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cially the astringent ones, may be concealed by giving them with
a drachm [4. c.c.] of glycerin, which acts by its viscosity and by
reducing some of the ferric to a ferrous salt. It is often added
to the tincture of the chloride. The scale preparations hardly
ever disagree ; they are therefore used for patients with a delicate
digestion, and for such it is much better to make no attempt to



THE SALTS OF IRON. 2O5

rapidly increase the dose, but to depend on small doses spread
over a long period. Mineral waters containing iron (such as
those of La Bourboule and Levico) or the red wines may be given
in such cases. Flitwick water, however, contains a good deal
[of iron]. Often iron and quinine citrate is prescribed as a pill ;
powdered tragacanth and syrup form the best excipient. Treat-
ment of anaemia by iron leads, of course, to the improvement
of the numerous symptoms, such as amenorrhcea, constipation,
dyspepsia, etc., which are dependent upon the anaemia. That
form of neuralgia which is associated with anaemia usually yields
to iron. Easton's syrup (see p. 194) is a very popular prepara-
tion ; it is used for anaemia, and to promote the health and ap-
petite during convalescence after long illness. A pill very sim-
ilar to the syrup, and containing iron phosphate, i gr. [.06 gm.] ;
quinine, i gr. [.06 gm.] ; strychnine, -g^gr. [-002 gm.]; con-
centrated phosphoric acid i^ m. [.10 c.c.]; liquorice powder
to 5 gr. [.30 gm.] is prepared. It is called Easton's pill or
Pilula Trium Phosphatum. A similar [tablet] is in the market.
[Ferrous iodide] has been given, sometimes apparently with suc-
cess, in cases of rheumatoid arthritis, but it must be continued
thrice daily for many months. A pill is often preferable to the
syrup, as that so readily changes. Two grains [.12 gm.] may
be made into a pill in the same way as that advised for the [yel-
low] mercurous iodide, and one or two such pills be given thrice
a day. Large doses of iron (10, [.60 c.c.] or even 20 minims,
[1.20 c.c.] of the tincture of the chloride every hour or two)
have been given in diphtheria and other forms of bad sore throat,
such as hospital sore throat, apparently with considerable benefit.
Erysipelas has been treated in the same way. Fever due to other
causes is said to centra-indicate the use of iron.

Kidney. Iron salts are reported to have a feeble diuretic
action, but this is doubtful. The chloride is often given empiri-
cally for all forms of Bright' s disease. Whether it does good is
at present undecided.

[Iron should always be administered when the stomach is full
(after meals) excepting when given for follicular tonsillitis,
diphtheria, erysipelas, gastric haemorrhage or arsenical poison-



2O6 INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

ing.] Occasionally a patient is found who cannot take iron in
any form, because of the headache and indigestion caused by it.

TTte different preparations of Iron. These have already been classified
into astringent and non-astringent. There are some, viz., the iodide, the
phosphate, the iron and quinine citrate, and [the iron and strychnine citrate],
the value of which depends in part at least upon their other ingredients. The
arsenate must be given in such small doses to avoid arsenical poisoning that
it is probable that the iron in it has no effect. Hence arsenous acid may just as
well be given, and this is commonly done. [Ferric] phosphate, which always
contains some free phosphoric acid, is an excellent haematinic. It is used
largely for children, because the syrup of it is very pleasant in taste, and also
because it was formerly believed that the phosphoric acid would aid the growth
of bones, especially in cases of rickets. Parrish' s food, known also as Squire's
chemical food, and Dusart's syrup both have for their chief ingredient ferric
phosphate; the dose of each is ^ to 2 fl. dr. ; [2. to 8. c.c. ] [Ferrous]
iodide has been introduced for cases in which we wish to gain the benefit of
both elements, but the proportion of iron to iodine is small (l to 9). It is
especially liable to damage the teeth. The iron and quinine citrate combine
the virtues of both iron and quinine. It is a favorite, mild preparation for
slight cases of anaemia, but must not be prescribed with alkalies, as they pre-
cipitate the quinine. [Ferratin (not official) is claimed to be the characteristic
iron compound of the liver. It is an acid albuminate, prepared artificially, and
is used in dose from 1^ gr. ; .10 gm. to 8 gr. ; .50 gm. No evidence ex-
perimental or clinical, has as yet been brought forward, which, outside of
theoretical reasoning, makes the superiority of this over the older iron com-
pounds probable, (Wood). Since it is practically tasteless it is easily admin-
istered. Practically all of the albuminates and peptonates to be found in the
shops are worthless as hcematinics.]



