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Green soft soap

From Mr H. R. Broadbent, MRPharmS

Didapper writes about opodeldoc in The Journal (PJ, 16 February 2013, p191). My British Pharmacopoeia 1948, which I bought on demobilisation in 1949, shows that liniment of soap consisted of soft soap 80g, camphor 40g, oil of rosemary 15ml, distilled water 170ml and alcohol (90 per cent), sufficient to produce one litre.

Under the monograph it is stated that the alcohol 90 per cent may be industrial methylated spirits, diluted so as to be “equivalent alcoholic strength”. The liniment of soap so made was called

Lin. Soap. (Meth.). The word opodeldoc is not an official synonym. The soft soap was green soft soap.

Glycerin and opodeldoc was sold widely in pharmacies in South Yorkshire. Manual workers used it not only to smooth the hard skin on the hands but also to remove dirt (eg, coal dust, and dust from steelworks and from engineering works) which became ingrained. When applied to broken skin it really did sting but the results were worthwhile.

Roy Broadbent

Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11118129

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