Opium. Opium, Fr.; Opium, Ger. The concrete milky exudation obtained in Asia Minor from the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum, by incision and spontaneous evaporation. (Nat. Ord. Papaveraceae).

Opium should yield at least nine per cent of morphine by the process of assay.

Opii Pulvis

Powdered opium. Opium dried at a temperature not exceeding 185° Fahr., and reduced to a moderately fine powder (No. 50). It should contain not less than twelve nor more than sixteen per cent of morphine. Dose, gr. j—gr. iij.

Opium Deodoratum

Deodorized opium. Opium freed from materials soluble in ether—odorous matters, narcotine, etc. It should contain fourteen per cent of morphine. Dose, gr. j—gr. iij.

Emplastrum Opii

Plaster of opium. (Extract of opium, Burgundy pitch, and lead-plaster.)

Extractum Opii

Extract of opium. Dose, gr. ss—gr. ij.

Pilulae Opii

Pills of opium. Dose, one to four pills. Each pill contains one grain of opium.

Pulvis Ipecacuanhae et Opii

Compound powder of ipecacuanha. Dover's powder. Ten grains contain one grain each of ipecac and of opium, and eight grains of sugar of milk.

Tinctura Opii

Tincture of opium. Laudanum. Thirteen minims or twenty-five drops are equivalent to one grain of opium.           

Acetum Opii

Vinegar of opium. Ten minims or twenty drops are about equal to one grain of opium.

Tinctura Opii Camphorata

Camphorated tincture of opium. Paregoric. Half a fluid ounce contains nearly one grain of opium. Dose, for children, from gtt. v.—gtt. xx; for adults, from 3 j— oz j.

Trochisci Glycyrrhizae et Opii

Troches of licorice and opium. Dose, one to three or four.

Tinctura Opii Deodorati

Deodorized tincture of opium. Dose, τηv— 3 j.

Vinum Opii

Wine of opium. (Opium, cinnamon, cloves, sherry wine.) Dose, τη v— 3 j.


About half of the weight of opium is made up of gum, pectin, albumen, fragments of the poppy-capsules, and calcareous salts. It contains, also, some coloring-matter, and a volatile substance in minute quantity. The proportion of water varies from twelve to thirty per cent. A large number of basic, acid, and neutral substances have been and are still being discovered in opium, hence its chemistry is very complex.

The following natural alkaloids have been found in opium. Various derivatives of these have also been described. This list, except some unimportant modifications, is taken from Flückiger and Hanbury's admirable Pharmacographia:


Crystallizable, alkaline. Volatile at 100°. (C12 H15N1O3.)

Morphine (morphina)

Crystallizable, alkaline. (C17H19N1O3.)


Crystallizes with H2O, does not unite even with acetic acid. (C17H19N1O4.)

Codeine (codeina)

Crystallizable, alkaline, soluble in water. (C16 H4N1O3.)

Thebaine (thebaina)

Crystallizable, alkaline. (C19H21N103.)