The Strategy of Raw Materials: A Study of America in Peace and War

By Brooks Emeny | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
MISCELLANEOUS RAW MATERIALS AND FOODSTUFFS

MEDICINAL GROUP

CAMPHOR, iodine, nux vomica, opium, and quinine differ considerably from the other strategic raw materials thus far discussed in that their munitions value, with the exception of the first member of the group, is entirely medicinal in nature. As to camphor, which acts as a disinfectant, counter-irritant, and antiseptic in pharmaceutical products, importance attaches likewise to its industrial utilization in the manufacture of celluloid, smokeless powders, and photographic films. So far as concerns the other four members of the group, iodine is both a counter-irritant and a powerful antiseptic; nux vomica is the source of strychnine, which acts as a stimulant to cardiac and respiratory centers, and is utilized non-medicinally for the destruction of vermin; quinine is of particular value as an antidote to malaria; and finally opium, along with its derivatives, morphine and codine, is most important as a powerful pain deadener in many types of drugs.1

As will be observed on the map, the sources of the above raw materials are, geographically, at once widely distributed and extraordinarily concentrated. Natural camphor, for instance, which is derived from the distillation of the camphor laurel tree, grown principally in Formosa, is a monopoly of Japan. Practically 90 per cent of the artificial camphor, on the other hand, is produced in Germany as a by-product of turpentine. Iodine is also a monopoly commodity, being extracted as a by-product of Chilean nitrates; whereas the output of nux vomica is strictly limited to India and Indo-China, and

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1
For general information as to various uses of the above commodities see Encyclopcedia Britannica, 14th Edition, New York.

-153-

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