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.
Red tints are readily produced by Cochineal, Coccus, the dried female insect, Pseudococcus cacti, and by Carmine, made from cochineal; but the color is not durable in some preparations, and a vegetable coloring matter is coming to be more largely used; it is Cudbear, obtained from the lichen, Rochella tinc-toria, which is stable in acid media. Tr. Persionis, of the National Formulary, is its most convenient form to give a bright red color, while the compound tincture gives a reddish brown tint. Five to 10 minims to the ounce are used. Red Rose Petals, Rosa gallica, in the form of an acid infusion, and the liquid extract of rose, adapted to acid mixtures and those containing tannin. Not adapted to alkaline mixtures, as they turn it green. Red Poppy Petals, Papaver Rhoeas, are similarly used. Syr-upus Rhoeados is a British preparation thereof. Red Saunders (see under "Kino") is a blood-red color precipitated by mineral acids. Alkanna Root, Alkanna tinctoria, is a good red adapted to tinting oils.
Brown is best obtained by using Caramel, or burnt sugar, Saccharum Ustum.
Yellow may be secured by using a trace of tr. hydrastis. Saffron (Tr. Croci), Crocus sativus, retains the color well. Glycerinum Croci is an eligible British preparation. Turmeric, Curcuma longa (Tr. Curcumae), is not a durable color and is turned brown by alkalies.
Tincture of Grass makes a pleasing green tint, due to contained chlorophyll.
Haematoxylin, q. v., produces a dark tint varying in different strengths.
Flavoring Agents need no detailed consideration here. See "Limonis," "Laurocerasus," "Mints," "Cinnamomi," "Glycyrrhizae," "Amygdalus," etc. The various medicated waters, Aquae, of the U. S. P. - Amygdalae Amarae, Anisi, Aurantii florum, Cinnamomi, Foenicula, Menthae pijperitae, Menthae viridis, and Rosae - are available. The U. S. P. syrups of almond, orange, orange flowers, rose, sarsaparilla, tolu, and ginger; and the Elixir Adjuvans (U. S. P. VIII), and Elixir Aromaticum, are readily procured because official. There are a number of official Spirits, largely paralleling the aquae; but Sp. Gaultheriae is not so paralleled. Several U. S. P. and N. F. tinctures - cardamon, cardamon compound, cinnamon, lavender compound, lemon peel, and vanilla - serve as flavoring agents.
There are so many official flavoring agents that any physician can dispense or prescribe products of extempore type that are fully representative of the much vaunted "elegant pharmacy."
A serious abuse in medical dispensing is the overemployment of tablets, filled capsules, granules, etc., used because of their convenience when not at all adapted to the case. These agents have a proper place; but physicians who dispense should not neglect the liquid remedies. It is not at all impracticable to carry a supply of bottles, tinctures, and other fluid preparations, flavors, coloring agents, diluents, etc., and dispense capably, scientifically, and - profitably. And it is equally practicable to write "elegant-pharmacy" prescriptions.