Page images
PDF
EPUB

of manufacture or importation." If the manufacturer follows this definition in good faith, he need have no worry if retailers here and there sell his products for more or less than the retail price he has placed upon his products.

Five cents is the lowest retail price recognized under Schedule B. Where taxable items retail for less, a number of them sufficient to make a five-cent package may be packed together and stamped as one article, but the labels on the individual packages must bear the legend "sold from a duly stamped package.”

Articles in Schedule B are generally to be so stamped that the removal of the contents of the package destroys the stamp, but when this is impractical the stamp may be attached and canceled by writing on it the initials of the manufacturer and the month and year.

Manufacturers are required to make a statement each month that no goods subject to the tax have left their premises without the proper stamps being attached. Products manufactured for export may be shipped without stamps attached under certain restrictions, and rebates are provided where goods already stamped are later exported.

Imported articles coming under the provisions of Schedule B must have the stamps attached by the owner or importer before they are sold; he is also permitted to furnish the stamps to the foreign manufacturer to be attached to the package before being packed for shipment.

Collectors and revenue agents are authorized to inspect drug and other stores to ascertain if all taxable items are being properly stamped.

It must not be forgotten that the druggist becomes a manufacturer under the provisions of this law when he compounds and dispenses extemporaneously any preparations coming under classifications included in the law.

We understand that peroxide of hydrogen has been ruled as not subject to this tax.

Druggists will also be liable for the tax on dealers in tobacco (which includes snuff) which is $4.80 per year.

"MADE IN U. S. A." TRADE MARK.

DETROIT, that city of pharmaceutical renown, has again launched a proposition

the success of which will add to her fame and honor. The Detroit Chamber of Commerce has undertaken to give to the American people a "free" gift of a trademark for goods "Made in U. S. A." This civic organization, realizing that efforts already made to advertise goods of domestic manufacture were lacking in organization, decided to offer a $500.00 cash prize for the best design for a trade-mark so made as to allow the insertion of the name of any city.

The idea originating with this body is entirely unselfish, as the Detroit Chamber of Commerce has nothing to gain beyond the satisfaction of any loyal citizen in seeing the country's enterprises accorded full appreciation at home, for imported wares have certainly become a fetish in this country, notwithstanding the perfect ability of our manufacturers to supply practically all our needs.

The judges named to select the prize design are Mr. John H. Patterson, President of the National Cash Register Company; Mr. James Keeley, Editor of the Chicago Herald, and Mr. Jos. C. Leydendecker, the famous American artist. The accepted

design will be submitted to manufacturers, chambers of commerce and similar organizations throughout the country in the hope that it will be generally adopted as a national trade-mark, signifying "quality" at home and abroad.

The contest and its conditions are being widely advertised to engravers and artists, and with the whole artistic talent of the country competing, a handsome and appropriate design will no doubt be secured.

The Detroit Chamber of Commerce is to be congratulated on initiating and carrying out the idea of a national trade-mark.

Pharmaceutical Research and Literature

MEDICINAL PLANT GARDENS.*

BY DR. W. W. STOCKBERGER.

It is not my intention in this paper to present a descriptive account of medical plant gardens in general, or even to discuss the more important ones of this country, except in so far as reference to them may be necessary by way of illustration. I shall endeavor, however, to point out what to me appear to be some popular misconceptions concerning the scope and function of such gardens, and to suggest how they may be made to increase their usefulness to Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy.

For the purpose of this discussion, medicinal plant gardens may be regarded as falling under one or two general classes, the first being pedagogic, the second industrial. The pedagogic garden is, naturally, an adjunct of a school of pharmacy or of a botanic garden. Its scope includes all medicinal plants that are adapted to existing soil and climatic conditions, supplemented by greenhouse facilities. Its function is to familiarize students with the habit and appearance of the entire living plant, some part of which is used as a plant drug, to supply the need for authentic specimens for observation and demonstration in the classroom, and to furnish materials for research work on the morphology and chemical constituents of drug plants. Necessarily it will be found desirable to grow a large number of species in this type of garden, but, owing to the cost of maintenance, the space which can be devoted to any one specie will be very small.

