Fel Bovinum. Ox, or Beef's Gall.
Preparation. — As prepared for medicinal purposes, it is dried by spontaneous evaporation, or aided by a very moderate heat, when it becomes of a more or less solid and hard consistence, brown color, and possessing its natural and peculiar odor. The method recommended for its preparation is to pour two or three gallons of the gall into a deep vessel, and let it stand for twenty-four hours. Then pour off the supernatant fluid into a shallow earthen dish. Simmer it away slowly, stirring it all the time until it is dry. Then preserve in glass bottles well stopped. Thus prepared it is of a bright-green color, friable, pulverulent, and slightly aromatic.
A refined gall is obtained by boiling one pint of it and skimming ; then add alum one ounce, and keep it on the fire for some time ; to another pint of gall add one ounce of common salt, in the same manner; keep them bottled, separately, for three months, then decant off the clear liquid ; mix them in equal proportions ; a thick, yellow coagulum is immediately formed, leaving the refined gall, clear and colorless.
History. — The bile of the ox is a viscid fluid, of a green, or greenish-yellow color, with a peculiar, nauseous odor, and a bitter taste ; its exact composition is not yet settled. According to a recent analysis by A. Strecker, the bile of the ox consists of a mixture of a nitrogenous acid free from sulphur, which he calls Cholic acid, and a sulphureted acid free from nitrogen ; both of these acids are combined with soda. The sulphureted constituent undergoes decomposition with great facility, yielding a resin, taurin, and ammonia ; so that it is obtained separate with considerable difficulty. Probably, the picromel, biliary sugar, and bilin of other chemists may be referred to this constituent. In addition to the above, bile also contains a coloring matter, called Cholepyrrhin, a peculiar fatty principle, called Cholesterin, oleate, margarate and stearate of soda, with various salts of soda, and phosphate of lime.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, and laxative. Used in intermittents, dyspepsia, torpor of the liver, colic, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, etc. Five or eight grains of inspissated gall neutralize the constipating and narcotic effects of one grain of opium, without injuring its sedative influence. Dose, from one to ten grains.