Minutes of the Pharmaceutical Meetings.


The first meeting of the session 1871-72 was held, at the College hall, on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 17th, 1871.

Prof. Bridges presided, and in the absence or the Register, S. Mason McCollin was appointed pro tempore.

It being the usual time for the annual election of Register, Mr. Clemmons Parrish was unanimously elected for the ensuing year.

Prof. E. Parrish presented, on behalf of S. Maw, Son & Thompson, of London, one of their improved suppository moulds, and also suppositories made in the same. These weigh only 15 grains, the usual rectum suppository in this country weighing 25 grains. Some remarks were made by members present on the relative advantages of suppository moulds which are solid and those which open by a hinge, as in the case of Maw's. In the use of the solid moulds, perfect refrigeration by ice-water should precede the pouring in of the melted cacao butter, and where this is the case there will seldom be any difficulty in dropping out the hardened cone after a very few minutes.

A mould was also exhibited, made by A. H. Wirz, of this city, which opens near the apex of the cone, so as to allow pressure upon the point of the suppository in its removal. This was objected to by those who had tried a similar device, as blunting the end of the suppository, and often proving ineffectual in its removal. Prof. Parrish exhibited an improvement on the ordinary method of adjusting the solid moulds in the refrigerating tray; twelve of the moulds are soldered on to a tin diaphragm, which is suspended near the top of the vessel containing the ice, and four handles being soldered on the opposite side of the diaphragm, by inverting and dropping it the suppositories may all be dropped out together. This obviates the necessity of handling the moulds singly, and facilitates the rapid preparation of suppositories.

He also exhibited a material made of glycerin and gelatin, which possesses a consistence suited to suppositories and is at the same time soluble in the fluids of the vagina or lower intestine. It is used in England in certain cases in which a soluble suppository would be preferable to an oily one. Two disadvantages have been observed in this material. It appears rather elastic and flexible for easy introduction by pressure, and where tannin is present in the medicinal ingredients, it is liable to form the insoluble and nearly inert tannate of gelatin.

Suppositories being under discussion, several methods of introducing extracts into the cacao butter were spoken of. Charles Bullock stated that it was the practice of some to thrust a small cylinder into the plain suppository, on withdrawing which an opening is left, into which the medicinal ingredient can be dropped. This is not, however, a desirable method, in view of the fact that the extract is not in this way diffused, but remains in a comparatively insoluble mass. Prof. Parrish exhibited some suppositories of extract of hyoscyamus which he had prepared by a process communicated to him by Prof. Israel J. Grahame. The extract, being softened with a little water, is triturated on the ointment slab with the melted cacao butter, as if an ointment were to be made. It is then returned to the capsule, and very gently warmed, if necessary, before being poured into the moulds. Great care is necessary not to render the cacao butter too fluid, in which case the suppositories poured last would contain an undue share of the extract. Prof. Grahame has used a similar process very successfully in making assafoetida suppositories. James T. Shinn spoke of this process as according substantially with his own in manipulating with the extracts.

Prof. Maisch exhibited specimens of cundurango, and gave a history of its introduction into the States; also mezquite gum, and the fruit of the tree, Algarobia glandulosa, brought from Western Texas; also the seeds of Strychnos potatorum, obtained from the Curator of the Pharmaceutical Society of London, and which prove to be identical with those he exhibited and experimented upon at a previous meeting; also the "Japanese Cinnamon Root," which is believed to be used to adulterate powdered cinnamon.

Specimens were presented, from Henry Cramer, of a bark believed to be that of Dicypillium caryophyllatum, or South American Clove Tree; also a plant of Viscum album, Mistletoe, found in the midst or a case of imported herbs.

The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. XLIII, 1871, was edited by William Procter, Jr. (Issues 1-4) and John M. Maisch (Issues 5-12).