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.
Liquor sodoe: dose, 10 to 60 min. freely diluted. Soda caustica. Sodoe carbonas: dose, 10 to 30 gr. or more. Sodoe carbonas exsiccata: dose, 5 to 15 gr. Sodoe bicarbonas: dose, 10 to 60 gr. Liquor sodoe effervescens - soda water: dose, 2 to 10 oz. or more - each pint contains 30 gr. of bicarbonate of soda. Trochisci sodoe bicarbonatis: dose, 1 to 6 - each lozenge contains 5 gr. Sodoe arsenias (v. Arsenic). Sodoe sulphas: dose, 1/4 to 1 oz. Sodoe acetas: dose, 20 to 60 gr. Sodoe sulphis (not officinal): dose, 20 to 60 gr. (v. Sulphurous Acid). Sodoe hyposulphis (not officinal): dose, 20 to 60 gr. Sodoe ni-tras (for making the arseniate). Sodoe phosphas: dose, as a diuretic, 30 to 120 gr.; purgative, 1/2 to 1 oz. - given in mutton broth it is almost tasteless. Sodoe hypophosphis: dose, 5 to 10 gr. (v. Phosphorus). Borax: dose, 10 to 60 gr. Mel boracis: contains 54 gr. of borax to 1 oz. of honey. Glycerinum boracis: contains 1 part to 4. Liquor sodoe chlo-ratoe: dose, 10 to 20 min. internally, diluted with 1 or 2 oz. of water; as gargle, 1/2 to 1 oz. to 1/2 pint water. Cataplasma sodoe chloratoe (solution of chlorinated soda 2 oz., linseed meal 4 oz., water 8 oz.). Sodii chlori-dum: dose, 1/2 oz. or more as an emetic. Soda tartarata (Rochelle salt): dose, as a diuretic, 30 to 60 gr.; purgative, 2 to 4 dr. Sodoe citro-tartras effervescens: dose, 60 gr. to 2 dr. Sodoe valerianas (v. Valerian).
[Preparations, U. S. P. - Soda; Liquor sodoe; Liquor soda? chlo-rinatoe; Sodii acetas; Sodii arsenias; Liquor sodii arseniatis (4 gr. in 1 oz.); Sodii bicarbonas; Pulveres effervescentes; Trochisci sodii bicarbonatis (3 gr. of the salt in each); Sodii boras; Glyceritum sodii boratis: borate of sodium 2 troyounces, glycerin 1/2 pint; Mel sodii bo-ratis: borate of sodium 60 gr., clarified honey 1 troyounce; Sodii carbonas; Sodii carbonas exsiccata; Sodii chloridum; Sodii hypophosphis; Sodii hyposulphis; Sodii phosphas; Sodii sulphas.]
The salts of soda, like those of potash, are highly diffusible and readily absorbed. Small doses become changed in the stomach into chloride, but large quantities undergo this change only in part, the rest being absorbed unchanged; from the rectum also, soda salts are absorbed without chemical decomposition. In the blood they circulate as albuminates, carbonates, phosphates, etc., and are eliminated mainly by the urine: the carbonates, nitrates, and other salts of mineral acids in their natural state, but citrates and other salts of vegetable acids pass out as carbonates.
The time that elapses between absorption and some elimination is not precisely known, but is short, for the nitrate and an excess of chloride have been found in saliva and urine within a few minutes after the taking of those salts; also, a very large quantity (60 grammes) of nitrate has been taken in divided doses during a day without injury, while half the amount in one dose has proved poisonous.
The chloride taken into, or formed in the stomach, is said to decompose into hydrochloric acid and soda, the former passing into the blood to combine again there with soda (bicarbonate), while the latter is eliminated, not only by the kidneys, but also by the salivary glands, the liver, the pancreas, etc. (Bidder and Schmidt). The chloride is never completely eliminated from the system even if it be excluded from the diet: on the other hand, if an excessive quantity be taken, most of it is rapidly got rid of: thus, Lehmann, analyzing his blood before and during the action of a salt-dose or salted diet, found the proportion of salt in the blood to be very similar, the excess being passed out by the kidneys almost as soon as taken (cf. p. 298).
