Spiritus Myrciae (U. S. P.)—Spirit of Myrcia.
Related entry: Oleum Myrciae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Myrcia
SYNONYM: Bay rum.
Preparation.—"Oil of myrcia, sixteen cubic centimeters (16 Cc.) [260♏]; oil of orange-peel, one cubic centimeter (1 Cc.) [16♏]; oil of pimenta, one cubic centimeter (1 Cc.) [16♏]; alcohol, twelve hundred and twenty cubic centimeters (1220 Cc.) [41 fl℥, 121♏]; water, a sufficient quantity to make two thousand cubic centimeters (2000 Cc.) [67 fl℥, 301♏]. Mix the oils with the alcohol, and gradually add water until the solution measures two thousand cubic centimeters (2000 Cc.) [67 fl℥, 301♏]. Set the mixture aside, in a well-stoppered bottle, for 8 days, then filter it through paper, in a well-covered funnel"—(U. S. P.).
History and Description.—Bay rum as prepared in the West Indies is distilled from the fresh leaves of the Myrcia acris, Swartz. The best quality is produced when the leaves and the ripe berries are distilled together with a good grade of St. Croix rum by means of steam. (For an interesting article by A. H. Riise, regarding the history and manufacture of bay rum, see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1882, p. 278; also see Oleum Myrciae.) But little bay rum is prepared in this country directly from the leaves, much of the spirit now employed being the substitute, the alcoholic solution of oils as directed by the Pharmacopoeia. In the official process the water is directed to be gradually added; this is to insure against a milkiness that is apt to ensue when solutions of essential oils in alcohol are rapidly diluted with water. Treatment with paper-pulp removes such cloudiness as may remain in the liquid after unsuccessful filtration. Bay rum, as prepared by the official process, is an almost colorless or pale-yellowish liquid having a refreshing spice-like and characteristic fragrance.
Action and Medical Uses.—Bay rum is used almost exclusively as an agreeable perfume and a cooling and refreshing application to the head, in nervous headache, syncope, and various mild nervous affections. It also soothes irritated or chafed parts, and is extensively used by barbers to subdue any irritation which may have been produced by shaving.