This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Pharmacology, Therapeutics And Materia Medica", by T. Lauder Brunton. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica.
A volatile liquid, consisting of equal volumes of heavy oil of wine and of stronger ether.
The heavy oil of wine is either a mixture of ethyl sulphate (C2H5)2SO4, and a polymeric form of ethylene (C2H4), or else a sulphovinate of a hydrocarbon radical.
Characters. - A transparent, nearly colourless, volatile liquid, of a peculiar aromatic ethereal odour, a pungent, refreshing, bitterish taste, and a neutral reaction to dry litmus-paper. Specific gravity, 0.910.
Preparation. - By mixing alcohol with sulphuric acid, allowing it to stand for some hours (24 B.P.; 12 U.S.P.), and then distilling. The distillate consists of three layers - ether, water, and yellow ethereal oil of wine (lime water is added to it to neutralise any acid, B.P.). The yellow oil of wine is separated and exposed to the air for twenty-four hours in a shallow capsule, so that any ether evaporates. It is then used, B.P., but according to U.S.P. it is then put in a wet filter, washed with distilled water, and mixed with an equal volume of stronger ether. Preparation. Spiritus aetheris Compositus. Spiritus aethens Compositus, B. and U.S.P. Compound Spirit of Ether. Hoffmann's Anodyne.
Composition. - B.P., oil of wine 3, ether 64, rectified spirit 128; U.S.P., ethereal oil 3 parts, stronger ether 30, alcohol 67. The strength of the two preparations is nearly the same, as the oil of wine is diluted to make the ethereal oil of the U.S.P.
Use. - Like that of spirit of ether, but more powerful. It is given in similar doses.