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The chloride of antimony has been employed as a destructive caustic for these growths, but is now practically superseded.
The double power of antimony to control circulation and nerve-excitement, at the same time that it increases secretion, indicates its use in many diseases, and especially in those of febrile and inflammatory character; on the other hand, the extreme depression that may be caused by it has led to serious results in incautious hands; hence much controversy as to the true value of the drug, and, while by some writers it has been extolled as the best of remedies, it has been described by others as too dangerous a poison to be used.
Forbidden in France by special law in the sixteenth century, it was, not long afterward, received into the Codex, and about the same time our "Earl of Warwick's powder," consisting of the sulphuret of antimony, with cream of tartar and scammony, obtained a wide reputation. The tartrate of antimony and potash was introduced somewhat later (by Mynsicht), and has continued in general estimation and daily use down to our own time.
Within the last twenty years, however, and since the value of tonic and restorative treatment has been better recognized, antimony has, like bleeding and other depressants, been more rarely prescribed, and at present it may be questioned whether its great therapeutical powers are sufficiently appreciated. We do not hold that this, more than other medicines, has a separate or specific action for each of the various diseases we are about to mention, - that it cures convulsion in general, or pneumonia, or rheumatism as separate nosological species (Gubler), but rather that it exerts an exceptionally marked influence on certain pathological states, which either cause or complicate these and many other maladies.