Oils and fats.


Other tomes: Cook (volatile oils) - Cook (fixed oils) - Potter (volatile oils) - King's

Fixed Oils and Fats used in Medicine are as follows

  • Adeps, Lard.
  • Adeps Lanae Hydrosus, Hydrous Wool-fat, "Lanolin."
  • Sevum, Mutton Suet.
  • Cetaceum, Spermaceti.
  • Oleum Adipis, Lard Oil.
  • Ol. Amygdalae Expressum, Almond Oil.
  • Ol. Gossypii Seminis, Cotton seed Oil.
  • Oleum Lini, Linseed (Flax seed) Oil.
  • Oleum Morrhuae, Cod-liver Oil.
  • Oleum Olivae, Olive Oil.
  • Oleum Sesami, Bennè Oil.
  • Oleum Theobromatis, Butter of Cacao.

The two other official fixed oils, Oleum Ricini and Oleum Tiglii, are used for their cathartic qualities, and are therefore classed with the Evacuants, in another place.

Composition. All the oils (except Cod-liver Oil) contain olein, stearin, and margarin, in varying proportions, the olein giving fluidity, the stearin solidity. Olein, Stearin, and Margarin are respectively oleate, stearate, and margarate of glycerin. Cod-liver Oil consists chiefly of olein and margarin, with a peculiar principle,—Gaduin,—also propylamin, bile constituents, and traces of sulphuric and phosphoric acids, bromine, iodine, phosphorus, iron, lime and magnesia. Three kinds are sold—the pale, the light-brown, and the dark. The pale oil is considered to be the purest. Linseed Oil contains much vegetable albumen, which coagulates on exposure to the air, making it a drying dill. Its olein furnishes linoleic acid, instead of oleic, when saponified. Lanolin is a cholesterin fat obtained from the washing of sheep's wool. It contains 25 to 30 per cent. of water, and unites readily with 110 per cent. of its own weight of water. It differs from all other fats, in resisting saponification, the action of water, and the tendency to rancidity. It is perfectly neutral as a base, and readily penetrates the integument, carrying with it any medicament it is charged with. Cotton-seed Oil is used largely in place of Olive Oil, and is sold as Olive Oil in the shops. Hence it was made official, and its use directed for certain pharmacopoeial preparations.

Physiological Action. Fats in small quantity are necessary to the digestion of nitrogenous food (Lehmann), and form the molecular basis of the chyle. They are prepared for absorption by the pancreatic juice and the bile, especially by the latter. Fat is an essential constituent of the products of tissue formation, whether physiological or pathological, and is the chief material concerned in the formation of force. After oxidation it is excreted as carbonic acid and water. Locally applied fat reduces the body temperature.

Therapeutics. Locally, by inunction, oils and fats may be used in the scaly diseases of the skin, and in chronic wasting diseases; also in rickety and scrofulous children, and in febrile disorders, particularly the desquamative stage of scarlatina. Cod-liver Oil may also be used by inunction, in the foregoing disorders, but it is best administered internally, and in the following diseases, viz.

Chronic Forms of Phthisis. Strumous Skin diseases.
Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Syphilo-dermata.
Chronic Rheumatic Disorders. Neuralgia, Chorea, Epilepsy.
Atheroma of the Arteries. Diarrhoeas of strumous subjects.

Cod liver Oil is best administered in small doses, a teaspoonful thrice a day for an adult, in black coffee, beer or lemon-juice. One drop of the Essential Oil of Eucalyptus will extinguish the odor and taste of 100 drops.

A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.