This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Effects on the Urinary Passages. The oil is to be considered here only in its relations to the urinary organs. When taken in small doses, frequently repeated, it soon shows its tendency, after having been absorbed, to escape from the system through the kidneys, and to stimulate these organs in its passage. This is first evinced by an odour imparted to the urine, thought to resemble that of violets, and quite different from that of the oil itself, which is no doubt somewhat modified before escaping. it is thought, however, that a portion of the oil is also eliminated unchanged by the same outlet. The quantity of urine is generally more or less increased; and the disposition to evacuate it, even in greater proportion. if the medicine is persevered with, the urine becomes more irritant, and a sense of unpleasant warmth is felt in its passage. This sometimes increases to a burning pain; a smarting or cutting sensation is experienced in the urethra at each discharge; the disposition to micturition becomes very frequent, a minute quantity only being passed at once, and this sometimes high-coloured or bloody; and the patient suffers under fully formed strangury. With this, there is not unfrequently pain in the small of the back, and along the course of the ureters. instead of diuresis, the secretion is now diminished, in consequence of the excess of irritation of the urinary organs. The excitement sometimes passes also to the rectum producing tenesmus, and to the genitals. To the extent, however, here described, the irritant influence of the oil is not often carried; as the effect is usually slowly induced, and the medicine is omitted with the occurrence of the milder symptoms. There is, moreover, a great difference of susceptibility to the effect; and many patients take the oil for a long time without any inconvenience of the kind. Others are extremely susceptible, and very small quantities induce strangury. Sometimes it produces decided hemorrhage from the kidneys; and I have seen a case of this kind caused by inhalation of the vapours from turpentine. The patient was a seaman, who had just come from a voyage on board of a vessel loaded with this product. The treatment of strangury will be given under cantharides.* it is not often that the oil is used in dropsy; and, in febrile or inflammatory cases of the disease, and especially when the kidneys are in a state of active congestion or inflammation, as in the acute variety of Bright's disease, it is not only useless, but injurious. There are, however, cases of dropsy, in which the urine is scanty in consequence of torpor of the kidneys, without inflammation, and in which the oil may be employed usefully as an adjuvant to other medicines, more decidedly diuretic.
The conditions in which the oil of turpentine is used in reference to its effects on the urinary organs, are either functional debility of these organs, and of neighbouring parts which are influenced through contiguous sympathy, or chronic inflammation of the same parts.
In suppression of urine, or very scanty secretion from mere functional disorder, oil of turpentine will sometimes be useful; but great care must be taken not to mistake, for such a case, a condition of irritation or inflammation of the organ, which is more frequently the source of renal ischuria than torpor or debility.
i have repeatedly derived advantage from the oil in cases of excessive and exhausting diuresis, connected apparently with a nervous state of in obstinate cases of gravel or lithiasis, the oil occasionally appears to act very happily, bringing away large quantities of sandy matter, with great relief to the patient. it is possible that, in these cases, the gravelly matters may have been lodged in the uriniferous tubules, and may be discharged through the stimulant influence of the oil, either acting directly on the tubules, or by means of the liquid secretion which it promotes, and which may wash down the accumulated and irritating material.
* As will be mentioned more particularly hereafter, the oil of turpentine, applied to the skin even in very small quantity, produces with certain persons, in consequence of idiosyncrasy, a poisonous effect on the surface of the body, marked by spreading superficial inflammation, with a violent eczematous eruption. What would be the effect on such individuals of the oil taken internally I do not know; but, not improbably, like that produced by it in a case of typhoid fever, reported to me in a letter from Dr. Charles M. Morfit, of Baltimore, dated Aug. 13, 1867. Dr. Morfit had given to the patient fifteen drops every two hours for two days, when violent cramps came on, followed a day afterward by great irritability of stomach with continuing cramps, and at night of the third day by difficulty of swallowing, pain in the throat and cervical muscles, and inability to open the jaws. These symptoms continued till the next evening, when an epileptiform convulsion occurred, and the oil was suspended, having been previously reduced to ten drops every two hours. Next morning, after the suspension of the medicine, all these irregular symptoms had ceased. [Note to the third edition.) the system, or with a weakened and perhaps flaccid state of the organ, allowing the watery parts of the blood to escape, as they do from the skin in the night-sweats of debility.
Chronic inflammation of the pelvis of the kidney, in which there is reason to suspect ulceration, as indicated by pus or blood in the urine, traceable to a renal origin, is sometimes much benefited by the oil, which is peculiarly efficacious in promoting a healing tendency in indolent ulcers, with which it is brought duly in contact, whether on the surface of the body, in the alimentary canal, or the urinary passages. Even without reason to suspect ulceration, when there is copious mucous or mucopurulent discharge, and the case is destitute of acute symptoms, the oil will often prove useful.
In similar affections of the bladder, that is, ulceration, or chronic mucous or muco-purulent discharge, oil of turpentine may prove serviceable, when not too stimulant for the case. it is among the standard remedies in chronic cystirrhoea.
In gleet, too, or chronic mucous or puruloid discharges from the urethra, it may be used with some hope of good; but this complaint is generally much more effectively treated by local remedies. The same may be said of leucorrhoea, though, as this discharge proceeds usually from a source beyond the reach of the oil passing with the urine, no great benefit can be expected.
The extension of an excitant influence from the mucous to the muscular coat, renders the oil of turpentine useful in certain cases of retention of urine, dependent on debility or palsy of the bladder, and of incontinence arising from a similar condition of the sphincter. it is one of the remedies which may be tried in nocturnal incontinence.
In hemorrhages from the urinary passages or the uterus, when purely passive, or sustained by habit, oil of turpentine is one of the best haemostatics that can be used; having a peculiar power of suppressing hemorrhage wherever it may occur.
In debilitated conditions of the genital apparatus, whether male or female, and in similar conditions of the rectum, the oil may be tried, upon the ground that, even though it may have no direct tendency to the pelvic viscera and the neighbouring parts in general, it may at least stimulate them through an excitant influence, radiating from the urinary organs. Hence it may be used in impotence, sterility, certain conditions of spermatorrhoea, amenorrhoea from torpor of the uterus, related piles, rectal discharges, etc., either alone, or variously combined.
The dose of the oil for all these purposes is from ten to thirty drops, twice or three times a day, or more frequently, taken either in emulsion, or simply dropped on sugar.
In vol. i. p. 559, the reader will find a note describing the use and effects of the vapour of oil of turpentine, applied to the whole surface by means of the vapour bath. in the Edinburgh Medical Journal (Feb. 1864, p. t09), there is a description, by Dr. W. W. Ireland, of Edinburgh, of a similar use of the oil popularly, in the mountains of Dauphiny, in France; the material employed, in this instance, being the wood of the pine, which is exposed, in vapour baths, to a sufficient heat to volatilize the,oil, without charring the wood. The complaints in which the remedy is used are rheumatism in all its forms, acute as well as chronic, inflammation of the mucous membranes, including those of the air-passages and urinary organs, neuralgia, glandular enlargements, and secondary and tertiary syphilis. The pine leaves are employed in the same way, and for similar purposes, in some parts of Germany.
The British Pharmacopoeia has a Confection of Turpentine (Con-pectio Terebinthina), made by rubbing one fluidounce of the oil, first with an avoirdupois ounce of powdered liquorice root, and afterwards with two ounces of clarified honey. it is simply a convenient form for exhibiting the oil. The dose is from twenty grains to a drachm.