Its local action upon abraded surfaces, mucous membranes, or even the unbroken skin, is that of a decided irritant. Taken internally it is diuretic and slightly laxative, and somewhat depressing to the heart.
Tartaric acid does not enter the tissues as an acid, but is decomposed in the blood, and passes out of the body as a carbonate.
In large doses it is an irritant poison, causing burning pain of the oesophagus and stomach, vomiting, and gastro-intestinal inflammation, which may prove fatal. A dose of ℥ i. has caused death in nine days. The alkalies, magnesia, lime, soap-suds, or the alkaline carbonates are antidotes.
Average dose, gr. vii.-0.5 Gm., freely diluted.