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.
The mode of preparing, and the properties of this compound, will be considered under the head of escharotics, to which it belongs by its most important application. It is sufficient here to state that it is a soft. greenish-white, translucent substance, deliquescent on exposure, and soluble in water, alcohol, and ether. Its consistence has gained for it the name of butter of zinc.
It is locally irritant and caustic, and, in its effects upon the system, corresponds with the soluble salts of zinc already mentioned. In overdoses, it is an irritant poison, producing constriction of the throat, nausea, vomiting, gastric and intestinal pains, cramps in the limbs, and great prostration, with paralysis of the extremities, convulsions, and coma. Several cases of death from it are on record. The indications of treatment are thoroughly to wash out the stomach, to administer albumen freely which is coagulated by it, and afterwards to treat the case with opiates, and such antiphlogistic measures as may seem to be required.
Introduced by Papenguth into medicine, it has been occasionally used by other practitioners, particularly on the continent of Europe, in scrofula, epilepsy, chorea, and neuralgia. It has no advantage, that I can appreciate, over the sulphate or oxide, while it is more likely to injure the stomach and bowels. The dose is from half to three-quarters of a grain, to begin with.