CHLOROFORM (CHC1,, trichloro methane), is formed by the action of the sun's rays on a mixture of chlorine and marsh gas; also by the action of caustic potash on chloral or chloracetic acid, or by the action of nascent hydrogen on tetrachloride of carbon. It is prepared on a large scale by distilling water and alcohol with bleaching powder. Chloro form is a colorless, mobile, heavy, ethe real liquid. Specific gravity, 1.5. It boils at 62°; its vapor density is four times that of air; it is nearly insoluble in water, but dissolves readily in alco hol. It has a sweet taste. It dissolves caoutchouc, resins, fats, alkaloids, etc. It should not be exposed to the light, as it may decompose, hydrochloric acid and chlorine being set free.
Chloroform is used in medicine, dis solved in alcohol, under the name of chloric ether, as a stimulant. Chloro form taken internally acts as a narcotic, sedative, and antispasmodic, and is given in cases of asthma, colic, and cholera, also for neuralgia. Linimentum Chloro formi, equal parts of Chloroform and camphor liniment, is used externally to allay pain and irritation in neuralgia and itching.
The vapor of Chloroform, when in haled for some time, produces a tempo rary insensibility to pain. Inhaled in small doses it produces pleasurable in ebriation, followed by drowsiness; in larger doses it causes loss of voluntary motion, suspension of mental faculties, with slight contraction of the muscles and rigidity of the limbs; then if the in halation is continued a complete relaxa tion of the voluntary muscles takes place, but if carried too far it causes danger ous symptoms of apnoea or of syncope, and the patient must be restored by artificial respiration. Chloroform should not be administered to persons suffering from cerebral disease or organic cardiac affection. Dr. Simpson, of Edinburgh, in 1847, began to employ the vapor as a means of producing anwsthesia or insen sibility, partial or complete.