This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
The fecula of the seed of Zea Mays Linne (nat. ord. Gra-mineae).
Tropical Asia and Africa; cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries.
In irregular, angular masses, which are easily reduced to a fine powder; white, inodorous, and tasteless; insoluble in Ether, Alcohol, or cold water. Under the microscope appearing as granules, nearly uniform in size, more or less angular in outline, with indistinct striae and with a distinct hilum near the centre.
Its ultimate composition is C6H10O5, but it consists of a mixture of various modifications of Starch-cellulose and Starch-granulose.
Glyceritum Amyli. - See Glycerin, p. 609.
Starch is chiefly employed for its mechanical properties, on account of which it is used as a basis for dusting powders and insufflations. The glycerite is a basis for suppositories. The mucilage (1 to 40 of water, gradually added and then boiled and stirred for a few minutes) is a basis for ointments, and may be used to suspend insoluble powders or oils; it is very convenient as a basis for enemata, but does not keep well and is therefore not suitable as a vehicle for a mixture.