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January 28, 1893

CAFFEINE AND THE QUESTION OF ITS ISOMERISM.Read in the Section of Materia Medica and Pharmacy, at the Forty-third Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, held at Detroit. Mich.. June, 1892.

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1893;XX(4):90-94. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420310008001e

In chemistry, caffeine is a body of distinctive molecular character, the subject of active research within the past ten years. In physiology it is bound to be of increasing interest that caffeine, the chosen adjunct of food, holds a remarkable relation to uric acid, an excretory carrier of nitrogen. In dietetics it is of wide import that the beverage plants of the world owe their effects in great measure to caffeines. In pharmacognosy it is worthy of attention that uncertain combinations of caffeines are in medicinal use. In these several studies it is desirable to settle the chemical question, whether caffeine be capable of isomerism or not.

This is not a question that has been raised by chemists; nor is there at present any chemical evidence, that I am aware of, for so much as a suggestion of the isomerism of caffeine. Pharmacologists have virtually raised this question, though they