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.
Advocates of the medicinal use of gold - especially Niel and Legrand - have spoken strongly of its value in scrofulous disease of the bones, in glandular enlargements, "white swelling," goitre, and even elephantiasis; but Velpeau and others have not corroborated their good results in hospital practice. No doubt, as Trousseau remarks, the treatment of scrofula among the poor really requires more than any drug can effect, and it would be unfair to discredit gold altogether because it has not cured some hospital patients. I think myself that it may prove a useful adjunct, or at least a good alternative treatment. Majendie and Roux have reported some illustrations of its value, and Mr. Chatterley has recorded a case of extensive and indolent scrofulous ulcer affecting the right foot, unrelieved by iodide of iron, etc., but cured by small doses of gold chloride (Lancet, ii., 1852, p. 455); also another case of cure of a cachectic child suffering from enlarged and indurated cervical glands (Medical Times, i., 1854, p. 447); he recommended 1/24 gr. mixed with orris-root to be rubbed on the tongue for one to five minutes daily.
A case of hypertrophy of tongue with induration, which was probably syphilitic or scrofulous in character, was cured by the use of 1.5 gr. internally, and local frictions with 1 gr. mixed with lard (American Medical Journal, vol. xix., p. 514).
Not only in syphilitic, but also in scrofulous diseases, small doses of mercury are useful. I know that this is not so commonly recognized, but 1/2 or 1-gr. doses of hydrarg. c. creta twice daily will often be found of great advantage in purulent discharges from the eye, ear, etc., as also in chronic glandular swellings.