Preparation of medicinal liquid from fresh plants
The most complete and certain way to secure the powers of indigenous [local] plants, and plants that can be obtained fresh, is as follows:
1. Press out the juice and mix it, without delay, with an equal amount of wine spirit [alcohol] strong enough for a sponge to burn in it.
2. Let this mixture stand for 24 hours in a stoppered glass bottle.
3. Decant the clear liquid from the fibrous and albuminous matter that has settled and store the liquid for medicinal use. 213
4. Keep the preparation in a well-stoppered bottle, sealed with wax to prevent evaporation.
5. Store it away from sunlight.
The alcohol immediately stops all fermentation of the plant juice and makes subsequent fermentation impossible. The whole medicinal power of the plant juice is thus conserved forever (complete and unspoiled) in well-stoppered and sealed bottles, stored away from sunlight. 214
213 Bucholz (Taschenb. f. Scheidek. u. Apoth. a. d. J., Weimar, 1815, vols. I, VI) assures his readers (and his reviewer in the Leipziger Literaturzeitung [Leipzig Literary Newspaper], 1816, no. 82, does not contradict him) that we have the Russian campaign of 1812 to thank for this excellent mode of preparing medicines, from whence it came to Germany in 1813. Following the noble custom of many Germans to deny the merits of their compatriots, he conceals the fact that this invention and the directions that he quotes, in my own words, are from the Organon of the Rational Medical Art, first edition (§230 and footnote) which was published in 1810, two years before the Russian campaign. Some people would rather pretend that an invention came from the wilds of Asia than give a German just credit for it. What times! What customs!Alcohol has certainly been mixed with plant juices before (for example, to preserve them for some time before making extracts of them) but never with the intent to administer them in this form.
214 Equal parts of alcohol and freshly pressed juice are usually the most appropriate proportion for depositing the fibrous and albuminous matter, however there are exceptions:1. A double proportion of wine spirit [i.e. , twice as much alcohol as plant juice] is needed for plants that contain a lot of tough mucilage (e.g. , symphytum officinale, viola tricolor, etc.) or a lot of albuminous matter (e.g. , aethusa cynapium, solanum nigrum, etc.). 2. Plants with very little juice (e.g. , oleander, buxus, taxus, sabina, ledum, etc.) must first be pounded up alone into a moist, fine pulp and then stirred together with a double portion of alcohol, so that the plant juice and alcohol combine. Then the juice can be extracted by being pressed out. These plants can also be dried and then brought to the one-millionth powder-trituration with milk sugar (if one applies proper force with the mortar and pestle). After dissolving a grain of this, one can make further liquid dynamizations (see §271).