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.
Phosphate of soda especially is said to promote the flow of bile, and acting in full doses as a gentle laxative, it is useful in "bilious or sick headache," and in catarrhal jaundice. It has some value, also, in preventing biliary calculus, which condition arises generally from continued catarrh of the bile-duct and inspissation of mucus and bile. (Vichy water presents a good natural combination for such cases and for chronic hepatic congestion.) The salt cannot be expected to control fully developed attacks of biliary colic, but if a dose of 20 or 30 gr. be taken regularly before meals for some months, it seems to have the power of lessening the calculi, or preventing fresh formations (Bartholow, p. 80); from larger doses (1 to 2 dr.) of the carbonate in copious draughts of hot water, Dr. Prout has often seen immediate relief even during the attack of colic.
In fatty degeneration of the liver we have the authority of Dr. Mur-chison for saying that large quantities of common salt, eaten with the food, have proved useful, and there is at least encouragement to try saline waters in this condition ("Clinical Lectures," p. 51). In the case of ill-conditioned children passing pale and pasty stools, 5 or 10 gr. of the phosphate taken with meals, will often serve to regulate digestion and improve nutrition (Stephenson).