This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
A mixture of phenols and phenol derivatives, chiefly guaiacol and creosol, obtained during the distillation of wood-tar, preferably that derived from the beech.
Properties : It occurs as a colorless or slightly yellowish, highly refractive, oily liquid, having a penetrating smoky odor and a burning, caustic taste. Creosote is slightly, but not completely soluble in water (1:140), and miscible in all proportions with absolute alcohol; owing to its disagreeable odor and taste, it is seldom administered in the form of solution or mixture.
Action and Uses: When given internally creosote acts similarly to phenol. It is antiseptic and is one of the few drugs which appear to have a just claim to be useful as intestinal antiseptics. It is used to some extent externally for its antiseptic power. It is sometimes applied locally for leukorrhea and other infections of the mucous membrane. It has been given as a stimulant expectorant in chronic bronchitis and in tuberculosis. Experiments show that it does not affect the viability of the tubercle bacilli in the lungs. Some observers assert that its favorable action in tuberculosis is due to the production of intestinal antisepsis. It must be remembered, however, that its value in tuberculosis has not been determined beyond doubt Less reliance is placed on it than formerly.
Dosage: 0.2 c.c. or 3 minims three times daily. It is preferably administered in the form of pills or capsules. If it impairs the appetite and disturbs digestion its use should be abandoned.