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death, he examined four ounces of blood, but not the least trace of strychnia was detected. In another case, in which a dog was poisoned in four days by half a grain of strychnia in divided doses, the chemical analysis led to a negative conclusion, not only in the blood and tis sues, but in all parts of the body. Dr. Crawcour, of New Orleans, gave a rabbit half a grain of strychnia; the animal died in half an hour. No trace of the poison was found in any part of the body. In a case of poisoning which occurred to Dr. Geoghegan, of Dublin, in 1856, thirty ounces of urine, which had passed the patient from the fifth to the thirty-first hour, when carefully analyzed, did not yield any trace of strychnia. A case of great bearing upon this subject occurred to Mr. Wilkins, of Newport, in the Isle of Wight, in February, 1857. A gentleman died in six hours after taking about three grains of strychnia for the purpose of self-destruction. The long period he survived was most favorable for the diffusion and deposition of the poison. The blood and heart were examined by Dr. Taylor and Mr. Scanlan, portions of the liver and lungs were examined by Dr. Christison and Dr. Douglass Maclagan, of Edinburgh, and one kidney was examined by Dr. Geoghegan, of Dublin. The result was no trace of absorbed strychnia was detected in any one part. In reference to the detection of other alkaloids in an absorbed state, there is an absence of facts. That they enter the blood by absorption is placed beyond a doubt; but whether, when there, they are partially changed, or deposited unchanged in the organs, has not yet been satisfactorially determined by experiment. Dr. De Vry has made recently experiments on the alkaloids, and arrives at the conclusion that that part of the alkaloid which acts mortally is decomposed in the living body. The examination of a large number of cases in the human subject can alone determine perfectly this most important point in toxicology.

Be that as it may, we are absolutely certain of a failure in attempting to detect the poisonous alkaloid atropia in the blood, if administered by hypodermic injection, as it would not require more than half a grain to prove fatal. Analytical chemistry, which has, up to this time, occupied so prominent a position, and been so ably associated with forsenic medicine, is now perfectly powerless. She cannot solve this problem. There may come a time when more accurate methods and more delicate reagents may lead us to a satisfactory solution of it. Heretofore she has been the Nemesis which pursued, with outstretched,

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grasping hand, the murderer. That hand has been paralyzed by this bold application of principles of chemical physiology in the treatment of disease. The only means now of detection will lie in the testimony of the physician of the symptoms observed by him at the bedside of the dying person.

Synthesis is far ahead of analysis, and we must admit that this is a problem of great importaace, and to which the attention of toxicologists should be turned. For the present we must say, as we stand groping on the confines of mortality, and straining our powers to discover in the broad, measureless eternity some means of controlling the moral effect of this fact, and some law which may lead us to processes of detection, that just now we realize how helpless the human mind is, how utterly futile has been its attempt to discover a mode of detection. In future many a throbbing heart will suddenly cease, and no eye but God's be able to detect the murderer. For the present too much weight cannot be given to the testimony of the medical witness at the bedside; if that is not had, and no physician was hear at the time of death, we are cast to drift upon an unexplored and perhaps a shoreless

sea.

Medical testimony now becomes all-important, and chemical testimony wanes in value, for no satisfactory results can be obtained. Juries will now, more than ever, be dependent up circumstantial evidence.

Mortifying in the extreme as it is to our professional pride, stripped of professional honors in medico-legal investigations, the chemist and toxicologist now, if never before, realize the truth that comes floating to us on the dying breath of La Place-"What we know is little, and what we are ignorant of is immense."-Proc. Amer. Pharm. Assoc. 1866.

NOTE ON “ALCOHOLIZED IRON."

A preparation of metallic iron, under this name, is imported from Germany, where it is employed for internal use in the manner of iron by hydrogen. Its general aspect is that of powdered plumbago, but with an ordinary pocket lens its particles are observed to possess metallic lustre, and are rounded and flattened, as would result from attrition. We have no very positive information revative to the commercial origin of this powder, or of the manner of its manufacture. Its invoice price is about forty cents per pound. It is said to be pro

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duced in western Australia, Styria, or the Tyrol, and it is supposed to be produced by attrition, in some cheap way, as by agitation on the gase of a saw mill, or steam machinery. The term "alcoholized” is common in Germany, and is applied to powders in the sense of a high grade of fineness and purity,—just as the term "ætheral" is applied to oils, signifying that they are highly rectified, and hence does not indicate that alcohol is used in making them. Duflos (Chemischen. Arzeneimitteln ) describes this preparation under the name "Ferrum pulveratum," and gives the synonyms Pulvis. s. Alcohol Ferri, Limatura Martis levigata, Limaille de Fer prophyrisée, &c.

