This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This very useful and popular preparation is made by macerating powdered opium, camphor, benzoic acid, oil of anise, and honey, in diluted alcohol. Opium is the chief active ingredient, and camphor next in importance. The others may be considered merely as adjuvants, to improve the flavour, and render the tincture more acceptable to the stomach. Liquorice was formerly used in its preparation, and still is used by some apothecaries, though it has been omitted in the process of the Pharmacopoeia, in consequence of the strong resemblance it occasions in the colour of the tincture to that of laudanum, and of the fatal errors that have originated in this cause. Certainly a little doubtful improvement in the taste should not be put into competition with life.
This tincture may be used when small doses of opium are indicated, and especially when its operation as a nervous stimulant is wanted. It is somewhat more stimulating than laudanum, and usually very acceptable to the stomach. It is much used in cough mixtures, but should not be given in the early stages of catarrhal affections, nor until expectoration shall have been established. It is better adapted to chronic catarrh, phthisis, asthmatic disease with copious expectoration, and pertussis at an advanced period, than to acute bronchial affections, except in their declining or suppurative stage. In slight diarrhoea, when the indication is simply to arrest the discharges, it is very useful; and it is an admirable remedy in the affection, as it occurs during the prevalence of epidemic cholera. It may also be usefully employed in slight gastric and intestinal pains or spasms, as an anodyne and carminative. To fulfil this indication it may often be used advantageously in infancy; but great care should be taken not to abuse it.
Containing only about one grain of opium in half a fluidounce, this tincture is not calculated to produce the full anodyne or soporific effects of that medicine. The dose of it, for the purposes for which it is usually employed, is a fluidrachm for an adult, and from three up to twenty drops for an infant, during the first and second year, being graduated to the age. It is rendered turbid by the addition of water, in consequence of the precipitation of the camphor.
Care must be taken not to confound this preparation with the ammo-niated tincture of opium, which has been used in Scotland under the name of paregoric, though very different from the above. It is readily distinguished by its ammoniacal odour and taste, and is seldom if ever prepared in this country,.