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494 MEDICAL JUEISPRUDENCE
occurred, and a few suicidal cases have also been reported, In his annual report for
the year 1930 the Chemical Examiner of the United and the Central Provinces describes
the case of a woman who attempted to commit suicide by taking tincture iodine. On
analysing the vomited matter he found potassium iodide but no free iodine. On the
first December 1949, a case occurred in Bombay, where a Hindu male, 23 years old,
swallowed 4 ounces of tincture iodine with intent to commit suicide, but he was at once
removed to hospital where he recovered under prompt treatment. The preparations of
iodine cannot be used for homicidal purposes, as they colour farinaceous foods blue.
A strong solution of iodine (liquor lodi fortis) has produced irritant symptoms
when injected into a cyst or body cavity, or when applied to the skin.
Iodine is excreted in the form of iodide and iodate in the urine, perspiration, saliva,
bile, milk and bronchial mucus. During its elimination by the kidneys it causes their
inflammation, giving rise to suppression of unne.
Boracic Acid or Boric Aeid (Acidum Boricum, B.P.), HsBOa.—This occurs in powder
or in white, pearly lamellar crystals. It is feebly acid and soapy or greasy to the touch,
and is slightly acid and bitter in taste. It is soluble in 25 parts of cold water, in 3 parts of
boiling water, in 4 parts of glycerin and in 30 parts of alcohol. The dose is 5 to 15 grains.
The official preparations made from boric acid are—
1. Glycerinum acidi borici—It is known as boroglycerin glycerite and contains 31
per cent of acid boric*
2, Unguentum acidi bond.—It contains 1 per cent of acid boric.
Borax, NaaBiO?, 10H2O.—This salt is also known as sodium pyroborate, sodium,
biborate or sodium borate, and is known in the vernacular as shohaga or -t&nkankhar.
The pharmacopceial preparation is called borax purificatus, which occurs as transparent,
colourless crystals, having a saline, alkaline taste. It is soluble in 25 parts of cold water
and in equal parts of glycerin but insoluble in alcohol. The dose is 5 to 15 grains.
Glycerinum boracis is a pharmacopceial preparation, containing 12 per cent of borax.
Symptoms.—The chief symptoms are loss of appetite, epigastric pain, nausea, vomit-
ing, diarrhoea and suppressed or scanty urine. There are erythematous eruptions of the
skin, and the symptoms of collapse are soon evident. Death occurs from paralysis of
the heart. Sometimes, delirium and hallucinations appear.
Fatal Dose.—The usual fatal dose of boric acid or borax is half to one ounce for
adults and 45 to 90 grains for children, but a woman, 70 years old, died in 46 hours after
she had taken a teaspoonful of boric acid in mistake for Epsom salts.22
Fatal Period.—The usual fatal period is three to four days. Death occurred in
twenty-four hours in the case of a young pregnant woman, who swallowed boric acid
with intent to procure abortion.23 A painter, aged 66 years, took about two ounces of
borax in mistake for a proprietary saline carthartic, and died in three hours.24
Treatment—Wash out the stomach, give saline purgatives, treat the symptoms and
combat the collapse by giving caffeine and digitalis. Keep the patient warm and quiet.
Post-mortem Appearances.—Congestion of the stomach with several spots of erosions
on its mucous membrane. The brain may be cedematous. There may be ecchymosis on
the inner surface of the pericardium. The liver and kidneys show fatty degeneration.
Chemical Analysis.—Borax or boracic acid can be separated from organic mixtures
by evaporating them with sulphuric acid, extracting them with alcohol, or by drying
the material, fusing the residue with sodium carbonate and nitrate, and testing the
resultant for borates.
Tests.—!. Barium nitrate solution yields a white precipitate, soluble in dilute hydro-
chloric acid or nitric acid.
2. Silver nitrate gives a white precipitate in strong solutions but brown in dilute
3. If alcohol is added to the solution to which concentrated sulphuric acid has been
added and ignited, it will burn with a green flame.
4. Boracic acid solution mixed with dilute hydrochloric acid imparts a reddish-
brown colour to turmeric paper dipped into it. If the paper is carefully dried and
moistened with 1 per cent caustic potash or soda solution, the colour changes to
22. H. Sinigar, Lancet, Aug. 4, 1917, p. 162.
23. Brit. Med. Jour., Dec. 7, 1907, p. 1695.
24. Caryl Potter, Jour. Amer. Med. Assoc.t Feb. 5, 1921, p. 378.