Chloride of Sodium. SodAe Hydro-chloras. SodAe Murias. Hydrochlorate or Muriate of Soda. NaCl. Sea Salt. Common Salt. Comp. Sodium 39.3, Chlorine 60.7, in 100 parts; or 1 Eq. Sodium = 23, + 1 Chlorine = 35.5 = 58.5, Eq. Wt.
Med. Prop. and Action. Chloride of Sodium performs an important part in the animal economy. It enters largely into the composition of the blood, urine, &c.; and, as Liebig justly observes, " The presence of free Muriatic Acid in the stomach, and of Soda in the blood, proves beyond all doubt the necessity of common Salt for the organic purposes. Deprived of it, all animals fade and die rapidly." In moderate quantities (gr. x. - gr. xx.), it improves the digestion and increases the appetite; in larger quantities, it occasions thirst; and in still larger ones (two or three table-spoonfuls), it acts as a powerful emetic. From oz. ss. - oz. j. proves cathartic and emetic; and used in the form of enema it purges freely. In excessive doses it is an irritant poison, occasioning inflammation of the stomach and intestines. In many diseases, as Cholera for example, it apparently acts by supplying deficient Salt to the blood. It is a chemical antidote in poisoning by the Nitrate of Silver. Externally applied, Salt is a rubefacient; and Salt-water, natural or artificial, has long been employed as a general tonic and discutient, in scrofulous glandular enlargements, diseases of the joints, &c. When leeches have crept into the rectum, or have been accidentally swallowed, a solution of Salt will dislodge and kill them.
* Cyc. Pract. Med., art. Cathartics, Ess. Mat. Med. and Therap., p. 234.
Animal Chemistry, p. 161.
Cholera. Common Salt given in large doses until it causes emesis, and large quantities of cold water, is a mode of treatment strongly advised by Drs. Stevens, Venables, Pidduck, Hoskings, Goodrich, and others; and from Mr. Ross's* table (see Calomel, sect. Cholera), it appears, that out of 607 cases treated in this manner, only 112 died, or 20 per cent., a very low rate of mortality. Dr. Hoskings states that of 62 cases treated on this plan, only 16 died; whilst under stimulants and Opium, the same number died out of 37 cases. Mr. Goodrich treated 12 cases in this way, and all died; however, he adds that they were all past hope before treatment. The dose is about two tablespoonfuls of common Salt, in ft. oz. iv. - fl. oz. viij. of cold water, repeated every quarter of an hour, until vomiting is produced, then cold water is advised in large draughts, to allay the insatiable thirst, and heat of the stomach. From the above data, there appears to be little doubt that Salt is of the highest value in this disease; but at the same time, we must not overlook the fact that cold water, ad libitum, was allowed to be drunk; and in all cases where this has been allowed, the mortality has been lower than when it has been withheld, whatever other course of treatment may have been pursued. Somewhat similar to the above is "the saline treatment" adopted at the Greville-street Hospital, under which the mortality, according to Mr. Ross's table, is stated to be only 14 per cent., the lowest rate yet given. The formula employed was SodAe Carb. ij., Sodii Chlor. (Salt) 3ij., Potass. Chlorat. gr. viij., Aq. q. s. pro haust. The patient was also placed in a hot bath at 120°, in which lbs. xiv. of Salt was dissolved; cold water was allowed ad libitum. Injecting a solution of Salt into the veins has been tried occasionally, but not with a sufficient degree of success to warrant its adoption in general practice.