Resorcin is a chemical compound of the phenol group and aromatic series, to which carbolic acid belongs. It is obtained from certain resins by the action of fusing alkalies, and is in the form of tabular, prismatic, shining crystals, somewhat sweetish to the taste, followed by a slight pungency. Resorcin is very soluble in water, 95 parts in 100, and to a less degree in alcohol, ether, glycerine and vaseline; chloroform and carbon sulphide will not dissolve it. It darkens on exposure to the air, and is phosphorescent when rubbed in the dark. Its odor is somewhat similar to that of phenol, but not so strong.

Medical Properties And Uses

Resorcin acts somewhat similar to quinine, although it differs from the latter in its lethal effects. Quinine, carbolic acid, and salicylic acid promote its effects; atropine antagonizes it. Through its action on the nervous system it greatly increases in frequency the respiration, which becomes convulsive and spasmodic, and afterward weak, but rapid. It also increases the action of the heart, causes the pulse to become weak and irregular. It is eliminated by the urine quite rapidly. It has no irritating action on mucous membranes.

Therapeutic Uses

Resorcin, on account of its less irritating property, is considered preferable to carbolic acid for internal use and subcutaneous injection. It is employed internally in catarrh of the stomach, ulceration, gastralgia, fermentative indigestion, fevers, for its antiseptic and antipyretic actions, and ulcerative endocarditis, etc., etc. Locally, on account of its antiseptic properties, in diphtheria, in syphilitic and other sloughing sores, and anthrax, in the form of crystals or powder, and in the form of spray in catarrhal and ulcerating affections of the nose and throat; in solution, on account of its antiseptic action, it is used for dressing putrid and atonic wounds, and is combined with water, glycerine and alcohol; it is also used in pomades.

A compound composed of resorcin and salicylic acid heated together, is known as "Salicyl Resorcin-Ketone," and is antiseptic to a degree, as it limits the development of, rather than destroys, septic germs. It is soluble in glycerine and alcohol, and is neither poisonous nor disagreeable to the taste.


Of resorcin, gr.v - xv. Five grains every two hours in an ordinary case.

Dental Uses

Resorcin is a valuable antiseptic in dental practice, and may be applied with advantage in all cases where antiseptics are indicated. A ten per cent. solution of resorcin is recommended in cases of chronic alveolar pyorrhoea (after cleansing the pockets with peroxide of hydrogen) where there is impaired circulation of the tissues. (See Antiseptic Uses of Carbolic Acid.)

Dental Formulae

For Alveolar Pyorrhoea.

Dr. A. W. Harlan.


Acidi carbolici . . .


Aquae q. s.....


Use as a mouth wash after removing all deposits, and the adjacent carious or necrosed bone.

A few drops of oil of peppermint or any other desirable oil may be added to the above.

For Alveolar Pyorrhoea.

Dr. A. W. Harlan. Resorcin . .

Acidi tannici .... gr.v

Signa 1392Signa 1393Signa 1394

Olei cassia.....


Aquae destillatae . . .


Inject with a syringe into the remains of the pockets in the after-treatment.

Signa 1395

For Mucous Patches of the Mouth.

Dr. A. W. Harlan.

Aquae destillatae . . . Signa. - Dry surface and paint with above.

Signa 1396Signa 1397