II. MANGANUM.

Mn.[= 54 .8.]

i. [MANGANI DIOXIDUM. Manganese Dioxide. MnO,=86.72.
Synonym. Black Manganese Oxide.

SOURCE. Native crude Manganese Dioxide containing at least 66 per cent.
of the pure Dioxide.

CHARACTERS. A heavy, grayish-black, more or less gritty powder. Solu-
bility. Insoluble in water or Alcohol.

Manganese Dioxide is used for making Chlorine, Corrosive Mercuric
Chloride and Potassium Permanganate.

Dose, 2 to 10 gr. ; .12 to .60 gm.



THE SALTS OF MANGANESE. 2O/

USES OF MANGANESE DIOXIDE.

It has been used empirically as an emmenagogue and is prob-
ably the most certain of all when administered in maximum dose.

2. MANGANI SULPHAS. Manganese Sulphate. MnSO 4 -f4H,O
=222.46. Synonym. Manganous Sulphate.

SOURCE. By heating the Dioxide with sufficiently strong Sulphuric Acid,
evaporation and crystallization.

CHARACTERS. Colorless, or pale, rose-colored, transparent tetragonal
prisms, having a slightly bitter and astringent taste. Solubility, In 0.8 part
of water ; insoluble in Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. Zinc, copper, iron and alkalies.

Dose, 2 to 8 gr. ; .12 to .50 gm.

USES OF MANGANESE SULPHATE.

It has been used as a cholagogue purgative, but on account
of its irritating properties it is a very unsafe remedy.]

3. POTASSII PERMANGANAS. Potassium Permanganate. KMn
4 [=i57-67-

SOURCE. Caustic Potash, Potassium Chlorate and Manganese Dioxide
are heated together. 6KOH-fKClO s +3MnO 2 =3K 2 MnO 4 +KCl+3H 2 O.
Potassium Manganate is boiled with water till the color changes to purple and
the Permanganate is formed. 3K 2 MnO 4 +2H 2 O=2KMnO 4 -f4KOH+MnO 2 .
The liquid is neutralized with Carbon Dioxide and evaporated.

CHARACTERS. Slender monoclinic prisms of a dark purple color, almost
opaque by transmitted, and of a blue, metallic lustre by reflected light, and
having a taste at first sweet, but afterwards disagreeable and astringent]
Solubility. In 16 parts of water ; a grain [.06 gm.] gives a fine purple color
to a gallon of water [3775. c.c.].

INCOMPATIBLE. It is very readily deoxidized in the presence of organic
matter. It is usually given as a pill or a tabella, and should be made up with
kaolin or paraffin, or an explosion will very likely take place.

IMPURITIES. Potassium carbonate and manganese dioxide.

Dose, YZ to 2 gr. ; [.03 to .12 gm.]

ACTION OF POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE.

External. In a solid form it is a mild caustic, and is, when
kept dry, a permanent salt. Its most important action is that
when moist it rapidly gives up its oxygen in the presence of
organic bodies, and its solutions therefore quickly turn dark



2O8 INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

brown, manganese dioxide being formed. The power possessed
by its solution of giving up oxygen makes it a disinfectant,
deodorant, and antiseptic, especially as much of the oxygen
is in the form of ozone. But its action as a germicide is very
limited, for it so readily gives up its oxygen to the organic sub-
stances in which the micro organisms flourish that it very soon
becomes inert.

