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An elixir (Arabic: الإكسير, al-Ikseer, "the effective recipe", Greek: ξήριον, Xerion, "medical powder", "powder for drying wounds", from Greek: ξηρός, xeros, "dry") is a clear, sweet-flavored liquid used for medicinal purposes, to be taken orally and intended to cure one's ills. When used as a pharmaceutical preparation, an elixir contains at least one active ingredient designed to be taken orally.
They are used as solvents or vehicles for the preparation of medicated elixirs: aromatic elixirs (USP), isoalcoholic elixirs (NF), or compound benzaldehyde elixirs (NF). Active ingredient dissolved in a solution that contains 15 to 50% by volume of ethyl alcohol.
- Antihistaminic elixirs: used against allergy: chlorampheniramine maleate elixirs (USP), diphenhydramine HCl elixirs.
- Sedative and hypnotic elixirs: sedatives induce drowsiness, and hypnotics induce sleep: pediatric chloral hydrate elixirs.
- Expectorant: used to facilitate productive cough (cough with sputum): terpin hydrate elixirs.
- Miscellaneous: acetaminophen (paracetamol) elixirs, which are used as analgesics.
East Asian vitamin drinks
Daily non-alcoholic non-caffeinated 'vitamin drinks' have been popular in East Asia since the 1950s, with Oronamin from Otsuka Pharmaceutical perhaps the market leader. Packaged in brown light-proof bottles, these drinks have the reputation of being enjoyed by old men and other health-conscious individuals. Counterparts exist in South Korea and China.
Western energy drinks typically have caffeine and are targeted at a younger demographic, with colorful labels and printed claims of increased athletic / daily performance.
- Solubilize the active ingredient(s) and some excipients
- Retard the crystallization of sugar
- Preserve the finished product
- Provide a sharpness to the taste
- Aid in masking the unpleasant taste of the active ingredient(s)
- Enhance the flavor.
The lowest alcoholic quantity that will dissolve completely the active ingredient(s) and give a clear solution is generally chosen. High concentrations of alcohol give burning taste to the final product.
An elixir may also contain the following excipients:
- Sugar and/or sugar substitutes like the sugar polyols glycerol and sorbitol.
- Preservatives like parabens and benzoates and antioxidants like butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and sodium metabisulfite.
- Buffering agents
- Chelating agents like sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
- Flavoring agents and flavor enhancers
- Coloring agents
Elixirs should be stored in a tightly closed and light resistant container away from direct heat and sunlight.
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- Elixir of life
- Internal alchemy
- Energy drink
- Soft drink
- Panacea (medicine), mythological remedy that would cure all diseases
- Suspension (chemistry)
- Tincture, in which alcohol is the major solvent and the ingredient is often highly concentrated.