This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Materia Medica, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by George F. Butler. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of materia medica, pharmacology and therapeutics.
Description and Properties. - A heavy, dark brownish-red, mobile liquid, evolving, even at ordinary temperatures, a yellowish-red vapor, highly irritating to the eyes and lungs, and having a peculiar suffocating odor, resembling that of chlorine. Soluble in 28 parts of water and readily soluble in alcohol or ether. Bromine should be kept in glass-stoppered bottles, in a cool place.
Physiological Action and Therapeutics. - Bromine is a powerful corrosive irritant, the fumes of which occasion severe irritation of the eyes and respiratory passages, with cough, hoarseness, and dyspnea. When taken into the stomach it produces all the symptoms of corrosive poisoning.
The drug is an active caustic, deodorant, and disinfectant. It was formerly extensively employed, particularly during the Civil War of the United States, for the treatment of hospital gangrene, for which it is a most efficient remedy. Bromine has also been used as an injection (1 part to 3 of alcohol) in various forms of cancer. Owing to the pain attending the operation, however, the treatment has not been generally adopted.
Bromine is an efficient disinfectant, and has been employed to disinfect and deodorize the atmosphere of hospitals, etc. Berlin sanitary officials declare that "3 1/2 ounces of bromine can disinfect a space of 918 cubic feet, and deodorize a space of 7000 cubic feet."