This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Sugar. Cane Sugar is sucrose, which is derived from Saccharum officinarum, from various sorghums and from the sugar beet. It is nutrient, demulcent, and antiseptic; it is slightly diuretic. Eaten freely it interferes with alcoholic intoxication, probably owing to its retarding gastric absorption. It is stated that the eating of candy helps an alcohol addict to overcome the habit. Dr. Bernard Fantus has recently written a very practical book on "Candy Medication" (C. V. Mosby Company, St. Louis, Mo.), giving a wealth of formulae, some of which are designed to cover the taste of vegetable drugs. He uses certain special sugars.
Cane sugar is used pharmaceutically to an immense extent as a sweetening and preservative agent. Mixed with iron it is a protective against oxidation.
Sugar is sometimes used as a surgical dressing; it is markedly antiseptic. It is also used in scrubbing the hands preparatory to surgical operation. Molasses is, in emergency, a suitable application to burns. Also, in emergency, sugar is a good styptic.
Crude sugar and molasses are mild laxatives, and in catarrhal affections of the air passages sugar has a soothing effect. The vapor of boiling cane juice allays bronchitis. Hiccough in nursing infants is frequently stopped by giving sugar. Syrup of lime is one of the antidotes to phenol poisoning.
Sugar of Milk is official also. It is used in "humanizing" cows' milk in infant feeding. Changes in the lactose of milk, by fermentation, are the basis of Koumiss, Kephir, and like products. For details see "New and Nonofficial Remedies," published by the American Medical Association. Also see, in this book, "Bacillus Bulgaricus."
Sugar of milk stimulates the mammary gland secretion in nursing women, while glucose depresses such secretion. Never allow a nursing woman to use glucose table syrups.
Malt, q. v., under its separate heading, contains dextrin and reducing sugars. Also see "Manna" for a discussion of other laxative sugars. Dextri-Maltose (Mead) contains 52% maltose, 42% dextrin, and some sodium chloride. It is readily assimilable and is used to supplement the carbohydrate deficiency of cows' milk in infant feeding. It is used as sugar of milk. Dextrose, saccharum amylaceum, is a carbohydrate prepared by the action of dilute acids on starch. This is the commercial glucose, and the objection to it is the trace of acid remaining in the finished product. Except for this acid, commercial glucose is similar to grape sugar or the invert sugar of honey.
Mel, Honey, is an official sugar. It is a natural form of glucose or dextrose. It has been asserted by some, and denied by others, that artificial glucose will, if largely used, induce diabetes. This charge is not brought against natural glucose.
Honey is a food, a demulcent and mild laxative.
Dextrose (glucose) Pure Grape Sugar. When ordinary carbohydrates are contraindicated, as in diabetes, dextrose (glucose) may be given by mouth.
After abdominal operations a solution of dextrose (glucose) may be injected subcutaneously or intravenously, preferably intravenously, a 5 per cent. isotonic solution being used. It is usually placed in a vacuum bottle to maintain the temperature, as the injection must be slow to avoid pulmonary edema. This method is exceedingly useful if aceto-nuria exists, post operative or under other conditions of severity. In less severe cases, dextrose solutions are injected into the rectum. In the toxemia of pregnancy and the puerperium, and in delayed chloroform poisoning, dextrose (glucose) may be similarly used. Given by the mouth, this form of sugar is constipating.
Levulose, Fruit Sugar, is known as fructose. A proprietary form, Levulose-Schering, is a pure, crystallized fructose absolutely free from ordinary glucose.
Levulose may be used in just the same way as dextrose (glucose), and it is sweeter than either cane sugar or glucose. It may be given up to 4 or even 8 ounces daily in the wasting diseases of children, such as malnutrition and marasmus and even in tuberculosis, but it is rarely that over 2 ounces a day are given.
Many cases of diabetes are able to tolerate levulose when other carbohydrates are excreted as glucose. Each case can be judged by the ordinary tests for glucose (sugar) in the urine. In suitable cases levulose may be used for sweetening the food and drink of diabetics. One or two ounces are used per day, but in severe cases less is used. If diabetic coma seems to be impending, levulose may ward it off.
Burnt Sugar, Saccharum ustum, or caramel, is used pharmaceutically as a coloring matter.
Saccharin, Benzosulphinide, is official as a synthetic sweetening agent. It is used in diabetes. One-quarter to one-half grain will sweeten a cup of tea. Some patients like it, but it disgusts others. Some of these latter will prefer Dulcin, para-phenol-carbamide. These agents are not so much advised as formerly. Most diabetic cases will tolerate small quantities of levulose, and these synthetic products be unnecessary.