This section is from the "A Practical Treatise On Materia Medica And Therapeutics" book, by Roberts Bartholow. Also available from Amazon: A Practical Treatise On Materia Medica And Therapeutics
Sulphur lotum (washed sulphur). Sulphur sublimatum (sublimed sulphur). Washed sulphur only should be used as a laxative. Sublimed sulphur contains a trace of acid which imparts to it a griping quality. Dose, 3 j— 3 iij.
Sulphur is insoluble in water, but dissolves in alkaline solutions and in the volatile and fixed oils. In the small intestine, sulphur is placed under favorable conditions for absorption. That it does enter the blood is proved by the fact that it appears in the perspiration, urine, milk, etc. Silver coins, carried in the pockets of those taking sulphur, are discolored by the formation of the sulphide of silver. Considerable sulphureted-hydrogen gas is produced as a result of the chemical changes in the intestines, and a quantity of offensive flatus is an unpleasant sequel of its administration. The intestinal secretions are somewhat increased by it, and the stools are therefore softer. It is a very mild laxative. Combination of sulphur and bitartrate of potassa or magnesia is occasionally resorted to, especially in domestic practice, for the purpose of increasing the laxative action.
Sufficient attention has already been paid to the sulphur compounds, and it only now remains to speak of sulphur as a laxative. It is used chiefly to render the stools softer and more easily voided in cases of haemorrhoids, fissures of the anus, and after surgical operations about the pelvic organs. It is used also as a laxative in skin-diseases, chronic rheumatism, sciatica, and lead-cachexia, conjoined usually with sulphur-baths, the sulphurous mineral waters, and other appropriate medication.
Pulvis Glycyrrhizae Compositus is an efficient laxative. It is made as follows: Senna-leaves, eighteen parts; licorice-root, sixteen parts; fennel-seeds, eight parts; washed sulphur, eight parts; refined sugar, fifty parts. M. Sig.: A tea-spoonful at a dose.