This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Sodii Chloridum. Sodium Chloride. NaCl = 58.37. Synonym. - Common Salt
Dose, 5 to 60 gr.; .30 to 4.00 gm.
Common salt forms an article of diet with all creatures living on vegetable food, especially if it contains large amounts of potassium, but is not used either by carnivorous animals or by tribes living solely on flesh. The importance of it is seen in the long distances herbivorous animals will wander to salt licks, and by the fact that tribes living on vegetables will go to war for the possession of it. Bunge's explanation of this desire for salt is as follows: Blood plasma contains much sodium chloride, vegetable foods contain a large amount of potassium salts; when, therefore, these salts of potassium reach the blood, potassium chloride and the sodium salt of the acid which was combined with the potassium are formed. This and the potassium chloride are excreted by the kidneys, and the blood loses its sodium chloride, which loss is therefore made up by taking sodium chloride with the food. The deprivation of salt leads to general weakness, oedema and anaemia, a series of symptoms often seen in France before the repeal of the salt tax. Quantities of a tablespoonful 15. gm. and upwards act as an emetic, and may also purge. Rectal injections of solutions of salt by removing mucus may make the rectum unfit for the habitation of the Oxyuris ver-micularis.
It is occasionally used as an emetic, also as an anthelmintic. Bathing in sea water acts as a mild general stimulant, and very concentrated hot salt baths, such as those of Droitwich and Nantwich, are useful for chronic rheumatism and sciatica. Sixty grains 4. gm. of common salt in a pint 500 c.c. of boiled water allowed to cool to 100° F. 37.7o C form a normal saline solution, which is frequently injected into any convenient vein - or sometimes into loose connective tissue - in cases of collapse from haemorrhage, often with strikingly good results. Such injections have also been used for diabetic coma, and may render the patient sensible again for a little while, but they do not avert the end.