The sulphides, in small doses, excite a sensation of warmth at the epigastrium; in excessive doses, they may cause gastroenteritis, and even, it is said, "insensibility and speedy death" (Ringer). Sulphur itself in small doses excites a similar sense of warmth, sometimes gaseous eructations; sulphurous waters in the quantity of several ounces often cause pain and oppression in delicate subjects. Doses of 20 to 40 gr. and upwards of sulphur in powder cause moderate stools, semi-solid in character, and passed with perceptibly increased peristaltic action; hence, it has been presumed that the muscular coat is mainly acted upon. Sundelin maintained that sulphur had a "specific" action on the mucous coat, but we cannot speak positively about this (Binz). The prolonged use of sulphur as an aperient induces intestinal catarrh.

Husemann supports the view that unabsorbed sulphur mechanically protects the intestinal mucous membrane like bismuth, and this would explain the fact that large doses relax without colic, while moderate doses relax equally, but with some colic, and small doses cause pain without the relaxation.


As a stimulant, sulphur is aided in effect by the volatile oils; as an alterative, it has analogies with arsenic, phosphorus, and possibly iodine (Gubler); as an aperient, magnesia and the acid tartrate of potash assist its action.

Chemically, sulphur belongs to the same group as oxygen, selenium, and tellurium, and between oxides and sulphides there is much analogy.


Sedatives, refrigerants, astringents, and cold oppose the ordinary action of sulphur; quinine and bromides have a specially antagonistic effect.

Therapeutical Action (External)