BUBONIC PLAGUE.—See PLAGUE.
BUCHU.—The leaves of a species of Barosma, derived from South African shrubs. The active principles are volatile oils and resins with an active glycosid, barosmin. Buchu is widely used as a stimulant for the mucous membrane of the genitourinary tract, and has been employed for many years in the treatment of subacute cystitis, prostatitis, and chronic specific urethritis. It is a very disagreeable drug to take, and cannot be recommended on the ground of its palatability.
BURNS.—Injuries caused by contact with fire, hot objects, molten metals, hot water or steam (scalding), or acids or alkalies (cauterisation). Distinction is made between slight, medium, and severe burns ; or burns of the first, second, and third degree. Burning appears either as reddening of the skin (first degree), blister formation (second degree), or as charring of the skin (third degree).
The treatment of injuries sustained by burning varies according to the degree of severity. For reddening of the skin, it is sufficient to powder the affected parts with flour, talcum, zinc oxide, or starch ; or to apply olive-oil, fat, white of egg, vaseline, or lanolin. If blisters are present they should be left unopened, and ointment of boric acid or of zinc oxide applied in order to alleviate the pain by excluding the air. The injured parts should be covered with a quantity of cotton, secured with a bandage. Applications of cold water should be avoided, as they tend to increase the pain. In every case of burning, and especially in the medium and severe forms, it is neces sary to consult a physician, inasmuch as severe inflammations and lasting suppurations may arise from continued unskilled home-treatment. Severely burned persons must be put in charge of a physician or a hospital without delay. In case of cauterisation of the skin by acids (nitric, sulphuric, carbolic, etc.) the injured parts should first be washed with water, where upon soda, green soap, chalk, or lime-water should be applied ; for burns froin lime or alkalies (soap-]yes) copious quantities of vinegar and water should be used as a If a person's clothing catches fire, throw a blanket, a rug, or any article of clothing over him, and roll him in this covering on the floor in order to extinguish the flames. Then pour \vater over him, and cut his clothes from him with a sharp knife or a good pair of scissors. If the burned person is thirsty he should be given warm \ va ter to drink.
BUTTER.—An article of food usually prepared from cream derived from milk which has been allowed to stand for some time. Such cream contains about 25 per cent. of fat, while that obtained from freshly-drawn milk con
tains only 3 to 31 per cent. The best butter is made from cream obtained by centrifuging, a method much in vogue at the present day. In order to preserve the butter, salt is added, but in this wav the delicate taste of sweet butter is entirely lost. The composition of good butter is as follows : water, 6 to IS per cent. ; casein, 1 to 3 per cent. ; fat, So to 95 per cent. ; and salt up to 6 per cent.
Substances productive of harm, which are found in milk, are present also in butter ; and a large number of bacteria, including those of tuberculosis and typhoid, have been found in that product. It Nrould, however, be ridiculous not to eat butter for this reason, since these germs of themselves do not necessarily cause disease ; the body must be in a condition favourable to permit them to multiply. It is important to avoid the possible harm resulting from the ingestion of rancid butter ; this condition can readily be detected by the sense of smell because of the evolution of free butyric acid. Light and air both hasten the process of decomposition, for which reason a dark and cool place should be provided for storing the supply of butter. If it is desired to store butter for a prolonged period, it is necessary to free it from all water and casein by melting, and then to add from i to 3 per cent. of salt. The latter product melts at 5S° F. ; pure butter anywhere from 55° to 66° F. ; and artificial butter at between 4o° and 55° F. The manner of distinguishing artificial butter, or oleomargarine, from natural butter is otherwise very difficult ; for in the highly developed processes of manufacture, even the taste of the pure butter is cleverly imitated. Some information may be gained by melting the butter and noting the character of the foam and the sediment. In rubbing good butter between the fingers there should be an absence of all grittiness, and it should not afford the sensation of being greasy or mushy. Rancid butter may be improved by kneading it with milk or buttermilk.
In addition to the adulteration of butter by the incorporation of other fats or of too much water, mention may be made of the otherwise harmless methods of colouring this product with certain preparations. This would undoubtedly be stopped at once if the public would accustom itself to look for dark butter only during the grazing season, and not at other times of the year to see any disadvantage in buying butter which is light in colour on account of the dry fodder given to the cattle.