The industrial garden, on the other hand, is an adjunct of public or private enterprise, the object of which is to give additional information concerning our agricultural resources. Its scope is the same as that of the pedagogic garden, but it differs very materially in function, which is to serve for the determination of the adaptability of medicinal plants, not only to soil and climatic conditions, but to economic conditions as well. In the industrial garden a large number of species will be tested on a small scale to determine whether the soil and climate are suitable for their growth; then the few promising ones must be tried out on an area large enough to yield reliable data on the actual conditions of commercial production. A considerable acreage of land is indispensable for this type of garden if the results secured therein are expected to have much economic significance.

*Reprint from Journal A. Ph. A.

There is no lack of evidence that the general public often, if not as a rule, fails to differentiate the functions of the pedagogic and industrial gardens, since advice is freely sought from both regarding the production of medicinal plants for the sole purpose of deriving profit therefrom. It is also an open question whether this distinction in function is in every case clearly understood by those responsible for the management of medicinal plant gardens. Statements sometimes unguarded, or not properly qualified, and sometimes based upon inconclusive and insufficient data, have on several occasions inspired the imagination of writers for the popular magazines or daily press, and, as a result, visions of large and easy profits have been portrayed under various alluring titles, as for example, "Big Profit from Drug Weeds," "The Herb Grower Has a Chance at an $18,000,000 Business," "A Profit of One Hundred Dollars per Acre from Growing Medicinal Weeds." Moreover, the widespread interest in the possibility of growing medicinal plants for profit which has been developed in this country during the past decade has been capitalized by a number of crafty promoters, who use the mails and the columns of journals and magazines to disseminate flamboyant advertisements of the enormous profits which may be made by growing certain medicinal plants. Frequently the name of the plant is withheld until the victim has remitted from one to five dollars, for which he receives practically valueless instructions for the cultivation of some plant poorly adapted to our economic conditions. A typical get-rich-quick scheme of this class is explained thus: "It has to do with a certain plant which grows like a weed; it is cut and cured like hay and sells for 45 cents per pound, which is at the rate of $900 The investment of one dollar brings the name of the herb, with the further information that the product of one acre will sell for $1,800! As a matter of fact the commercial cultivation of this plant is almost unknown in the United States, and there is yet no established market for the American product.

These illustrations will account for the doubt which has arisen in my mind as to the propriety of purely pedagogic gardens being used as a basis for generalizing on the question of drug growing for profit. In agricultural experimentation it is well recognized that the results from small trial plots must be interpreted with due regard for the large factor of error, which is always present. With proper care and attention it is relatively easy to grow a luxuriant crop of any one of a number of drug plants on a square rod of good garden soil, but what can be done under ordinary agricultural conditions on one or more acres can not be calculated therefrom by "a simple sum in arithmetic," as one writer has naively said.

There are numerous well-authenticated instances in which the production of some medicinal plant has resulted in a fair profit, but there is yet no evidence at hand to justify the belief that satisfactory results can be secured without some practical experience in gardening, some knowledge of the requirements of crude drugs, and due regard for economic conditions.

Every pharmacist and physician is, or should be, interested in obtaining crude drugs of highest quality and standard efficiency, but material progress toward the attainment of this end will not be favored by encouraging a large number of persons to become small producers. The result of small individual collections, varying widely as to time, place, and method of gathering, is seen in the miscellaneous aggregates all too frequently found in our crude drug markets, and unless a perpetuation of this condition is desirable, little encouragement should be given to the suggestion that whoever has a small back yard available may become a producer of plant drugs.

The educational opportunity open to the pedagogic gardens is almost limitless. The dissemination of knowledge to countless individuals not having access to the garden itself regarding the history, geographic distribution, methods of preparation, and uses of crude drugs may be accomplished through illustrated lectures and carefully prepared articles written for the less technical periodicals. Such misconceptions as, for example, that the production of ipecac in New England and vanilla beans in Iowa is a commercial possibility, or that stramonium is produced by a "melon weed," are all too prevalent and should be corrected. But educational work along this. line deserves little tolerance unless inspired by some motive more commendable than that of merely arousing interest in growing drug plants, otherwise the whole movement will sooner or later be discredited. Recently a reputable pharmaceutical journal published an article in which the writer set forth at some length the possibilities for the commercial production of a certain drug plant in the Southwest. A request for further information brought forth from this writer the astounding statement that he had no personal knowledge of conditions in the Southwest, but, having grown this plant in one of the northern States, he saw no reason why it should not be profitably grown in the Southwest, "on rocky and otherwise unprofitable land, on hillsides or arid desert soil." In this case the motive was evidently merely the arousing of interest, and the writer mentioned displayed a fine disregard for the practical difficulties attending the growing of the plant in question, which sharply localize the areas on which it may be economically produced.

