An elementary substance, usually obtained from bone-ash. Sp. Gr. 1.77. Eq. Wt. 32.
Med. Prop. and Action. Stimulant and aphrodisiac, in small doses. Irritant poison, causing inflammation of the stomach and bowels, in large doses. Death has been caused by gr. iss., and by gr. iij., but much larger quantities have been taken without serious symptoms ensuing. It acts as a powerful sudorific and diuretic. The fumes cause violent irritation of the mucous membranes of the air-passages, nostrils, and eyes; and persons exposed much to its vapour in manufactories are liable to necrosis of the lower jaw. Externally applied, it is a powerful irritant, and has been proposed as a substitute for the Moxa. The best form for internal use is an Etherial Tincture (4 parts of Phosphorus in 200 of Ether) or Phosphorated Oil (Phosphorus gr. x., Almond Oil fl. oz. j.). The dose of either of these formulae is gutt. v. - x. in emulsion.
In Cholera, Phosphorus has occasionally proved successful. Dr. Burgess* states, that in the epidemic of 1832, he found it effectual when every other remedy had failed, in several cases when the vital powers seemed exhausted, and the patient was in the lowest state of collapse. In these cases it seemed to act as a violent stimulant, principally through the nervous system, accelerating the circulation, and exalting the muscular irritability in the highest degree. It is best exhibited in Ether or oil, as directed above.
2062. In Leprosy, Lupus, Psoriasis, and other inveterate Skin Diseases, in which the skin seems to adapt itself to the morbid condition, Dr. Burgess recommends Phosphorus as one of the most valuable medicinal agents we possess. It may be used either externally or internally. Externally, Camphorated Oil is the best vehicle; internally, it may be given in Ether or oil (ut supra). In Pruritus Pudendi and other forms of Pruritus, he found it very successful. He used it in combination with Strychnine.
* Med. Gaz., Feb. 23, 1849.
Winslow* states that small doses of Phosphorus have been found useful. The brain should at the same time be kept at rest, and the warm bath, rubefacients, &c, be employed. In Epilepsy, it was formerly employed, and it has of late years been again brought forward by Dr. Radcliffe. Dr. Anstie tried it in two severe cases, and though it failed to affect the fits, the patients much improved in general health, and the sense of nervous depression was greatly relieved. He regards it as well worthy of further trial.
2064. In Impotence, occurring in old debilitated subjects, it is reported to be efficacious. It formed the basis of the famous nostrum of KAemper. Its aphrodisiac effect is said soon to pass off, and its habitual use induces debility, stupor, and precocious old age. (Ryan.)
Cotton, § who draws the following conclusions: - 1. Phosphorus exerts no specific action upon consumption. 2. In some cases it seems to act as a tonic and stimulant, but its influence in this respect is inferior to many other remedies of a similar kind. 3. Although in many cases it seems to agree very well with those who take it, yet it sometimes occasions loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal derangement.