There is so much obscurity about this unofficial drug, and especially about the claims of the proprietary preparations of the drug, that Dr. Hatcher's summary, in this issue,1 of the scientific and would-be scientific literature of the chemical and experimental phases of the subject, and the record of his own investigation of two of these products, will make interesting reading. They reveal the following facts:
The chemical analysis of Cactus grandiflorus has yielded such variable results in the hands of different investigators that we must conclude that the active principles—if such exist—have never been isolated. This is now practically acknowledged by the Abbott Alkaloidal Company, who formerly claimed that their "cactin" was a glucosid, but who now state that it is only a "concentration"—a loose and indefinite term designating a pharmaceutical and not a chemical product.
It is evident, therefore, that commercial products said to contain the