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Recipe for Laudanum

Discussion in 'Campfire Chat - General Discussions' started by Bonny Blue Flag, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 2nd Lieutenant

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    "I found an old book of recipes at the library. In case anyone is interested, I am posting the recipe for laudanum. It is reprinted here exactly as it is in the book with the exception of the conversion of 1 gill to modern measurement. There is more information on recipes and dosage in the book. I'll post as I research if anyone is interested. "Dr. Chase's Recipes" by A.W. Chase, M.D. 1874

    Laudanum.-Best Turkey opium, 1 oz.; slice, and pour upon it boiling water, 1 gill (1/4 pint), and work it in a bowl or mortar until it is dissolved; then pour it into the bottle, and with alcohol of 76 per cent. proof, 1/2 pt., rinse the dish, adding the alcohol to the preparation, shaking well, and in 24 hours it will be ready for use. Dose -- Form 10 to 30 drops for adults, according to the strength of the patient, or severity of the pain.

    Thirty drops of this laudanum will be equal to one grain of opium. And this is a much better way to prepare it than putting the opium into the alcohol, or any other spirits alone, for in that case much of the opium does not dissolve. See the remarks occurring after "Godfrey's Cordial."
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    Soldiers were administered laudanum, an opiate alcohol syrup mixture, as a pain killer. This led to "Soldier Sickness" due to the addictive powers of opium. Later to offset the addiction to opium, morphine - a milder form of opium was invented. To offset the addiction of morphine, heroin - a weaker form of heroin - was invented and to offset heroin addiction, methadone - a synthetic opiate - was used and is used today.

    Sources:
    www.poppies.org
    "Laudanum Recipe (and more)"

    www.nlm.nih.gov
    "Methadone (Brand names: Dolophine, Methadose)

    www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphine
    "Morphine - Wikipedia"

    www.poppies.ws/poppies/growing-opium-poppies.html
    "Growing Opium Poppies"

    www.drugabuse.gov.publications/infofacts/heroin
    "Heroin - InfoFacts - National Institute on Drug Abuse"

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    76% alcohol (150 proof).....Everclear?

    --BBF
     
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  3. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    I'm pretty sure if I go to the supermarket and ask for some of their best Turkey Opium they will tell me to wait while they go get it. a few minutes later a couple of patrol cars will pull up in front of the store and the officers will want to have a word with me.

    :rofl:
     
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  4. Union_Buff

    Union_Buff Captain Forum Host

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    A very interesting post there Bonny :D

    Thanks for sharing it with us!
     
  5. davepi2

    davepi2 Private

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    John Wayne seemed too put it too pretty good use in The Shootist as I remember.
     
  6. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    Yeah and look how he ended up in the movie!

    :D

    Excellent movie BTW.
     
  7. Davidkmendel

    Davidkmendel Private

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  8. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    Now we know where the inspiration for the song, "Tie me wallaby down" came from.

    :D
     
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  9. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 2nd Lieutenant

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    DanF and Davidkmendel, too funny!

    --BBF
     
  10. James B White

    James B White 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner Member of the Month

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    I'm not sure I'd call morphine a milder form. Morphine was a refined form of opium, so was purer and therefore actually stronger, and was developed before the war, but didn't see as much use until later, compared to opium. Here's an 1861 description (p. 378) of the method recommended for manufacturing morphine in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia:

    The percentage of morphine that could be extracted varied from around eight to forteen percent, according to the same author's lecture, who explains, perhaps quoting from the Pharmacopoeia again: "Although the most powerful principle of opium, morphine is not used in medicine in its simple alkaline state. Owing to its great insolubility, it is by no means certain and constant in its effects, depending for its activity, no doubt, upon the degree and kinds of acid it meets with in the stomach."

    Morphine sulphate, acetate or hydrochlorate were the more common formulas. Though morphine's use was minor compared to laudanum and other opium preparations during the war, one does occasionally see "morphia sulphas" in military supply tables like this 1864 one. (p. 129).

