This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
Although not contained in the Pharmacopoeia as the pure gas under its own name, chlorine is furnished by several important preparations, as follows: a. Liquor Chlori. - Solution of Chlorine. Chlorine gas dissolved in Water.
Characters. - A yellowish - green liquid smelling strongly of chlorine.
Impurities. - Salts, not volatile; deficient Cl, detected volumetrically by hyposulphite of soda.
Dose. - 10 to 20 min. in water.
b. Calx Chlorata, - See page 50.
a. Liquor Calcis Chloratae. - See page 50.
B. Vapor Chlori.. - Chlorinated Lime and Water. - See page 50.
c. Liquor Sodae Chlorata. - See page 38.
a. Cataplasma Sodae Chloratae. - See page 38.
Externally, the action and uses of chlorine depend upon the great affinity which it possesses for hydrogen, and its consequent power to decompose compounds in which hydrogen forms part of the molecule, such as ammonia, sulphuretted hydrogen, sul-phide of ammonium, and water. The properties of the body on which it acts (chemical, vital, or both) are completely altered; whilst nascent oxygen is set free, and. chlorine further com-bines with the remaining elements of the broken-down mole-cule. Thus it is a powerful irritant to the skin, causing redness, vesication, even sloughing, and coagulating the albu-minates of the part. For the nine reason chlorine is the most powerful of all disinfectants, deodorisers, and decolorisers, its activity as a disinfectant greatly exceeding that of carbolic acid, and even corrosive sublimate. As a stimulant and disinfec-tant, chlorine water, or the solutions of chlorinated lime or of no Materia Medic a and Therapeutics.
chlorinated soda, may be applied to foul ulcers, dissection and poisoned wounds, diphtheritic surfaces; or used in contagious ophthalmia, ozoena, and other foul discharges from surfaces or cavities. Of much more extensive application is the disinfectant action of chlorinated lime and its preparations, apart from the body: to purify rooms, wash infected clothes, flush drains, and throw upon the stools of typhoid fever and cholera before they are disposed of.
Internally, chlorine exerts the same local action upon the parts with which it comes in contact; and is employed as a wash or gargle, to disinfect and stimulate foul ulcers of the mouth, tongue, and throat, especially in diphtheria.
In the stomach chlorine in dilute solutions becomes converted into hvdrochloric acid and chlorides, and loses all further effect upon the body as the uncombined element.
Inhaled as the vapour, chlorine causes local irritation of the respiratory passages, with distressing pain in the throat and chest, spasm, cough, lachrymation, sneezing, and headache. It cannot be recommended in this form or for this purpose.
It is doubtful whether chlorine enters the circulation or reaches the tissues, uncombined; more probably it is entirely converted into chlorides. From the analogy of its powerfully disinfectant and bleaching properties apart from the body, it has been given, as an "alterative and stimulant," in typhus, typhoid fever, small-pox, and other "putrescent" diseases, as well as in chronic dysentery, and liver disease of a malarial origin. There is little evidence in favour of continuing its use in these cases.