This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
By this is meant the copious internal use of water, whereby the liquids of the body are diluted, and rendered less excitant. The contents of the stomach are first diluted, then the blood through absorption of the water, and lastly, the secretions, especially those of the skin and kidneys, in consequence of its passing out through these emunctories. The therapeutic effect is to relieve irritation or inflammation of the surface with which the diluted fluid may be in contact, as the mucous membrane of the stomach, and that of the urinary passages, and to moderate general excitement by attenuating the blood.