Internal. Potassium permanganate, when taken internally,
must be quickly decomposed. Manganese salts are only ab-
sorbed from the intestine in extremely minute quantities. When
they are injected into the blood they are excreted in the urine
and into the intestine. Probably they have no important action
after absorption. Formerly it was thought that they could re-
place iron in the body, but this is not so. The red corpuscles
do not take up manganese.

THERAPEUTICS OF POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE.

External. Although potassium permanganate is not of much
practical MSG as a germicide, it is commonly employed as a
deodorant [i to 150] for drains, bed-pans, to wash utensils, and
to wash the hands ; for the last purpose it is suitable as being
non-irritant. [The hands should be washed in a saturated solu-
tion of the permanganate, which stains them a dark purple, and
immediately decolorized with a saturated solution of oxalic acid.]
It has one advantage, namely, that it is easy by its change in
color to see when it has lost its efficacy. Condy's red fluid con-
sists of 8 gr. [.50 gm.] of potassium permanganate to the fluid
ounce [30. c.c.] of distilled water. It is expensive for purposes
requiring a large quantity. It stains fabrics. The stain may be
gotten out by applying sulphurous acid, but the fabric must be
immediately rinsed in water, [else] sulphuric acid is formed.

Internal. The liquor of potassium permanganate [B. P.,
i in 100 of distilled water], considerably diluted, can be used
as a mouth wash or gargle in foul conditions of the mouth, or
as an injection in cases of foul discharges, such as may occur
with gonorrhoea, vaginitis, uterine disease or ozaena. Some have
considered that potassium permanganate is beneficial for the same



THE SALTS OF MERCURY. 2CX)

cases of anaemia as iron, but it probably has no effect. Others
praise its power in amenorrhoea. It should be always given as
a pill, for the taste of solutions of it is very [disagreeable. For
amenorrhoea the black oxide is preferable. (See p. 206. ) If
manganese is of any use in anaemia,, which has not yet been
proven, it probably acts in the same way as iron. The iron-
manganese preparations so much lauded, owe their efficiency,
if they possess any, to the iron which they contain in varying
amounts. Potassium permanganate] oxidizes morphine and is
therefore an antidote to morphine poisoning. [About two
grains in solution should be given for each grain (estimated) of
morphine swallowed, and the stomach should be immediately
and repeatedly washed out with repetitions of the antidote] .



GROUP VI.

[Aurum,] Hydrargyrum.

i. [AURUM.



AURI ET SODII CHLORIDUM. Gold and Sodium Chloride.
A mixture composed of equal parts by weight of dry Gold Chloride ( AuCl 3 =
302.81) and Sodium Chloride (NaCl=58-37).

CHARACTERS. An orange-yellow powder, odorless, having a saline and
metallic taste, and a slightly acid reaction. Solubility. Very soluble in
water, and at least one-half is soluble in Alcohol.

Dose, -fa to y 1 ^ gr. ; .002 to .006 gm.

ACTION OF GOLD AND SODIUM CHLORIDE.
In small doses gold and sodium chloride is supposed to pro-
mote appetite and digestion, to stimulate the functions of the
brain and to be an aphrodisiac. Full doses cause nausea and
vomiting, and finally impair nutrition. The toxic symptoms
resemble those of poisoning by corrosive mercuric chloride.

THERAPEUTICS OF GOLD AND SODIUM CHLORIDE.
It is useful in irritative dyspepsia, gastro-duodenal catarrh,
hypochondriasis, chronic ovarian irritation and ovaritis, in



2IO INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

chronic albuminuria, hepatic sclerosis, and granular kidney, as it
prevents hyperplasia of connective tissue. It is a valuable rem-
edy in the tertiary manifestations of syphilis, especially of the
bones, and presents fewer disadvantages than does the corrosive

mercuric chloride.]

II. HYDRARGYRUM.

Hg[=i 99 .8.

