It contains 19 per cent. of the solid salt, NaC2H5O.

Characters. - A colourless liquid of syrupy consistence, becoming brown by keeping. Specific gravity 0.867.

Preparation. - By dissolving metallic sodium (1) in ethylic alcohol (20) contained in a flask which is kept cool in a stream of cold water. The solution should be recently prepared.

Reactions. - When heated it boils and gives off alcoholic vapours, leaving a white salt which, on being strongly heated, chars. If the white salt be mixed with water and heated, it yields alcohol, and the solution, on evaporation, leaves a white residue consisting almost wholly of caustic soda.

Action. - It is a powerful caustic.

Use. - To destroy naevi. It should be applied by means of a glass rod to the naevus for two or three days successively, and then discontinued until the scab which forms has become detached, after which the treatment should be resumed.