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.
This, I believe, operates as an antiphlogistic remedy most efficiently through the protection it affords to the subjacent tissue. The cuticle, blackened under its operation, loses the peculiar organization, in consequence of which liquids and air can find entrance and exit, and probably becomes much less permeable. Hence the efficiency of this escharotic in erysipelatous and erythematous inflammation, and in numerous cutaneous eruptions. The white layer which it forms with the mucous tissue may operate on the same principle; as may the insoluble white pellicle which it leaves upon ulcerated and abraded surfaces. But, under the head of escharotics, the effects of nitrate of silver have been sufficiently detailed; and I allude to them here only as belonging to the present category of influences, and illustrative of the principles stated.