I. HYDRARGYRUM. Mercury. [Synonym. Quicksilver.]

SOURCE. Cinnabar, the native Sulphide, is roasted or distilled with
Lime ; [the volatile Mercury is condensed in suitable aludels.

CHARACTERS. A shining, silver-white metal, easily divisible into small
globules. Sp. gr. 13.5584.]

IMPURITY. Lead, tin, and other metals.

Preparations.

1. Hydrargyrum cum Creta. [Mercury with Chalk. Syno-
nym. Gray powder.

By trituration of Mercury, 38; Prepared Chalk, 57; Clarified
honey, IO; with sufficient water to 100. By keeping, the Mercury is
liable to become Mercuric Oxide, which makes the powder more ac-
tive. - Strength. 38 per cent, of Mercury.

Dose, y 2 to 10 gr. ; .03 to .60 gm.

2. Emplastrum Hydrargyri. Mercurial Plaster. Mercury,
300; Oleate of Mercury, 12; Lead Plaster to looo. Strength. 30
per cent, of Mercury. ]

3. Emplastrum Ammoniaci cum Hydrargyro. [Ammoniac
Plaster with Mercury. Mercury, 180 ; Oleate of Mercury, 8; an
evaporated solution of Ammoniac. 720 ; in diluted Acetic Acid, 1000 ;
and Lead Plaster a sufficient quantity to 1000. Strength. 18 per
cent, of Mercury.

4. Massa Hydrargyri. Mass of Mercury. Synonyms. Blue
Mass. Blue Pill. Pilula Hydrargyri. Mercury, 33 ; Honey of Rose,
34; Glycyrrhiza, 5 ; Althaea, 25; Glycerin, 3. Strength. 33 per
cent, of Mercury.

Dose, YI to 15 gr. ; .03 to i.oo gm.]

5. Unguentum Hydrargyri. [Mercurial Ointment. Synonym.
Blue Ointment. Mercury, 500 ; Lard, 250 ; Suet, 230 ; Oleate
of Mercury, 20. Strength. 50 per cent, of Mercury.]

a. HYDRARGYRI OXIDUM RUBRUM. [Red Mercuric Oxide.
HgO=2i5.76. Synonym. Red Precipitate.



THE SALTS OF MERCURY. 211

SOURCE. Dissolve Mercury in diluted Nitric Acid. 3Hg-f-8HNO s =
3Hg(NO 3 ) 2 -f-2NO-f-4H 2 O. Evaporate to dryness. Triturate the Mercuric
Nitrate thus formed, with Mercury, and heat. 2Hg(NO 3 ) 2 -fHg 2 =4HgO-|-
2N 2 O 4 .

CHARACTERS. Heavy orange- red, crystalline scales, or a crystalline pow-
der ; having a somewhat metallic taste. Solubility. Almost insoluble in
water. ]

IMPURITIES. Red lead, brick dust, and mercuric nitrate.

Dose, % to i gr. ; [.015 to .06 gm.]

Preparation.

Unguentum Hydrargyri Oxidi Rubri. [Ointment of Red Mer-
curic Oxide. Synonym. Red Precipitate Ointment. Red Mercuric
Oxide, 10 ; Castor Oil, 5 ; Ointment, 85.]

3. HYDRARGYRI OXIDUM FLAVUM. [Yellow Mercuric
Oxide. HgO=2i5-76.]

SOURCE. Precipitate a solution of Corrosive Mercuric Chloride, 1000 ;
with Soda, 40. [HgCl J +2NaOH=HgO+2NaCl-fH 2 O.

CHARACTERS. A light orange-yellow, amorphous, heavy, impalpable
powder, having a somewhat metallic taste. ] Not given internally. It is con-
tained in Lotio Hydrargyri Flava [B. P. Corrosive Mercuric Chloride, I ;
Lime Water, 240]. It has the same composition as the Red Oxide, but is
more crystalline.

Preparations.

