This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This is prepared by dissolving tartar emetic in sherry wine, in the proportion of two grains to each fluidounce. Madeira or good teneriffe will answer equally well. The inferior wines, and all those having astringent properties, are unsuitable as a menstruum; because they often contain principles which decompose tartar emetic, and form with it insoluble precipitates. in the case of the red or astringent wines, the tannate of antimony is formed and deposited. The advantage of wine, as a solvent of tartar emetic, is that, through the alcohol it contains, the antimonial is protected against the decomposition which it always undergoes in aqueous solution when kept; while, if the stronger alcoholic liquids were used, the preparation would be rendered too stimulating, if, indeed, the spirituous liquors would dissolve the antimonial without dilution.
Antimonial wine should never be substituted for the aqueous solution, when this can be conveniently obtained, and especially when the pure sedative effect is desired. But, for extemporaneous use, in families, and especially upon occasions where the antimonial may be wanted in haste, the wine answers an excellent purpose. it is also very convenient for the extemporaneous administration of small doses; as the smallest quantity required, even in the youngest infant, may be obtained by dropping it. To adults it is seldom administered, except as an expectorant. For a child a year or two old, with a view to its moderate sedative effects, from two to eight drops may be given for a dose, repeated every hour, two, or three hours; beginning with a small amount, and increasing, if necessary; but, on the occurrence of vomiting or purging, or of symptoms of prostration without these phenomena, immediately diminishing the dose, or omitting the medicine altogether.
Compound Syrup of Squill (Syrupus Scillae Compositus, U. S.) contains a grain of tartar emetic in each fluidounce; but as it is used only as an expectorant or emetic, it will be noticed more particularly in another place.
Three distinct preparations have been introduced into pharmacy, to each of which the above name belongs. All of them consist of sulphuret of antimony combined with oxide of the same metal; and they differ simply in the proportion of their constituents, though the precise amount of this difference has not been determined, probably because it is variable. They are the precipitated sulphuret of antimony, kermes mineral, and golden sulphur of antimony. I shall first treat of them severally, in their chemical and physical relations, and afterwards jointly, in reference to their effects.