(From fish, and glue). Isinglass; colla piscium; alcanna; and huso; fish glue, is a solid glutinous substance, prepared in Muscovy from the sturgeon. The skins and fins are boiled in water; the decoction is inspissated to a due consistence, and poured out so as to form very thin cakes, which are either dried in that form, or cut while soft into slices, and rolled up into spiral and other shapes. A finer kind is, it is said, prepared by rolling up the air bladders of the accipenser struthio. That which is clear, thin, and almost transparent, is the best. See Philosophiral Transactions, vol. lxiii.
It is one of the finest of the animal glues, without smell or taste. When beat into shreds, it readily dissolves in water or milk, forming a mild, nutritious, restorative aliment; as well as a remedy in the fluor albus, continued diarrhoeas, and other evacuations from debility. Its solution in water or spirit, if nicely spread upon silk, is an elegant plaster for slight injuries to the skin; and, joined with some resins, it is called court plaster. (See Empl. adhaesivum nigrum.) It is said to agree with the gum tragacanth in medicinal virtues; but, like all other animal mucilages, it soon runs into a state of putrefaction, and becomes more irritating than the vegetable mucilages. Hollow cylinders of isinglass are employed to support the sides of a divided intestine, when united by a suture. A passage is thus left for the contents, which by a solution of the isinglass is gradually enlarged till the wound is healed. See Lewis's Materia Medica; Neumann's Chemical Works; Cullen's Materia Medica.