1. Unguentum Hydrargyri Oxidi Flavi. [Ointment of Yellow
Mercuric Oxide. Yellow Mercuric Oxide, lo ; Ointment, 90.

2. Oleatum Hydrargyri. Oleate of Mercury. Yellow Mercuric
Oxide, 200 ; Oleic Acid, 800.]

Oleate of Mercury is contained in Unguentum Hydrargyri, Em-
plastrum Hydrargyri and Emplastrum Ammoniaci cum Hydrargyro.

4. HYDRARGYRI [CHLORIDUM CORROSIVUM. Corrosive

Mercuric Chloride. HgQ 2 =27O.54.] Synonyms. Corrosive Sublimate.
Mercuric Bichloride. Corrosive Chloride of Mercury.

SOURCE. Heat a mixture of Mercuric Sulphate, Sodium Chloride, and
Manganese Dioxide. HgSO 4 4-2NaCl+MnO 2 =HgCl 2 -f Na,SO 4 +MnO 2 . The
[Corrosive] Chloride sublimes and is condensed. The object of the Man-
ganese Dioxide is to prevent the formation of Mercurous Chloride by setting
free Chlorine, which will convert it into Mercuric Chloride.

CHARACTERS. Heavy, colorless [rhombic crystals, or crystalline masses,
having an acrid and persistent metallic taste.] Solubility. In [16 parts of
water ; in 3 parts of Alcohol. ]

INCOMPATIBLES. Alkalies and their carbonates, potassium iodide, lime



212 INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

water, tartar emetic, silver nitrate, lead acetate, albumin, soaps, vegetable
preparations containing tannic acid, and in fact most substances.
Dose, & to ^ gr. ; [.ooi to .006 gin.]

5. HYDRARGYRI [CHLORIDUM MITE. Mild Mercurous
Chloride. Hg,Cl 1 =47O.34.] Synonyms. Calomel. Mild Chloride of Mer-
cury. Subchloride of Mercury.

SOURCE. Rub Mercury with Mercuric Sulphate to form Mercurous Sul-
phate, Hg,SO 4 . Add Sodium Chloride, and then heat, the Calomel sublimes,



CHARACTERS. [A white, impalpable powder without odor or taste.
IMPURITY. Corrosive] Mercuric Chloride.
Dose, y z to 10 gr. ; [.03 to .60 gm.]

Preparations.

1. Pilulae Catharticae Compositae. [Compound Cathartic Pills.
Mild Mercurous Chloride, 60 ; Compound Extract of Colocynth, 80 ;
Extract of Jalap, 30 ; Gamboge, 15 gm., to make 1000 pills.]

Dose, i to 3 pills.

2. Pilulae Antimonii Compositae. [Compound Pills of Anti-
mony. Synonym. Plummer's Pills. Mild Mercurous Chloride, 4;
Sulphurated Antimony, 4 ; Guaiac, 8 gm. ; Castor Oil, a sufficient
quantity to make 100 pills.

Dose, i to 3 pills.]

6. HYDRARGYRI IODIDUM RUBRUM. [Red Mercuric Iodide.
Hgl,=452.86. Synonyms. Mercury Biniodide. Red Iodide of Mercury.

SOURCE. Mix hot solutions of Corrosive Mercuric Chloride and Potas-
sium Iodide. Filter and dry the precipitated Red Iodide. HgCl,-)-2KI=:
HgI 1 +2KCl.

CHARACTERS. A scarlet-red, amorphous powder. Solubility. Almost
insoluble in water, but freely soluble in a solution of Potassium Iodide.]

IMPURITIES. The same as of the Corrosive Chloride.

Dose, ^ to T V gr. ; [.ooi to .006 gm.]

Preparation.

Liquor Arseni et Hydrargyri lodidi. [Solution of Arsenic and
Mercuric Iodide. Synonym. Donovan's Solution. Dissolve Arsenic
Iodide, 10 ; and Red Mercuric Iodide, 10 ; in distilled water, 1000.

