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.
In gangrenous conditions of disease, as suggested by Dr. Probart, attention should be directed to the previous habits of the patient, in relation to the use of salt; and the employment of it, without any special grounds of prescription in the previous want of it, might possibly be useful in these affections. Dr. Probart thought he derived advantage from it in gangrene of the lungs.
In affections of the liver, it is thought to have proved serviceable as a local application; and, considering how useful many of the natural mineral waters, which usually contain common salt, have proved in hepatic disease, it is not going too far, to claim a portion at least of the advantage produced, for the alterative influence of the salt over the liver.
Cases in which there has been a great loss of saline matter from the blood offer an indication for the use of salt. This indication is prominently presented in epidemic cholera, in which salt has been employed in various ways, with apparent advantage. Many practitioners commence the treatment of this disease with an emetic dose of common salt, which they give also by enema. Though no advocate for this mode of using the medicine, I believe that it may be profitably employed, in many instances, especially after the vomiting has been arrested, in small doses, frequently repeated, in conjunction with bicarbonate of soda; and I can understand, also, that a strong impression made by it on the mucous membrane, in the first stage, may prove useful; but there seems no ground for pushing it so far as to produce emesis, or to aim at that result. in the collapse, or approaching collapse, it may be used as a bath; and, with the carbonate of soda, dissolved in a large quantity of water, may be injected into the veins, in positive cases of collapse, otherwise desperate. Wonderful revival often takes place after the injection; though, unfortunately, the fatal symptoms generally return, and the remedy fails of ultimate good. Still some cases appear to have been rescued by it.
Common salt is among the numerous remedies which have been found to cure intermittent fever, and has been offered as a succedaneum for quinia, which, however, it is not likely to supersede.
As a local irritant, there is one highly valuable use of common salt, in which it shows extraordinary powers. At the commencement of haemoptysis, the case must be very severe, indeed, which will not yield temporarily to from one to four drachms of salt, taken dry into the mouth, and swallowed as the patient can best effect it. I presume that it acts by the powerful impression made upon a large surface of mucous membrane in the mouth, throat, and oesophagus, thereby calling off vascular excitement from the seat of the hemorrhage, in another portion of the same membrane.
The solution made in the proportion of from 5 to 20 grains to a fluidounce of water, has been inhaled, in the form of spray made by means of the atomizer, for the promotion of expectoration, in cases of excessive secretion, as in chronic catarrh and phthisis. it has also been used, by subcutaneous injection, for its substitutive action (see vol. i. p. 83), in obstinate neuralgia; from 10 to 12 minims of a saturated solution being injected at one operation. (Dr. Luton, of Rheims, Arch. Gén., 6e sér., II. 265.)
There are not many remedies more efficacious than a strong hot salt bath in obstinate cases of diarrhoea, especially when associated with deranged hepatic secretion. in one desperate case of the kind, in which the patient was reduced to the lowest stage of emaciation and debility, with copious dark stools, and violent griping pains, and in which the previous treatment had not appeared to make any impression, amendment began to take place soon after the commencement of this remedy used twice daily, and continued on to perfect recovery under it. The salt probably acted at once revulsively, and as an hepatic alterative.
With large quantities of water, it has also sometimes been given as a cathartic.
i have already spoken of its use as an emetic in cholera. Connected with mustard, it might be used in some cases of gastric collapse, in pernicious fever.
As an anthelmintic, it has been used both internally and by enema. in the latter method, it is one of the most efficacious remedies in ascarides; and, should a leech be swallowed, or find its way into the rectum, common salt would be the proper remedy, being administered so as to come in contact with the worm.
Dr. Flugtel has found it advantageous, as a local application, in the thrush (muguet, Fr.) of infants. On the first appearance of the affection he washes the mouth, for several days, with an aqueous solution of the salt, containing as much as will lie on the point of a pocket-knife in half a fluidounce. (Med. T. and Gaz., April 14, 1860, p. 377.)
As an alterative from two grains to a drachm may be given for a dose, as an emetic one or two ounces, and as a purgative from half an ounce to an ounce in half a pint of water. From half an ounce to two ounces may be used for an enema with a pint of water. In the preparation of the salt bath, four ounces may be used for every gallon of water; and the proportion may be doubled or tripled, if a very strong impression on the surface be desired.