This section is from the "Elixirs And Flavoring Extracts. Their History, Formulae, & Methods of Preparation" book, by John Uri Lloyd. Also available from Amazon: Elixirs and flavoring extracts,: Their history, formulae, and methods of preparation;
Were pharmacists united in opposition to elixirs, and sufficiently independent to warrant them in saying that they are unnecessary preparations, and that they would not manufacture or dispense them; or could pharmacists so influence and control physicians as to positively prevent them from prescribing elixirs; or were the past numbers of all our pharmaceutical journals possessed by, or readily accessible to, each and every pharmacist in the country there would then be no necessity for, nor utility in, the publication of a work upon elixirs and the methods of preparing them. At the present time there undoubtedly exists a demand for this class of preparations, and, in order to improve, as well as retain, their legitimate trade, our pharmacists are, in a measure, compelled to dispense them, as they do not desire to displease their medical patrons by any indications of what might be considered as offensive dictation. Such being the case, and as a large number of the pharmacists of this country are not possessors of the past numbers of pharmaceutical journals, we have been induced to prepare this little work.
In presenting these formulae, the result of years of actual laboratory experience, and the careful study of the back numbers of all our pharmaceutical journals, we cannot doubt that they will be valuable to pharmacists, and that the investment will quickly return to each purchaser more than the outlay for the book.
Upon this question of elixirs we find our American pharmacists greatly divided: some decidedly object to them, no matter under what considerations or circumstances, and obstinately refuse to listen to a favorable word for any one of them; others uphold that carefully prepared elixirs, in which the disagreeableness and offensiveness of certain drugs entering into their composition are more or less masked, are to be commended. Not infrequently the opponents of elixirs are quite violent in their denunciation of them, and more especially as being of too complex a character; and yet these very objectors will favor other mixtures and preparations that are still more complex, and fully as unscientific as the majority of compound elixirs. On the other hand, the advocates of elixirs frequently associate incompatibles in their preparations, thereby rendering them valueless. By this course they weaken the cause they are endeavoring to sustain, as the articles they present to the public prove to be unreliable. In our opinion, there is an intermedium, a conservative position, between those who unreservedly condemn and those who indiscriminately recommend, and it will be found that there are many excellent pharmacists occupying this position who argue that, with judgment in selection and skill in manipulation, a line of elixirs may be produced that will favorably compare with the products of other sections of pharmacy, and that in their preparation as much science and competency may be displayed as in making other classes of pharmaceuticals.
In the present work we have endeavored to point out defects, as well as incompatible combinations; and though at first glance the impression may be conveyed that we entertain a positive hostility to elixirs, yet, as it must be admitted by every one that there is considerable room for friendly pruning, we trust that our remarks will be received in the same kind spirit as that in which they are made, and that we will not be reproached for being unnecessarily censorious. And notwithstanding that our criticisms may appear to be severe, we believe them to be fair and unprejudiced, and of such a character that both the advocate and the opponent of " American Elixirs " may derive both satisfaction and benefit from their perusal.
J. U. L.