CHARACTERS. A clear, pale-yellowish liquid, having a disagree-
able, metallic taste.] Strength. i per cent, of each Iodide.

Dose, i to 10 m. ; [.06 to .60 c.c.]

7. [HYDRARGYRI IODIDUM FLAVUM. Hg,I,=652.66. Yel-
low Mercurous Iodide. Synonyms. Mercury Protiodide. Yellow or Green
Mercury Iodide.



THE SALTS OF MERCURY. 213

SOURCE. By pouring a solution of Potassium Iodide, 24; in distilled
water, 1000 ; into a solution of Mercurous Nitrate, 40 ; in Nitric Acid, 10 ;
and distilled water, 1000. The precipitate is washed and dried. The Mer-
curous Nitrate is obtained from Mercury treated by a solution of Nitric Acid
in distilled water, by filtration. Hg 2 (NO 3 ). r |-2KI=Hg. ( L,-|-2KNO 3 .

CHARACTERS. A bright yellow amorphous powder, odorless and taste-
less. Solubility. Almost insoluble in water, and wholly insoluble in Alcohol
and Ether.

Dose, to i gr. ; .01 to .06 gm.]

8. LIQUOR HYDRARGYRI NITRATIS. [Solution of Mercuric
Nitrate. A liquid containing about 60 per cent, of Mercuric Nitrate.
Hg(NO 3 ) 2 =323.58, together with about II per cent, of free Nitric Acid.

SOURCE. Dissolve Red Mercuric Oxide, 40; in Nitric Acid, 45 ; with dis-
tilled water, 15, and heat.

CHARACTERS. A clear, nearly heavy, colorless liquid, having a faint odor
of Nitric Acid. Sp. gr. about 2.100.]

IMPURITY. Mercurous Nitrate.

9. UNGUENTUM HYDRARGYRI NITRATIS. [Ointment of
Mercuric Nitrate. Synonym. Citrine Ointment.

SOURCE. Mix a hot solution of Mercury, 70 ; in Nitric Acid, 175 ; with
Lard Oil, 760.]

CHARACTERS. A lemon-yellow ointment.

10. HYDRARGYRUM AMMONIATUM. Ammoniated Mercury.
NH 2 HgCl[=25i.i8.] Synonyms. White Precipitate. [Mercuric Ammonio-
Chloride.]

SOURCE. Mix solutions of Ammonia, 100 ; and Corrosive Mercuric
Chloride, 100. HgCl 2 +2NH 4 OH=NH 2 HgCl+NH i Cl+2H 2 O. Filter and
wash the precipitated Ammoniated Mercury.

CHARACTERS. [White, pulverulent pieces, or a white, amorphous powder,
having an earthy, afterwards styptic and metallic taste. Solubility. Almost
insoluble in water or Alcohol.]

IMPURITIES. The same as of the [Corrosive] Chloride.

Preparation.

Unguentum Hydrargyri Ammoniati. Ointment of Ammoni-
ated Mercury. Synonym. White Precipitate Ointment. [Ammoni-
ated Mercury, 10 ; Benzoinated Lard, 90.

11. [HYDRARGYRI CYANIDUM. Mercuric Cyanide. Hg(CN) 2
=251.76.

SOURCE. By boiling pure Potassium Ferrocyanide with Mercuric Sulphate
in water, and recrystallization from diluted Alcohol. 7HgSO 4 -j- 2 K 4 Fe
(CN) 6 =Hg+6H g (CN) 2 + 4 K 2 S0 4 +Fe a (S0 4 ) s .



214 INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

CHARACTERS. Colorless or white prismatic crystals, odorless, having a bit-
ter, metallic taste. Solubility. In 12.8 parts of water and 15 parts of Alcohol.
Dose, ^ to y^ gr. ; .001 to .006 gm.

12. HYDRARGYRI SUBSULPHAS FLAVUS. Yellow Mer-
curic Subsulphate. Hg(HgO) 2 SO 4 =727-4. Synonyms. Turpeth Mineral.
Basic Mercuric Sulphate.

