Opium. - The concrete, milky exudation obtained by incising the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum Linne (nat. ord. Papaveraceae), and yielding, in its normal, moist condition, not less than 9 per cent. of crystallized morphine, when assayed. Synonym. - Poppy.


Western Asia; cultivated.


In irregular or subglobular cakes, with the remnants of poppy leaves and fruits of a species of Rumex adhering to the surface; plastic, or of a harder consistence; chestnut-brown or darker, and somewhat shining; internally showing some tears and fragments of vegetable tissue. It has a sharp, narcotic odor, and a peculiar, bitter taste.


The above is the official opium; but the following are met with in commerce, and may be used to prepare the alkaloids: (a) Constantinople Opium, small lenticular masses, 1/4 to 1/2 Ib. 120. to 240. gm. in weight, and enclosed in a poppy leaf, but without the Rumex seeds. Sometimes the terms Turkey and Levant Opium include this. (b) Egyptian Opium. Flat, more or less circular cakes, two or three in. 5. to 7.5 cm. in diameter, reddish hue internally, covered with a leaf externally. Persian, Indian, English, French and German opiums are rarely met with in England.


1) Alkaloids. - At least nineteen in number. Most are combined with Meconic Acid, some with Sulphuric Acid, and some are free. Some Morphine Salts, and Codeine are official. These two alkaloids and Narceine and Thebaine are important. The following are the alkaloids existing in Opium:

Morphine (2.5 to 22.8 per cent.). Codeine (0.2 to 0.7 per cent.). Thebaine (0.15 to 1 per cent). Narcotine (1.3 to 10 per cent.). Narceine (0.1 to 0.7 per cent.). Papaverine (1 per cent.). Pseudomorphine (0.2 per cent.).









in minute quantity.




in minute quantity. Deuteropine (not known in pure state).

Narcotine is more properly called Anarcotine. Apomorphine is an artificial alkaloid.

(2) Neutral bodies. - Two in number:

Meconin. Meconoiasin.

(3) Organic acids. - Two in number:

Meconic Acid, official in B. P. Thebolactic Acid.

(4) Water, about 16 per cent.

(5) Mucilage, resin pectin, glucose, fats, essential oil, caoutchouc, odorous substances, and ammonium, calcium and magnesium salts.

The following analysis shows how specimens vary:

Patna Opium 3.98 per cent. of Morphine, 6.36 per cent. of Anarcotine.

Smyrna " 8.27 " " 1.94 " "


Water, stones, fruits, leaves, starch, gum, and lead balls. Incompatibles. - Ferric chloride gives a deep red color (due to Meconic Acid). Zinc, copper and arsenic salts, silver nitrate, lead acetate and subace-tate, give precipitates of meconates, sulphates and coloring matters. All tannin-containing preparations precipitate codeine tannate. Fixed alkalies, their carbonates and ammonia precipitate morphine and anarcotine. The small amount of glucose in opium may cause it to explode when made into a pill with silver nitrate.

Dose, 1/4 to 2 gr.; .015 to .12 gm.