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.
When the expectoration is profuse and semi-purulent, sponging of chest and trunk with the acid solution already mentioned is said to give much relief (Dr. Waring, op. cit. p. 443).
I agree with some good observations made by Dr. Glover, drawing attention to the benefit obtained sometimes from nitric acid in cases of chronic catarrh and bronchitis when secretion is fairly free, when nerve-exhaustion is a prominent symptom, and when ammonia and expectorants fail to relieve (Lancet, i., 1865); this fact deserves more attention than it has yet received. Dr. Glover combines nitrous ether with the acid, and sometimes tinct. camph. co. is also indicated, the precipitated camphor, etc., being readily suspended in cetraria or mucilage.
The spray is sometimes a useful adjunct in the treatment of this condition; it acts as a stimulating expectorant, thinning the tough viscid phlegm; sulphur-fumigation is also good (Fergus). It will not, however, accomplish the wonders at one time expected from it, and should be commenced cautiously.
In cases accompanied with profuse muco-puru-lent discharge, I have often proved the efficacy of a spray containing nitrate of silver. I use only weak solutions - from 1 to 4 gr. in the ounce- and find that they alter and restrain the secretion in a very satisfactory manner.
I have witnessed marked improvement under the continued internal arsenical treatment of chronic bronchitis, for which cigarettes and inhalations are sometimes even more suitable than ordinary doses. Bretonneau and Trousseau have recorded good results, and the latter devised a simple cigarette, made with suitable paper, soaked in solution of arseniate of soda, or of potash (1 to 4 gr. in 20 gr. of water for twenty cigarettes). Four or five mouthfuls are inhaled several times daily; more often when the patient becomes accustomed to it. M. Papillaud recommends, in chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a combination of the drug with antimony (an arseniate of antimony), and considering the relations between these two substances, the recommendation is likely to prove very good (Gazette de Paris, 1865, No. 43, etc.).