Alcoholized iron is readily attacked by cool diluted sulphuric acid, but not so quickly nor with such rapid effervescence as is good reduced iron. When an excess of acid is used, a small quantity of very fine black powder remains, suggesting the possibility of its being cast iron. The gas evolved was nearly all free from sulphur, but at the last, traces of H.S. are indicated when moistened carbonate of lead paper is suspended in the mouth of the flask.

Limaille de fer porphyrisée of French pharmacy is made by purifying iron filings from particles of other metals by aid of a good magnet, sifting out the first dust, if at all rusty, after first triturating them in an iron mortar; but it is better to begin with recent unoxidized filings. These are beaten in a thin stratum in a mortar in which the bottom is very flat, and the face of the pestle of corresponding curve, using the sieve from time to time to remove the metallic dust. The operation is tedious and tronblesome, and led M. Puevene to the substitution of "Iron by Hydrogen," which is more elegant and soluble, but much more costly. It should have been observed that the instruments used must be perfectly dry and free from dampness, and that the operation should be performed on a dry day.

Alcoholized iron is largely sold in New York (probably among German apothecaries,) and is said to be often substituted for iron by hydrogen. The best of it cannot be far from equal to reduced iron, and it has the merit of not containing sulphur, so commonly observed in the commercial reduced iron.

It is to be regretted that some of the manufacturers of fine chemicals do not make reduced iron a speciality. The practical difficulties of the process are easily overcome and avoided by an intelligent operative, and once acquired, no reason need prevent regular results.

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Cannot some of our friends take hold of it, and supply the market with pure metallic iron by hydrogenic reduction, free from sulphur, and of a light spongy texture, at a price that will bring it into more general use?-American Journal of Pharmacy.

ON GRANULAR

EFFERVESCENT CITRATE OF
MAGNESIA.

BY JAMES W. MILL.

QUERY 19. What is the best formula for a granular effervescent Citrate of Magnesia, which shall be permanent, readily soluble in water and suitable for general use?

Soluble citrate of magnesia, in a granular form, is most conveniently obtained according to the writer's experiments by the process of M. de Letter, detailed in the Am. Jour. Pharm., July, 1863, page 312. To succeed well the ingredients should be immediately mixed and exposed in a warm, rather moist situation. The reaction is completed within a few days, and the resulting citrate, by simple trituration in a mortar and sifting, is readily obtained in a granular condition. An effervescent citrate may be made according to the following formula:

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Mix intimately and expose in a warın, moist atmosphere till all reaction has ceased. Dry, and by trituration and sifting reduce to a granular powder, then take of this:

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(Flavored with oil of lemon.)

66

Bicarb. soda (dried at a heat under 212°) 100 grs. Mix.

The granulated form of this preparation is handsomer in appearance and probably more permanent, but the powdered is to be preferred, nevertheless, on account chiefly of its readier solubility. The writer has tried the process of M. Morelli, published in the last number of our Journal of Pharmacy, (July No., 1866,) and finds it to yield a salt of readier solubility than any he has yet tried. The following formula is based on this process:

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REVIEW OF PROGRESS IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES.

41

Pulverize the citric acid, add the water, and then incorporate the carb. magnesia. The mass should be stirred frequently during the reaction; when dried and pulverized, add to each troyounce

Pulv. sugar (flavored with oil of lemon,)

Bicarb. soda (dry,)

Chicago, Ill., 1866.

ss.

100 grs. Mix.

-Proc. Am. Pharm. Ass. 1866.

Review of Progress in the Medical Sciences.

VALUE OF ARSENIC IN HEMORRHOIDS.-In the March number of this Journal we called the attention of the profession to this new application of arsenic.

We have just received from an intelligent medical friend, of long professional experience, the following note which confirms the statement made by us at that time:

Dear Doctor: Some eight weeks ago I had an attack of hemorrhoids, which so far incapacitated me for any physical exertion, that the exertion of carrying the least burden, or even continuous walking for any length of time, would be the cause of great pain and external tumefaction. Having had, within the last twelve years, repeated attacks of the kind, which were only relieved by nature's dangerous method, suppuration, or by extensive local depletion by leeches or the lancet, I expected in this instance a like termination. About two weeks ago I concluded to try Fowler's solution, though I must confess with only the slightest degree of faith in its efficacy. I used ten drops of it three times a day. On the third day I felt partially relieved, and four days after was fully restored.

I know the import of the post hoc propter hoc fallacy in reasoning, have heard say that it takes more than one swallow to make a summer, and am as slow of belief in new remedies as any one, but I am fully persuaded that I have been relieved of this most troublesome disorder by the agency of the arsenical solution so timely brought to light in your valuable Journal. J. C. B.-Cincinnati Journal of Medicine.

GRASS-TREE OF AUSTRALIA.-One of the curious productions of Australia is the Xanthorrhoea or Grass-Tree of Botany Bay, of which there exist a number of species, widely diffused throughout that region. Vol. 2, No. 1,-6.

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