Electuaries; Conserves, Electuaires, Saccharoles mous, Fr.; Conserven, Latwergen, G.; Elettuario, It.; Electuario, Sp.
Under the general title of Confections, the Pharmacopoeias include all those preparations having the form of a soft solid, in which one or more medicinal substances are incorporated with saccharine matter, with a view either to their preservation or more convenient administration. But two confections, Rose and Senna, were retained in the Eighth Revision of the U. S. Pharmacopoeia and in the Ninth Revision both were dropped and relegated to the National Formulary IV. The old division into Conserves and Electuaries has been abandoned; but, as there is some ground for the distinction, we shall make a few general remarks upon each division before proceeding to the consideration of the individual preparations.
Conserves consist of undried vegetable substances and refined sugar beaten into a uniform mass. By means of the sugar, the vegetable matter is enabled to resist for some time the decomposition to which it would otherwise be exposed in the undried state, and the properties of the recent plant are thus retained to a certain extent unaltered. But, as active medicines even thus treated undergo some change, and those which lose their virtues by desiccation cannot be long preserved, the few conserves now used are intended rather as convenient vehicles of other substances than for separate exhibition. The sugar used in their preparation should be in fine powder.
Electuaries are mixtures consisting of medicinal substances, especially dry powders, combined with syrup or honey, in order to render them less unpleasant to the taste, and more convenient for internal use. They are usually prepared extemporaneously; and it is only when their complex nature renders it convenient to keep them ready made, or some peculiarity in the mode of mixing the ingredients requires attention, that they become proper objects for official direction. Their consistence should not be so soft, on the one hand, as to allow the ingredients to separate, nor so firm, on the other, as to prevent them from being swallowed without mastication. Different substances require different proportions of syrup. Light vegetable powders usually require twice their weight, gum-resins two-thirds of their weight, resins somewhat less, mineral substances about half their weight, and deliquescent salts not more than one-tenth. Should the electuary become dry and hard, more syrup should be added, so as to give it the requisite consistence. If the dryness result from the mere evaporation of the aqueous part, water should be added instead of syrup, and the same remark is applicable to the conserves. To prevent the hardening of electuaries, the French writers recommend the use of syrup prepared from brown sugar, which is less apt to crystalline than that made from the refined. Molasses would answer the same purpose, but its taste might be objectionable. Some employ honey, but this is not always acceptable to the stomach. Glycerin and syrupy glucose might sometimes be used with advantage.
Confectio Aromatica, Aromatic Confection, Electuarium Aromaticum; Electuaire (Confection) aromatique, Fr.; Aromatische Latwerge, Getwurzlatwerge, G.—"Take of Aromatic Powder four troyounces; Clarified Honey, four troy-ounces, or a sufficient quantity. Rub the Aromatic Powder with Clarified Honey until a uniform mass of the proper consistence is obtained." U. S., 1870.
This confection affords a convenient means of administering' the spices contained in it, and an agreeable vehicle for other medicines. The confection is given in debilitated states of the stomach. The dose is from ten to sixty grains (0.65-3.9 Gm.).
Confectio Aurantii Corticis, Confection of Orange Peel, Conserva Aurantii; Conserve d'Ecorce d'Orange, Fr.; Apfelsinenschalen-Conserve, G.—"Take of Sweet Orange Peel, recently separated from the fruit by grating, twelve troy ounces; Sugar [refined], thirty-six troyounces. Beat the Orange Peel with the Sugar, gradually added, until they are thoroughly mixed." U. S., 1870.
This confection is not used as frequently as it deserves to be. It is, when well made, a grateful aromatic vehicle or adjuvant for tonic and purgative powders.
Confectio Opii, Confection of Opium, which was the modern substitute for the mediaeval preparations known as theriaca and mithridate, has been finally dropped from both Pharmacopoeias. One grain of opium was contained in about thirty-six grains of the former United States confection, and in about forty grains of the British. The following is the U. S. Pharmacopoeia (1870) formula: "Take of Opium, in fine powder, two hundred and seventy grains; Aromatic "Powder, six troyounces; Clarified Honey, fourteen troyounces. Rub the Opium with the Aromatic Powder, then add the Honey, and beat the whole together until thoroughly mixed." U. S., 1870.