Chloride of sodium in the air, or in finely-divided spray, is absorbed from the pulmonary mucous membrane even more quickly than from the stomach. It does not seem to be absorbed through the unbroken skin, or at least whatever passes, e.g., during a salt-bath, into the epidermis or corium, passes out again in the same bath (Clemens). Soda salts, like alkalies generally, are eliminated to a slight extent by the mucous membranes, especially by those of the respiratory tract, the secretion of which they tend to increase and make thinner: they exercise a remarkable stimulant effect upon the vibratile movements of ciliated epithelium, which they revivify after apparent extinction (Virchow).
The hydrate of soda exerts a local caustic effect, consequent upon its great affinity for water and its power of dissolving nitrogenous tissues. The carbonate, applied in solution, dissolves sebaceous and fatty secretions, and if concentrated, acts as an irritant. Solutions of chloride redden and stimulate the skin, and if applied to a surface denuded of epithelium, excite much smarting and flow of serum; redness is then masked by whitish opacity of the albuminous secretion, and the same whitish appearance may be observed on the inner aspect of the buccal mucous membrane after eating much salted food (Gubler). Strong saline baths may cause cutaneous eruptions.
Salt has a local stimulant or irritant effect on nerve-tissue, and for some physiological experiments, C. Bernard considered it more effective than galvanism. If the exposed sciatic nerve of a frog be dipped in salt and water, immediate spasmodic contraction of muscles occurs in the limb: if the tympanic nerve be so treated, saliva is secreted (Medical Times, ii., 1861).
Under potassium has been summarized evidence as to the action of alkalies on oxidation, and with regard to the carbonates of soda, we may equally conclude that while large and continued doses induce anaemia and asthenia, small quantities, given for a moderate time, help to saponify fatty food, to aid its oxidation, and that of carbonaceous material generally, to improve digestion, and to raise temperature. This is especially the case with the chloride of sodium, and indeed Rabuteau teaches that it is by conversion into this salt that the other sodium compounds produce the good effects mentioned. Confirming conclusions already published by Voit (British and Foreign Review, ii., 1862), he showed that the chloride increased "vital combustion," for while taking an extra daily dose of 10 grammes of salt, his excretion of urea was 20 per cent. more, and his temperature was half a degree higher than when under a dietary from which salt was excluded. Similarly Kaupp found that with taking 1 gramme of salt, the amount of urea excreted was increased 4 ctgr., the other soluble constituents of the urine being diminished. According to Zabelin, salt favors absorption of phosphates specially, and rather hinders their excretion, which effect would, to some extent, favor nutrition.
Falck found also increased excretion of urea after giving salt to fasting animals (1872), while Munch reported, from large doses, continued for a few days, at first diminished excretion and gain in weight: afterward a contrary effect (Archiv Verein Gemeinshft., Bd. vi.).
The carbonate, according to the majority of observers, diminishes the excretion of uric acid, and as this acid results from insufficient oxidation, its diminished excretion implies improvement in oxidation. The reported increase of excretion of carbonic acid requires proof, but is rendered probable by the increase which follows injection of lactate of soda into the veins (Husemann). Animals improve under a ration of salt- their coat becomes smoother, their vigor greater, their flesh more healthy, and if, at the same time, their weight is not increased (Boussingault and Dailly: Comptes Rendus, 1847), it is because the vital processes and combustions all go on with greater energy. We have negative evidence to the same effect in the sufferings consequent on deprivation of salt, as in the American War of Independence, and more lately during the siege of Metz, and Barbier records that certain Russian serfs, deprived for a time of salt (from motives of economy), suffered so much (becoming albuminuric and dropsical), that their lords were forced to supply them with it again (Gazette Medicale, 1838). On the other hand, it is curious that the Tlascalans are said to have lived for half a century without salt (Pres-cott), and certain Aryan tribes never use it (Fick) - it is possible that the atmosphere, as near the coast, may supply to them what is really necessary.
We must repeat that the above-mentioned good effects of ordinary salt, and of alkaline compounds, are obtained only within certain limits of dose - an excess of the former causes not only thirst and disordered digestion, but impaired blood-conditions, and under daily 5-gramme doses of bicarbonate the urea is diminished, and ana3mia and prostration induced (Rabuteau): the nitrate and sulphate also diminish urea (Jovitzu and others), lower temperature, and slow the circulation: - it is probably from alteration of the blood that these effects arise. According to Gutt-man, if the legs of frogs are immersed in strong solutions of salt, unrest and local swelling occur, then muscular contraction, and ultimately cataract is developed (Medical Times, i., 1860).