The time is certainly ripe for injecting into discussions and recommendations regarding the cultivation of medicinal plants some of the sanity and discrimination which characterizes conservative business operations. Such a course is necessary if the interest already aroused is to be retained and directed along lines productive of beneficial results. It should be remembered that the expense of argicultural operation varies widely according to location. In some localities the outlay for farm. labor will be three and one-half times as much as in others. Sometimes we find a low expense for labor associated with a heavy outlay for fertilizers, sometimes heavy expense for both labor and fertilizers, and, again, low expense for both. The complications introduced by these factors alone render it practically impossible to make any safe general statement as to the profitableness of drug growing. Furthermore, two localities separated by a distance of less than fifty miles may present a totality of conditions so different that a drug-growing enterprise which could probably be conducted at a profit in the one would with equal probability fail absolutely in the other.

I do not wish to be understood as taking the position that there is no opportunity in the cultivation of medicinal plants, for I have abundant evidence that, given the necessary favorable conditions, a fair return may be expected from several drug crops. On the other hand, I also have abundant evidence that hundreds of persons have received the impression that drug crops can be grown by anybody anywhere at a profit far in excess of that to be obtained from ordinary cultivated crops. I am convinced that in some cases optimism and enthusiasm have been allowed to outrun common sense, but if, in the future, due consideration is given to the fundamental principles of agricultural economics, I believe that a rational attitude toward commercial drug-plant cultivation may be developed.

The founders of the several excellent pedagogic gardens which are now maintained in connection with certain schools of pharmacy have inaugurated a movement which promises much for the future of Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy. It is sincerely to be hoped that their example will lead to the establishment of such gardens in connection with each of the 75 or more schools of pharmacy in the United States, and to an extension of the scientific study of medicinal plants. The problems demanding attention are very numerous, but some of the lines of study and investigation which need to be emphasized are those concerning the adaptation and acclimatization of medicinal plants, the conditions under which the active principles of plants are formed, and the behavior of the plants themselves under varying conditions of climate and culture. Moreover, the selection and breeding of medicinal plants not only promises to yield results of great practical importance, but also affords a field for the widest scientific activity.

It is to be regretted that at present there is no satisfactory way in which the investigations being made upon medicinal plants in different sections of this country can be properly correlated and reduced to form for definite comparison. Especially desirable is a practical basis of correlation for studies of the variation in plant constituents, due in part, at least, to differences in geographical location. When two more or less widely separated workers attempt to compare results of their studies, it frequently happens that they experience the greatest difficulty in harmonizing their results. This is due in part to differences in the response which plants make when under different environmental conditions, in part, probably, to variations in the method of procedure followed in the cultivation, curing, and analysis of the plant, and in part, no doubt, to differences in the genetic relationship of the plants studied by the respective investigators.

There seems to be an opportunity for some arrangement or mutual agreement between the representatives of our various medicinal plant gardens under the terms of which multiplicate samples of seeds or plants of common parentage could be distributed for the production of plants to be used experimentally. If under such an agreement uniformity of treatment throughout the processes of culture, curing, and analysis could be secured, comparison of results would be much more profitable than at present, and the tabulation and summarizing of the results of experimental work conducted along the lines indicated in a number of localities would permit the drawing of conclusions having a significance far greater than those that can be reached by a single isolated worker. The suggestions here offered contemplate nothing like a general co-operative investigation, but rather the adoption of what might be regarded as a standard method of procedure analogous to official methods of analysis, etc. The tabulation and summarizing of results might well follow individual publication, as no other course is likely to give satisfaction.

In conclusion, I wish to say that the resources of the experimental drug gardens of the Office of Drug-Plant Investigations, Bureau of Plant Industry, are open to any school of pharmacy desirous of starting a medicinal plant garden, as are also the facilities of that office for effecting the distribution of material for experimental purposes, and for furthering the collection and compilation of data on the cultivation of medicinal plants under great diversity in conditions of growth.

« PreviousContinue »