1. Martindales 24th. 1958
2 United States Dispensatory 1926
Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes.

1. Martindales 24th. 1958
Spermaceti (B.P.C.). Cetaceum
; Blanc de Baleine; Walrat; Esperma de ballena.

Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Chil., Cz., Dan., Fr., Ger., Hung., Jap., Jug., Nor. Pol., Span., Swed., Swiss., and U.S.

A solid wax obtained from the head of the sperm whale, Physeter catodon (=P. macrocephalus) (Physeteridse) and the bottle-nosed whale, Hyperoodon restrains (Ziphiidse). Translucent, crystalline, pearly-white, unctuous masses with little odour and taste, consisting mainly of cetyl palmitate.

Insoluble in water and cold alcohol; soluble 1 in 7 of ether, 1 in 1-25 of chloroform, 1 in 16 of boiling alcohol, in carbon disulphide, and in fixed and volatile oils. M.p. 42� to 50�.

Uses. Spermaceti is a common ingredient of cold creams and may be added to theobroma suppositories in hot climates.

Ung. Cetac. (B.P.C. 1949). Spermaceti Ointment. Spermaceti 20 g., white beeswax 8 g., liquid paraffin to 100 g.

2 United States Dispensatory 1926

A fatty substance, obtained from the head of the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus Linne (Fam. Physeteridai)." U. S. "Spermaceti is a solid wax obtained from the Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, Linn., and possibly other species." Br.

Blanc de Baleine, Fr. Cod.; Spermaceti, Cetine Ambre Blanc, Fr,;Cetaceum, P. G.; Walrat, 0.; Cetina, It.; Esperma de ballena, Sperma ceti, Sp.

The spermaceti whale is from sixty to eighty feet long, with an enormous head, not less in its largest part than thirty feet in circumference, and constituting one-third of the whole length of the body. The upper part of the head is occupied by large cavities, separated by cartilaginous partitions, and containing an oily liquid, which, after the death of the animal, concretes into a white spongy mass consisting of spermaceti mixed with oil. This mass is removed, and the oil allowed to separate by draining. The crude spermaceti obtained from a whale of the ordinary size is more than sufficient to fill twelve large barrels. It still contains much oil and other impurities, from which it is freed by expression, washing with hot water, melting, straining, and repeated washing with a weak boiling potash lye. Common whale oil and the oil of other cetaceous animals contain small quantities of spermaceti, which they slowly deposit on standing. According to W. Gilmour, sperm oil should contain not less than 4 per cent, of cetin, and if much less be obtained by the following process, adulteration has been practised. Shake one part by weight of sulphuric acid (sp. gr. 1.84) with four parts of the oil; allow to stand 20 minutes, shaking twice; add three parts of distilled water; shake this thoroughly, and allow to stand from 16 to 20 hours; dilute with 3 or 4 times its volume of distilled water; agitate thoroughly. On standing, the cetin floats upon the top, and can readily be skimmed off, washed, dried, and weighed. (See also Chem. Ztg., 1893,1453, and Am. Drug., 1895, 105.)

Description and Physical Properties. � "White, somewhat translucent, slightly unctuous masses, having a crystalline fracture, and a pearly luster. It has a very faint odor and a bland, mild taste. It is free from rancidity. Spermaceti is insoluble in water, nearly insoluble in cold alcohol, and only slightly soluble in cold petroleum benzin. It is soluble in boiling alcohol, ether, chloroform, carbon disulphide, and in fixed or volatile oils.

Specific gravity: 0.938 to 0.944 at 25� C., as determined by the method given under Cera Flava, using alcohol warmed to from 38� to 40� C. Spermaceti melts between 42� and 50� C. It dissolves completely in fifty parts of boiling alcohol (paraffin), and the solution is neutral or not more than slightly acid to moistened litmus paper. Warm a mixture of about 1 Gm. of Spermaceti and 10 cc. of ammonia T.S. in a stoppered vessel until the Spermaceti is melted, shake it thoroughly for a few minutes, cool, and filter: on acidulating this filtrate with hydrochloric acid, it may become turbid, but yields no precipitate (steario acid}." U. S.

Translucent, pearly-white, glistening masses, with a leafy, crystalline structure; slightly unctuous to the touch. Almost inodorous. Specific gravity 0.950 to 0.960; acid value not more than 1.0; saponification value 125 to 136; iodine value 3 to 4.4; refractive index at 80� C. about 1.4330. Soluble in 50 parts of hot alcohol (90 per cent.), the greater proportion separating again in thin laminae on cooling. Reducible to powder with the aid of a little alcohol (90 per cent.). When 1 gramme is boiled with 10 millilitres of alcohol (90 per cent.) for one minute and the mixture cooled to, and filtered at 0� C. the filtrate when poured into water may become opalescent, but does not afford a precipitate (absence of stearic acid)." Br.

As found in commerce it is not chemically pure, containing a fixed oil, and often a peculiar coloring principle. From these it is separated by boiling in alcohol, which on cooling deposits it in crystalline scales. Thus purified, it does not melt under 49� C., is soluble in 40 parts of boiling alcohol of the sp. gr. 0.821 (Thenard), and is harder, more shining, and less unctuous than ordinary spermaceti.

Spermaceti is a mixture of various fats. The chief constituent is cetin (cetyl palmitate, C16H33O.C16H31O). Cetyl alcohol, C16H33OH, is also present in appreciable amounts. There are small amounts of lanric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic acids, and also of dodecyl, tetradecyl and octadodecyl alcohols. L. F. Kebler, after examining about twenty samples of spermaceti, found that commercial specimens have a melting point of from 42� to 47� C., a specific gravity ranging from 0.905 to 0.945 at 15� C., and saponification numbers from 125.8 to 134.6. (A. J. P., 1896, 7, and 1897, 104.)

Uses. � Spermaceti exercises emollient effects like other fatty substances, but it has no other remedial properties. It is used chiefly to add firmness to ointment bases. It may be reduced to powder by the addition of a little alcohol or almond oil, or by melting it at a very low heat, pouring into a warm mortar, and agitating it until perfectly cold; an emulsion may be made by mixing spermaceti first with half its weight of olive oil, then with powdered gum Arabic, and lastly with water.

Spermaceti Cerate (Ceratum Cetacei, U. S. 1890) was made by melting together 10 parts of spermaceti and 35 parts of white wax and then adding 55 parts of warmed olive oil.

Off. Prep. � Unguentum Aquae Rosas, U. S., Br.; Unguentum Capsici, Br.; Unguentum Cetacei, Br.


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