C2H5OH. Sp. gr. of officinal alcohol, 0.820; of rectified spirit - Spiritus Rectificatus, 0.838; of stronger alcohol - Alcohol Fortius, 0.817; of diluted alcohol - Alcohol Dilutum (equal parts of alcohol and distilled water), 0.928.


Alcohol is obtained from vinous or fermented liquors by repeated distillations, and, in its officinal form, contains about fifteen per cent. of water. It is colorless, inflammable, wholly vaporizable by heat, and unites in all proportions with water and ether. It frequently contains such impurities as fusel or amylic alcohol (obtained from fermented grain or potatoes) ; the presence of which can be detected by agitating the alcohol with sulphuric acid, when the former becomes colored.

Stronger Alcohol. Alcohol Fortius - Absolute Alcohol

Alcohol Fortius - Absolute Alcohol - is obtained by agitating the officinal alcohol with heated carbonate of potassium. Sp. gr., 0.794, when containing no water.

Medical Properties And Action

All the different forms of alcohol, including brandy - Spiritus Vini Gallici (the spirit obtained from fermented grapes by distillation, and containing 45 to 55 per cent., by volume, of absolute alcohol); whisky - Spiritus Frumenti (the spirit obtained from fermented grain by distillation, and containing from 50 to 58 per cent., by volume, of absolute alcohol); wine - Vinum (the fermented juice of the grape, and containing alcohol in varying proportions) are powerful diffusible stimulants, increasing the action of the heart and arteries, exciting the nervous and vascular systems, and causing a general exhilaration of spirits. Excessive quantities produce the effect of narcotic poisons, ending in coma and death.

The habitual use of alcoholic drinks causes most injurious effects upon the system generally and directly upon the mucous coats of the stomach, deranging and destroying its functions and structure, resulting in dyspepsia, followed by cirrhosis of the liver and kidneys, loss of mental and physical strength, derangement of the nervous system, and at last, delirium tremens. When properly administered in diseased conditions, however, alcoholic preparations are valuable agents.

Therapeutic Uses

The different forms of alcohol are employed as stimulants in acute inflammations, such as pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis, pulmonary affections of children, etc., etc., and in rheumatic pericarditis, in the latter stages of typhus and typhoid fevers, diphtheria, acute neuralgia, convulsions of dentition, tetanus, asphyxia from cold, pyemia, etc., etc. Externally in superficial inflammation, bruises, sprains, ptyalism, gout, cerebral affections, bed sores, etc., etc. According to Bartholow, alcohol is an excellent hemostatic for restraining oozing from a large surface, and an efficient antiseptic dressing, as it destroys germs, removes fetor, and stimulates the tissues to more healthy growth.

Dental Uses

Alcohol, as a narcotic, is employed to relieve pain. In combination with tannic acid or chloride of zinc, it ob-tunds the sensibility of dentine; as a styptic, it arrests hemorrhage from relaxed tissues, coagulating the blood by its effect on albumen, and causing contraction of the mouths of the vessels by its astringent property. Equal parts of alcohol and water make an excellent application as an evaporating lotion, for the relief of superficial inflammations, its antiseptic properties rendering it useful as a mouth-wash when the secretions are vitiated and the surfaces of the mucous membrane soft and spongy. It is also useful for cleaning pulp canals as a preparatory treatment to the use of the more active antiseptic agents, such as the bichloride of mercury. For suppurating wounds, it is a useful antiseptic dressing, as it destroys germs, removes fetor, and stimulates the tissues to a more healthy action. It also favors the cicatrization of open wounds, coagulating the albumen, and forming an impermeable covering. In mercurial salivation (mercurial stomatitis), it forms an excellent gargle.

For softened and sensitive dentine, and for drying cavities preparatory to filling them, the stronger or absolute alcohol is employed. The spray of absolute alcohol is employed as a local anaesthetic, and is applied in the same manner as the spray of rhigolene. A simple method of preparing this form of alcohol is to add one part of carbonate of potassa to four parts of the ordinary or officinal alcohol. Owing to the great affinity carbonate of potassa has for water, it abstracts the latter from the alcohol to a sufficient degree to answer all practical purposes.

The cavity of a tooth is first dried with cotton and bibulous paper, and then bathed with the absolute alcohol, which at once evaporates, and causes the almost perfect absorption of moisture.

Brandy and water form, in combination, an excellent lotion for mercurial and other forms of stomatitis.

Dental Formulae

For Oblunding Sensitive Dentine. Alcoholis (absolute) . .

Acidi tannici.....


Dental Formulae 613Dental Formulae 614

For Superficial Inflammations.




To be applied as a lotion.

Signa 615Signa 616

For Obtunding Sensitive Dentine.

Alcoholis (absolute) . .

Zinci chloridi.....


Signa 617Signa 618

For Mercurial Stomatitis. Spts. vini gallici . . I part Aquae . . . . 4 to 6 parts. M. SlGna. - To be used as a gargle.

Signa 619

Antiseptic Bath for Instruments. Dr. A. W. Harlan. Alcoholis .... Hydronaphthol . . . Will not tarnish instruments which are dipped in it and allowed to dry.

Signa 620Signa 621

Local Anaesthetic.

Dr. A. W. Harlan.

Alcoholis.....5 parts

Tinct.Cannabis indica 2 parts Olieum cassiae . . . 1 part Acidi carbolici ... 3 parts. M.


For injection, or on cotton rope around tooth.

Signa 622

Antiseptic Mouth Wash.

Gallipe and Malassez.

Alcohol.....370 parts

Carbolic Acid . . 10 parts

Thymol..... 5 parts

Oil of peppermint . 15 parts Tincture of arnica 100 parts. M.

This may be colored with tincture of cochineal.


Use twice a day and at same time rinse out the mouth with a weak solution of boric acid.

Signa 623

For Pain After Extraction of Teeth. Dr. T. B. Welch.

Alcohol (best) ....

Chloroform ..'...

Sulphuric ether . . .

Gum Camphor ....

Tinct. opium ....

Oil cloves......


Apply in the cavity on a pledget of cotton.

Signa 624Signa 625

For Odontalgia. Dr. J. N. Harris. Alcohol is (best) . . .


Etheris Sulph .... Camphorae (gum) . .

Tinct. opii.....

Oleum caryophilli . .

Signa 626Signa 627


Apply to cavity, and soon as pain ceases fill the cavity with cotton moistened with carbolic acid and oil of cloves; drop on this cotton sandarach varnish, and allow it to remain 20 or 30 minutes.

Local Anaesthetic.

Dr. I. Alberto del Solar.

Alcoholis (98 per cent.)


Ether. sulph......



Apply to the gum 1 minute bucally and lingually, first carefully drying the surface. Not to be used hypodermically.

Signa 628Signa 629