Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Tropical Forests to Twelfth Century >> Turpentine Oil

Turpentine Oil

oils, properties and pine

TURPENTINE OIL, the volatile oil or spirit obtained by distilling crude turpentine, the latter being obtained from coniferous trees by incision through the bark or wood. When crude turpentine is distilled there results resin, a solid, and the oil of turpentine, a liquid, which when pure is clear and colorless. It consists chiefly of an essential hydrocarbon oil and the resin, colophony. It is possessed of a penetrating, peculiar odor and a pungent, bit ter ta i taste. The various oils display marked diversities in physical properties according to their sources. They are insoluble in water, slightly soluble in aqueous alcohol and miscible in all proportions with absolute alcohol, ether and carbon disulphide. They are solvents for iodine, sulphur, phosphorus, resins and fixed oils. The two principal varieties are derived from the sap of the Pinus maritima, or the French maritime pine, and from the long-leafed pine of the Southern States of the United States. The former has a specific gravity of 0.864, boils at 161 and turns the plane of polar ization to the left; the latter has the same spe cific gravity and boiling point, but turns the plane of polarization to the right. Both oils

absorb oxygen from the air and acquire power ful oxidizing properties for the probable for mation of an organic peroxide (C,011,404). Turpentine absorbs chlorine with such energy as sometimes to set it on fire. Turpentine oil is of great importance in the arts, and is es pecially employed for giving consistency to oil paints and varnishes, conferring on them drying properties. In pharmacy, in small doses it is absorbed and acts as a stimulant, antispasmodic and astringent. It produces diuresis, and com municates to the urine passed a smell like that of violets. It can arrest hemorrhage in the capillary vessels. It is generally administered as an enema to destroy twnis, ascarides, etc., in the intestines. Applied externally, it is a powerful rubefacient. Chian turpentine, the product of the terebinth tree, has latterly been successfully employed in cancer.