One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A potassium salt present in urine, in which it occurs as a product of the metabolism of indole.
Alternative name: potassium indoxylsulphate; chemical formula C₈H₆NOSO₂OH
- ‘We have studied the effect of indican on six commercial procedures for the measurement of total bilirubin in serum.’
- ‘It has been suggested that up to a half of elderly hospitalized patients excrete an abnormally high concentration of indican compared with young individuals.’
Mid 19th century: from Latin indicum ‘indigo’ (because of its early use denoting an indoxyl glucoside occurring in the leaves of indigo plants) + -an.
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