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That many of the more popular quack medicines, tonics and bitters, are essentially alcoholic solutions, varying in percentage of alcohol from eight to about forty-five per cent, has been frequently demonstrated by analytical chemists.
The list published by the State chemist of Rhode Island, giving the alcoholic strength of some thirty or forty of the leading bitters, is familiar to those who have but moderately pursued this line of investigation.
It is not, however, so generally known that the two large classes of staple pharmaceutical preparations, viz. : Elixirs and fluid extracts, are very rich in alcohol, the fluid extracts generally containing over fifty per cent. Of these latter I wish now more particularly to speak.
It is doubtless true in the case of those fluid extracts of the more powerful drugs, such as aconite, nux vomica, and the like, that on account of the smallness of the dose, the
W. GC. SACCHARATED VERSUS ALCOHOLIC EXTRACTS. JAMA. 1885;IV(8):204–205. doi:10.1001/jama.1885.02390830008001d
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