    The lecturer quoted above hints at what would become the administration method of choice, when he mentions the effects of stomach acid. The hollow needle for hypodermic injection had been invented before the war and was coming into use, though other ways of administering medicines that bypassed the stomach were usually used, if they were necessary, such as enemas or inhalation which allowed a drug to be absorbed through the mucous membranes. It makes sense. Any country doctor could have or make the equipment to administer medicines that way, but a hollow needle required precise metalwork to manufacture and so was more expensive. Vaccinations were administered by scraping the skin and laying the vaccine matter in the wound. Trivia: if someone talks about receiving an "injection" of medicine from a doctor in an antebellum source, they probably don't mean what we mean: injections went in the bottom side with a clyster pipe, not into the skin with a needle, at that time. :smile:

    But after the war, the increased availability of morphine and hollow needles led to injection under the skin as the most certain method of administration.

    From the same 1861 lecture quoted above:

    Thus one can see the rise of morphia addiction post-war, which Bonnie Blue Flag mentioned, compared to laudanum addiction pre-war, as doctors turned to prescribing morphine for chronic conditions.

    For what it's worth also, here's Edward Robinson Squibb--the Squibb--commenting in 1870 on the method of making morphia from the pharmacopoeia (starting on p. 44). He wasn't real happy with it and recommended changes.
     
  11. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 2nd Lieutenant

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    James B. White, thank you so much for your information.

    --BBF
     
  12. jenkingish

    jenkingish Corporal

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    I think that would top the list of most awkward moments. :giggle:
     
  13. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    This'll come in handy when we talk in class about laudanum and yellow fever in the epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793, right before we read Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. I usually say something like, Laudanum didn't do a thing to cure the fever, but it sure made you feel good while you were dying of it! :smile:
     
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  14. reading48

    reading48 1st Lieutenant

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    Did you try it yet Bonny ????????
     
  15. henry lloyd

    henry lloyd Corporal

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    In the book, "Confederacy's Last Hurrah" by Wiley Sword, the author suggests that John B. Hood may have been under the influence of laudanum during the Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville campaign, that perhaps his judgment could have been somewhat impaired during those days. He never came right out and declared that to be the case, however. And on the other hand, historian and cwt member Eric Jacobson, author of at least two books on the campaign says there is no evidence supporting the conclusion that Hood was somehow impaired by opiates.

    Henry
     
  16. James B White

    James B White 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner Member of the Month

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    That's a little before the time I usually study, but I'm always curious about medical history. Did a quick look, and it seems that opium and laudanum were considered by doctors as not helpful, and possibly harmful, for yellow fever at that time?

    The well-respected Benjamin Rush (p. 101) gave it very faint praise, as "less hurtful" in the 1794 season than 1793, while another doctor (p. 263 and the next page) reported opium and laudanum did more harm than good for yellow fever:

    Is that the kind of thing you're running across, or that Laurie Halse Anderson says?

    By the way, Dr. Rush at the link above gives a good example of what I mentioned in the previous post, about what doctors did before the hypodermic needle, to get medicines absorbed directly. He says, "I administer a few drops of laudanum, in one case in the form of a glyster... In this way I have often obtained the composing effects of laudanum where it has been rejected by the stomach." A "glyster" was a period term for an enema. Another solution, also used during the war for men with wounds, was to apply the opium to the wound itself, where it could be absorbed into the bloodstream.
     
  17. diane

    diane Colonel Forum Host

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    I don't think it was laudanum the matter with Hood - think it was more likely Buck Preston! Another amputee with, most likely, an addiction problem with laudanum was Nelson. Nobody will ever know if he did have a problem as he bought it everywhere he went - which was all over - and administered it himself. But, he won all his famous battles after he got hooked! Like Hood, he had major phantom pain problems - lots of amputees get that. The pain sure wasn't phantom - just the gone limb it came from... My dad tells of a buddy who lost a leg at Mindanao - didn't hurt but his itchy big toe on the missing leg drove him crazy!
     
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  18. Robtweb1

    Robtweb1 2nd Lieutenant Retired Moderator Civil War Photo Contest
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    I believe that Laudanum was the pain killer of choice used by the surgeons of both sides. Since Hood lost his leg in September of 1863, it is within reason to assume that he had been taking it since then. Regular use of such a thing would affect your judgement.
     

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