Sulphur is used externally for its action on the skin. It has no local action of its own, but by contact with the products of the skin it changes into sulphuretted hydrogen and sulphides, which are active substances. In this form it is a vascular stimulant, a nerve sedative, a stimulant to the skin, and a diaphoretic.
Taken internally it acts as a laxative, increasing peristalsis, and it has also probably some power of influencing nutrition.
If taken for a long time it impairs the blood and causes emaciation, anaemia, trembling, and debility. It forms sulphuretted hydrogen in the intestines, giving an unpleasant odor to the faeces, and the same disagreeable odor is imparted to the perspiration, by the excretion of sulphur through the skin. Silver jewelry worn by a patient taking sulphur becomes discolored by the excretions of the skin.
Prepared from crude sulphur (which compressed into molds forms the roll sulphur used in fumigating) by subliming. A yellow powder, tasteless, and odorless until heated, and insoluble in water. It always contains a little sulphuric acid, and is used only in making other preparations.
A mixture containing about 12 per cent. of sulphur. Solid greenish pieces, alkaline, and of very acrid taste; soluble in water, making an orange-colored solution. Locally applied, sulphurated potash is an irritant, and taken internally is a violent corrosive poison. It is used in ointments and in giving sulphur baths; in the latter case in a strength of from ʒ i.-vi. to 30 gallons of water. The bath may last from twenty minutes to two hours, and has a generally stimulating effect.
A papular eruption and eczema sometimes follow the use of sulphur.
A preparation obtained from a bitumen 1 found in the Tyrol, and supposed to be the residue of extinct fishes. It contains 10 per cent. of sulphur and is not irritating to the skin. It is used externally in an ointment of 10-20 per cent strength. It is useful as a sedative, antiseptic, and alterative.