subject with a disposition to tissue dissolution and relaxed blood vessels, turpentine is clearly indicated and its record justifies its claim to efficiency. Turpentine is also one of the few drugs that have been effectual in hemorrhagic transudation into the skin and mucosa, as in purpura and scurvy, and it has a limited usefulness in hemophilia.

In renal disorders turpentine is generally contraindicated; certainly so in irritation and inflammation. It may, however, be used when a deficient secretion of urine depends wholly upon general debility; and in chronic disorders, when active inflammation has long passed, and in chronic nephritis, where active inflammation is seldom present, it may be necessary to employ a powerful stimulating diuretic. Turpentine may best serve the purpose. It must be remembered, however, that in all kidney disorders there is the ever-confronting danger of provoking suppression of the urine. Turpentine has been advised in pyelitis, pyo-nephritis, and hydro-nephritis, both for its stimulating and pus-limiting antiseptic effect. It is of more certain service in chronic cystitis and gleet, both with excessive mucous discharge.

As an anthelmintic and taenicide such large doses of turpentine are required as to render such use inadvisable; and its local employment for ascarides is too painful and less desirable in every way than weak salt solutions or infusion of quassia.

Old oxidized oil of turpentine and French oil of turpentine are reputed antidotes in phosphorus poisoning.

The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.