OIL OF TURPENTINE am
copoeial preparation is Oleum terebinthince (Rectified oil of turpentine) , the d
which is 3 to 10 minims. It is contained in the official preparation of Liui^
terebinthince (63 to 70%). ^^meutum
When purified by distillation with lime, oil of turpentine is known as
Sanitas is a watery solution of turpentine oxidized by exposure to the air. Hv^ ^^
peroxide is its active principle. yo.ro gen
Symptoms. A poisonous dose of oil of turpentine causes a burning pain 5 -"h
mouth, throat and stomach, thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, contracted pupils, g^-
drowsiness, cold skin, excitement, convulsions, coma and death. Owing to its irrit t
action on the kidneys, the patient complains of pain in the loins, difficulty of micturit n
strangury and passes scanty high-coloured urine, which contains blood
and possesses a smell of violets. When a large quantity is taken, the urme >~
completely suppressed. may
Applied to the skin, oil of turpentine produces redness and irritation, follOwec}
Inhalation of turpentine vapour produces irritation of the eyes, headache,
and irritation of the respiratory passages or even pneumonia. It sometimes
irritation of the kidneys.
Fatal Dose. Four and six ounces of oil of turpentine have respectively killed
adults. A teaspoonful has killed an infant, five months old, and half-an-oujnce ha
proved fatal to a child, fourteen weeks old. On the other hand, recoveries have occurred
in adults and in children from much larger doses.
Fatal Period. Death may take place in from a few minutes to twelve or fifteen
Treatment. Give emetics or wash out the stomach. Administer demulcents and
magnesium sulphate if diarrhoea has not occurred. Keep up the warmth of the bodv
Apply hot fomentations to the loins. Give morphine, J grain, hypodermically to relieve
Post-mortem Appearances. The stomach usually shows hsemorrhagic spots some-
times with erosions of its mucous membrane. The stomach contents may smell stronfilv
of turpentine. The kidneys show degenerative changes. The lungs are acutely congested
The brain and its meninges are congested. In the case^ of an adult male, aged 39*
who died after drinking six ounces of spirit of turpentine, post-mortem examination
showed that the stomach contained four ounces of turpentine, and its raucous membrane
was completely macerated and lying in small pieces in the gastric cavity. The wall of
the stomach felt like leather due to the action of the turpentine.
Chemical Analysis. This substance may be separated from organic mixtures bv
distillation and by extracting the distillate with ether, petroleum ether, chloroform or
benzol. It is recognized by its odour. With strong hydrochloric acid and ferric chloride
it gives a rose colour, which changes to violet-red and blue on standing, "With strong
sulphuric acid it produces a deep reddish-brown colour. When, mixed with a f &w crystals
of iodine, oil of turpentine explodes,
Medico-Legal Points. Oil of turpentine is not an active poison. A few accidental
cases of poisoning have occurred from its medicinal use as an anthelmintic or from its
administration by mistake. It has been taken to procure abortion, but has "been, rarelv
used for homicidal purposes, while it has been swallowed with suicidal intent. & case ^7
is recorded in which a young man committed suicide by taking turpentine. About three
ounces of turpentine were recovered by distillation from the viscera usually preserved
for chemical analysis.
Toxic symptoms occurring from the continued inhalation of turpentine vapour are
occasionally observed in painters or in persons sleeping in a newly varnished room
Seamen who were engaged in painting in enclosed spaces on one of H.M. ships suffered
from turpentine poisoning by inhaling its vapour. The symptoms arose after one or
two days* work, seven men reporting sick within a week. They complained of scalding
pain at the end of micturition, and in some cases, of frequency ; the urine contained
blood and had an odour of violets. They all recovered after some time.28
Turpentine is eliminated by the lungs, and imparts its characteristic odour to the
breath. It is eliminated by the kidneys and appears in the urine in combination with
glycuronic acid. The urine acquires a smell of violets and reduces Fehling's solution
Turpentine is also excreted to some extent by the skin.
This is distilled from the fresh leaves of Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus dumosa
and other species of Eucalyptus, N.O. Myrtacese. It is a colourless or pale yellp-y^ volatile
26. Maitland, Brit. Med, Jour., July 11, 1931, p. 77.
27. Madras Chena. Examiner's Annual Rep., 1939, p. 3.
28. H. Wilks, Jour, Royal Nav. Ked. Service, Jan. 1930, p. 53; Lancet, Feb. 8 1930
p. 307. .'