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.
In chronic and asthenic cases of impaired motor power, the use of sulphur internally and externally deserves a fair trial. Dr. Graves was accustomed to depend upon it after a course of strychnia. Wetzler has recorded four cases of progressive muscular palsy benefited by warm sulphur-baths and the administration of the water at Aix-la-Chapelle (British and Foreign Review, ii., 1856, p. 457), and in his treatise (1862) has added several other cases. Althaus found these remedies useful in locomotor ataxy (Lancet, ii., 1865). I have also seen some advantage from them in the latter condition.
Cases of hemiplegia relieved by phosphorus are on record, but not from very reliable sources. It is contraindicated in acute irritative conditions, but in chronic stages should be tried, particularly if exhaustion be a prominent symptom. I agree, generally, with Le-maire, who has summarized the modern use of it for paralysis, and finds that, in local palsies after severe illness, or from anaemia or hemorrhage, it has a general tonic, stimulant power, but not a specific curative effect, and is always uncertain. In paralysis dependent on severe organic disease, tumor, or hemorrhage in the nerve-centres, it cannot, of course, be relied upon, nor in hysterical palsy, although, in the last-named, I have sometimes seen advantage from it, and Dr. Hammond speaks well of a combination of zinc phosphide with strychnia. It is commonly useless in old paraplegia, in sclerosis, and in lead-palsy; and Mr. Sanger is almost alone in reporting paraplegia and paralysis agitans cured by the drug. I have, however, known it relieve formication in paralyzed parts. It has been found of service in recent ataxy and in mercurial palsy (tremor), and its advantage has been distinct in functional derangement with adynamia, and in some slight structural lesions when inflammation, fever, and cerebral excitement were absent (Bulletin General de Thera-peutique, September, 1875). The dose recommended is about one milligramme (1/65 gr.). For intra-ocular paralysis it was used by Tavignot, externally and internally.
Cases of this disorder recorded as cured by the use of iodides were probably dependent on syphilitic deposits, or inflammatory or rheumatic effusions pressing upon nerve-trunks. In such cases it is certainly possible for these remedies to produce the necessary absorption and consequent cure.
Muscular Paralysis, acute and general in character, has sometimes yielded to the iodides in a remarkable manner, as instanced in a case of Dr. Murchison's (Lancet, ii., 1867). The man, aged twenty-six, had gradual loss of power and wasting first of the left, then of the right limbs, and then of respiratory muscles, and apparently progressive paralysis, with moderate pain, and no cerebral symptoms; he got worse under iron, arsenic, and galvanism, but improved markedly under iodide. Another case is given in Medical Times, ii., 1863; both were connected, probably, with a spinal meningitis.
Cerebral Palsy is not usually treated by iodides, but Dr. Sieveking considers that advantage may be derived from their eliminant action after acute symptoms have subsided (Medical Times, i., 1857). They may act usefully by regulating and equalizing the circulation, as well as by aiding absorption of any inflammatory products.