By F. W. Haussmann.
Vinegar of Squill.
Considerable variation appears to exist in the color of this preparation.
As usually found in the United States it is yellow, due to the employment of the white variety of the drug in its preparation.
Occasionally, however, we find the red variety of squill in our market, and this is especially the case with the ground drug.
Vinegar of squill, made from this variety, is red-brown, appears to have a more pronouncedly bitter taste, which it will communicate to the syrup made therefrom, and which will also have a similar color.
As the syrup is a frequently sold article, the altered taste and color is at times regarded with suspicion by the consumer.
Having occasion to examine a number of samples of the vinegar, the writer noticed in several the odor of acetic ether. Further examination revealed also the presence of alcohol. Such vinegars mostly had a cloudy appearance, and a sample, prepared by the writer from the fluid extract, according to the formula of a certain manufacturing firm, possessed the identical properties after standing, both in odor and appearance.
Fluid extract of squill, a preparation largely alcoholic, appears to have been used in the preparation of these vinegars, and consequently the alcohol and acetic acid entered into combination to form acetic ether.
On heating the vinegar, the latter is dissipated, together with the excess of alcohol, hence the odor of the ether is not so prominently noticeable in the syrup made by heat.
The practice of "easy preparation" of this official vinegar should be discouraged.
It is not only a flagrant disregard of the Pharmacopoeia, but a preparation of this kind will, by its odor, reveal the professional principle of its maker.