This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
The value of zinc salts in disorders of the nervous system has been much disputed, some physicians, as M. Herpin, recording extraordinary results from them, and others, as M. Gubler, denying to them any power.
There can be little doubt that the high estimate formed by M. Herpin of the efficacy of the oxide, and later of the lactate of zinc, in epilepsy, is unfounded - no other observer has verified his results - at the same time we cannot deny altogether their efficacy in some cases. Dr. Wilks has seen benefit from the oxide (Medical Times, i., 1869, p. 84), and Dr. Sieveking records successful results, though he does not value it highly. Dr. Russell Reynolds has known it serviceable, and Dr. Radcliffe, noting its effect in causing anaemia, suggests that it might best be tried in markedly congestive cases (Lancet, i., 1863). Others have thought it more applicable when the epilepsy was complicated with gastric disorder, and others again have seen the best results from it when used in conjunction with bromides or digitalis (Lancet, ii., 1868; Medical Times, ii., 1874, p. 481).
Charcot has observed benefit from the bromide of zinc (British Medical Journal, November, 1877), but Dr. Gowers, in his recent lectures, considers that salt of little value, and has found it badly borne. The oxide, however, in his experience, proved sometimes useful, relieving three cases out of ten submitted to it (Lancet, i., 1880, p. 553).