Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting tidbits from Gray's Pharmaceutical Quiz Compend

Within the 1937 book "A Condensed Compendium of Pharmaceutical Knowledge, A Quiz Book"1 there are some interesting glossaries and lists.

The book is "designed for the use of students of pharmacy preparing them selves for examination in colleges and pharmacy, and before the pharmaceutical examining boards of the various states."

Some pharmaceutical abbreviations
(Note: I haven't cross-checked all of these to see which ones are still in use today, though I have made footnotes on some entries. One current reference for this information is Wikipedia's List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions.)
  • Altern. hor. (every other hour)2
  • Aq. (water)
  • Aq. bull. (boiling water)
  • Aq. com. (common water)
  • Aq. dest. (distilled water)
  • Aq. ferv. (hot water)
  • Aq. fluv. (river water)
  • Aq. pluv. (rain water)
  • Carbo. (charcoal)
  • Coch. ampl. (tablespoonful)3
  • Cret. (chalk)
  • Flor. (flowers)
  • Ft. pulv. subt. (make an impalpable powder)4
  • Hydrarg. (mercury)
  • Lan. (wool)
  • Lig. (wood)
  • Lot. (lotion)5
  • Mic. pan (crumb of bread)
  • Ung. (ointment)
Selections from "Therapeutic Classification of Medicines"
(The wording of some of these definitions is interesting, from a historical standpoint.)
  • Aphrodisiac: Excites the functions of the genital organs when morbidly depressed.
  • Cholagogue: Increases the flow of bile.
  • Narcotic: Medicine having a sedative influence, frequently promotes sleep, relieves pain, may produce insensibility.
  • Vulnerary: Any remedy useful in healing wounds.

1. On the front cover, in gold lettering, the title is simply "Gray's Pharmaceutical Quiz Compend." The book was authored by H.C. Gray and R.E. Terry.
2. The modern abbreviation for "every other hour" has been shortened to "alt. h."
3. Coch. ampl. was short for Cochleare amplum and was used as the abbreviation for tablespoonful. The abbreviation used today is "tbsp."
4. Ft. pulv. subt. is an abbreviation for Fiat pulv. subtillum.
5. The lotion should, of course, be put in the basket.

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