Scientific American Supplement, No. 415, December 15, 1883 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 102 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 415, December 15, 1883.

May your noble society succeed in confining this torrent of evil in a narrower growing bed, and to deliver mankind from a curse which cannot be too much contended with.

* * * * *

PLANTAIN AS A STYPTIC.

[Footnote:  Read at the meeting of the Amer.  Pharm.  Assoc.]

By J.W.  COLCORD.

Several articles during the past few months, copied from English pharmaceutical journals, calling attention to the styptic properties of plantain leaves—­Plantago major—­having attracted my attention, I determined to try a few experiments when opportunity offered.  Having a shiftless neighbor whose yard produced a bountiful crop of the article, I was easily able to secure an abundant supply for my experiments.  Believing that better results would be obtained from fresh plants than from dried, I expressed the juice from them by means of an “Enterprise” mill, obtaining about 16 fluid ounces of juice from 3 pounds of leaves.  The juice was of a light green color, very turbid, evidently caused by a large amount of chlorophyl.  Setting aside 4 ounces of the filtered liquid for further experimenting, I packed the residue from the press into a conical glass percolator and exhausted with dilute alcohol, evaporating the percolate in a water-bath to two ounces, mixing with the 12 ounces of expressed juice and adding 2 ounces of alcohol.  This preparation, which I call a fluid extract, represents virtually equal parts by weight of the dried plants.  It is of a dark brown color with a marked odor of the recent plant, and so far, after standing three months undisturbed on my shelves, shows no sign of precipitation.

My next experiment was a mixture of equal quantities of the expressed juice with glycerin.  At the present time, after standing three months, the mixture is clear and bright, with no sign of precipitation.  This, I think, promises to be the most efficient preparation, and will prove valuable as an injection in the treatment of leucorrhoea, hemorrhages, and similar disorders.

Experiment number three was made with equal parts of the juice and alcohol, and number four with three parts of the juice with one part of alcohol.

In a short time a precipitate was observed in both samples in about equal proportions, and was removed about one month after making by filtering through paper, and neither has shown signs of precipitation since, and continue bright, clear, light-brown liquids.

Of their therapeutic value as styptics, I have not had sufficient trial to form an opinion, although, as far as I can judge, they have proved satisfactory.  While writing this article, a cook from a neighboring restaurant, with a finger sliced off in a potato slicer, exposing the bone, came in for treatment.  Having bandaged I applied the glycerate, which soon stopped the profuse bleeding, giving her a small bottle of it to apply subsequently.  I asked her to report to me in two or three days, and, on reporting, I found a healthy granulation presenting.  Its styptic properties are undoubtedly due to tannic acid, as all the tests I have been able to make prove this to be the case.  The readiness with which it can be obtained in the summer renders it a valuable adjunct, undoubtedly, to the materia medica of the country practitioner or housewife for stopping hemorrhages in simple wounds.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 415, December 15, 1883 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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