For a period preceding 1880, a class of compounds known as powdered solid extracts came into more or less conspicuity largely through the efforts of manufacturing pharmacists.
Powdered extracts were made by reducing an ordinary solid extract by evaporation to a concentrated condition, and then thickening the mass with a harmless powder, or the respective powdered, crude drug, and then drying the mixture, or by drying the extract intact, as necessity prompted.
The Pharmacopoeial Committee of 1880, aiming to supply a class of official preparations embracing the qualities of powdered solid extracts, introduced a line of similar preparations under the name Abstracta or Abstracts.
These were made by evaporating percolates of the respective drugs, and incorporating the residue of each with enough milk-sugar to bring to a standard, in which one part of the dried mixture represented two parts of the drug.
Abstracts did not become popular, and neither replaced the commercial powdered extracts nor established themselves in the graces of the medical or the pharmaceutical professions. This failure was mostly due to the fact that the Pharmacopoeia is a follower, and seemingly can not create a trade-demand if none exists. At the same time it was found that some of the formulae were not practical; for example, as when an attempt was made to dry the oily percolate of Nux vomica. The succeeding Pharmacopoeial Committee (1890) wisely dropped the list.