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..
Glycyrrhiza. - Synonym. - Liquorice Root. The root of Gly-cyrrhiza glabra Linne, and of the variety glandulifera (Waldstein et Kittai-bel) Reger et Herder (nat. ord. Leguminosae).
Southern Europe and Western Asia; cultivated.
In long, cylindrical pieces, from 5 to 25 mm. thick, longitudinally wrinkled, externally grayish-brown, warty; internally tawny-yellow; pliable, tough; fracture coarsely fibrous; bark rather thick; wood porous, but dense, in narrow wedges; medullary rays linear; taste sweet, somewhat acrid. The underground stem, which is often present, has the same appearance, but contains a thin pith. The drug derived from the variety glandulifera (so-called Russian Liquorice), consists usually of roots or root-branches, I to 4 cm. thick, 15 to 30 cm. long, frequently deprived of the corky layer, the wood rather soft, and usually more or less cleft. Resembling Liquorice. - Pyrethrum and Taraxacum, which are not sweet.
The chief constituents are - (1) Glycyrrhizin C24H36 O9, about 6 per cent., a yellow amorphous glucoside, probably in combination with Ammonia. With acids this yields a very bitter substance, Glyeyrrhetin, and glucose. (2) Asparagin, about 3 per cent. (3) Glycyramin. (4) An acrid Resin. (5) Starch.
Glyeyrrhiza is used in Decoctum Sarsaparillae Compositum, Extractum Sarsaparillae Fluidum Compositum, Massa Hydrargyri, Pilulae Ferri Iodidi, Pulvis Morphinae Compositus, Tinctura Aloes, and Tinctura Aloes et Myrrhae.
Liquorice or its preparations are contained in many preparations, generally to cover their nauseous taste. They conceal very well that of Aloes Rhamnus Purshiana, Ammonium Chloride, Hyoscyamus, Senega, Senna, Turpentine, and very bitter substances, as Quinine Sulphate.
1. Extractum Glycyrrhizae. - Extract of Glycyrrhiza. Synonym. - Extract of Liquorice.
In flattened, cylindrical rolls, from 15 to 18 cm. long, and from 15 to 30 mm. thick; of a glossy, black color. It breaks with a sharp, conchoidal, shining fracture, and has a very sweet peculiar taste. Not less than 60 per cent. of it should be soluble in cold water.
Extract of Glycyrrhiza is contained in Trochisci Ammonii Chloridi and Trochisci Glycyrrhizae et Opii.
Pure Extract of Glycyrrhiza is used to make Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita.
3. Extractum Glycyrrhizae Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Glycyrrhiza. By maceration and percolation with Water of Ammonia, Alcohol and water, and evaporation.
4. Glycyrrhizinum Ammoniatum. - Ammoniated Glycyrrhizin.
Glycyrrhiza, by maceration and percolation with Water of Ammonia and Water; precipitation with Sulphuric Acid, solution with Water of Ammonia, and drying.
Dark-brown or brownish-red scales, without odor, and having a very sweet taste.
Readily in Water and in Alcohol.
Dose, 5 to 15 gr.; .30 to 1.00 gm.
5. Pulvis Glycyrrhizae Compositus. - See Senna, p. 493.
6. Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita. - Compound Mixture of Glycyrrhiza. Synonym. - Brown Mixture. Pure Extract of Glycyrrhiza, 30; Sugar, 50; Mucilage of Acacia, 100; Camphorated Tincture of Opium, 120; Wine of Antimony, 60; Spirit of Nitrous Ether, 30; Water, to 1000.
Dose, 1 to 4 fl. dr.; 4. to 15. c.c
Liquorice is an excellent demulcent for sore throats. It is used to conceal the taste of disagreeable medicines, and as a basis for pills. The compound liquorice powder is laxative by virtue of its senna although liquorice itself has distinct laxative properties. Brown Mixture is much used in dispensary practice as an expectorant.