SOURCE. By solution of Mercury, 100 ; Sulphuric Acid, 30 ; Nitric Acid,
25 ; water, a sufficient quantity ; decantation, drying of the residue.

CHARACTERS. A heavy, lemon-yellow powder, odorless and almost taste-
less. Solubility. In about 2000 parts of water; insoluble in Alcohol.

Dose, 2 to 4 gr. ; .12 to .24 gm. as an emetic.]

ACTION OF MERCURY AND ITS SALTS.

External. [Corrosive mercuric chloride] is one of the
most powerful and important antiseptics with which we are
acquainted. In 1870 it was discovered that i part in 6000
would kill infusoria and spermatozoa. Now it is known to be a
universal germicide. The published results of experiments with
it vary very much, because the duration of the action, the sol-
vent, and the micro-organism experimented upon, are not always
the same. Evans found that anthrax spores were destroyed by
[corrosive mercuric chloride] solutions of i in 1000 acting for a
quarter of an hour, and i in 3000 acting for one hour. The
bacilli themselves were destroyed by solutions of i in 15,000
acting for one minute, and i in 25,000 acting for half an hour.
A solution of i in 70,000 prevented the growth of the spores,
and one of i in 500,000 prevented the growth of the bacilli. A
reference to carbolic acid will show how much more powerful
corrosive mercuric chloride is. A solution of i in 1000 is very
commonly employed for many disinfecting purposes. If albu-
min be present in the fluid to be disinfected, an albuminate of
mercury is formed, and the antiseptic value of the fluid is de-
stroyed. This change may be prevented by the addition of 5
parts of either hydrochloric, [citric] or tartaric acid to i of
[corrosive mercuric chloride]. The [red mercuric iodide] is
also a powerful antiseptic. Metallic instruments cannot be dis-
infected with the [corrosive chloride] for mercury deposited on
them.



THE SALTS OF MERCURY.

Most mercurials, especially the oleate, oxide, ammoniate,
nitrate and [corrosive chloride], will destroy the animal and
vegetable parasites that infest the skin ; they are, therefore,
anti-parasitic. Also, most of them will occasionally relieve
itching, even when no cause is to be found.

The mercurial preparations, especially the red [mercuric]
iodide and the acid solution of the nitrate, are powerful irritants.
The latter is strongly caustic. Mercurous salts are slightly irri-
tant and stimulating ; calomel is sometimes applied to sores for
this property.

Metallic mercury and its salts are absorbed by the skin,
especially when rubbed in either as an oleate or an ointment.
These preparations are also taken up, although to a less degree,
if simply applied to the skin, for minute particles of mercury or
its salts pass into the hair follicles and sebaceous follicles, from
which they are absorbed as an oxide or a chloride. All the
symptoms of mercurial poisoning can be produced if the drug
is absorbed through the skin. The vapor can be absorbed
through the mucous membrane of the lungs, and mercury com-
pounds are so volatile that when they are applied to the skin
some usually enter the blood by the lungs.

Internal. Although the different salts of mercury have dif-
ferent external actions, after absorption their actions are, in
most respects, similar. The long-continued use of excessive
doses of mercurials produces well-marked and important symp-
toms (see Toxicology). The actions for which mercurials are
used in medicine are the following :

Stomach and intestines. The metal mercury itself and mer-
curous compounds, being mildly irritant in their action, are
often used as purgatives ; but the mercuric compounds given
in the same doses produce severe gastro- intestinal irritation.
The action is chiefly on the duodenum and upper part of the
jejunum ; the precise mode of irritation is unknown, but it is
certain that, in consequence of the administration of the mer-
curial, the contents of the duodenum are hurried along before
there is time for the bile to be reabsorbed, and hence the motions
are very dark-colored. There is probably some, but not an ex-



2l6 INORGANIC MATERIA MEDICA.

cessively increased secretion from the intestinal walls, for the
motions, although large and loose, are not watery. As the ac-



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