Notes on a Few Drugs.


Read at the Pharmaceutical Meeting, May 17.

Having occasion to examine some Oil of Erigeron recently, the spec. gravity was carefully ascertained, at the temperature of 60° F., with the 1000 grain bottle; it proved to be 0.8454. The gravity given by the U. S. Pharmacopeia a is 0.850; Professor Procter's experiments in 1854, place it at 0.845. The figures correspond very closely and within a limit that may be accounted for by the age of the oil.

Oil of Peppermint, Three samples of American oil recently examined, showed varying densities; Hotchkiss' oil sp. gr. .9074, rich in menthol; one of A. M. Todd, sp. gr. .9074, not quite so rich in menthol; and a sample of another Western distiller sp. gr., .9112, contained but a small quantity of menthol, being undoubtedly a skimmed oil. These figures correspond closely with the statement of Mr. Todd in his article on the subject of "Oil of Peppermint," read at the last meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Mr. Todd states that pure oil of peppermint is never below 0.908 sp. gr., nor when fresh and soluble above 0.917, so that the difference formerly allowable, that is from 0.840 to 0.950, is made ten times as small.

Oil of Bay. The sp. gr. of this oil is stated in the U. S. Pharmacopeia, as about 1.040. A sample obtained from an American distiller, who guaranteed the purity, showed a sp. gr. of 0.9750; another sample from a St. Thomas distiller, showed 0.9945; both of these oils were of fine odor and appearance, and would indicate that the Pharmacopeia had stated the sp. gr. a trifle high.

Popp's stomach powders. At the suggestion of a customer for whom I had purchased the article, I made an examination of the same and found each paper contained about thirty grains of very coarsely powdered sulphide of iron; two dozen of these powders being put up in a box for which $1.25 was asked. This was to me a novel use of sulphide of iron.

Ground Flaxseed. The U. S. Pharmacopoeia requires that ground flaxseed shall yield not less than 25 per cent. of fixed oil when extracted with disulphide of carbon. A sample recently ground to order, yielded thirty per cent. when thus treated, and another lot offered in the market, gave thirty-one. This would show that the requirement is not as full as it should be.

Job's tears. Coix lachryma, Lin.; nat. order Graminaceae. These fruits are being again called for occasionally by fond mothers for the purpose of making into necklaces under the impression that children wearing such ornaments will cut their teeth more easily. The peculiarity of this grass is the formation of the pistillate spikelet being one to two flowered, inclosed within a bract which becomes a round bony shining involucre.

The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 59, 1887, was edited by John M. Maisch.