The purified gall of the ox, Bos Taurus.

Preparation. - Mix fresh ox-bile (1 pint) and rectified spirit (2 pints) by agitation in a bottle, and set aside for twelve hours until the sediment subsides. Decant the clear solution, and evaporate it in a porcelain dish by the heat of a water-bath, until it acquires a suitable consistence for forming pills, B.P. Evaporate ox-gall 3 parts in a water-bath to 1 part. Add alcohol 1 part. After twenty-four hours decant, filter, distil off the alcohol, and evaporate to a pilular consistence, U.S.P.

Characters. - A yellowish-green substance, having a taste partly sweet and partly bitter.

Solubility. - It is soluble in water and in spirit.

Reactions. - A solution of one or two grains of it, in about a fluid drachm of water, when treated, first with a drop of freshly made syrup consisting of one part of sugar and four of water, and then with sulphuric acid cautiously added until the precipitate at first formed is redissolved, gradually acquires a cherry-red colour, which changes in succession to carmine, purple, and violet. Its watery solution gives no precipitate on the addition of rectified spirit.

Composition. - Taurocholic and glycocholic acids, mucus, cholesterin, fats, and salts.

Dose. - Of purified bile, 5-10 gr. or more, formed into pills or given in small gelatin capsules. When the object is to affect the intestines rather than the stomach, the latter mode is preferable.

Action and Uses. - Bile precipitates pepsin and interferes with the digestion of albuminous substances in the stomach. It seems also to irritate the mucous membrane and gives rise to headache and vomiting. It does not aid the digestion of farinaceous food. It quickens the absorption of fats, it prevents to some extent putrefactive changes in the intestinal contents, and it quickens peristaltic action. Some purgatives, such as aloes and jalap, only act when mixed with bile. It is therefore a useful adjunct to them in cases of jaundice with deficiency of bile in the intestine. It is sometimes used in dyspepsia with constipation, and is given by some along with opium in order to prevent the constipating effect of the latter. Its action in preventing putrefactive changes in the intestine may sometimes be useful in cases of indigestion where these occur (pp. 101, 378), and where the flatus has consequently a very disagreeable odour. In order to prevent its local action on the stomach, it may be given as pills coated with keratin.