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 duration of this very painful and obstinate form of suppuration may be much shortened by iodoform ointment, of strength 1 dr. to 1 oz. (Medical Times, ii., 1872; Medical Record, 1878). I have used it frequently, with excellent results.
Gingivitis - "Tartar." - The local application of tincture of iodine will usually cure inflammation, sponginess, or tenderness of the gums, and will soften deposits of "tartar," so that they may be readily removed with the brush.
Prof. Vanzetti has recommended the application of caustic lime in preference to nitrate of lead for onychia maligna, and has reported two successful cases, in one of which the application was renewed several times, and in the other it was left in continuous contact (Practitioner, vol. xiii.).
As a Depilatory to remove superfluous hair, lime is sometimes used with arsenic (as in the Turkish "Rusma"), or in the form of a hydrated sulphide, prepared by passing hydrogen through a mixture containing 2 parts of lime with 3 parts of water: when saturated with the gas, this forms a greenish jelly, which is spread upon the part for a few minutes, and then removed with an ivory knife (Trousseau).
As a Moxa, or to produce an issue, a fragment of lime may be slaked on the skin by adding to it a few drops of water; much heat is produced, and the neighboring skin requires to be protected.
As a Vapor Bath, a piece of unslaked lime half the size of a man's closed hand is wrapped in a moist cloth, and this again in a dry one doubled several times, and fastened securely: and if one of these packets be placed on either side of a patient while in bed, the moist heat soon induces a copious perspiration lasting for one or two hours (Serre d'Alais: Bulletin de Therapeutique, 1846). Dr. Hassall has recommended this as a ready means of establishing reaction in cholera, and others have used it in tetanus.
Powdered nitrate of lead I have found a remarkably good resource in cases of onychia, and it has quickly benefited when ordinary treatment had failed (Marsh, MacCormac, Scott, etc., British Medical Journal, i., 1874). Professor Perizzi was the first to draw attention to this.